In nearly 30 years of using Netscape and Firefox, I've never had any problem understanding Mozilla's written communication. Sadly, that has now drastically changed. I am sad to say that, despite being an intelligent, adult native English-speaker, I now find myself in the sad position of being incapable of understanding Mozilla, who seem to have started filling their documentation with gibberish.
Let me give some constructive examples…
Today, I upgraded to Firefox 106. Upon opening Firefox, I received a very creepy message saying:
"Thank you for loving Firefox".
I really resent the presumptuousness of this message. I never told you I "loved" Firefox. How could anyone "love" a Web browser? It's a functional tool: a doorway to the Web. But while this statement got my back up, at least I was able to understand it, unlike what was to come…
I was then given the opportunity to adjust a few basic settings such as color theme. That's helpful, but this is where the gibberish began. When asked to choose a color theme, I was told:
"Independent voices can change culture."
I have no idea what that sentence means! What does 'changing culture' have to do with a Web browser, let alone color themes? Mozilla is a tech corporation, isn't it? But they're trying to change culture? That's concerning. I unwittingly aligning myself with some kind of political agenda, here? In what way are you aiming to change culture? What if I don't agree with your values? Should I stop using your browser? Bringing divisive politics into what is supposed to be a simple computer utility is needlessly alienating and jarring to users.
When I then clicked on the various color options, it resulted in even more bizarre copy appearing, such as:
"You are a visionary. You question the status quo and move other to imagine a better future."
"You are an expressionist. You see the world differently and your creations stir the emotions of others."
Sorry, what? This sounds like some kind of horoscope, or fiction. It's nonsense, and I find it highly offensive.
Is your web browser real or fictional? Are you fantasy authors, or a tech company? Surely, you have one job and that is to deliver tech that works—not to waste users' time by giving them irrelevant copy to read which has no functional value.
At the end of this setup session, I was given the opportunity to "See what's new". I really appreciated this opportunity, because for years I've been tired of Mozilla just dumping new features into the browser, expecting us to know it's there and understand what it does. I do like to have new features explained.
I was then told: "Say hello to Firefox View" with a button to "See how it works". Great. I'd like to know what it is and how it works. However, upon clicking this button, I was taken to a completely baffling page that made no sense. It just said "Tab pickup. Open pages from other devices." I don't have any other devices, so I ignored that section.
Below this, a heading said: "Independent Voices. Color can change culture. The latest colorways celebrates voices making the world a better place".
This has to be one of the most baffling sentences I've ever read. None of it makes any sense. What is 'Independent Voices'? What is 'colorways'? What does 'changing culture' have to do with using a web browser? What occasion is being 'celebrated', here? It's all meaningless. As for "making the world a better place", again, there seems to be some kind of implicit political agenda. It's very troubling. I don't want a Web browser company to "make the world a better place", let alone a company who spouts such ambiguous gibberish in its own documentation.
Since Firefox didn't explain what "Firefox View" is, I googled it, hoping for answers. The first hit was a Mozilla article titled "Privacy online just got easier with today's Firefox release." Great, answers at last!
The article began:
"Last year we upleveled our Private Browsing mode."
Sorry, "upleveled" is not a verb I've ever heard of, in decades of using the Web. Why are you beginning articles with made-up verbs that you know people aren't going to understand? Why not use standard, plain, clear English?
I then scrolled down to the heading: "Start your day with Firefox View". Was I finally about to get some answers to what this mysterious feature was?
Sadly, no. This paragraph begins, bizarrely:
"Our days consist of multiple tasks. Most tasks are easy to jump back into like a dog-eared page in a book or selecting the recently watched show in your streaming service app."
Sorry, what is this? I came here to find out what Firefox View is, not hear about the personal life of some Mozilla staff member. There's also a weird shift from first to second person: "your streaming service app". I don't use a streaming service app! I'm here because I use the Firefox web browser!
The article goes on to say:
"For today's launch of Firefox View you will see up to 25 of your recently closed tabs…"
From what I can gather, Firefox View is just a tab history? Didn't that feature already exist—just go to "Recently closed tabs"?
I'm guessing there must be more to the feature, but the article is so saturated with irrelevant rhetoric and insular jargon, it fails to simply explain what the feature does. Why not just state, in plain English, what Firefox View is. What does it do? Why was it added? What problem does it solve? How do you use it? State this in as simple, plain terms as possible without any distracting in-words or personal stories.
Even better, add some images or a video. (This is 2022. Videos are quite popular.)
Scrolling further down, the article attempts to (finally) explain some of your jargon, with the heading: "What is Colorway?"
Great—I thought—answers, at last! But I should have known better than to expect an explanation in standard English which people can understand. This is the article's explanation of what Colorway is:
"Last year we launched Firefox Colorways, a new desktop feature that allowed our users to express their most authentic selves and bring joy while browsing the web."
I am lost for words with how nonsensical this is. So, it's a feature which allows me to "express my most authentic self"? What on earth is that supposed to mean!? And to "bring joy"? Are you serious? This is how you're describing the features of your software? Using vague emotional language which doesn't tell us the first thing about what the features are and what they do.
Your article also constantly refers to something called "Independent Voices". When this term is eventually 'explained', it comes as no surprise that there is more gibberish waiting for us:
"Independent Voices are the voices of the past and present that create a better future."
Oh, thanks for clearing that up! It makes perfect sense, now—not!
I'm sorry, Mozilla. It's been a good ride this past few decades, but I think it's time we parted, because with all due respect, I am now questioning the sanity of your staff. This is not how any normal person or company would describe its new software innovations. This is the language of lunacy. Frankly, you sound unhinged.
Like any other sane person, I do not use a web browser because I want to "express my most authentic self". I don't have a clue what that means. I use a web browser to get online and look at websites.
I don't know how this has happened to your company, but it's shambolic. Highly unprofessional. How can your company allow copy to be put out which is not only so bizarre, but spectacularly fails to communicate the basic details of the workings of your software?
When I came here to Mozilla Connect submit this feedback, I was greeted with the opening words: "High fives all around!" Followed by some statistics about your achievements. Below, it says: "Oh hey, it's great seeing you here! We're excited to connect and work together to build a better internet."
It's as though the homepage was written by children. This kind of copy is just so unprofessional, informal, self-indulgent, and not in any way conductive to providing users with the information they're looking for. It certainly doesn't reflect a large, experienced tech corporation.
I'm going to be completely frank and say that Mozilla is starting to sound like a cult. Telling me that I "love Firefox". Constant references to emotion. Features based around emotions, and mystical concepts such as "self expression". It's just plain weird.
A web browser connects to the Web. That's all it does. It has nothing to do with feelings. I don't want to be involved in some weird movement that's trying to 'change culture'. It's creepy. You don't even come across like tech nerds, you come across like slimy, creepy, manipulative cult members selling some kind of religion.
For the record, I'm also tired of hearing about how 'private' Mozilla is. The more you keep trying to insist that your browser is somehow 'private', the less true that sentiment seems. You expect me to trust a bunch of complete strangers with my privacy? If I had any shred of trust for Mozilla, it's gone now that you've begun speaking such creepy gibberish.
I have also been a Firefox user for... decades. And while I certainly wouldn't say I love it, I do RELY on it.
I also upgraded to the latest version about an hour ago... and while not as offended as Martin1, I do have to agree with him that I was stunned by the absurd, over-familiar, presumptuous language I ran into. As a long-time user of this forum (at least I THINK it was this forum but, for reasons that will unfold shortly, I'm not really sure), I wanted to make a suggestion but could not find anywhere to login. What I did find myself in was a circular loop of links about how to make a suggestion, but nowhere to, or link to where to actually MAKE the suggestion. Then something I clicked suddenly put a "Post" screen in front of me. So I posted, and submitted... and my post immediately disappeared and I got a message telling me I had to login before I could post. But, prior to this I had not been able to find ANYWHERE to login. I entered my email address and was asked for my password... which was then auto-filled for me (which I THOUGHT verified my belief that I was an already registered user of the forum), so I submitted the form with my email address and password. I was then asked for my username! Well, if it knew my password, why didn't it also know the username I have used multiple times here in this discussion forum, in the past? I crossed my fingers and entered my Christian name in the hope that this wasn't some trick question to make sure it was really me and not some imposter. The reply came back, "This username is already in use" with a suggestion that I try (username)+"1". So I made up a new one... and it worked! Yippeee! Then my suggestion magically re-appeared, and I got a congratulatory message telling me I had been promoted to... something or other. So THEN I was able to submit my suggestion... and immediately got promoted even higher to ... something-else-or-other. Hmmm...
However, I've digressed so back to commenting on Martin1's post, I was also presented with the Firefox View thing. I also went on the merry-go-round ride to try to find out what it was all about. I didn't get as far as Martin with this because about then I saw what looked like an open tab at the extreme left end of my tabs. That was where my email tab should have been, so I clicked the left arrow to find out what had happened to my email tab... and discovered it wasn't a tab at all! It was a Firefox View drop-down box... with a list of recently closed tabs! WOW! Just like Martin, I couldn't see the point. "Recently closed Tabs" is an excellent piece of software engineering that does the job it was put there to do, extremely well. So, at that point, I removed it from the tab bar and spared myself whatever superfluity Martin experienced next.
So, to summarise, I think Martin has raised a valid, and well illustrated, point but, while I am not as offended by it as he seems to be, I DO HOPE it will not be at the expense of the reliability we have come to depend on in the past. Play cute, presumptuous, adolescent, superfluous, silly word games if you must. But PLEASE don't lose sight of your goal of providing efficient, effective, functional, reliable web browsing.
The weird content-free language of this pop-up tab, which others here are rightly criticizing, resulted in a tech support request for me from a relative -- they had no idea what was going on with the browser, and were afraid of losing their settings. When I accessed the computer and saw the button that said "set up in seconds", I too wondered what was going on, as the message above the button says nothing about what's being set up -- it just talks about the browser itself, which makes it look like the button is there to "set up" the entire browser. I dug around online before daring to click on anything to find out what this was all about, and found this thread.
I'm gonna jump right on the pile here, as the way this is being presented to end-users is extremely odd and confusing -- a single screen with a list of clearly-explained new features and the associated controls (or a link to the relevant settings section, for more complex features) would suffice, and avoid both confusion and the bizarre, off-putting cult-like feel that infuses the current text. Personally I'm already on LibreWolf because of stuff like this, and I'm now moving my relative to LibreWolf as well (do check it out if you haven't, it's Firefox without the telemetry and advertisements and posturing, and it still gets all the security updates).
I tend to think what they're going for is a "curl up with your browser like it was a warm cup of cocoa, do a little browsing, and then maybe get creative, or speak your mind and make change!" I think they're trying to appeal to sensitive, artsy types, maybe they're trying to poach some users from Safari or encourage minorities to use their products. And I'm guessing they're trying to streamline a particular set of tasks this target audience might often want to do, hence creating a weird-seeming power-tool that just does things you can do anyway elsewhere in the browser. That's fine with me in principle. The dangers are of course that redundancy will lead to bloat (bad for everyone, including minorities who tend to have older machines and slower connections), or that other important features that don't make the cut into the 'power-tools for visionaries' will become harder to find or use. It is creepy for sure, though. Real visionaries don't sit around waiting for their browser to tell them they're visionaries. 😛
An EXCELLENT observation: "Real visionaries don't sit around waiting for their browser to tell them they're visionaries" ! Let us all HOPE the weed-smoking script writers at Mozilla are reading this!
And now I have two more gripes:
1. WTF is Khoros Publications? I THOUGHT I was logging into a Mozilla discussion forum!
2. Having to go to my email tab, then enter a password to open my email account, then click on a button, then return to the tab with the discussion on it, in order to log into the discussion forum to submit a comment I've already typed is NOT (repeat NOT) quicker, easier or more convenient than having my password manager fill in my discussion forum password for me at the original point of login. To get to the email to click the "convenience" link necessitates that I enter a password anyway, so why not just stay with the decades-old, tried-and-true, STANDARD method of allowing us to enter our discussion forum password into the login form?
Yeeeesh! Could you guys in your semi-darkened room put your pipes away for long enough to clear the smoke out of your brains and replace it with some fresh air?
Agreed. This latest update has really shone a spotlight on the ever-increasing level of insipid drivel within and surrounding Firefox; whether it started that way or had to pass through the bowels of enough committees to drain it of all substance first, I'm not sure.
But to its credit it has "inspired" me... To look at alternate builds and other browsers. For instance I'm now looking for one which doesn't shove Vogon poetry in my face via multi-page modal dialog box.
It was disruptive and confusing the first time, but after updating Firefox on numerous machines over the past few days, I'm fed up. I have better things to do with my time than deal with intrusive BS from a tool for viewing web pages - which incidentally was my exact reason for choosing Firefox in the first place.
Way to be reductive; I imagine social media is likely near the heart of most of the issues here, so I suppose it's par for the course - and also why I sadly expect things to continue along the current trajectory. To reiterate one of many points here: Someone (or worse, a corporation) telling me how much I love something - or generally how I feel about or relate to something - isn't human(e); regardless of intent it's ignorant at the very best, but more often signals something far worse.
Absolutely! This is different from what I was used to, so it makes me mad! I don't know how to understand new things!
Worse, how dare Mozilla use copy on a few pages that suggests the world could be made in some way better! How could a tech organization even think that, when they are a tech organization? The job of every person and organization (except for people and organizations whose views I agree with) is to just always keep quiet and do their one job and just let the world go to hell in order to avoid offending me! All the foreign-owned media says so!
Mozilla, change your new words back to the words I was used to! I both don't understand the new sentences you are using, and, am offended by them! Otherwise, I will have NO CHOICE but to discontinue using the completely free product you made available for my optional use!
And then, get off my lawn!
Muupnuup, you seem to be saying:
I would challenge all your implicit assertions.
Also, a few corrections:
Hi, just wanted to add my opinion to the pile that the tone and content of Firefox's copy is eye-rollingly awful. Mozilla needs to get back to the basics and focus on browsing, not a bunch of feel-good nonsense talk. Mozilla provides a platform, not a social movement. A browser is a tool: nothing more, and nothing less.
If I want a more "human" experience, I'll go hang out with actual humans.