For several years now, the Firefox project’s official development discussion forum has been mozilla.dev.apps.firefox. It has served us well, but I don’t really ever recall it being an optimally useful tool for development discussions.
I think there are a few reasons for this. I think the primary reason is that the list does not have a moderation policy. We don’t have one partially because it is hard to do given the tools we are using (a custom mash-up of NNTP, Google Groups and a mailman mailing list), but also partially because Mozilla discussion forums have just not traditionally had them. Given the size and diversity of the Firefox user base and community, no moderation means that inevitably there are posts from users seeking support, abusive posts from people upset with our decisions, or off-topic/bike shed threads that dragged on forever and didn’t end up anywhere useful. The combination of these results in a mailing list with a low signal-to-noise ratio, that many core Firefox contributors either don’t read at all, don’t follow closely, or need to filter aggressively. That’s a poor situation to be in, and often means that some of our development discussion ends up occurring in other less accessible, less reference-able venues (e.g. on IRC, or in video meetings).
Three years ago, the Thunderbird folks saw many of these same issues with their development forum, and came up with a solution in the form of tb-planning. That list and its policies have succeeded in creating a more productive and useful venue for discussion. So I’d like to try the same experiment for Firefox development.
firefox-dev is a new list whose goal is to offer an easy, transparent venue for getting constructive, Firefox-related development work done. Some members of the Firefox development team have already started using the list to that end. Its moderation policy has been shamelessly stolen from tb-planning. For the moment, it will co-exist with mozilla.dev.apps.firefox. It’s a mailing list only (
no NNTP mirroring update: there’s an NNTP read-only mirror provided by gmane), but the archives are also available (read-only) via Google Groups.
If you’re interested in following or contributing to our development discussions, please subscribe to the new list!