New idea: Mail/News group weekly summaries weblog

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Deb Richardson

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Jul 12, 2006, 1:11:44 PM7/12/06
to MDC Mailinglist
There are a _lot_ of mail/news groups related to Mozilla, and few of us have
the time to monitor them all. Yet there's often a lot of stuff going on in
mail/news groups that we would be interested in if we did have the time to
read them. This, I find, is a pretty significant barrier to communication
and information flow within the community and project.

This in mind I propose starting a new service at the MDC where, once (and
only once) per week, a volunteer from each mail/news group posts a summary
of that group's major discussions and decisions (with links to google
groups). I'm proposing that these posts be made to a new weblog hosted by
the MDC specifically for this purpose.

The advantage here is that having weekly summaries posted for each group
would allow people to subscribe to the weblog's web feed and then simply
skim that feed once per week to get a high-level overview of what's going on
in all areas of the project.

The disadvantage is that it will not work if we don't get volunteers to post
the summaries each week.

Does this seem like a good idea? It would be quite simple to set up
(another weblog install), but getting the volunteers recruited could take a
bit longer.

~ deb

Eric Shepherd

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Jul 12, 2006, 1:22:02 PM7/12/06
to Deb Richardson, MDC Mailinglist
On Jul 12, 2006, at 1:11 PM, Deb Richardson wrote:

> Does this seem like a good idea? It would be quite simple to set up
> (another weblog install), but getting the volunteers recruited
> could take a
> bit longer.

I think this is a great idea, but I agree that getting enough
volunteers will be tricky. If we can get them, though, it'd be
really helpful.

Eric Shepherd
Technical Writer
she...@mozilla.com

Justin Wood (Callek)

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Jul 12, 2006, 1:50:21 PM7/12/06
to Eric Shepherd, MDC Mailinglist, Deb Richardson
In my humble opinion, *if* we do this, we should not include
support-only groups and only include ones which are developer
oriented.

~Justin Wood (Callek)

> _______________________________________________
> dev-mdc mailing list
> dev...@lists.mozilla.org
> https://lists.mozilla.org/listinfo/dev-mdc
>

Nickolay Ponomarev

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Jul 12, 2006, 2:02:40 PM7/12/06
to Eric Shepherd, MDC Mailinglist, Deb Richardson
On 7/12/06, Eric Shepherd <eshe...@mozilla.com> wrote:
> On Jul 12, 2006, at 1:11 PM, Deb Richardson wrote:
>
> > Does this seem like a good idea? It would be quite simple to set up
> > (another weblog install), but getting the volunteers recruited
> > could take a
> > bit longer.
>
> I think this is a great idea, but I agree that getting enough
> volunteers will be tricky. If we can get them, though, it'd be
> really helpful.
>
I agree this is a great idea.

We should decide what level of digesting is preferred. For example,
should the technical questions (which are majority of posts in certain
newsgroups) be included in these digests?

Nickolay

Deb Richardson

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Jul 12, 2006, 2:26:14 PM7/12/06
to MDC Mailinglist
On 7/12/06, Justin Wood (Callek) <cal...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> In my humble opinion, *if* we do this, we should not include
> support-only groups and only include ones which are developer
> oriented.
>

Ah, good point.

I think we could safely limit the scope to the mozilla.dev.* section of the
heirarchy (including mozilla.dev.tech.* and mozilla.dev.apps.*).

Are there any groups outside of the mozilla.dev.* part of the heirarchy that
any of you think would/could be of interest? If mozilla.marketing were more
active, I could see that, and possibly mozilla.legal. Both of those are
pretty low-traffic right now.

~ deb

Deb Richardson

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Jul 12, 2006, 2:31:33 PM7/12/06
to MDC Mailinglist
>
> We should decide what level of digesting is preferred. For example,
> should the technical questions (which are majority of posts in certain
> newsgroups) be included in these digests?
>

This actually brings me to a second related idea (that I may have talked
about before) where we start a FAQ in the wiki for each major Topic.
Technical questions that are asked in the newsgroups could be distilled and
included in the FAQ rather than in the weekly digest.

Again, this would require fairly heavy volunteer involvement, but I think it
would be a useful resource over the long term.

~ deb

Benjamin Smedberg

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Jul 12, 2006, 2:36:56 PM7/12/06
to
Deb Richardson wrote:
>>
>> We should decide what level of digesting is preferred. For example,
>> should the technical questions (which are majority of posts in certain
>> newsgroups) be included in these digests?
>>
>
> This actually brings me to a second related idea (that I may have talked
> about before) where we start a FAQ in the wiki for each major Topic.
> Technical questions that are asked in the newsgroups could be distilled and
> included in the FAQ rather than in the weekly digest.

FAQs are only useful if people find them. The only newsgroup-FAQs I've found
useful are the ones that are posted regularly to the newsgroup. Otherwise
you just end up pointing people to the FAQ all the time, when you could just
point them to the appropriate MDC article that answers their question.

--BDS

Axel Hecht

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Jul 12, 2006, 3:40:22 PM7/12/06
to

I wonder if the category page for the topic isn't close enough to an
FAQ? Given that most of our page titles are pretty descriptive and are
somewhat like a "Frequently Given Answer".

Maybe a single FAQ page pointing out that Categories do most of that may
be good enough for those entering devmo and searching for a FAQ.

Axel

Andreas Wuest

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Jul 12, 2006, 9:40:32 PM7/12/06
to Deb Richardson, MDC Mailinglist
On 7/12/06, Deb Richardson <d...@dria.org> wrote:

> There are a _lot_ of mail/news groups related to Mozilla, and few of us have
> the time to monitor them all. Yet there's often a lot of stuff going on in
> mail/news groups that we would be interested in if we did have the time to
> read them. This, I find, is a pretty significant barrier to communication
> and information flow within the community and project.

Absolutely agreed. There's so much going on it needs a lot of time to
keep up with all the discussions.

> This in mind I propose starting a new service at the MDC where, once (and
> only once) per week, a volunteer from each mail/news group posts a summary
> of that group's major discussions and decisions (with links to google
> groups). I'm proposing that these posts be made to a new weblog hosted by
> the MDC specifically for this purpose.

Doubleplus good!!

Now, regarding the volunteers... It would require some kind of stable
commitment by the volunteers. As well as some managerial structures,
to e.g. inform a "fallback" volunteer to take over when the regular
volunteer in charge is off for holidays, etc. Or, with other words, it
needs some planning, and a commitment from volunteers to i) name in
advance the weeks they would create such a summary and ii) then stick
to it.

It would of course also need a person to oversee this planning
process, check if summaries were created, and maybe also assure the
quality of such summaries.

--
Kind regards,
Andi

Mukunda Modell

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Jul 18, 2006, 1:15:12 AM7/18/06
to
I think that this is a really good idea. The current MDC weblog entries
are few and far between. This could make it seem more active and also
help make more people aware of the newsgroups. It was only recently that
I finally got around to reading newsgroups even though I have been
lurking on MDC since the beginning.

Perhaps we could use the wiki to do the initial work then the
responsible people could take the rough draft from wiki and post it
(after editing as needed) in the summary blog. This way we can take the
initial discussion in the newsgroup and make a rough summary from it,
people have a chance to add or update the wiki for a few days.

I think that would help encourage more volunteers to contribute on a
less-committed and irregular level while still having someone who is
responsible for a final version. Although the responsibility would still
be large it would be lessened by the contribution of others who add some
initial summary in the wiki format.

Deb Richardson

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Jul 18, 2006, 9:47:38 AM7/18/06
to dev...@lists.mozilla.org
>
> Perhaps we could use the wiki to do the initial work then the
> responsible people could take the rough draft from wiki and post it
> (after editing as needed) in the summary blog. This way we can take the
> initial discussion in the newsgroup and make a rough summary from it,
> people have a chance to add or update the wiki for a few days.


Good idea. I think we should definitely encourage volunteers to use a wiki
for putting these summary posts.

I still need to write this idea up a bit more formally and put together an
example of what such a summary would look like. If someone would like to
volunteer to do an example summary (for the newsgroup of your choice, so
long as it has relatively heavy traffic) that would be really useful.

I don't really have any guidelines for what it should look like at this
point, so if you would like to do an example summary just put it together
and we can discuss it and refine it afterwards.

Let me know if you're going to work on one. Thanks!

~ deb

Deb Richardson

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Jul 29, 2006, 6:57:22 PM7/29/06
to dev...@lists.mozilla.org
I've put together a page about this proposal, including an proposed example
for formatting the summaries, here:

http://wiki.mozilla.org/MDC_newsgroup_summaries

Please take a look if you have a chance and let me know what you think. I
would like to publicize this proposal more widely next week, so if you have
ideas or suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

~ deb

Eric Shepherd

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Jul 30, 2006, 4:18:31 PM7/30/06
to Deb Richardson, dev...@lists.mozilla.org
I like this idea a lot, and the proposed format looks good to me.

I do think we need to have a defined way to handle a case in which
there are no topics of consequence brought up on a list during a
given week. Rather than simply skipping the summary that week, there
ought to be a quick and easy way to add a "null entry" to the
summaries for that week, so that people don't think the summary is
simply missing.

Eric Shepherd
Technical Writer
she...@mozilla.com

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