Credit and the Mozilla project

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Gervase Markham

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Jun 20, 2007, 5:25:35 AM6/20/07
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There are several ways that the Mozilla project (rightly) gives credit
to the many different people who work hard on Mozilla-related stuff.

But credit in free software projects is a sensitive subject. There's a
fine line, often touched upon in licensing freeness discussions, between
fair credit and what people consider to be over-reaching credit (e.g.
the BSD advertising clause). There is also the discussion of how much,
if at all, the prominence of one's credit should reflect the prominence
of one's contribution (and how that should be measured). As maintainer
of the oldest and largest, about:credits, I encounter more than my fair
share of credit-related issues.

Up to now, the Mozilla project has not had any formal written policies
on who gets credited and how. In some ways, this is a good thing. It
prevents people from being tempted to work "to the criteria"; instead,
people tend to just get on with it and, later, someone else points out
that they've done far more than might be necessary and should apply for
inclusion.

On the other hand, I have had several emails from people upset that
their name has been removed from a list of credits, or that there seems
to be no credit mechanism for their contribution, or they can't
understand why there are multiple mechanisms, or that the existing ways
of deciding what is creditworthy are unfair. So perhaps it is time to
work out, and state, a clear policy. Perhaps this is just something that
our continued growth has resulted in a need for.

ESR wrote that "good reputation among one's peers is a primary reward".
And credits are one way that people get such a reputation. So the
question of credit is related to the question of rewards. And people who
are deprived of what they see as fair reward can get upset. So this
discussion is likely to contain strongly-held views. I'd like to ask in
advance that people try and have it dispassionately.

The project currently gives credit in the following ways (that I know of):

Coders only:
- "Contributors" sections in the MPL headers in the code
- The auto-generated MPL "Initial Developers" list on about:licence
(although this is really licence compliance rather than credit)

Coders/QA/Main Website:
- about:credits (accessed via About box or about:)

A wide variety of roles:
- Scrolling list in Firefox and Thunderbird About boxes
(SeaMonkey and Camino do not have an analogous list)

Localisers:
- Firefox and Thunderbird: overlay into the scrolling list in About box
- Camino and SeaMonkey: undetermined

Supporters, Promoters and Evangelists:
- The New York Times and Frankurter Allgemeine Zeitung adverts
- Firefox Friends (http://www.worldfirefoxday.com/)

Webtools:
- Some of the webtools have their own mechanisms; e.g. Bugzilla's is
here: http://www.bugzilla.org/developers/profiles.html

Of these, the main ones are about:credits (managed by me), and the
scrolling lists in the About box for Firefox (managed by mconnor) and
Thunderbird (managed by mscott).

In a subsequent message, I will describe how I manage about:credits at
the moment, and I hope mconnor/mscott will do the same for their lists.
Then perhaps a discussion can start about what the best policy is going
forward as to the number of lists, where they should be, and who should
be on them for doing what.

Gerv

Gervase Markham

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Jun 20, 2007, 5:42:12 AM6/20/07
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Gervase Markham wrote:
> In a subsequent message, I will describe how I manage about:credits at
> the moment

about:credits (http://www.mozilla.org/credits/) is the credit list for
the core Mozilla project. It has existed since 1999, initially managed
by Dawn Endico, and by me since 2003. It's a simple alphabetical list of
names. It has (I believe) been accessible in every browser product we
have ever released, by visiting the about:credits URL. Other products,
such as Thunderbird, provide a link in the About box.

The qualification text at the bottom of the web page says:
"This is a list of people who have contributed significant code,
documentation or Quality Assurance effort to the Mozilla Project."

I have been interpreting this to mean that people who write code for
Mozilla projects (e.g. Firefox, Camino, Rhino) or who do QA on the same,
or who write docs for our core documentation efforts (e.g. DevMo).

Up to now I have not been including people on the grounds of
localisation work, on the basis that they get an overlay into the main
product. However, I have been recently informed that e.g. Camino does
not have such a mechanism. So this is an unresolved anomaly.

I have also not included people on the grounds of them being:

- webtool authors, who should have credits in the tools
- product adoption evangelists, for which there are other mechanisms,
and because it's an unmanageably large number of people
- extension authors
- maintainers of 3rd party websites, such as MozillaZine

I am not claiming divine authority for any of these inclusions or
exclusions; I was just attempting to find a clear line that could be
drawn, that seemed to be in about the right place.

The standard for inclusion is not set in stone. I'm not sure how
productive it would be to try and do so. I much prefer people to apply
who obviously need to be included, rather than try and judge borderline
cases - particularly if the person plans to continue to be involved. My
mental standard is "enough work that they wouldn't have done it just to
get on the list"; triaging five bugs is clearly out, five hundred is
clearly in. Producing a non-trivial patch is almost always good enough.

I include anyone who meets the standard and who asks to be included. I
feel it's right that people should have to ask, because that removes any
problems with "Hey, I didn't want my name there". It also means that
people have to care enough to want to be added. The general rate of
additions can be seen from the bonsai URL below.

In recent times, I have taken to asking people to create a "citation"
for themselves as part of the CVS checkin comment:
http://bonsai-www.mozilla.org/cvslog.cgi?file=mozilla-org/html/credits/index.html&rev=&root=/www/
This is a fun way of knowing what it is that people do, without making
the main list long and unwieldy, or having to deal with endless "Hey,
I've now achieved this other thing" updates.

Once a person is on the list, they are never removed. Also, because it
is a web page, their name will therefore appear when people access the
credits list in earlier versions of our software, which they may not
have contributed to.

If anyone has further questions about any aspect of how the list is
managed, feel free to ask.

Gerv

Benjamin Smedberg

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Jun 20, 2007, 8:27:27 AM6/20/07
to
Gervase Markham wrote:
> Gervase Markham wrote:
>> In a subsequent message, I will describe how I manage about:credits at
>> the moment
>
> about:credits (http://www.mozilla.org/credits/) is the credit list for
> the core Mozilla project. It has existed since 1999, initially managed
> by Dawn Endico, and by me since 2003. It's a simple alphabetical list of
> names. It has (I believe) been accessible in every browser product we
> have ever released, by visiting the about:credits URL. Other products,
> such as Thunderbird, provide a link in the About box.

Is this available from the UI anywhere? I didn't know of its existence, and
I'm now questioning why it should exist as a separate list from the list
which is in the Firefox/Tbird UI.

It seems that having a "secret hidden" list of contributors is a bad idea in
general.

--BDS

Tony Mechelynck

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Jun 20, 2007, 9:41:14 AM6/20/07
to

It's not very much hidden, at least in Firefox and SeaMonkey. The first link,
"Copyright 1998-2007 by the _contributors_ to the Mozilla project", in the
about: page (not the Help/About menu) links to it. Thunderbird can display
that contributor list if you set about:credits as "Start Page", which is less
obvious until you notice that the existence of such a user-settable start page
makes Thunderbird a (kind of) browser in its own right (Note: the link in its
about: page gives "Unknown protocol" error popup).


Best regards,
Tony.
--
New York is real. The rest is done with mirrors.

Benjamin Smedberg

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Jun 20, 2007, 11:30:32 AM6/20/07
to
Tony Mechelynck wrote:

> It's not very much hidden, at least in Firefox and SeaMonkey. The first
> link, "Copyright 1998-2007 by the _contributors_ to the Mozilla
> project", in the about: page (not the Help/About menu) links to it.

Is the about: page linked from anywhere in the UI? It kinda feels like we've
entered this alternate universe of 'UI that isn't available from the
application UI'.

After a little exploring I see that the about:credits page is linked from
the Minefield->About Minefield->Credits page with a "Contributors" link.

But I still don't see why we are keeping two lists.

--BDS

Mike Connor

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Jun 20, 2007, 11:43:40 AM6/20/07
to Benjamin Smedberg, gover...@lists.mozilla.org

I'll reply in more detail in a little bit, but the primary rationale
I have is that I feel we need to give more specific credit to the
people who make specific releases happen. To name a smaller project
as an example, Calendar has a small group of people who actually make
that project run, and I think they deserve to be called out for that,
not jammed into a cast of thousands.

-- Mike

Robert Kaiser

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Jun 20, 2007, 11:45:59 AM6/20/07
to
Benjamin Smedberg schrieb:

> Tony Mechelynck wrote:
>
>> It's not very much hidden, at least in Firefox and SeaMonkey. The first
>> link, "Copyright 1998-2007 by the _contributors_ to the Mozilla
>> project", in the about: page (not the Help/About menu) links to it.
>
> Is the about: page linked from anywhere in the UI?

In SeaMonkey, yes (maybe also in Camino). In Firefox, no, the doialog is
used instead.

Robert Kaiser

Mike Connor

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Jun 20, 2007, 3:11:23 PM6/20/07
to gover...@lists.mozilla.org

On 20-Jun-07, at 5:25 AM, Gervase Markham wrote:

> Of these, the main ones are about:credits (managed by me), and the
> scrolling lists in the About box for Firefox (managed by mconnor) and
> Thunderbird (managed by mscott).
>
> In a subsequent message, I will describe how I manage about:credits at
> the moment, and I hope mconnor/mscott will do the same for their
> lists.
> Then perhaps a discussion can start about what the best policy is
> going
> forward as to the number of lists, where they should be, and who
> should
> be on them for doing what.

I will note, for the record, that I did not create the Firefox
scrolling credits, but I took over their maintenance in the 1.5
endgame, and have morphed the meaning in the light of a similar
discussion to this in a Governance bug.

The current incarnation of the Firefox credits has a Contributors
link before the scroll starts, which opens about:credits. The list
of names displayed in the scrolling credits for Firefox 2 is the set
of people who made a significant contribution to making Firefox 2
happen. This is not confined to code/QA/main website people, as with
about:credits, therefore it includes people involved in product
management, marketing, user support, backend infrastructure we rely
on (i.e. AUS, AMO), and anyone else who made a tangible contribution
to the release. A number of people were involved in the nomination
process for Firefox 2, using bonsai, CVS, and other tools to help get
information and names for people who might have otherwise been
overlooked. There was a large amount of human effort involved to
make sure that credit was given where credit is due.

At the same time, I feel strongly that this should be a per-release
process, and that individuals no longer involved should be credited
in some sort of larger, cast of thousands-appropriate manner, but not
in the credits for that specific release. I felt that about:credits,
given its history as the full credit list, was the appropriate
place. I did not realize, however, that there was no way to nominate
someone else for those credits, each individual is required to ask
themselves to be credited, which slightly foils the plan (and
actually feels quite suboptimal, if the point is to recognize
contributions).

I absolutely do not believe that there should be any form of top-down
formal policy about how to give credit within mozilla.org projects.
I believe that project leads should have discretion as to how they
feel credit should be given as long as that process is public and
open. That said, I believe that a set of guidelines is certainly
appropriate, and I believe that the Firefox credits process is
actually lacking in terms of how to recognize people no longer
involved in the project for their past contributions, since
about:credits is not a superset of the Firefox credits as I had
assumed could/would be the case.

Suggested Guidelines:

* Contributors should be given credit where credit is deserved,
without needing to ask.
* Contributors add different things, all important, to the project,
and no differentiation should be made between those contributions.
* Credits should be easily accessible to users and contributors from
the main UI.
* It is acceptable to separate current and past contributors as long
as all contributors are credited in some accessible form.
* Updates should take place as part of a public and open process,
though some discussion may be private (for the sake of avoiding hurt
feelings for people on the edge)

-- Mike

Gijs Kruitbosch

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Jun 20, 2007, 6:05:01 PM6/20/07
to Gervase Markham
Gervase Markham wrote:
> Gervase Markham wrote:
>> In a subsequent message, I will describe how I manage about:credits at
>> the moment
>
> about:credits (http://www.mozilla.org/credits/) is the credit list for
> the core Mozilla project. It has existed since 1999, initially managed
> by Dawn Endico, and by me since 2003. It's a simple alphabetical list of
> names. It has (I believe) been accessible in every browser product we
> have ever released, by visiting the about:credits URL. Other products,
> such as Thunderbird, provide a link in the About box.
>
> <snip>

> If anyone has further questions about any aspect of how the list is
> managed, feel free to ask.
>
> Gerv


Somewhat similar to what Benjamin asked earlier, do we have any
clues/info on how this list is actually used? As in, number of hits it
takes, external pages that link to it, function it has? One informal
point I once saw someone make was that you shouldn't use 'royal we' to
refer to Mozilla if you're not on that page. Clearly this isn't an
actual rule or whatever, but I was wondering if there are any actual
uses apart from "good reputation among one's peers" as ESR put it.

Alternatively, if someone asks "how many long-time contributors worked
on Firefox version X" would one use the number of people on
about:credits, the number of people on mconnor's scrolling list thingy,
or something else still?

~ Gijs

Gijs Kruitbosch

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Jun 20, 2007, 6:15:17 PM6/20/07
to Gervase Markham
Gervase Markham wrote:
> <snip>

> I include anyone who meets the standard and who asks to be included. I
> feel it's right that people should have to ask, because that removes any
> problems with "Hey, I didn't want my name there". It also means that
> people have to care enough to want to be added. The general rate of
> additions can be seen from the bonsai URL below.
> <snip>
> Gerv

And another question then, perhaps: a side-effect of the policy quoted
above is that several people who are listed on the module owner/peers
list (http://www.mozilla.org/owners.html) are not on that list. (Full
disclosure: I'm one of them)

Which sort of raises the question whether this is supposed to be focused
on self-promotion/peer respect or on providing a semi-accurate
reflection of the people who (have) work(ed) on/with Mozilla? To give an
example, Dave Miller (justdave) is not on that list, even though he does
formidable work in keeping our websites, build tools and various other
operational stuff running smoothly.

~ Gijs

Samuel Sidler

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Jun 20, 2007, 7:37:39 PM6/20/07
to

In Camino, this is in the about box:

> Mozilla Contributors:
> Type “about:credits” in the Location bar.

Samuel Sidler

Gervase Markham

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Jun 21, 2007, 5:22:11 AM6/21/07
to
Benjamin Smedberg wrote:
> Is this available from the UI anywhere? I didn't know of its existence, and
> I'm now questioning why it should exist as a separate list from the list
> which is in the Firefox/Tbird UI.

It's certainly a question as to whether there should be multiple lists.

You can reach it by clicking on the "Contributors" link in the About box
in Firefox. In Thunderbird, you have to wait for the other credits to
scroll past first.

> It seems that having a "secret hidden" list of contributors is a bad idea in
> general.

Well, the secrecy and hiddenness of it (or otherwise) is question for
the Firefox UI design team.

Gerv

Gervase Markham

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Jun 21, 2007, 5:25:44 AM6/21/07
to
Gijs Kruitbosch wrote:
> Somewhat similar to what Benjamin asked earlier, do we have any
> clues/info on how this list is actually used? As in, number of hits it
> takes, external pages that link to it, function it has?

The mozilla.org webmasters would be the ones to tell us about hits.

It does not have many external links (Google for
link:http://www.mozilla.org/credits/) but that's not really the point.

Its function is to list all the people who have made significant
contributions to the core Mozilla project.

> Alternatively, if someone asks "how many long-time contributors worked
> on Firefox version X" would one use the number of people on
> about:credits, the number of people on mconnor's scrolling list thingy,
> or something else still?

about:credits is a list of everyone who has ever helped; people don't
get removed. The scrolling list thingy is renewed for each release. So
if you were looking at who had worked on a particular release of a
particular piece of software, you would be best off looking at the
scrolling list.

Gerv

Gervase Markham

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Jun 21, 2007, 5:27:41 AM6/21/07
to
Gijs Kruitbosch wrote:
> And another question then, perhaps: a side-effect of the policy quoted
> above is that several people who are listed on the module owner/peers
> list (http://www.mozilla.org/owners.html) are not on that list. (Full
> disclosure: I'm one of them)

All you have to do is ask :-)

> To give an
> example, Dave Miller (justdave) is not on that list, even though he does
> formidable work in keeping our websites, build tools and various other
> operational stuff running smoothly.

Working on the websites and build tools would certainly qualify him; all
he has to do is ask, as well :-)

Gerv

Gervase Markham

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Jun 21, 2007, 5:41:09 AM6/21/07
to
Mike Connor wrote:
> Suggested Guidelines:

There seems to be a significant amount of agreement here. :-)

> * Contributors should be given credit where credit is deserved, without
> needing to ask.

If the general view is that this is the way things should work, I'm
happy to switch.

> * Contributors add different things, all important, to the project, and
> no differentiation should be made between those contributions.

This is great in principle, but in practice we do have to draw a chalk
line of some radius around the project. Thought experiment: which of
these people are eligible for credit in one list or the other?

- Firefox lead
- Module owner
- Module peer
- Hacker
- Full-time QA engineer
- Volunteer bug triager who does a couple of hours a week
- Member of a Firefox localisation team
- Filer of 1 bug
- Filer of 10 bugs
- Filer of 100 bugs, 90 of which are duplicates
- Author of a popular addon hosted on a.m.o
- Author of an addon hosted on a.m.o downloaded only by his mother
- Maintainer of popular but non-mozilla.org Firefox website
- Person who is paid to travel the world doing community outreach
- Person who recommended Firefox to 1000 friends
- Person who recommended Firefox to 1 friend

After considering what's been said in this thread, my suggestion for the
"master all-time credits list", if that's what we consider about:credits
to be, would be something like:

"Person who has made a significant investment of time, with useful
results, into Mozilla project-governed activities."
(That's rather broader than the current criteria.)

So, very roughly, hackers, QA, documenters, triagers, localisers, bug
filers are in; addons authors, external website owners and evangelists
are out - or rather, have other credits mechanisms for their work (NYT
ad etc.).

> * Credits should be easily accessible to users and contributors from the
> main UI.
> * It is acceptable to separate current and past contributors as long as
> all contributors are credited in some accessible form.
> * Updates should take place as part of a public and open process, though
> some discussion may be private (for the sake of avoiding hurt feelings
> for people on the edge)

All sounds good to me.

Gerv

Gervase Markham

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Jun 21, 2007, 5:41:25 AM6/21/07
to Mike Beltzner
Robert Accettura wrote:
> Mike Beltzner wrote:
>> Connor has argued that the in-product credits list
<snip>

Hmm. This message doesn't seem to have shown up in the newsgroup, at
least not yet. Any ideas?

Gerv

Tony Mechelynck

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Jun 21, 2007, 5:53:01 AM6/21/07
to
Gervase Markham wrote:
> Mike Connor wrote:
[...]

>> * Contributors add different things, all important, to the project,
>> and no differentiation should be made between those contributions.
>
> This is great in principle, but in practice we do have to draw a chalk
> line of some radius around the project. Thought experiment: which of
> these people are eligible for credit in one list or the other?

Let me try my hand at this, I'm in no position of authority but it sounds like
fun.

>
> - Firefox lead
yes
> - Module owner
yes
> - Module peer
probably
> - Hacker
what kind of hacker? wrote one patch? (no) or writes one twice a week, using
the rest of the week to get them reviewed, superreviewed and approved? (yes)
> - Full-time QA engineer
yes


> - Volunteer bug triager who does a couple of hours a week

maybe, I'm not sure


> - Member of a Firefox localisation team

how much does he do? Translated one? ten? a thousand messages?


> - Filer of 1 bug

no


> - Filer of 10 bugs

no


> - Filer of 100 bugs, 90 of which are duplicates

I don't think so


> - Author of a popular addon hosted on a.m.o

what kind of addon?


> - Author of an addon hosted on a.m.o downloaded only by his mother

no
- Author of an addon which later became a component distributed together with
at least one of Firefox, Thunderbird, SeaMonkey, etc.: yes


> - Maintainer of popular but non-mozilla.org Firefox website

depends which one. addonsmirror.net (formerly extensionsmirror.nl) might
qualify. Also mozdev.org


> - Person who is paid to travel the world doing community outreach

WTF?


> - Person who recommended Firefox to 1000 friends

did they get it?


> - Person who recommended Firefox to 1 friend

no


>
> After considering what's been said in this thread, my suggestion for the
> "master all-time credits list", if that's what we consider about:credits
> to be, would be something like:
>
> "Person who has made a significant investment of time, with useful
> results, into Mozilla project-governed activities."
> (That's rather broader than the current criteria.)
>
> So, very roughly, hackers, QA, documenters, triagers, localisers, bug
> filers are in; addons authors, external website owners and evangelists
> are out - or rather, have other credits mechanisms for their work (NYT
> ad etc.).
>
>> * Credits should be easily accessible to users and contributors from
>> the main UI.
>> * It is acceptable to separate current and past contributors as long
>> as all contributors are credited in some accessible form.
>> * Updates should take place as part of a public and open process,
>> though some discussion may be private (for the sake of avoiding hurt
>> feelings for people on the edge)
>
> All sounds good to me.
>
> Gerv

Best regards,
Tony.
--
Ambition is a poor excuse for not having sense enough to be lazy.
-- Charlie McCarthy

Andrew Smith

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Jun 21, 2007, 9:44:57 AM6/21/07
to
Gervase Markham a écrit :

> Mike Connor wrote:
>> * Contributors should be given credit where credit is deserved,
>> without needing to ask.
>
> If the general view is that this is the way things should work, I'm
> happy to switch.
>
If it's possible to keep up with the list of contributions, I
think that's the best way to recognise contribution. It's what I do for
my other open source projects (not mozilla-related).

The hard part is deciding what contributions deserve credit. You will
never (I believe) get everyone to agree on this, because it's not
possible to have a rule that applies fairly to everyone under any set of
circumstances. But if you don't have a rule, the result will end up
being even less fair and take a lot more work to manage.

This is the only thing I think that would need to be spelled out in a
formal document, to save the person committing the credits from pain
when denying a request to add someone to the credits.

Andrew

fantasai

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Jun 21, 2007, 4:59:12 PM6/21/07
to
Gervase Markham wrote:
> Mike Connor wrote:
>> Suggested Guidelines:
>
> There seems to be a significant amount of agreement here. :-)
>
>> * Contributors should be given credit where credit is deserved,
>> without needing to ask.
>
> If the general view is that this is the way things should work, I'm
> happy to switch.

I think this is impractical unless you put responsibility on other
people to ask on behalf of the contributor. Gerv does a good job of
keeping up with what's happening across the project, but he can't be
expected to keep track of *everyone*.

>> * Contributors add different things, all important, to the project,
>> and no differentiation should be made between those contributions.
>
> This is great in principle, but in practice we do have to draw a chalk
> line of some radius around the project. Thought experiment: which of
> these people are eligible for credit in one list or the other?
>
> - Firefox lead
> - Module owner
> - Module peer
> - Hacker
> - Full-time QA engineer
> - Volunteer bug triager who does a couple of hours a week
> - Member of a Firefox localisation team

yes, assuming they do good quality work


> - Filer of 1 bug
> - Filer of 10 bugs
> - Filer of 100 bugs, 90 of which are duplicates
> - Author of a popular addon hosted on a.m.o
> - Author of an addon hosted on a.m.o downloaded only by his mother
> - Maintainer of popular but non-mozilla.org Firefox website
> - Person who is paid to travel the world doing community outreach
> - Person who recommended Firefox to 1000 friends
> - Person who recommended Firefox to 1 friend

no

> After considering what's been said in this thread, my suggestion for the
> "master all-time credits list", if that's what we consider about:credits
> to be, would be something like:
>
> "Person who has made a significant investment of time, with useful
> results, into Mozilla project-governed activities."
> (That's rather broader than the current criteria.)
>
> So, very roughly, hackers, QA, documenters, triagers, localisers, bug
> filers are in; addons authors, external website owners and evangelists
> are out - or rather, have other credits mechanisms for their work (NYT
> ad etc.).

I think this is a good distinction.

~fantasai

fantasai

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Jun 21, 2007, 5:01:28 PM6/21/07
to
Tony Mechelynck wrote:

> Gervase Markham wrote:
>
>> - Hacker
> what kind of hacker? wrote one patch? (no) or writes one twice a week,
> using the rest of the week to get them reviewed, superreviewed and
> approved? (yes)

As someone who's spent a month-and-a-half full-time working on a single
patch, I think you've got unreasonable expectations here. :)

~fantasai

Justin Wood (Callek)

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Jun 21, 2007, 11:50:19 PM6/21/07
to
I would suggest the following middle-ground...

"Person Asks to be in Credits list" (via whatever means)
-- Why? is answered in initial request. "Owner" of Credits list (being
gerv currently) reviews the situation, if he feels person is deserving
(based on current criteria), obviously in. Owner [Gerv] has the right
to ask an owner of a certain code-area for "final say" in letting the
person in.

"Anyone [Most Likely, respected contributors allready], suggest another
individual be added into the Credits List"
-- "Owner" has a split choice, if the person requesting is allready a
very well known and respected person in the community regarding work for
mozilla, then the suggested person might just be added without any
background research.
-- "Owner" might also choose to investigate the "Why" on said person,
and make a call similar to the first part.
-- In the event said suggested person is found to be "suitable" for
inclusion into Credits List, a bug be opened "Add 'so-and-so' to
about:Credits" with a CC of that person being added, or something like
that, allowing said person a week(?) to say they might not want to be in
the credits list.

This would allow those who may not want their name published in the
credits the time to deny it, without requiring an inordinate amount of
work in keeping track of "who deserves credit".

The idea is, "anyone" can request "anyone else". Such that if I see my
mom doing Mozilla QA work, I might request it. Even though I'm no large
contributor myself (theoretically could have filed two bugs within a YEAR).

~Justin Wood (Callek)

Gervase Markham

unread,
Jun 22, 2007, 6:25:11 AM6/22/07
to
fantasai wrote:
> I think this is impractical unless you put responsibility on other
> people to ask on behalf of the contributor. Gerv does a good job of
> keeping up with what's happening across the project, but he can't be
> expected to kep track of *everyone*.

Yes; that's what I anticipate would happen. Module owners and the like
would nominate people.

Gerv

Paul Kim

unread,
Jun 27, 2007, 4:06:57 AM6/27/07
to
Gervase Markham wrote:

> After considering what's been said in this thread, my suggestion for the
> "master all-time credits list", if that's what we consider about:credits
> to be, would be something like:
>
> "Person who has made a significant investment of time, with useful
> results, into Mozilla project-governed activities."
> (That's rather broader than the current criteria.)
>
> So, very roughly, hackers, QA, documenters, triagers, localisers, bug
> filers are in; addons authors, external website owners and evangelists
> are out - or rather, have other credits mechanisms for their work (NYT
> ad etc.).

There's a set of people working now on marketing and public relations
for the project, as well. Definitely with a "significant investment of
time" and, hopefully, "useful results". :-)

Gervase Markham

unread,
Jun 27, 2007, 7:26:15 AM6/27/07
to Dave Miller
Gervase Markham wrote:
> Hmm. This message doesn't seem to have shown up in the newsgroup, at
> least not yet. Any ideas?

Still no sign. Can someone repost Mike's message, as from the quotes it
seems to have been an important contribution?

Dave: are you able to track down what happened to it, and why it didn't
make it to the newsgroup? (You'll need to come into mozilla.governance
and read Robert Accettura's reply to see parts of Mike's lost message.)

Date: Wed, 20 Jun 2007 20:28:11 -0400
From: Robert Accettura <rob...@accettura.com>
Subject: Re: Credit and the Mozilla project

Gerv

Gervase Markham

unread,
Jun 27, 2007, 7:38:37 AM6/27/07
to
Mike Connor wrote:
> Suggested Guidelines:

One additional one, for consideration:

* The different lists of credits should make it clear what sort of list
they are.

So, for example, about:credits might say something like:
"The following people have made significant contributions to the Mozilla
project:"
And the About box might say:
"The following people helped make Firefox 2 happen:"

(or better words, in both cases).

Gerv

Dave Miller

unread,
Jun 27, 2007, 8:22:29 AM6/27/07
to
In article <46824957...@mozilla.org>, Gervase Markham
<ge...@mozilla.org> wrote:

> Gervase Markham wrote:
> > Hmm. This message doesn't seem to have shown up in the newsgroup, at
> > least not yet. Any ideas?
>
> Still no sign. Can someone repost Mike's message, as from the quotes it
> seems to have been an important contribution?
>
> Dave: are you able to track down what happened to it, and why it didn't
> make it to the newsgroup? (You'll need to come into mozilla.governance
> and read Robert Accettura's reply to see parts of Mike's lost message.)

Not without Robert telling us where he saw it (and possibly forwarding
me a copy of it). I can't find it anywhere. Robert's message appears
to have been submitted via email, so it's quite possible the message he
was quoting was a private email to him.

--
Dave Miller http://www.justdave.net/
System Administrator, Mozilla Corporation http://www.mozilla.com/

Gijs Kruitbosch

unread,
Jun 27, 2007, 1:06:58 PM6/27/07
to Dave Miller, Gervase Markham
What follows is the message I received.
It was addressed to: [me] and gover...@lists.mozilla.org

I Replied To All, which presumably got me a "your message to list X is
awaiting approval" message, which never actually happened my message
isn't in the newsgroups either. The same might have happened to Mike, I
don't know.

HTH.

======


Gijs,

What would the purposes of those latter questions be, and why would we
want to encourage them?

I don't think we should be using about:credit to compare the lasting
power of contributors, or their heritage with the project. If you've
contributed, you're a contributor.

Connor has argued that the in-product credits list is more of a "we
couldn't have shipped this version of the product without" list, and the
about:credits list is "mozilla exists because of the contributions of"
list. I really like that breakdown, and think there's better ways of
displaying that in Firefox, though that's a Firefox specific issue. I
think we also want to link more prominently to things like supporters,
friends, advocates, etc.

cheers,
mike
-----Original Message-----
From: Gijs Kruitbosch <gijskru...@gmail.com>

Date: Thu, 21 Jun 2007 00:05:01
To:gover...@lists.mozilla.org


Subject: Re: Credit and the Mozilla project

~ Gijs
_______________________________________________
governance mailing list
gover...@lists.mozilla.org
https://lists.mozilla.org/listinfo/governance

Gijs Kruitbosch

unread,
Jun 27, 2007, 1:09:16 PM6/27/07
to
Gijs Kruitbosch wrote:
> <snip>

> I Replied To All, which presumably got me a "your message to list X is
> awaiting approval" message, which never actually happened my message
> isn't in the newsgroups either. The same might have happened to Mike, I
> don't know.
> <snip>

That wasn't very clear. I meant, apparently my message was never
approved, as it isn't in the newsgroups either.

~ Gijs

Gijs Kruitbosch

unread,
Jun 20, 2007, 6:56:46 PM6/20/07
to Mike Beltzner, gover...@lists.mozilla.org
Mike,

Hmm, so as my second post to the newsgroup perhaps ponders more clearly,
I don't think that about:credits satisfies the "mozilla exists because
of the contributions of" purpose. I think it more so satisfies "these
are some of the people who have contributed to mozilla". Whether or not
it would be desirable to have one or the other as the purpose of that
page is not really a question I feel *I* should be answering, though I
think it is worth pondering.

I'm having trouble organizing my thoughts on the issue. Hopefully this
is a bit more clear:

The Firefox list is Firefox-specific, but lists everyone "the project"
thought should be listed. As far as I can tell from mconnor's post, it
might list people who would rather not be listed. The list is therefore
complete (as far as Fx is concerned), but some contributors may be unhappy.

about:credits is general, but only lists people who ask to be listed.
This means people who never ask or who don't want to be listed are not
listed. The list is therefore incomplete, but all the contributors will
be happy.

I don't know if one could ever have a list which is
non-Firefox-release-specific and is both complete and makes all the
contributors happy. Right now I think the answer is "no", but if someone
has a good solution by all means do tell.

Then the question becomes which one the project wants (I think having
both a complete list with unhappy people and an incomplete list with
happy people would be strange, so would like to suggest picking only
one). Which is why I'm asking what the purpose of the list is, as this
will clarify which list is the Right one.

~ Gijs

PS: of course, all this sort of goes away if there would be no people
who complain about being on that list if they get nominated instead of
asking for it themselves. But I don't think one can make that
assumption, either.

PPS: I'm biased (see my second post on the thread) and hence may be
worrying too much about something that doesn't matter all that much to
anyone else. In which case, please shut me up. :-)

Mike Beltzner wrote:
> Gijs,
>
> What would the purposes of those latter questions be, and why would we want to encourage them?
>
> I don't think we should be using about:credit to compare the lasting power of contributors, or their heritage with the project. If you've contributed, you're a contributor.
>
> Connor has argued that the in-product credits list is more of a "we couldn't have shipped this version of the product without" list, and the about:credits list is "mozilla exists because of the contributions of" list. I really like that breakdown, and think there's better ways of displaying that in Firefox, though that's a Firefox specific issue. I think we also want to link more prominently to things like supporters, friends, advocates, etc.
>
> cheers,
> mike
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Gijs Kruitbosch <gijskru...@gmail.com>
>
> Date: Thu, 21 Jun 2007 00:05:01
> To:gover...@lists.mozilla.org
> Subject: Re: Credit and the Mozilla project
>
>

Gervase Markham

unread,
Jul 16, 2007, 12:54:30 PM7/16/07
to
Gervase Markham wrote:
> There are several ways that the Mozilla project (rightly) gives credit
> to the many different people who work hard on Mozilla-related stuff.

So, to summarise, then:

- about:credits will be a historical record of anyone who has made a
sufficient qualifying contribution to the project; About box credits
will be regenerated every major release by the owner of that product.

- The criteria for about:credits will be: "people who made a significant

investment of time, with useful results, into Mozilla project-governed
activities".

- The criteria for About boxes will be "people who made a significant
contribution to making that particular release of that software happen".

- Both about:credits and the About box introductory text will be
reviewed to make sure they reflect this distinction.

- People who get into the About box who also qualify for about:credits
(which will not be all of them) may have their names copied across
without seeking their permission.

- People may nominate themselves, or module owners and respected project
contributors can nominate people, for about:credits; the about:credits
maintainer does not have to seek the confirmation of the person concerned.

- About box credits will be regenerated by a process defined by the
product owner.

Does that sound reasonable?

Gerv

Nelson Bolyard

unread,
Jul 18, 2007, 3:08:56 AM7/18/07
to
Gervase Markham wrote:
> Gervase Markham wrote:
>> There are several ways that the Mozilla project (rightly) gives credit
>> to the many different people who work hard on Mozilla-related stuff.
>
> So, to summarise, then:
>
> - about:credits will be a historical record of anyone who has made a
> sufficient qualifying contribution to the project; About box credits
> will be regenerated every major release by the owner of that product.
>
> - The criteria for about:credits will be: "people who made a significant
> investment of time, with useful results, into Mozilla project-governed
> activities".

Sounds to me like that includes "security researchers" who post zero-day
bugs against mozilla products. Is that intended?


--
00000000011111111112222222222333333333344444444445555555555666666666677777777778
12345678901234567890123456789012345678901234567890123456789012345678901234567890

Gervase Markham

unread,
Jul 18, 2007, 2:20:20 PM7/18/07
to
Nelson Bolyard wrote:

> Gervase Markham wrote:
>> - The criteria for about:credits will be: "people who made a significant
>> investment of time, with useful results, into Mozilla project-governed
>> activities".
>
> Sounds to me like that includes "security researchers" who post zero-day
> bugs against mozilla products. Is that intended?

Well, I guess it depends on how you define "useful" :-) What is your
suggestion? That the definition include some idea of cooperating with
the community?

Gerv

timeless

unread,
Jul 26, 2007, 8:34:45 AM7/26/07
to
Gervase Markham wrote:
> - The criteria for about:credits will be: "people who made a significant
> investment of time, with useful results, into Mozilla project-governed
> activities".

Nelson Bolyard wrote:
> Sounds to me like that includes "security researchers" who post zero-day
> bugs against mozilla products. Is that intended?

On Jul 18, 9:20 pm, Gervase Markham <g...@mozilla.org> wrote:
> Well, I guess it depends on how you define "useful" :-) What is your
> suggestion? That the definition include some idea of cooperating with
> the community?

Hrm, positive results? We need to be careful, if a company contributes
a module of code (e.g. libpkix) and they basically give it to us and
we integrate it, they spent a huge amount of time, but didn't
necessarily do much in the way of cooperation. - Disclaimer: I have no
idea how libpkix was developed, or whether it was done by a group, a
company, members of our community, just pretend it's a large blob
developed by a company and integrated by people within our community.

Similar things apply for python support and this cookie window tying
stuff, and Sun Ireland LDAP work of many years ago, the companies did
positive work but didn't necessarily require much cooperation with the
community in order to land their changes. Even the video work has IMO
not involved a lot of community cooperation, it's just sorta source
drops until it lands - it will be a positive contribution, but I would
hardly call it cooperation. - Disclaimer: I have never actively
involved in any of these items (I've given feedback on a number of
them).

Barry_Gilmour

unread,
Jul 26, 2007, 2:21:12 PM7/26/07
to
If they are giving expensively-created code into Mozilla components or
trunk, then I would say they are cooperating 110%. They may not be
subservient, but they are definitely cooperating!

timeless

unread,
Jul 27, 2007, 4:52:38 AM7/27/07
to
On Jul 26, 9:21 pm, Barry_Gilmour <barry.gilm...@bigpond.com> wrote:
> If they are giving expensively-created code into Mozilla components or
> trunk, then I would say they are cooperating 110%. They may not be
> subservient, but they are definitely cooperating!

If a security company takes a product which cost them millions of
dollars to develop and costs them tens of thousands of dollars to run
and they run it on our code, they consider those results valuable. If
they publish their report instead of communicating with us directly,
they've used something expensive in a way that almost helps (and
perhaps in their view does) mozilla components (certainly in the long
run it does as far as the component is concerned, unless it stops
getting money for maintainence, or is removed from the codebase).

The security researchers we're worried about aren't subservient and
they aren't cooperating. How do you draw the line?
They may feel they're contributing. Which is the line we're trying to
draw (and not in their favor, I suppose. hence the exercise).

In my view, a code blob contributor is a *contributor*, not a
collaborator. And I guess I consider cooperation and collaboration to
be fairly interchangable. Clearly, I do not feel contribution is
equivalent to cooperation or collaboration.

Sometimes, blobs are delivered complete ready to go, without any
notice that the blob was under development for some time. I'm not sure
how often a blob has been delivered while the community was working on
a similar feature and then realized they had wasted effort they could
have saved had they been informed the blob was coming. This isn't
cooperation/collaboration, and it most certainly isn't ideal. Yes, the
blob is still a contribution, but open source shouldn't be developed
in secrecy, and someone lost because of the secrecy.

Note that some of the contributions we get include code which becomes
instantly unmaintained and in some cases becomes or started as
unwanted. I can list a few examples. Cooperating in my mind is a
medium to long term interactive process which lasts longer than
"<boom> here's something". Some security "researchers" and code blob
contributors fall into another category. But we want to thank the
blobs and somehow exclude the "researchers" who we feel have done us a
disservice.

If you want some other examples, there are a number of companies (and
organizations) which fork our code (in fact, just about everyone who
doesn't download a binary does fork our code). Some of their changes
are "good", but they aren't cooperating with us in order to get their
changes into our codebase. In fact, on average they don't really care,
but mostly they don't have the time/energy/budget in order to do the
necessary clean up work that would be required to get their changes
into our repository.

footnote: any opinions expressed herein are most certainly not the
opinion of my employer or any prior employers.

Nelson Bolyard

unread,
Jul 27, 2007, 2:32:11 PM7/27/07
to

I think the "credits" should go to the people who actually write stuff
that gets committed to the source repository.

I think we should avoid including the names of the employees of the
catering companies that cater the food for our occasional gatherings,
and the cab drivers who bring people to Moz HQ from the airport.
(Such names now commonly appear in the credits in Hollywood movies :).

/Nelson

Eric Shepherd

unread,
Jul 27, 2007, 3:07:17 PM7/27/07
to
Nelson Bolyard wrote:
> Gervase Markham wrote:
>> Nelson Bolyard wrote:
>>> Gervase Markham wrote:
>>>> - The criteria for about:credits will be: "people who made a significant
>>>> investment of time, with useful results, into Mozilla project-governed
>>>> activities".
>>> Sounds to me like that includes "security researchers" who post zero-day
>>> bugs against mozilla products. Is that intended?
>> Well, I guess it depends on how you define "useful" :-) What is your
>> suggestion? That the definition include some idea of cooperating with
>> the community?
>
> I think the "credits" should go to the people who actually write stuff
> that gets committed to the source repository.

What about the people that write the documentation? That's not all
committed to the source repository but I'd argue that it's a pretty
integral part of the project.

--
Eric Shepherd
Developer Documentation Lead
Mozilla Corporation
http://www.bitstampede.com

Nelson B

unread,
Jul 29, 2007, 3:31:46 PM7/29/07
to
Eric Shepherd wrote:
> Nelson Bolyard wrote:
>> Gervase Markham wrote:
>>> Nelson Bolyard wrote:
>>>> Gervase Markham wrote:
>>>>> - The criteria for about:credits will be: "people who made a significant
>>>>> investment of time, with useful results, into Mozilla project-governed
>>>>> activities".
>>>> Sounds to me like that includes "security researchers" who post zero-day
>>>> bugs against mozilla products. Is that intended?
>>> Well, I guess it depends on how you define "useful" :-) What is your
>>> suggestion? That the definition include some idea of cooperating with
>>> the community?
>> I think the "credits" should go to the people who actually write stuff
>> that gets committed to the source repository.
>
> What about the people that write the documentation? That's not all
> committed to the source repository but I'd argue that it's a pretty
> integral part of the project.

It seems to me that about:credits needs specifically to credit those whose
contributions go into the product itself, and actually affect appearance or
behavior of the product itself.

IMO, Each product should have its own about:credits. Each web site should
be treated like a separate product, separately crediting its contributors.

The wikkis are self-crediting. You can see the name of every contributor
to every page with a single click, IINM.

--
Nelson B

Nelson B

unread,
Jul 29, 2007, 3:43:45 PM7/29/07
to
In
<news://news.mozilla.org:119/1185453285.9...@w3g2000hsg.googlegroups.com>

timeless wrote:
> if a company contributes a module of code (e.g. libpkix) and they
> basically give it to us and we integrate it, they spent a huge amount of
> time, but didn't necessarily do much in the way of cooperation.

In
<news://news.mozilla.org:119/1185526358....@l70g2000hse.googlegroups.com>
timeless wrote:

> If a security company takes a product which cost them millions of
> dollars to develop and costs them tens of thousands of dollars to run
> and they run it on our code, they consider those results valuable. If
> they publish their report instead of communicating with us directly,
> they've used something expensive in a way that almost helps (and
> perhaps in their view does) mozilla components (certainly in the long
> run it does as far as the component is concerned, unless it stops
> getting money for maintainence, or is removed from the codebase).
>
> The security researchers we're worried about aren't subservient and
> they aren't cooperating. How do you draw the line?
> They may feel they're contributing. Which is the line we're trying to
> draw (and not in their favor, I suppose. hence the exercise).
>
> In my view, a code blob contributor is a *contributor*, not a
> collaborator. And I guess I consider cooperation and collaboration to
> be fairly interchangable. Clearly, I do not feel contribution is
> equivalent to cooperation or collaboration.

Timeless, are you arguing that it is cooperation, rather than contribution,
that is of value and should be credited? I suspect most contributors
would disagree with that.

Do you propose that we credit all those to file bugs, or add comments to
bugs? They are cooperators, but (mostly) not contributors to the product.

(FYI, libpkix was integrated by the NSS team, but I think that merely means
that it was a bad choice as an example of the point you appear to have been
trying to make in that paragraph.)

Asa Dotzler

unread,
Jul 29, 2007, 4:53:48 PM7/29/07
to
Nelson B wrote:

> Do you propose that we credit all those to file bugs, or add comments to
> bugs? They are cooperators, but (mostly) not contributors to the product.

We already do and should continue to credit those who _contribute_ and
that means all contributors, not just code contributors. Would you strip
me from the credits since my contributions have been in QA, testing,
project management, and marketing?

I'm hoping that your "mostly" parenthetical was meant to cover everyone
contributing significant value to the project.

- A

Asa Dotzler

unread,
Jul 29, 2007, 4:56:27 PM7/29/07
to
Nelson B wrote:

> It seems to me that about:credits needs specifically to credit those whose
> contributions go into the product itself, and actually affect appearance or
> behavior of the product itself.

I absolutely reject this.

Mozilla is a lot more than code. We have in the past and will in the
future continue to credit non-code contributions. If somehow that
changes, you can find me working elsewhere.

- A

Gen Kanai

unread,
Jul 30, 2007, 4:59:30 AM7/30/07
to gover...@lists.mozilla.org

On Jul 30, 2007, at 5:56 AM, Asa Dotzler wrote:

> Nelson B wrote:
>
>> It seems to me that about:credits needs specifically to credit
>> those whose
>> contributions go into the product itself, and actually affect
>> appearance or
>> behavior of the product itself.
>
> I absolutely reject this.
>
> Mozilla is a lot more than code. We have in the past and will in the
> future continue to credit non-code contributions.

I will agree with Asa here. We often say that there are many ways to
contribute to Mozilla beyond code. We should absolutely credit those
who provide non-code contributions to Mozilla.


Nelson Bolyard

unread,
Aug 3, 2007, 5:38:25 AM8/3/07
to

Well, we've gotta draw a line somewhere. The line is so vague and so
subjective right now, that the gal who gives you a free ride from the
airport to moz HQ, or the guy who bakes a large batch of cookies and
brings them to moz HQ all qualify for credits. And the vast majority of
mozilla bug filers qualify for credits.

If the credits lump all contributors together regardless of the type or
magnitude of their contribution, then they are meaningless.

Perhaps one solution is to do like Hollywood, and have categories of
credits. Have the "baked cookies" category and the "gave free rides"
category, and the filed bugs category, and the project management
category, and the contributed over 10k lines of code category, and the
contributed under 1k lines of code category, etc.
Then maybe you've got meaningful credits.


Asa Dotzler

unread,
Aug 8, 2007, 12:10:32 AM8/8/07
to
Nelson Bolyard wrote:
> Asa Dotzler wrote:
>> Nelson B wrote:
>>
>>> It seems to me that about:credits needs specifically to credit those whose
>>> contributions go into the product itself, and actually affect appearance or
>>> behavior of the product itself.
>> I absolutely reject this.
>>
>> Mozilla is a lot more than code. We have in the past and will in the future
>> continue to credit non-code contributions. If somehow that changes, you can
>> find me working elsewhere.
>
> Well, we've gotta draw a line somewhere. The line is so vague and so
> subjective right now, that the gal who gives you a free ride from the
> airport to moz HQ, or the guy who bakes a large batch of cookies and
> brings them to moz HQ all qualify for credits. And the vast majority of
> mozilla bug filers qualify for credits.
>
> If the credits lump all contributors together regardless of the type or
> magnitude of their contribution, then they are meaningless.

Maybe I'm reading you wrong here, Nelson, but it seems like your
basically setting up non-code contributions as equivalent to baking
cookies. If that's so, or even leaning that way, I'm seriously offended
and scores of other Mozilla contributors should be too.

It also sounds like you're suggesting that non-code contributions cannot
be quantified in magnitude and type. That's completely wrong and if it's
necessary, I'm happy to spend some time on the phone with you or in
person disabusing you of that notion.

I'll just wrap up with some more bombast and remind you that without the
work of non-coders, your code wouldn't be on the desktops of 100+
million users today.

- A

Robert Sayre

unread,
Aug 8, 2007, 5:58:04 PM8/8/07
to Asa Dotzler
Asa Dotzler wrote:
>
> Maybe I'm reading you wrong here, Nelson, but it seems like your
> basically setting up non-code contributions as equivalent to baking
> cookies.

I don't think he is.

I think the in-product credit list should be removed. It creates
tension, because it is frozen into the release. Instead, we should make
a Web page that displays in the normal content frame, but could link to
it from the About screen. Arguments about it will be less contentious,
because they won't need to happen while we're all trying to get a
release out the door.

- Rob

Asa Dotzler

unread,
Aug 8, 2007, 7:30:42 PM8/8/07
to

Well, I found it via some random blog post that referred to it something
like "Mozilla's new bounty program" or similar.

We've actually discussed bounty programs on and off for the last 8 years
or so and concluded each time that we didn't think it was right for us
to do that and I'm concerned that people might misread your program
thinking it was ours. It sure wouldn't hurt anything to add that
clarification and it could avoid some confusion.

- A

Asa Dotzler

unread,
Aug 8, 2007, 9:41:40 PM8/8/07
to


Oops. Wrong thread. Sorry about that.

- A

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