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Cédric Corazza

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Dec 12, 2008, 8:05:14 PM12/12/08
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Hi,

I don't know if it's the right channel to talk about this, but well, I
guess you will redirect me to the right place if not :-) .

I thought that Planet was meant to spread/talk about stuff about
Mozilla, but it seems we can talk about everything: current trend is
about "Wordle", but we can also see posts about birth, politics, or
whatever stuff totally unrelated with Mozilla, Open Web, ... well, the
Manifesto.

Maybe I missed something, but I don't care about the feelings, life, or
whatsoever about *ALL* the Mozilla contributors in Planet (unrelated
with Mozilla). If I care about some of them (for something unrelated to
Mozilla), I can subscribe to their own blogs!

As a Mozilla contributor, I'm overwhelmed with information: channels,
blogs, websites, mailing-lists, newsgroups to watch, so this kind of
information has nothing to do in Planet imho.

This is only my point of view. I won't argue or spend time anymore about
this, I said everyting above.

If Planet was meant to gather everything, whatever the subject, forget
my post.

Regards

Cédric

Robert Accettura

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Dec 12, 2008, 8:05:46 PM12/12/08
to mozilla.g...@lists.mozilla.org, gover...@lists.mozilla.org
Cédric,

This has been discussed before. Most contributors limit posts they
syndicate to planet to be Mozilla specific, though we do allow
contributors to syndicate their entire blog. Some people prefer to only
see the Mozilla stuff while others like to have some insight to the
people and the community behind the project. Who is right? Neither/Both.

A thought in the past was a dual-planet approach. One specific to
Mozilla related stuff, and a more open one that took a broader scope of
content from contributors. Then let readers choose what they want.

Of course other ideas and insights are welcome. It's a growing
community. Scaling communities is no easier than scaling technology.

Robert Accettura
rob...@accettura.com

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

Christopher Blizzard

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Dec 12, 2008, 8:26:23 PM12/12/08
to Robert Accettura, gover...@lists.mozilla.org, mozilla.g...@lists.mozilla.org
It's interesting that you bring this up. Planet really is everything
and there's some work going on by various parties to try and make it
more useful to people based on topic and/or interest level. At the
very least we should be using it to push the nicely gardened content
we have - the newsletters, etc.

But it's true that planet is everything that goes on with moz people,
which isn't always useful. We need better filters.

Robert Accettura

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Dec 12, 2008, 8:29:18 PM12/12/08
to Christopher Blizzard, gover...@lists.mozilla.org, mozilla.g...@lists.mozilla.org
Agreed.

I've liked the idea of a bucketed approach, though it really doesn't
translate well to feed readers without having to subscribe to several
feeds. There's also the issue of duplication which is inevitable, and
ultimately quite annoying.

Robert Accettura
rob...@accettura.com

Reed Loden

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Dec 12, 2008, 8:36:43 PM12/12/08
to gover...@lists.mozilla.org, a...@mozilla.org
On Fri, 12 Dec 2008 20:26:23 -0500
"Christopher Blizzard" <christophe...@gmail.com> wrote:

> But it's true that planet is everything that goes on with moz people,
> which isn't always useful. We need better filters.

I bet Asa disagrees with that, but I'll let him comment. :)

~reed

--
Reed Loden <re...@reedloden.com>

Mike Beltzner

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Dec 12, 2008, 9:40:27 PM12/12/08
to gover...@lists.mozilla.org
Ah, is it time to re-kindle this debate?

We've talked about this before [1] and that resulted in a bunch of
changes to the way Planet Mozilla is administered [2], including
guidelines for what sort of criteria must be met before people are
added or removed from the resource. The main takeaway from those
discussions was:

- it sure would be nice to have better ways of filtering Planet by
interest and topic
- fundamentally, though, Planet is about the Mozilla community,
which is about more than just the development of the products

Time has marched on, though, and our community has grown
significantly. Not only are there more engaged members of our
community, we've expanded beyond having people who write about Mozilla-
based development topics, and now include people who talk about public
relations, marketing, partnerships, metrics and community governance
and management. So now the Planet has grown, and we see memes (such as
the current Wordle meme) run through it, we see blogstorms (such as
when we launch a product) rage across it, and we see the occasional
rant and the miscellaneous random. Each one of those topics, though,
is written by a member of our community (our Planet, if you will) with
the knowledge that it will be aggregated, seen and shared with the
rest of the community. Each one contributes to the collective sense of
being part of the Mozilla community, to the record of what topics are
important enough to us that we wanted to publish and share our
thoughts with each other and with the world.

Cedric (before passively-aggressively bowing out of the topic he
started) wrote:

> If Planet was meant to gather everything, whatever the subject,
> forget my post.

Yes, I believe it was. Mozilla is a big Planet, and a lot of topics
(and memes!) will run through it: this should, in my opinion, be
expected. What better way to show the world (or show a single new
contributor) the true breadth and scope of our community than to let
them step into the things that people in our community want to share
with each other. As Blizzard said, we should ensure there are good
tools that allow people to selectively send blog entries to Planet for
syndication, but we should trust that they do so for a reason, to
contribute in the zeitgeist of our community, to inform and share
information and identity with our colleagues and friends.

Obviously this can be a lot of information to handle - I don't think
Planet is "required reading" and certainly don't think it should be
relied upon as a defacto record for policy change announcements.
Instead, I again agree with Blizzard, that we should have concise,
topic-scoped sub blogs and newsletters to help people who want to be
able to read up on the most important goings-on. We've started efforts
to that end, with varying levels of success:

- announcements and major happenings of import to Mozilla hackers
can reliably be found on the Mozilla Developer" News blog [3] as well
as on the dev.planning newsgroup
- increasingly, big new features are being profiled on the Mozilla
Developer News: Web Technology blog [4] as well as the dev.platform
newsgroup
- add-on developers have their own newsletter and blog
- the about:mozilla newsletter is a fantastic resource for the top
news items over a week

For someone looking to keep abreast of the "need to know" knowledge
for developing with or on Mozilla, we should keep those channels
listed above focused and on-topic.

For someone looking to soak in Mozilla, we should keep Planet about
our work, our lives and what's important to us as a community. Be it
what our blogs look like as word clouds (or how we can create open
source ways of generating those word clouds, which came out of our
passion for that meme!) or the fact that a new feature was added to
the Firefox Support site.

What I think we *can* do, on the other hand, is change the face of
Planet. We can make it easier for people to get redirected to those
topic centric blogs, and to browse through our memes. We can have a
nicer skin so that people see the faces that go with the blog posts,
and make our community more human. We can look into filtering tools,
and perhaps even allow readers to tag and comment on posts, or add
links to other relevant articles (much like Facebook allows comments
on notes) as a way of semantically marking up the content so that
others can filter and pull topic-centric RSS feeds off of it. As ever,
patches and suggestions are welcome.

At the core, though, I don't think we should restrict the flow of
information, words and collaborative spirit that makes up our community.

[1] http://groups.google.com/group/mozilla.governance/browse_thread/thread/ea72c661b032fb17/
[2] http://groups.google.com/group/mozilla.governance/browse_thread/thread/75eab77a8ab0fafe/
[3] http://developer.mozilla.org/devnews/
[4] http://developer.mozilla.org/web-tech/

Mitchell Baker

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Dec 13, 2008, 10:36:53 PM12/13/08
to Robert Accettura, mozilla.g...@lists.mozilla.org, gover...@lists.mozilla.org
It feels like it's time to do something about planet. I find it's
become overwhelming. The dual planet idea might be right. I'd also
like to see the module owners and peers of planet think about things
like splitting all the meeting notes out into a sub-planet or moon.
It's a lot of scrolling to get through the meeting notes for something
where I don't need the details.

Mitchell

Mitchell Baker

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Dec 13, 2008, 10:36:53 PM12/13/08
to Robert Accettura, gover...@lists.mozilla.org, mozilla.g...@lists.mozilla.org
It feels like it's time to do something about planet. I find it's
become overwhelming. The dual planet idea might be right. I'd also
like to see the module owners and peers of planet think about things
like splitting all the meeting notes out into a sub-planet or moon.
It's a lot of scrolling to get through the meeting notes for something
where I don't need the details.

Mitchell

Robert Accettura

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Dec 13, 2008, 11:33:18 PM12/13/08
to Mitchell Baker, gover...@lists.mozilla.org, mozilla.g...@lists.mozilla.org
This becomes a slightly slippery slope... if we break things out enough,
is it really any different than just offering a blogroll and letting
readers to directly to those sites?

The dual approach where one has a strict moz/internet rule, and a
"people behind the lizard" variant which is open to people's entire
feeds could be a good balance since it would improve signal to noise
without going to far in the other direction where planet becomes a PITA.

Perhaps another approach (or in combination with the above) is to show
more headlines on the page and hide the full text at least initially by
only showing say ~150px worth of content (a few lines worth). Via a few
lines of JS a button can "reveal" the rest of the post should you want
to read that post. This idea is similar to what Yahoo News does to
story text. We could even have a way to cookie and disable that for
people who don't like it. This would make it easier to scroll and
browse for what your interested in. While not improving the
signal:noise ratio, it would make it easier to find the signal.

My thought is to avoid building a Google Reader replica. I think that
just makes planet to complicated and would reduce value. Planet's real
strength is simplicity. Load the page and read. Staying as close to
that as possible I think is a good strategy.

You could go the way of a Techmeme.com like layout either through
automated means or with an editors help. I'm not really sure this is a
solid approach. It just turns it into a news site with lots of clicking
to get information. I don't think it has better readability than planet
currently does. It's just more traditional.

Robert Accettura
rob...@accettura.com

Boris Zbarsky

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Dec 14, 2008, 10:05:00 AM12/14/08
to
Mitchell Baker wrote:
> It feels like it's time to do something about planet. I find it's
> become overwhelming. The dual planet idea might be right.

Dual in what sense, though? I'm a lot more interested in the
non-mozilla posts of some of the project contributors (because they make
it easier for me to understand where they come from and easier to work
with them) than the mozilla-related posts of others (the ones who work
in areas that are completely unrelated to what I work in)...

I have a hard time believing I'm alone here.

-Boris

Mike Beltzner

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Dec 14, 2008, 10:43:31 AM12/14/08
to Boris Zbarsky, gover...@lists.mozilla.org

My post was too long, perhaps, to digest quickly and so I fear that a
lot of people skipped it. Were I to summate, I would do so by
suggesting that some simple changes to the front page of Planet might
make it easier for people to pick the RSS feed they want based on the
content they're looking for.

If someone just wants development news, the DevNews and WebTech blogs
should be sufficient.

If someone wants community news and announcements, the about:mozilla
newsletter should be sufficient.

If someone wants to know what's going on in our community, they should
get all of Planet, including bits they may deem irrelevant. Posts can
be easily skipped.

> I have a hard time believing I'm alone here.

You're not.

cheers,
mike

(ps: one thing to note is that the meeting notes, which were recently
added to Planet, aren't working out that well since they're long,
often contain the same content that was copied from meeting to
meeting, and the bullet form often isn't helpful. I think if we
actually want to include that sort of content, we should ask meeting
note-takers to create a "Summary" section in the respective wiki pages
and then just import that summary - with a link to the full notes -
into Planet.)

Robert Kaiser

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Dec 14, 2008, 11:47:49 AM12/14/08
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Robert Accettura wrote:
> The dual approach where one has a strict moz/internet rule, and a
> "people behind the lizard" variant which is open to people's entire
> feeds could be a good balance since it would improve signal to noise
> without going to far in the other direction where planet becomes a PITA.

I agree. A general planet with everything (like now, or even broader),
and a second one that is a strict subset of the first, only reporting
really Mozilla-related stuff, might be a good idea.
The strict-subset rule should be so that someone readying the main
planet (or its feed) should never need to look at the Mozilla-only
"continent" of it.
Additionally, we should keep the number of such "planets" small, two are
fine, even a third or fourth might make the picture too complicated.

Robert Kaiser

Boris Zbarsky

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Dec 14, 2008, 2:19:18 PM12/14/08
to
Mike Beltzner wrote:
> If someone just wants development news, the DevNews and WebTech blogs
> should be sufficient.
>
> If someone wants community news and announcements, the about:mozilla
> newsletter should be sufficient.
>
> If someone wants to know what's going on in our community, they should
> get all of Planet, including bits they may deem irrelevant. Posts can be
> easily skipped.

Fully agreed (and for what it's worth, I had read your post, and agreed
with it then too ;) ).

-Boris

Robert Accettura

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Dec 14, 2008, 4:37:15 PM12/14/08
to Mike Beltzner, Boris Zbarsky, gover...@lists.mozilla.org

Mike Beltzner wrote:
>
> If someone just wants development news, the DevNews and WebTech blogs
> should be sufficient.
>
> If someone wants community news and announcements, the about:mozilla
> newsletter should be sufficient.
>
> If someone wants to know what's going on in our community, they should
> get all of Planet, including bits they may deem irrelevant. Posts can
> be easily skipped.
>
>

There are quite a few posts that break the "news" purpose and instead
propose questions and are more interactive. I think they generally
share the same audience, but newsletters and those particular blogs
don't really serve this purpose well. Perhaps the solution here is
simply to make it easier for people to request things to be mentioned on
DevNews or WebTech and link to the relevant developers blog to provide
feedback.


> (ps: one thing to note is that the meeting notes, which were recently
> added to Planet, aren't working out that well since they're long,
> often contain the same content that was copied from meeting to
> meeting, and the bullet form often isn't helpful. I think if we
> actually want to include that sort of content, we should ask meeting
> note-takers to create a "Summary" section in the respective wiki pages
> and then just import that summary - with a link to the full notes -
> into Planet.)
>

Agreed. Benjamin Smedberg is the one to talk to about this. IIRC he
maintains that blog.

Jeff Walden

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Dec 14, 2008, 5:39:35 PM12/14/08
to Boris Zbarsky
On 14.12.08 07:05, Boris Zbarsky wrote:
> I'm a lot more interested in the non-mozilla
> posts of some of the project contributors (because they make it easier
> for me to understand where they come from and easier to work with them)
> than the mozilla-related posts of others (the ones who work in areas
> that are completely unrelated to what I work in)...
>
> I have a hard time believing I'm alone here.

Definitely not alone. I tend to next/delete pretty much every post related to marketing, metrics, PR, support (ironic, I know, because I first got involved writing end-user help documentation), to name some areas I see from skimming recently-read posts in Reader, because they only affect me indirectly. I have too much of the economist/scientist in me to bring myself to care about many of these areas.

(I have a bit more to say about planet-overloading, but I think I'll relegate them to a response somewhere else since it's reasonably likely to kick-start an entirely new thread of conversation.)

Jeff

Gijs Kruitbosch

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Dec 14, 2008, 5:42:59 PM12/14/08
to Robert Accettura
Clever JS doesn't help people like me who are reading stuff in a newsreader (IE
Thunderbird, Firefox LiveBookmarks, w/e) though...

I suppose I already get a list of only topics, and possibly I am the only one
who is already overwhelmed by that alone, and regularly just marks stuff as read
without really looking at it. Perhaps not. :-)

~ Gijs

Justin Dolske

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Dec 14, 2008, 5:52:26 PM12/14/08
to
On 12/14/08 8:47 AM, Robert Kaiser wrote:

> I agree. A general planet with everything (like now, or even broader),
> and a second one that is a strict subset of the first, only reporting
> really Mozilla-related stuff, might be a good idea.

Might work; I don't feel too strongly either way.

However, if we do this it has to be called pluto.mozilla.org. :-)

Justin

Jeff Walden

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Dec 14, 2008, 6:09:11 PM12/14/08
to Mitchell Baker, Robert Accettura, gover...@lists.mozilla.org, mozilla.g...@lists.mozilla.org
On 13.12.08 19:36, Mitchell Baker wrote:
> It feels like it's time to do something about planet. I find it's
> become overwhelming.

I haven't found it overwhelming yet in the literal sense of the word -- I do usually manage to keep up with posts, the vast majority of the time -- but it's definitely a very big firehose, very much "whelming", if not excessively so.

I think a big part of the problem of Planet-explosion is that we have sooo many people on Planet, with the reason being that the barrier to entry to Planet is too low. I've watched the Bugzilla component for Planet pretty much since its creation. I attempted to manually count the number of threads in my Planet folder for adding such things, not counting URL changes and the like, and I got to fifty before I grew tired of doing so; judging by scrollbar position there have been upwards of a hundred (and that doesn't even count additions between roughly June and October which I haven't read yet!). Of those, I believe *only one or two* have been rejected. There's a barrier to entry of filing a bug to be added to planet which presumably raises the success rate, but even still, I think a 99+% acceptance rate is too high regardless of the actual quality of the submissions (which, because they're made by humans, will never be perfect enough for all to merit inclusion).

(Warning: major flame-inducing statements below!)

To be perfectly frank, my impression is that most of that problem is due to newly-minted Mozilla Corporation employees requesting that their blogs be added before they've become known in the community. ("o hai, i iz new, plz read mai blog") Some (many? this is my gut feeling, not quantitative counts) such requests mention "new employee" as a qualification in the reasons to add but probably could not point to prior, visible public involvement. (I don't recall that question being asked in the "justification" phase of addition in any such requests.)

I think that's wrong.

You should be known to some portion of the community outside the Corporation *before* your blog is added, not *because* your blog is added. Whether that's through submitted patches, new feature implementations, some number of mentions in Mozilla meeting minutes with useful contributions each time, some number of mentions in blogs already syndicated to Planet, or some other metric like guest posts on already-syndicated blogs doesn't matter a whole lot to me as long as there's something that makes you well-known in some general sub-community that extends beyond the Corporation. It might be difficult to enumerate the ways in which this can happen, to be sure, but I think this would be a vastly better situation than the current one, where it's absolutely conceivable that you could get on planet in your very first day of employment with no prior presence in the community.

Oh, by the way, here are all my conflicts of interest for people to independently judge all of my ulterior motives. :-D

* Mozilla Corporation employee
* *new* Mozilla Corporation employee (assuming you count a month and a half as new)
* contributor with commit access since the Firefox pre-1.0 days, maybe 0.7ish
* already syndicated on Planet
* ...but syndicated since before employment started, although not before I'd begun making those plans
* ...and syndicated after a few years of community involvement
* probably an author of one of the posts mentioned in the original email that spawned the discussions here :-)

Comments, flames anyone?

Jeff

Robert Accettura

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Dec 14, 2008, 7:12:19 PM12/14/08
to Jeff Walden, mozilla.g...@lists.mozilla.org, Mitchell Baker, gover...@lists.mozilla.org
Commentary and proposal within...

Jeff Walden wrote:
>
> I haven't found it overwhelming yet in the literal sense of the word
> -- I do usually manage to keep up with posts, the vast majority of the
> time -- but it's definitely a very big firehose, very much "whelming",
> if not excessively so.
>
> I think a big part of the problem of Planet-explosion is that we have
> sooo many people on Planet, with the reason being that the barrier to
> entry to Planet is too low. I've watched the Bugzilla component for
> Planet pretty much since its creation. I attempted to manually count
> the number of threads in my Planet folder for adding such things, not
> counting URL changes and the like, and I got to fifty before I grew
> tired of doing so; judging by scrollbar position there have been
> upwards of a hundred (and that doesn't even count additions between
> roughly June and October which I haven't read yet!). Of those, I
> believe *only one or two* have been rejected. There's a barrier to
> entry of filing a bug to be added to planet which presumably raises
> the success rate, but even still, I think a 99+% acceptance rate is
> too high regardless of the actual quality of the submissions (which,
> because they're made by humans, will never be perfect enough for all
> to merit inclusion).

I should note that most of the people you are mentioning created a blog
under peer pressure and posted once or twice ever. That said, yes the
criteria right now is likely overly broad, and we could/should fix
this. I'm not disagreeing with you , in fact I'm totally agreeing with
you. I've been vocal about interns being on planet interns as sort of a
purgatory for just this reason.


> (Warning: major flame-inducing statements below!)
>
> To be perfectly frank, my impression is that most of that problem is
> due to newly-minted Mozilla Corporation employees requesting that
> their blogs be added before they've become known in the community.
> ("o hai, i iz new, plz read mai blog") Some (many? this is my gut
> feeling, not quantitative counts) such requests mention "new employee"
> as a qualification in the reasons to add but probably could not point
> to prior, visible public involvement. (I don't recall that question
> being asked in the "justification" phase of addition in any such
> requests.)
>
> I think that's wrong.

I've got to agree with you on this. I think it's important to push
people to be active in the community, and perhaps it should be a planet
requirement. There are quite a few whose only qualifying attribute is
an @mozilla.com email address.


Again most aren't really posting anything. That's not to say it's an issue.

Your response has a few gears in my head turning... I propose we do as
follows (similar to suggestions of before but tweaked):

*planet.mozilla.org*
planet.mozilla.org would contain any willing contributor who has been an
active member of the community, without bias regarding employer or time
with employer. Valid "activity" could include (but is not limited to)
development, testing, marketing, developing addons, support, being a
troll on #bs, etc. They should show evidence of a long term commitment
and involvement to the project in whatever capacity they participate.
Examples include prior involvement for a long period of time,
substantial hours contributed, public speaking, credited in a Firefox
release, well known by other members of the community, tattoo of Firefox
logo on part of body that can be legally exposed in all 50 states.

The primary goal of planet is no longer to facilitate someone's work
(though it would be great if it does) but to build community and
showcase the talent and people of this community.

All blogs must be personal (no project blogs, company blogs, for
example, or automation). Contributors all have a choice of syndicating
their entire blog, or just a portion of it. We would prefer the entire
blog.

All bugs requesting addition would be left open for a minimum of 1 week
for anyone who cares to comment. Perhaps we'll even use the planet blog
to make note of proposed additions?

I even propose we make this retroactive. We can contact participants
and see if they want to include a full feed, avatar, etc.


*news.mozilla.org (or some other url)*
This is new. It would be specifically for things of a more formal
nature. DevNews, Metrics blog, etc. Perhaps a handful of people whose
blogs are overly professional might have a feed included (perhaps cross
posted to pmo) for example Mitchell's blog. All blogs asked to show
some restraint in what they share to ensure it's not overwhelming.
planet peers will police in the unlikely situation a blog creates more
noise than signal. This would be 1 feed you can add to your feed reader
and keep up on a professional level with what's happening product wise,
marketing wise, and tech wise. Much more moderated and cleaner and
mostly lolcat free.

This is intended to centralize information about current happenings. It
would be awesome if there were a blog that would pick up on other posts
from planet that could use some feedback/help, etc. and drive some
traffic. Somewhat of an edited digest. For example if someone on pmo
wanted feedback on some design.

*all planets*
1. For both I propose we modify the design to make the headline
slightly larger and hide text after more than x # of pixels. This will
make it easier to scan and find what you care about.
2. Hold content for a longer period of time so it's easier to read even
if you haven't been following every hour. Not sure what the ideal
amount of time is though. Suggestions?
3. Combine the headline with the name in the format "Name - Post
title". I think it's easier to scan rather than use the
headline/subhead format. planetsun.org does something like this, though
I prefer a more prominent headline. IMHO that blends in to much when
scanning quickly. Several other planets already do this (planetsun.org
for example).

I haven't proposed or discussed these with other planet peers, so this
is purely my personal proposal and shouldn't be interpreted any other way.

I also apologize for this being somewhat long and quickly written.

Christopher Blizzard

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Dec 14, 2008, 9:50:43 PM12/14/08
to Robert Accettura, mozilla.g...@lists.mozilla.org, Mitchell Baker, gover...@lists.mozilla.org, Jeff Walden
My post was short, and I feel like Mike followed up with some good
perspective. But I thought it might be good to add on to what I said
earlier.

I feel like there are a few things going on here, partially due to
tools and also how people consume content that the community produces.
I've been talking on and off with Asa, Deb, Dion and a few others
about some high-level things we can do to help with that. Here's some
context based on those discussions:

1. Planet. Planet is high-volume. It's everything about the people
involved. The full collection of everyone, no matter how much time
they spend on it - a little or a lot. It comes entirely without
filters, and that's OK. Because that's what it's there for. I don't
personally feel that the barrier for planet should be very high, just
as the barrier for entry to our community should be very high, just
because it causes more posts. We don't need fewer posts - we need
better filters.[1]

2. Well-maintained content. We have a lot of this, it turns out.
about:mozilla, about:addons, about:labs, web-tech, developer news,
etc. There's a lot of it out there that we carefully garden. A
human-powered filter, but a good one. We should be doing more to
promote them and get more people reading them. Planet - the web site
- is a good place to do that, and we're talking about how to do
promote that content to people who want high-signal content with very
little noise.

3. Creating some more filters. This is a decent amount of work. You
need to ask the question - how do you filter to take all of the
content that is created by our community (which is a lot!) and make it
relevant to people? Or to a particular person? It's a hard problem,
and one that is unlikely to be solved by more RSS feeds or making
rules about how to use planet. That's self-censorship and doesn't
really solve the underlying filtering problem. The labs guys have
started to do some experiments here by using some of the Yahoo! web
services out there, which is great. Finding that balance between the
highly valuable content we produce (2) and the large noise of planet
(1) is the trick.

A few weeks ago I talked met with Dion and Asa and we threw around
some ideas on what we could do about this over the long term. [2] I
think that we came up with some context for how to look at things over
the long term, but in the short term there were two things that we
could do that would help a lot. Those two things were:

1. Promote the gardened content that we have. For people involved on
a day to day basis and are managing to keep up with planet it's
probably not entirely useful, but for people who want something very
high signal it's great. This means using planet (the web page) to
promote the newsletter(s), web-tech, devnews, developer.mozilla.org
and other places where know that people are going to learn something
new every single day. It's way to hard to find the good stuff that we
have. We can do a lot better here.

2. Come up with a guide that complements planet. Think of a cross
between a high school yearbook and facebook and way to filter that
list based on area of interest. Want to know who you should follow
because you're interested in JavaScript? There's a highlighted list.
Want to know what a person cares about? You can mouse over their
picture (if they want it) and it gives a quick description of who they
are, what they care about and other people that they tend to spend
their time with as well. (Note: this needs a mockup - hard to
describe without pictures!)

I think that fundamentally our community is getting to the point where
it's large enough where it's impossible to know everyone and people
will need tools to help them keep up with what they care about. It's
a problem dealing with scale. And we're going to need tools that help
with that. It's going to be a long project with some experiments, I
think. This will likely be the first.

But just to connect with the start of this mail, I don't think that
planet should change much. It's meant to be the whole, the everything
of what we are as a community. I want to make sure we have one place
like that and planet has always been that. But getting to where we
have some filters to help us find the stuff we really care about will
help quite a bit.

* 1 - http://web2expo.blip.tv/file/855937/ - Clay Shiky talking about
burning time, human resources and filter failures. Worth watching.

* 2 - http://www.flickr.com/photos/christopherblizzard/3023813706/sizes/l/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/christopherblizzard/3023813772/sizes/l/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/christopherblizzard/3023814884/sizes/l/

Gervase Markham

unread,
Dec 15, 2008, 10:08:04 AM12/15/08
to
Mike Beltzner wrote:
> At the core, though, I don't think we should restrict the flow of
> information, words and collaborative spirit that makes up our community.

I agree.

Perhaps this is more of a problem for people who read planet in a "river
of news" style (Google Reader?) rather than an "individual posts" style
(e.g. Thunderbird). I can press "N N N" pretty quickly to move through
posts I'm not interested in. Does Google Reader have a "scroll to top of
next post" button?

Gerv

Boris Zbarsky

unread,
Dec 15, 2008, 10:38:57 AM12/15/08
to
Gervase Markham wrote:
> Perhaps this is more of a problem for people who read planet in a "river
> of news" style (Google Reader?) rather than an "individual posts" style
> (e.g. Thunderbird). I can press "N N N" pretty quickly to move through
> posts I'm not interested in. Does Google Reader have a "scroll to top of
> next post" button?

Yes. "N". I used it all the time (and I do in fact read Planet in
Google Reader).

-Boris

Mike Beltzner

unread,
Dec 15, 2008, 10:49:46 AM12/15/08
to Gervase Markham, gover...@lists.mozilla.org
On 15-Dec-08, at 10:08 AM, Gervase Markham wrote:

> Perhaps this is more of a problem for people who read planet in a
> "river
> of news" style (Google Reader?) rather than an "individual posts"
> style

I think, and I don't mean this pejoratively or pithily, that it's a
problem for people who are reading Planet but don't actually want to
be reading Planet. Instead they want to be reading a news service that
points them to the primary on-goings of the community such as
development news, announcements, new technology discussions, etc.

On 15-Dec-08, at 3:34 AM, Chris Blizzard wrote:

> 2. Well-maintained content. We have a lot of this, it turns out.
> about:mozilla, about:addons, about:labs, web-tech, developer news,
> etc. There's a lot of it out there that we carefully garden. A
> human-powered filter, but a good one. We should be doing more to
> promote them and get more people reading them. Planet - the web site
> - is a good place to do that, and we're talking about how to do
> promote that content to people who want high-signal content with very
> little noise.

We also, fwiw, need to make sure that those are curated appropriately.
For example, when Chris Double lands <video> in nightlies, WebTech
should be there (if only to point to it). There's a cost to that, of
course.

cheers,
mike

Dan Mosedale

unread,
Dec 15, 2008, 2:44:03 PM12/15/08
to
On 12/14/08 7:43 AM, Mike Beltzner wrote:
> (ps: one thing to note is that the meeting notes, which were recently
> added to Planet, aren't working out that well since they're long, often
> contain the same content that was copied from meeting to meeting, and
> the bullet form often isn't helpful.

You're right that there's plenty of room for improvement, but just
having the notes in planet has significantly improved my ability to stay
on top of what's going on in various parts of the project that I don't
have the bandwidth to pay a ton of attention to.

> I think if we actually want to include that sort of content, we should ask
> meeting note-takers to create a "Summary" section in the respective wiki pages
> and then just import that summary - with a link to the full notes - into Planet.)

Sounds worth a shot.

Dan

Asa Dotzler

unread,
Dec 15, 2008, 2:59:11 PM12/15/08
to
Sorry for getting to this thread late.

I'm late enough that what I would have said has already been said.

Chris Blizzard's reply and Mike Beltzner's reply are right where I am in
thinking about this.

So, please go read those, maybe even a second time :-)

- A

Asa Dotzler

unread,
Dec 15, 2008, 3:05:12 PM12/15/08
to
Cédric Corazza wrote:
> Hi,
>
> I don't know if it's the right channel to talk about this, but well, I
> guess you will redirect me to the right place if not :-) .
>
> I thought that Planet was meant to spread/talk about stuff about
> Mozilla, but it seems we can talk about everything: current trend is
> about "Wordle", but we can also see posts about birth, politics, or
> whatever stuff totally unrelated with Mozilla, Open Web, ... well, the
> Manifesto.


Cédric, you thought wrong. I don't mean that in a snide way, just that
what you thought Planet is is in fact not what Planet is.


> Maybe I missed something, but I don't care about the feelings, life, or
> whatsoever about *ALL* the Mozilla contributors in Planet


Then you should unsubscribe from Planet and subscribe to devnews,
webtech, and maybe a few other select blogs.


> As a Mozilla contributor, I'm overwhelmed with information: channels,
> blogs, websites, mailing-lists, newsgroups to watch, so this kind of
> information has nothing to do in Planet imho.


We differ on that and it's unlikely that you're going to change my mind.
If you'd like to try, go for it. I don't see any convincing argument
here though.


> This is only my point of view. I won't argue or spend time anymore about
> this, I said everyting above.
>
> If Planet was meant to gather everything, whatever the subject, forget
> my post.


Yes and no.

Yes, Planet was meant to "gather everything" -- it is the voices of the
people that make up the Mozilla community.

No, I don't think it's worth forgetting your post. You are probably not
alone. You want something that Planet isn't and we should be trying to
make that something for you and others who would benefit from it. You
could even help.

- A

Cédric Corazza

unread,
Dec 15, 2008, 4:19:16 PM12/15/08
to
Hi,

I read carefully all the answers of this thread. First of all, I would
like to precise that I didn't mean to be rude or agressive, and I wasn't
targeting anyone. As a non-English native speaker, it is difficult (with
my current skills) to express as clearly as in my native language my
thoughts (As a localizator, it is far more easier to localize the other
way, especially with software which has quite neutral expressions/terms).

What I wanted to say in my initial post was that I would want to get
'the big picture' about what is happening with Mozilla without having
the posts not really related to it: the subject of some posts doesn't
always reflect the content (I mean, it is hard to say what the post will
talk about).

The solution that seems to raise, that is to say, the current Planet
gathering the posts of all the current syndicated blogs, and another
'thing' or planet to syndicate all the stuff directly related to Mozilla
(some kind of "Mozilla Big Picture Blog") would be great, imho.

Thanks for your attention.

Regards

Cédric

Robert Kaiser

unread,
Dec 15, 2008, 9:36:37 PM12/15/08
to
Asa Dotzler wrote:
> Yes, Planet was meant to "gather everything" -- it is the voices of the
> people that make up the Mozilla community.

Asa, I'm still missing you on planet, by the way ;-)

Robert Kaiser

Clint Talbert

unread,
Dec 16, 2008, 7:48:44 PM12/16/08
to
On 12/14/08 6:50 PM, Christopher Blizzard wrote:
> My post was short, and I feel like Mike followed up with some good
> perspective. But I thought it might be good to add on to what I said
> earlier.
>
> I feel like there are a few things going on here, partially due to
> tools and also how people consume content that the community produces.
> I've been talking on and off with Asa, Deb, Dion and a few others
> about some high-level things we can do to help with that. Here's some
> context based on those discussions:
.....
I completely agree with you. This is the best post I've seen for both
improving signal to noise and still keeping it easy and more accessible
for people to get involved in our community, which I think should always
be goal number 1 when thinking about all the issues surrounding the
Mozilla Firehose. Because when you boil it down, the reason there *IS*
a Firehose of information out there is to bring people in. Limiting
that is raising the bar.

The suggestions Chris puts forward that improve signal to noise while
keeping the bar low, that's golden.

My .02.

Clint

Jeff Walden

unread,
Dec 17, 2008, 2:15:30 AM12/17/08
to Christopher Blizzard, Robert Accettura, mozilla.g...@lists.mozilla.org, Mitchell Baker, gover...@lists.mozilla.org
On 14.12.08 18:50, Christopher Blizzard wrote:
> I don't personally feel that the barrier for planet should be very
> high, just as the barrier for entry to our community should be very
> high, just because it causes more posts.

I skimmed over this too quickly when reading it initially, but as subsequent posts seem to be misinterpreting what I wrote in one particular way, I would like to clarify what I wrote.

I think large numbers of posts are a symptom of the problem I described, that the bar to qualification to be on planet is too low. The quantity of posts is not the rationale for raising the bar to aggregation on p.m.o; it and this thread are merely the catalysts to my being frustrated enough to express this belief. Even if quantity of posts were not the problem it currently is, I would still be in favor of raising the bar. I stand by my assertion that you should be known in the community before being on planet and not because you are on it, an assertion which has nothing to do with the quantity of posts or contributors to p.m.o.

Jeff

Dan Mosedale

unread,
Dec 17, 2008, 3:58:53 PM12/17/08
to Jeff Walden, Christopher Blizzard, Robert Accettura, mozilla.g...@lists.mozilla.org, Mitchell Baker, gover...@lists.mozilla.org
On 12/16/08 11:15 PM, Jeff Walden wrote:
> I think large numbers of posts are a symptom of the problem I described,
> that the bar to qualification to be on planet is too low. The quantity
> of posts is not the rationale for raising the bar to aggregation on
> p.m.o; it and this thread are merely the catalysts to my being
> frustrated enough to express this belief. Even if quantity of posts were
> not the problem it currently is, I would still be in favor of raising
> the bar. I stand by my assertion that you should be known in the
> community before being on planet and not because you are on it, an
> assertion which has nothing to do with the quantity of posts or
> contributors to p.m.o.

It's hard to really engage with this without talking about what sort of
role p.m.o is intended to play in the community. A number of folks have
said things in this thread suggesting that p.m.o should be the big
firehose for those who want to drink from it, and that separately from
that, we need to come up with filtered solutions for folks who want less.

We certainly do have some filtered solutions in place now (a few blogs
and the about: newsletters come to mind). But there seems to be a set
of people who feel that they can't just those filtered sources and get
the content they need. My suspicion is that these folks don't see
"making p.m.o. the firehose" and "making our filtering better" as
separable problems. One possible way to address this might be to set up
some sort of requirements for tagging posts that feeds would need to
adhere to in order to get aggregated to planet.

I suspect we're going to have a hard time progressing further until we
understand what information is being perceived to fall through the cracks.

Dan

John J. Barton

unread,
Dec 17, 2008, 4:24:55 PM12/17/08
to
Asa Dotzler wrote:

> Yes, Planet was meant to "gather everything" -- it is the voices of the
> people that make up the Mozilla community.
>

But if you look at http://planet.mozilla.org/ it's the "voices of the
people" mixed with industrial noise from build machines and office white
noise from meetings. We want to hear the humans! If humans want to
sample the build noise and meeting minutes, we welcome them. Else not.

jjb

Mark Banner

unread,
Dec 17, 2008, 5:28:08 PM12/17/08
to

Given that the meeting minutes are produced by "the humans" generated
from what "the humans" have said, I think they are actually useful and
gather the "voices" albeit in (typically) an abbreviated form.

There are lots of things in the meeting minutes about what people are
doing, what is happening - those humans wouldn't necessarily blog about
because they didn't think it was interesting enough, but by posting the
minutes others are able to get an idea of what the humans are actually
working on day-to-day rather than the highlights of "I got this cool new
xxx working".

Standard8

Dan Mosedale

unread,
Dec 17, 2008, 3:58:53 PM12/17/08
to Jeff Walden, mozilla.g...@lists.mozilla.org, Christopher Blizzard, Mitchell Baker, gover...@lists.mozilla.org, Robert Accettura
On 12/16/08 11:15 PM, Jeff Walden wrote:
> I think large numbers of posts are a symptom of the problem I described,
> that the bar to qualification to be on planet is too low. The quantity
> of posts is not the rationale for raising the bar to aggregation on
> p.m.o; it and this thread are merely the catalysts to my being
> frustrated enough to express this belief. Even if quantity of posts were
> not the problem it currently is, I would still be in favor of raising
> the bar. I stand by my assertion that you should be known in the
> community before being on planet and not because you are on it, an
> assertion which has nothing to do with the quantity of posts or
> contributors to p.m.o.

It's hard to really engage with this without talking about what sort of

Jeff Walden

unread,
Dec 17, 2008, 2:15:30 AM12/17/08
to Christopher Blizzard, mozilla.g...@lists.mozilla.org, Mitchell Baker, gover...@lists.mozilla.org, Robert Accettura
On 14.12.08 18:50, Christopher Blizzard wrote:
> I don't personally feel that the barrier for planet should be very
> high, just as the barrier for entry to our community should be very
> high, just because it causes more posts.

I skimmed over this too quickly when reading it initially, but as subsequent posts seem to be misinterpreting what I wrote in one particular way, I would like to clarify what I wrote.

I think large numbers of posts are a symptom of the problem I described, that the bar to qualification to be on planet is too low. The quantity of posts is not the rationale for raising the bar to aggregation on p.m.o; it and this thread are merely the catalysts to my being frustrated enough to express this belief. Even if quantity of posts were not the problem it currently is, I would still be in favor of raising the bar. I stand by my assertion that you should be known in the community before being on planet and not because you are on it, an assertion which has nothing to do with the quantity of posts or contributors to p.m.o.

Jeff

Aki Sasaki

unread,
Dec 18, 2008, 2:50:44 PM12/18/08
to
Jeff Walden wrote:

> I think large numbers of posts are a symptom of the problem I described,
> that the bar to qualification to be on planet is too low.

How about a voting system?

This could be implemented in one of several ways. A Digg or Best-of
Craigslist style vote for specific blog posts already on Planet, with a
separate page/rss feed for those. Or voting whether a blog deserves to
be on Planet in the first place, based on its existing entries.

Alternately, a way for people to add tags to blog posts, allowing
readers to pick and choose what they do or don't see.

The above will probably take a non-trivial amount of work to implement.
I do agree that the front page of Planet can be a bit daunting, but I
find the RSS feed informative and entertaining for the most part.

Jeff Walden

unread,
Dec 21, 2008, 3:01:03 AM12/21/08
to Aki Sasaki
On 18.12.08 11:50, Aki Sasaki wrote:
> How about a voting system?
>
> This could be implemented in one of several ways. A Digg or Best-of
> Craigslist style vote for specific blog posts already on Planet, with a
> separate page/rss feed for those. Or voting whether a blog deserves to
> be on Planet in the first place, based on its existing entries.
>
> Alternately, a way for people to add tags to blog posts, allowing
> readers to pick and choose what they do or don't see.
>
> The above will probably take a non-trivial amount of work to implement.
> I do agree that the front page of Planet can be a bit daunting, but I
> find the RSS feed informative and entertaining for the most part.

Eh...

I think just being able to point to a few things you've done that take enough work to be "substantial" (or which in aggregate constitute that), and having Planet peers (supplemented by others in the community for less-visible involvement) agree with that assessment, spread over a period of at least three months, would be adequate. Voting, also, wouldn't produce the same thing as a "candid" look at the people of Mozilla that Planet to an extent strives to be.

Jeff

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