Channel for Mozillians to suggest new features/changes

participation

(Rubén Martín) #1

Today I went crazy and opened the Staff Yammer after months ignoring it :stuck_out_tongue:

These is a very interesting conversation by @yoric there about having a tool were mozillians can suggest new features/changes to products (I see it as a mozmoderator for features). I took the liberty to c&p the proposal here where we can get more open feedback:

What if we had a public channel & protocol for any Mozillian to pitch new features?

Expected benefits:

  • making Mozilla more visibly transparent;
  • improving morale;
  • improving community interactions;
  • surfacing good ideas;
  • surfacing ideas specific to locales that are not currently represented by Product Management (i.e. most of the world).

One possible protocol (which can certainly be improved):

1/ Any Mozillian with at least 3 vouches can pitch an idea;
2/ To Pitch an idea, write a document (or, even better, a webpage or github README) that answers the following questions:

  • what do you propose?
  • how does it benefit users?
  • how does it fit in with Mozilla’s values?
    3/ Once the Pitch is ready, submit it to some service of Mozillians.org;
    4/ Any Mozillian with at least 3 vouches can comment on the Pitch vote on
  • is the Pitch ready or should it be reworked?
  • does the Pitch benefit users?
  • does the Pitch fit in with Mozilla’s values?
    4/ Product Management is expected to keep a lookout, regularly read the best ranked Pitches and respond within a reasonable amount of time.

I think this is a great idea to improve participation at Mozilla :smiley:


(David Teller) #2

Thanks :smile:
Note that I posted this on Yammer, and not in a public channel, to avoid generating false hopes in case this idea doesn’t get accepted, and to avoid being taken in a media storm, as seems to happen whenever we say something in public these days.

So don’t take this as a promise of anything. At this stage, this is a dream of mine. I hope to be able to turn this into a reality, but I have no idea if or when this will be possible.


#3

I think having a tool would be great. Whether we better use an existing
tool, or if we realize we need something that will make it easier than
bugzilla and mailing lists do.

This is one advantage Discourse has over mailing lists. If you had an idea
for the Firefox team you wouldn’t have to subscribe to the whole list to
share it. You could make your suggestion and subscribe only to that topic.

I think the rest of it is really addressing the unanswered question “how to
we make sure we’re allowing participation in product design, and who do we
allow to participate?” and that is tool agnostic. I agree that we should
give people a framework to submit a serious idea beyond tossing an idea out
in an email. It makes it easier for the idea to be understood and so makes
it easier for the relevant teams to properly consider the idea. Reps has
actually just adopted a process for this sort of thing, you can read about
it here - https://wiki.mozilla.org/ReMo/SOPs/Proposals


(David Teller) #4

I believe that the tool I suggest would be useful, but I don’t really care about the tool itself. What I want is a communication channel between Community Members and Product Management. The design of the tool is made to help maximize the signal-to-noise ratio.


(Leo McArdle) #5

Reading the original post, I was thinking Discourse is nearly perfectly suited to this. Out of the box, Discourse can do all but the “with at least 3 vouches” bit.


(Rubén Martín) #6

Yes, we already have a vouched mozillian private category. Are you thinking about a post per suggestions and track their success based on likes or similar?


(Rubén Martín) #7

Sorry if I crossed a line publishing your idea here, I just wanted to open the conversation to more people.

On a personal note I think we have been behaving too careful about this kind of stuff and as result we have been becoming more and more closed “just in case” and that has been a problem for community participation. Let’s go back to be open by default if we want to avoid losing the essence of what we are :wink:


(David Teller) #8

The main issues I wish to avoid are:

  1. building a communication channel that nobody in the community will use
  2. building a communication channel that nobody in Product Management will use.

To avoid 2., we need to minimize the amount of noise. I’m not sure that “Likes” are sufficient for that purpose.


(David Teller) #9

On a personal note I think we have been behaving too careful about this
kind of stuff and as result we have been becoming more and more closed
"just in case" and that has been a problem for community participation.
Let’s go back to be open by default if we want to avoid losing the
essence of what we are

That is entirely possible, and this is what I have been doing generally (e.g. with my “Re-dreaming Firefox blog series”), but I felt that this topic was more touchy. Ah, well, we’ll see.


(Leo McArdle) #10

Oh, were you thinking of doing this in private? I was assuming this would be out in the open, for all to see.

Yeah - the topic body could be the suggestion itself, and people could vote for it by liking it, and comment by replying. I don’t think it would take killer amounts of code to add a more prominent like count somewhere (like on the topic list page for the category), if deemed necessary.

I may be misunderstanding, but don’t likes (the heart you can press below a Discourse post) do exactly that: minimize the noise? I find it’s incredibly useful in existing discussions to signify your support for something, or acknowledge somebody else’s point, without having to create a new post.


(Rubén Martín) #11

No, I was clarifying that it’s possible to restrict stuff to vouched mozillians only. For example, a public category where only vouched can create topic/like.


#12

I think that if we’re waiting for the project managers to go through these then we’ll definitely have way too many proposals for them to use their time wisely going through them. Ideally proposals would get moderated (like bug triage) for completeness and to look for spam.

After that I think it makes sense that people who can actually implement the proposal need to champion them. Rather than the project manager saying “hey team, I think this is a good idea” a developer says “hey, I like this idea and I’d like to work on it.” It could also allow volunteer developers to step up and say “I want to work on this, will it be well received?”

I also think we could take a page out of Participation’s strategy and start with a pilot. We need to not be afraid to iterate as new problems or good ideas come along.


(David Teller) #13

Ah, we’re not talking about the same noise. I was talking about minimizing the number of proposals that are bad for some reason (e.g. incomplete, or not useful for users, or not aligned with Mozilla’s mission) and that Product Management would have to read through.

Can Discourse be configured for something a bit more sophisticated than Like? i.e. voting on several criteria?

I didn’t know that Discourse could do that. I believe that this would be useful.


(Leo McArdle) #14

It would be possible with a plugin. What type/range of criteria were you thinking of?

I don’t think it’s quite as fine grained as use being able to control who can like or not, but we can definitely restrict who can post, reply or see in a category.


(Rubén Martín) #15

I think that if you can post, you can like.


(GeorgeRoter) #16

Question: What’s the lightest weight, fastest, simplest and most data driven way to test this idea?

I ask because I don’t think the tool or process matters much at this point – or at least it’s certainly way less important than testing the benefits and efficacy of the core idea:

  • making Mozilla more visibly transparent;
  • improving morale;
  • improving community interactions;
  • surfacing good ideas;
  • surfacing ideas specific to locales that are not currently represented by Product Management (i.e. most of the world).

All of these are totally unproven. And we can’t prove them through thinking them out. So let’s find a way to test them, quickly, and with minimum effort.


(Rubén Martín) #17

I think previous suggestions are super quick (we already have the tool and requires 0 development), a Discourse category where anyone can read but only vouched mozillians group can create a topic and like other topics.

We would just need to write a template an set it as pinned topic there on what the topic should include, like a clear topic subject and a few lines explaining it in the body.


(Rubén Martín) #18

OK, probably we would just need to apply something like this to sort by likes:

And we can just show open topics, so once something is implemented or discarded the topic can be closed and won’t be displayed.

Edit: This is exactly how the Discourse dev team gathers feature requests from forum users:


(GeorgeRoter) #19

I don’t think testing the tool or an open process is what we need to test. I think we need to test, narrowly, the concept of Mozillians providing product ideas, and product teams sifting through those for value.

Here’s what that would look like to me:

  • Collecting a 5-10 ideas through email/lists (I’m sure many are floating out there)
  • Setup an up-voting process (maybe Discourse is the best)
  • See if product teams find those useful (or what would make those ideas useful … form or type of idea)
  • Ask the contributors/voters if that whole process resulted in improved morale and improved community interactions

(Rubén Martín) #20

Yes, I agree, I was just commenting on how we can test that voting process with almost no effort with the current tools we have right now. Maybe in the future we decide to use other tool or just discard everything because it wasn’t a success.