Common Voice Android app: legal question about the logo and the name "Common Voice"

This news is incredibly disappointing for me to hear. I’ll outline a few reasons that I liked Sav’s unofficial Android app better than the official website. I really hope that Mozilla can allow the app, since I don’t think I’ll contribute any more without it.

  1. The interface flow is better. After pressing the button to stop recording, the app allows me to immediately listen again, and then I can choose to either send the recording or re-record the clip. This is so much better than the website, especially since I often stumble over my words while speaking, and have to re-record. On the website, recordings are done in batches of five, so I have to remember that I misspoke, then try to figure out which of the 5 I misspoke in, and then use the buttons to re-record that clip only, and then finally send the 5. It’s so much more annoying and it adds a lot of friction to me trying to speak.

  2. It’s more friendly for my disabilities. I have autism and I find animations on the screen very distracting; they stop me focusing on the task that I’m trying to perform. For example, this made Discord actually unusable for me when they made messages change colour when hovered. On the common voice website, everything is animated with no option to turn it off, which steals my focus away from trying to read and speak the sentences. In the unofficial app, the interface is much plainer, and I have the option to turn off animations entirely, which I use and really appreciate.

  3. Having a home screen icon encourages me to take the time to contribute when I’m not doing anything else. For example, if I’m at the bus stop waiting for the bus, I’ll often swipe through the home screens of my phone, waiting for an app icon to catch my attention and keep me occupied until the bus comes. Seeing the common voice home screen icon reminds me that it exists. I open the app, I press one button, and I can instantly start speaking. The website is a website, it’s not a home screen icon, it can’t even be installed as a PWA. Not remembering that common voice exists when I have time to kill completely stops me from contributing.

Could these problems be solved on the website? Perhaps. They could design and implement a new interface flow that makes more sense, they could add an option to disable animations, and they could make it installable as a PWA. But will they? I have no idea. It would take quite some time, and I bet the common voice team has other things to focus on. This is why I like the app — it has these features right now. Due to these reasons, if the app doesn’t work, then I simply won’t use common voice.

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BLEAH!
I am disgusted with these decisions!
Sav22999 was wrong not to ask for permission first, but you from Mozilla are wrong in everything else.
The work he has done is excellent, the app he created has open source code, his system works better than your site, he has no ulterior motives and you answer that his work is not valid?
I am not surprised that you are losing users with Firefox and that you will soon lose developers with these behaviors …

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+1 to the issue of the recording flow, I’d never thought about it in these terms but I think it’s a great summary of the advantage the app has over the website.

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Hi all, and thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and concerns.

I want to begin by quoting Jenny’s comment from a few days ago.

The reasons behind considering blocking access to 3rd party applications have only to do with security and complying with legal requirements around data collection.

We hear you, the Common Voice mobile experience is not the best, and we want to fix it as much as you do.

We will spend the last two weeks in July, planning our work for the second half of the year. During that time, we will review community feedback, all open issues, our planning so far, and we will prioritize our work for Half 2 2020 accordingly.

After that, I will personally come back to you with news about the future of the CV Android/mobile experience, how we will handle data from 3rd party apps, and with an updated and more detailed Product Community Roadmap.

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During that time, we will review community feedback, all open issues…

@Christos Hi, should I repost my comments here as issues? Should I separate them by topic or put everything in the same issue?

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Really thanks for the reply and for clarifications. That’s a very good news.
I’ll re-support the app and I’ll add a banner to advise users to report on Mozilla Discourse or GitHub bugs or problems got on website.

I hope Mozilla will understand the app is just to improve the project.
I’m a developer and I can unserstand the pressure Mozilla developers have as well, and the app should be a better news for them, because they could concentrate on desktop mainly, instead of both desktop and mobile.

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All the technical issues are captured at GitHub. Feel free to add them there, using one of the relevant templates. Thank you!

Thank you @Sav22999 for your understanding.

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First of all, thanks for your reply. It is appreciated.

As you know everyone from the website can send an audio, anonymously.

The app is better than an anonymous user, and it is donated to Mozilla by a volunteer.

I don’t undervaluate your phrase, but the context is different. Mozilla accept audio from everyone, even if anonymous. This app is a huge donation, and could help Mozilla.

Usually it could be an issue. But this is not the usual context. I know fair well laws on IP, I work on them since 1996. Talk with your legal department: the solution to all fears is to consider to fork and use the app officially, as previously suggested. In Laws there are many more solutions than no / yes.

I can understand you have a rigid roadmap. But this is a gift, technically excellent.

I stay tuned.

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The only reason I have heard about this project is via F-Droid store that has this app. If it was not for this app, myself and my girlfriend would have not even find out about this project.

We were planning to do a campaign in Romania, to post on the facebook page Corruption Kills (130k followers) to encourage them to install the app and start improving Common Voice.
If we want users to remember to do this every X days, one of the most simple way is having an app installed that could send reminders and other things that you ask the app to do (set a goal of doing 10 translation per day)

We will need to rethink how we should do this, maybe using some custom google calendar events that users will coming, and a onboarding video showing them what are the X steps so that they can also contribute to this awesome open source project

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I noticed that also. The app opens really fast (no network to wait[1] and browser to run) and having an endless stream of recordings to validate makes me now start more often and do more than with the web app and groups of five.

[1] The next/current recording is cached from last run

+1 I started recording again with the app. (And later stopped to focus on validations)

I’m not sure, the app would have nothing (features) to argument for the letting an app exists.

These are not the same people inside the 1000+ staff entity that is Mozilla. We shouldn’t mix everything, so the discussion will advance.

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Which are they? Like an app with malicious intents or that is negligent?

Thank you for your reply and suggestions. We will take them under consideration and will bring them to our legal department as suggestions on how to handle the 3rd party access while securing our API.

I am afraid I can’t speak to that right now since I was not in the latest legal meeting and I don’t have legal experience. However, we have a meeting next week, when I will be able to share more about the specifics of their recommendation.

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Hi all, I want to second what @phire and @Christos wrote and thank them for responding while I was out for US Holiday + a personal week of holiday.

I echo everything they’ve written and wanted to add that supporting the best web based experience is our goal. This means exploring options that are not tied to a particular OS and enable Mozilla staff to support and maintain a manageable Common Voice codebase. For this reason we are spending time scoping a progressive web app implementation that could greatly improve the mobile experience across devices and create experience parity for everyone.

This team greatly appreciates your input, feedback and time spent contributing. Thank you!

… and a web app wouldn’t work offline and won’t be in the mobile app stores … but this is not the problem.

Can the app coexists with the web app ? This is the question.

I can’t understand why “this” or “that” and nothing else. Thank you @mbranson, I’ll stay tuned.

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Still waiting for infos without a deadline, thank you.

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Hi @valentinospataro, as I mentioned in my previous comment:

During this time, we are also evaluating our 3rd party access through our API, with the support of the legal team.
As soon as we have more concrete plans for the future of our API will reach out to everyone with the news. I believe we will be able to have something to share during the first 2 weeks of August.

Cheers,
-Christos

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Understood, thank you.

Due to the recent defunding, the Common Voice project has been now put in “maintenance mode”: does this mean that contributions from the common voice app will be allowed for the foreseeable future? I feel discomfort for the recent developments at mozilla, but this one in particular would be partly good news for me. Thank you for your time and effort.

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@etcfstab thanks for reaching out here. At this point, yes, contributions made from the unofficial Android app will be accepted for the foreseeable future. Agreement with the Common Voice Terms of Service should remain in place in the app to ensure contributed data follows the same legal and licensing requirements as the primary platform at commonvoice.mozilla.org. We appreciate your contributions!

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Hi Megan, Christos, all

Any news about the official Common Voice API availability?

Thanks
giorgio