Consolidating Documentation and Communication

While working on the Get Involved page (, one thing that has concerned me is how spread out documentation and communication is.

I was just trying to figure out how I’d search to find out if this has already been discussed. My best hope would be that Google had indexed everything correctly… Which, after trying a few searches, I’m not sure is possible. I mean, Thunderbird is a communication tool. Searching for communication about consolidating communication about a communication tool gets a bit repetitive… coughs

First question: Has this been discussed already?

Assuming it hasn’t…


May I suggest moving all Thunderbird documentation onto a domain?

Perhaps a GitHub based static site that users can submit pull requests to when they want to submit an edit?

And/or a wiki?


Can we move all support forum type channels into Discourse?

Would it be possible to mirror all the mailing lists and newsgroups onto Discourse? Is it possible to make that a two way street?

Over that past 8+ years of using Open Source projects, every time I’ve encountered one that primarily uses mailing lists for support, I’ve had a much harder time finding answers to my questions. Searching mailing list archives is always painful. I’ve found real discussion forums much better.

I know others have the exact opposite experience, that’s why two way mirroring would be amazing.

Anyway, I just want to start talking about it. I know there is a LOT of history contained in the various channels, so making sure we don’t lose that, and don’t lose the good parts of the different tools is essential. I’m brand new to contributing to Thunderbird, so I know I simply am missing parts of the picture of why things are the way they are. But I also have a new perspective. Hopefully my perspective can help in a good way. :slight_smile:

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I think these are great points. I’d love to hear @wsmwk’s feedback on these.

I love the energy and interestt.

My short answer is, with release a few weeks away, unfortunately now is a not a good time to be making major structural changes. Even discussion will take away manpower needed in the ramp up and roll out to release. But discussion after we get our docs in shape for release and the release is well away is fine.

The longer answer …

Communications: a) there are many aspects of discourse I like, so I do foresee certain areas headed there (like beta discussion which currently don’t have a home) so … b) I think it will be great for targetted audiences, c) in general I suspect killing old discussion locations in order to centralize is not a big win (even if it worked) and they have historical info which is searchable (if you had trouble searching then that should be investigated), d) I am concerned about the future and longevity of discourse, given the IMO checkered past of mozilla communication methods

Docs: somewhat similar arguments, but in general, anything that volunteers should be able to maintain should not be on website unless it is wiki-ish. Most important in the next several weeks is to get important docs (KB, MDN) updated so user get relatively current info or can contribute to updating them without being overwhelmed. We likely also need new articles. Things like FAQ, addons, … including things that new volunteers think are missing. And we need new manpower to do this - the current people are somewhat burnt out.

My 2 cents

I’ll come back and poke this topic after the new release. One thought, though, consolidating might help bring in new contributers by making it easier to see where they could contribute.

For future discussion: