Why newsgroup aren't monitored by Mozilla Staff despite being listed on Mozilla website

Continuing the discussion from Donation - Lowest transaction fee for an Australian:

Why aren’t newsgroups monitored by Mozilla staff when they are listed on the Mozilla website - Forums — Mozilla ?

I can understand https://www.reddit.com/r/firefox/ not being monitored but newsgroups?

A lot of these newsgroups are obsolete and pending to be decommissioned. @mhoye was leading this effort, but I’m sure there are more “obsolete” newsgroups that we are aware of.

Do you have concrete examples we should review? Thanks!

This is a cleanup job that’s pending some work on my end, but we’re going to “re-factoring”, for lack of a better term, a lot if this stuff shortly.

Right now the general shape of newsgroup and mailing list support is that we have Discourse, two outdated Mailman installs that we host ourselves, a bunch of Google Groups all of which are synchronized with each other and the Giganews NNTP bridge by a now-ancient three-way synchronization script that seems to run OK, is maintained by nobody, and periodically lets spam sneak into all of our forums through one of its many connections.

A lot of those forums are overwhelmingly spam now, largely because the whole thing is a sort of Rube Goldberg contraption that only barely works when it works, and has been suffering from years of neglect. And, as you note, it makes it basically impossible for people to figure out where we are and how to talk to us. So we’d like to put the whole thing behind us.

We’ve slowly been chipping away at this problem for a while now, but our tentative plans - and these are very tentative right now , to be clear - are going to look something like:

  • We transition our still-living mailing lists to Discourse. This will give us much better community visibility, discoverability and accessibility, as well as better moderation tools, and people who are still enthusiastic about “classic” delivery mechanisms will still be able to use mail clients or feed readers to follow along or participate. We’re investigating this right now, and the hope is that with a minimal amount of server-side shenanigans we’ll be able to make this change without requiring anyone on the client side to do anything. That might not play out, but we’ll give people plenty of notice either way.

  • Private or secure mailing lists (we have a few) become private Google Groups, where a bunch of them are already living anyway.

  • We shut off newsgroup support. This won’t mean shutting off the newsgroups per-se (I see you, mozilla.general people, and haven’t forgotten) but it will mean they aren’t supported forums anymore. The synchronization contraption goes away, which means official NNTP support goes away. This might inconvenience some people, I admit, and I’m sorry.

  • We archive our mailings lists and shut off our two (!) Mailman servers. We don’t want to throw away our archives, but it’ll be nice to stop emailing people passwords in plaintext every month.

At that point we will hopefully have the best of both worlds, at least as far as forums that Mozilla has a hand in are concerned - modern, discoverable and participatory forums you can access with a web browser and access with a variety of tools, and not so many of them or in so many places that anything gets ignored or suffers from attention rot.

I hope that seems reasonable, but I’d be happy for feedback.

– mhoye

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