www.mozilla.org contribute pages no longer have a path that leads people to helping develop our open-source projects (e.g., filing bugs, writing code)

REOPENED
Unassigned

Status

www.mozilla.org
General
--
major
REOPENED
2 years ago
6 months ago

People

(Reporter: dbaron, Unassigned, NeedInfo)

Tracking

Production

Firefox Tracking Flags

(Not tracked)

Details

(URL)

Attachments

(1 attachment)

(Reporter)

Description

2 years ago
At the core of Mozilla has always been a set of open-source projects, including the code used to create Firefox.  Historically, there's always been a way to go to www.mozilla.org and learn how to get involved in those projects.  Following the changes to the new contribute pages in bug 1264966 (and future bug 1271422) this appears to no longer be the case.

(FWIW, I heard this complaint from one Mozillian a number of months ago, but I didn't say anything about it since I couldn't reproduce the problem.  I now realize that this might be because that person saw the A/B testing being done in bug 1168359.)

My expectation is that, if a person who wants to file bugs on our products or get involved in writing code for our products starts on www.mozilla.org, they should be able to follow a logical path to find information about how to do so.  Even if the people who do this are a numerically small portion of our contributors, they're an important part of our contributors, and we should continue to explicitly ask for those types of contribution.
I also prefer the old form. L10n is a good starting point for non-English-speakers to be involved with Mozilla, but it's gone. It's okay to prominently show easy ways to contribute, but removing other options is not a great idea given Mozilla's nature.

Updated

2 years ago
See Also: → bug 1271422
People who visited the former contribute page with the signup form often chose coding related tasks (together with QA). Here is a breakdown for the people who used the German version of the page ( http://arewegrowingyet.com/ linked from https://wiki.mozilla.org/Contribute/Dashboards is either gone or has been moved):

2015-05-01 - 2016-04-30
Total         1893 messages
User has issue 154 messages
---------------------------
Total revised 1739 messages
QA             260 messages
Coding         238 messages
General        201 messages
Support Helper 173 messages
Design         135 messages
Marketing      131 messages
Education      127 messages (most offtopic here)
Suggestions    118 messages
Documentation   96 messages
Webdev          94 messages
Localization    84 messages
Add-ons         45 messages
Marketplace     37 messages

Comment 3

2 years ago
Marking as a duplicate of 1125446 (which the website teem has classified as a Minor inconvenience, and therefore not nearly as important as you're making it out to be).
Status: NEW → RESOLVED
Last Resolved: 2 years ago
Resolution: --- → DUPLICATE
Duplicate of bug: 1125446
(Reporter)

Comment 4

2 years ago
No, this is a new regression since then, since the contribute pages used to provide a path.
Status: RESOLVED → REOPENED
Resolution: DUPLICATE → ---
(In reply to fantasai from comment #3)
> *** This bug has been marked as a duplicate of bug 1125446 ***

As David said, this has nothing to do with the home page, it's specific about the /contribute page.

I'm all for having links to documentation explaining how to contribute to code (can we add a new task page maybe?), but I confess that those emails coming from the form proved to be all but useful, at least for my own community.
(Reporter)

Comment 6

2 years ago
Yes, agreed that the form isn't a good idea.  (No idea where it sent contributors who wanted to write code...)  http://web.archive.org/web/20140118071228/http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/contribute/ , excluding the email form near the top, seemed like a better version of the contribute page, since it links to things that can help people get started, and I thought I remembered seeing something much more like it more recently than web.archive.org thinks.)
As for Japanese community, this is actually not a big issue. There is a local (to-be-redesigned) participation page at https://www.mozilla.jp/community/ giving short explanations for several tasks including l10n. I'd love the old contribute page :dbaron pointed out.
That version of the page was dropped for en-US about 2 years ago (Summer '14), even if it survived for some languages until 2/3 weeks ago.

At the same time the en-US form started using a different back-end, so I have no idea where those emails were sent. As far as I know there were also autoresponders that pointed to http://whatcanidoformozilla.org and http://developer.mozilla.org/En/Introduction

For localized versions of the page, one copy was sent to a community address, the other one to a different mail address for each area: https://github.com/mozilla/bedrock/blob/master/bedrock/mozorg/email_contribute.py#L32
Created attachment 8756280 [details] [review]
GitHub pull request

For reference, I'm attaching here a pull request from a contributor who wishes to add some tasks that involve more "real" contributions to the project. Personally, I agree with most of what is said here. I don't understand how the current tasks encourage any form of real contribution.

I understand there are steps in place to add back email signups for this page, although i don't know the exact time frame.
I put up the obvious pull request on the bedrock repository; you can check out what it looks like at http://anglachel.db48x.net:8000/en-US/contribute/signup/ should you want to see the result. I picked some obvious links, but perhaps there are some other suggestions?
Jen - any ideas on what we could do here?

If we don't have capacity for email signups currently, could we consider adding more complex tasks for contributors?
Flags: needinfo?(jbertsch)
(In reply to Daniel Brooks [:db48x] from comment #10)
> I put up the obvious pull request on the bedrock repository; you can check
> out what it looks like at
> http://anglachel.db48x.net:8000/en-US/contribute/signup/ should you want to
> see the result. I picked some obvious links, but perhaps there are some
> other suggestions?

Hi Daniel-

I'm waiting to discuss with our primary stakeholders, Lucy Harris and George Router, before moving forward with your request.

Thanks,
Jen
Flags: needinfo?(jbertsch)
(In reply to Alex Gibson [:agibson] from comment #11)
> Jen - any ideas on what we could do here?
> 
> If we don't have capacity for email signups currently, could we consider
> adding more complex tasks for contributors?

I like your idea, Alex.  I'll add to my discussion with George and Lucy.

Comment 14

2 years ago
1) I do think we should provide a set of links for interested technical contributors from Mozilla.org. Agree with all here.

I really like the work done from :db48x above that gives 3 technical options.

2) In reference to (1), these links need to go to well-designed processes for both onboarding and weeding people out (it gets a lot of traffic of people with varying levels of commitment, skill, interest, etc). It could be enough to point people to a page like this one on Servo https://github.com/servo/servo/blob/master/CONTRIBUTING.md that has a high bar but clear path.

3) In our extensive analysis, the old /contribute page was mostly not useful. It asked for people to sign up, and then sent them a broken automated email copying Mozilla staff, half who didn't work here anymore and the other half whose emails were filtered and never answered.

I'm confident we got nearly no new contributors from that old /contribute page.

There are probably exceptions to the above, which we tried to capture in some of our tests of the redesign.

4) We've learned a lot from the redesign and tests, and know the current page isn't quite right (though it moves in the right direction). Moving this forward is somewhat stalled because of resources -- Lucy can update on the analysis, strategy, timelines and roadmap.

Here's the last GitHub issue we have on this, with a presentation on the tests:
https://github.com/mozilla/participation-org/issues/359

Great to see the interest in this ... and I hope we'll be able to move this forward soon to address some of these concerns while leveraging the work we've done.

Cheers,
George
Flags: needinfo?(lharris)
(Reporter)

Comment 15

2 years ago
(In reply to groter from comment #14)
> I'm confident we got nearly no new contributors from that old /contribute
> page.

The old page linked "Coding" to https://developer.mozilla.org/docs/Mozilla/Developer_guide/Introduction , which is exactly where we want new such contributors to go, and getting people to that page does yield new contributors.  (I asked the most recent new contributor in my area of code, and he said he got started from that page, but wasn't sure where he found the link to it (which could be because the link to it is now gone).)

It also linked "Localization" to https://wiki.mozilla.org/L10n , which also seems like the right place.

(By "the old page", I'm looking at http://web.archive.org/web/20140118071228/http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/contribute/ .)
I can't speak of other contribution areas, but we did certainly used to get contributors dropping through to both the webdev mailing list and on IRC, whom came via the older /contribute page. I'm not sure about the last most recent version (that had just the email form), as I'm not sure where those emails went.
(In reply to groter from comment #14)
> 3) In our extensive analysis, the old /contribute page was mostly not
> useful. It asked for people to sign up, and then sent them a broken
> automated email copying Mozilla staff, half who didn't work here anymore and
> the other half whose emails were filtered and never answered.

You'll get no complaints from me for removing that.

> Moving this forward is somewhat stalled because of resources -- Lucy can
> update on the analysis, strategy, timelines and roadmap.

Good news! You're floating in a sea of talent, and many of those people feel strongly about this issue.

> Here's the last GitHub issue we have on this, with a presentation on the
> tests:
> https://github.com/mozilla/participation-org/issues/359

Yes, I've looked at it. I cannot say that I was very impressed; I think you were measuring the wrong thing. Or perhaps it's just not a very interesting thing. Anyway, this isn't really the right forum for such a discussion.

(In reply to David Baron :dbaron: ⌚️UTC-7 (review requests must explain patch) from comment #15)
> The old page linked "Coding" to
> https://developer.mozilla.org/docs/Mozilla/Developer_guide/Introduction ,
> which is exactly where we want new such contributors to go, and getting
> people to that page does yield new contributors.

Indeed, that page is great; It'll be a much better choice for the contribute page than a link to wiki.mozilla.org.
I've pushed the patch linked in Comment 9 to demo1 for people to take a look at:

https://www-demo1.allizom.org/en-US/contribute/signup/
Hey Daniel as has already been mentioned the current page is an ongoing experiment that myself and the Mozilla.org team are running to try and understand a)who comes to this page b)how we most effectively connect them with the kind of contribution they're interested in (while also acknowledging that not every part of the organization is set up well for contribution). 

So far we've noticed people who come through this page seem to have a preference for accessible simple tasks, but we're also interested in understanding if technical contributors come through this page, and connecting them with a technical and challenging task. For this reason I think a version of what is being demoed might prove as an interesting experiment around this question and the fact that you've already set it up is amazing. 

For the sake of this helping to inform the future of this page I'm probably going to suggest some adjustments to what exists in the demo. 

We don't have any data about conversion from wiki pages but anecdotally there are concerns about whether it's the best starting point for new contributors (I'll let mhoye chime in on this) and it's also very difficult for us to track whether people who go to the wiki page actually end up doing a contribution. 

I'd love to keep the spirit of this but in a way where we can see if people who click through to the page actually go on to make any contributions. 

I've spoken to MHoye about this today and am proposing we send people to http://areweeveryoneyet.org/onramp/
which let's people get spun-up to contribute to the firefox codebase and that we can set up to measure how far people get. 

I'd love your thoughts and echo all of the excitement about your enthusiasm for this topic. 

Thanks,

Lucy
Flags: needinfo?(lharris) → needinfo?(mhoye)
(Reporter)

Comment 20

2 years ago
(In reply to Alex Gibson [:agibson] from comment #18)
> I've pushed the patch linked in Comment 9 to demo1 for people to take a look
> at:
> 
> https://www-demo1.allizom.org/en-US/contribute/signup/

Adding the extra row of options there looks great.

I think it would be far more useful to link to:
https://developer.mozilla.org/docs/Mozilla/Developer_guide/Introduction
than to:
https://hg.mozilla.org/mozilla-central/
though.

I'm also not crazy about the use of "hack"; I probably prefer something more along the lines of "write code".  But maybe that's just me.
(Reporter)

Comment 21

2 years ago
(In reply to Lucy Harris [:lucyeoh] from comment #19)
> I've spoken to MHoye about this today and am proposing we send people to
> http://areweeveryoneyet.org/onramp/
> which let's people get spun-up to contribute to the firefox codebase and
> that we can set up to measure how far people get. 

I'm ok with this too, although I'm concerned that it's missing links to a bunch of the content in https://developer.mozilla.org/docs/Mozilla/Developer_guide/Introduction about the later stages of making a first contribution (currently steps 4, 5, and 6).

Comment 22

2 years ago
I'm happy to add that information in and link back to MDN.
Flags: needinfo?(mhoye)
(In reply to Lucy Harris [:lucyeoh] from comment #19)
> ... and it's also very difficult
> for us to track whether people who go to the wiki page actually end up doing
> a contribution. 

My primary concern is that the real meaty, technical stuff is being removed not because it's unused or unimportant, but because its usefulness is hard to measure.

I'm pretty sure that people would be miffed if we tried to correlate visitors to this page with clones of the hg repository, so measuring the impact of this link will probably always be impossible. I think we can and should simply decide that it's important, and that we'll keep linking to important things even though we can't measure their impact.

Comment 24

2 years ago
I'm pretty sure that throwing important stuff overboard because success would be hard to measure is a thing that has happened zero times here. Likewise, nobody thinks technical contributions are unimportant or unused. None people think that.

Implying that non-code contributions to Mozilla are somehow thin gruel is not the right thing. 

We can definitely point to correlations between changes click rates on various contributor onramps and their anticipated outcomes even without precise per-user tracking. 

The fact that we do some things on principle, because they're important even if they're risky and low-yield, does not mean we should throw measurement and analysis to the winds. The fact that we think some things are important enough to do on principle makes it _much more_ important that we approach them methodically, experiment and measure results carefully, not less.
(In reply to Mike Hoye [:mhoye] from comment #24)
> I'm pretty sure that throwing important stuff overboard because success
> would be hard to measure is a thing that has happened zero times here.
> Likewise, nobody thinks technical contributions are unimportant or unused.
> None people think that.

Good! I am heartened to hear this. I merely note that bug 1264966 did happen somehow.

> Implying that non-code contributions to Mozilla are somehow thin gruel is
> not the right thing. 

I do not imply; I state outright that following a twitter account is thin gruel compared to editing the documentation, translating Firefox, or hacking on Firefox itself.
Oh look; it got worse.
(In reply to Daniel Brooks [:db48x] from comment #26)
> Oh look; it got worse.

Sorry that this bug went quiet so so long, please see Bug 1328877 for more context. 

We're currently seeing if we can remove and redirect the /contribute pages on mozorg to whatever the Participation team is working to channel people toward currently. We need to get some more info as to what this destination should be, but as far as we know they are no longer pushing these pages on mozorg, and we do agree the pages in their current state are not ideal (this is also why they are no longer linked to in the main navigation).

I hope we may be in a position to resolve this soon.
See Also: → bug 1328877
Adding nothing but sarcasm to a bug is not going to get it fixed, or sway anyone's opinion about where it lives on our list of priorities.

There's a link to the Bugzilla etiquette guidelines at the bottom of this and every bug now, and I encourage everyone to take those guidelines to heart. Thank you.

Comment 29

a year ago
Brief response here:

1) We know this is a problem (that there is a way for i) new people to find ways to get involved/get on-boarded, ii) existing people to find opportunities, iii) us to take advantage of the substantial traffic on moz.org to grow participation impact).

2) We are focused right now on looking at the upstream problem/question: What should we actually be guiding people to be involved with, and are those setup best for success?

3) In the meantime, https://www.whatcanidoformozilla.org is a strong option for (i) and (ii) thanks to mhoye and others. Our team is going to be contributing to that, and it's really well setup if anyone wants to help.

4) We could use some help on ideas about how to direct traffic there (apart from moz.org).

5) I will follow-up in bug 1328877 about linking from moz.org ... the challenge is that from prior research on that page it's still unclear the type of people we get, and we know there's a low signal:noise ratio.

Comment 30

a year ago
https://www.whatcanidoformozilla.org/ is a fine resource for people who want to help but have no idea what they want to contribute. But it does nothing for people who already have some idea.

It is typical of pretty much *every* open source project to explain themselves as *being* an open source project and providing links to the bug reporting tools, source code repositories, and other resources for reporting and fixing errors... but Mozilla does not do that anymore. Which makes it seem like it no longer wants these kinds of contributions.

One of the key ways to pull in this kind of talent is to be absolutely straightforward about it. So if you're still pondering how to do it... you're probably overthinking the problem. It should be two clicks, no more, to get from http://mozilla.org/ to instructions on reporting a bug or pulling down the source. Simplest, most straightforward way to do that? Make /contribute a list and link it from the front page.

It can be a pretty list, with illustrations, if it makes you feel better. It can have whatever bells and whistles will make your marketing department proud of itself and therefore willing to tolerate its utilitarian simplicity. It can have links to historical and organization context and to handholding tools for the lost and curious. But ultimately it should be straightforward, it should be complete, and it should provide direct access to the internals of the project, the way http://www-archive.mozilla.org/contribute/ did in the past.
Even when someone finally finds https://www.mozilla.org/contribute, it is quite high-level these days. I haven't found a path to code contribution.

Comment 32

a year ago
Here's another example of an open source project's Get Involved page: https://www.blender.org/get-involved/ It takes two clicks to get to their bug reporter. You could literally fix this bug by stealing their page and updating its copy to talk about Mozilla.

Is there any reason not to do this? Or would a patch be rejected? (Assuming the team responsible doesn't have time to do it themselves.)

Comment 33

a year ago
Thanks for the link to Blender. I think it's good.

Perhaps we're overthinking this, but the Mozilla.org reality is this: When /contribute was linked off the main page it got 500K-600K visitors per month. This resulted in a lot of noise for community managers, annoying people who never heard back from us, and not adding much in the way of contributors.

Let me uncover my assumptions:
1) Right now, we're not losing many who are experienced open source contributors and would have anyway got through the crappy Mozilla experience of a massive funnel (which something like the old /contribute page was and the Blender page may be) because they can find the various Wiki pages through a basic "contribute to Firefox" search.

2) If we would put up a something like the old /contribute page or Blender page right now with Mozilla.org level traffic, we would still have the problem of noise that we can't deal with.

3) Spending a bit more time on thinking this through now and building something fit for various Mozilla purposes is better spent than whipping up something quick on Mozilla.org

With those, here are the actions I'm pursuing:
- I have a very drafty set of ideas sent to the Mozilla.org team ... will paste here once they are slightly less drafty
- I'd like to fix https://wiki.mozilla.org/Contribute as it comes up in Google searches and can be a good "discovery" place for active projects --> could use some help with this if you're interested

Thoughts?
(Reporter)

Comment 34

a year ago
(In reply to groter from comment #33)
> 1) Right now, we're not losing many who are experienced open source
> contributors and would have anyway got through the crappy Mozilla experience
> of a massive funnel (which something like the old /contribute page was and
> the Blender page may be) because they can find the various Wiki pages
> through a basic "contribute to Firefox" search.

I'm skeptical of this assumption.  Anecdotally, I talked to a few people who came to Mozilla as contributors, and a number of them did find their way through the contribute page.  It's not clear whether they would have succeeded without it.  Remember that the people who become long-term contributors might not have a lot of open-source experience; the ones who do are probably already busy with their contributions to other projects (and I suspect less likely to become long-term members of our community).

> 2) If we would put up a something like the old /contribute page or Blender
> page right now with Mozilla.org level traffic, we would still have the
> problem of noise that we can't deal with.

I'm not what state the "old /contribute page" is at this point -- but I don't see how something that links more prominently to https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Mozilla/Developer_guide/Introduction would cause this problem.
My main issue is that now there isn't currently a single authoritative page where I can redirect new code contributor to help them find a project to work on. /contribute doesn't link to such a page, and m.o doesn't link to /contribute.

How as a new contributor am I supposed to find my way ?
(In reply to groter from comment #33)
> Perhaps we're overthinking this, but the Mozilla.org reality is this: When
> /contribute was linked off the main page it got 500K-600K visitors per
> month. This resulted in a lot of noise for community managers, annoying
> people who never heard back from us, and not adding much in the way of
> contributors.

I'm curious: How did the people take action that came on community manager radar?

Ideally, we'd link from the front page to docs that explain how to checkout the code, build it, find a mentored bug, test a patch and post the patch for review. I'd imagine the risk of noise to be on people marked as bug mentors. If the risk of noise is elsewhere, why is that?

> 1) Right now, we're not losing many who are experienced open source
> contributors

As dbaron says, experienced contributors are already busy with the projects they got their experience in. We should have a funnel that works for people who aren't experienced yet.
Flags: needinfo?(groter)

Comment 37

7 months ago
> If the risk of noise is elsewhere, why is that?

At some point the contribute page was an invitation to email someone, rather than a pointer to the info you're listing (which is what it was historically). See https://web.archive.org/web/20150304001516/https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/contribute/ vs https://www-archive.mozilla.org/contribute/

Comment 38

7 months ago
This bug has turned into quite the bikeshed. If I'm reading the original reporter's intent, this bug is about adding a link to this page [1] from this page [2] 

I can reach out to the responsible parties for a decision on that (and only that) so we can close this bug. Am I missing something else?

[1] https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Mozilla/Developer_guide/Introduction
[2] https://www.mozilla.org/contribute/
Flags: needinfo?(dbaron)
The second issue is that /contribute isn't linked from the main page / for some months now.

Comment 40

7 months ago
(In reply to Julien Wajsberg [:julienw] from comment #39)
> The second issue is that /contribute isn't linked from the main page / for
> some months now.

That seems fixed (click "Get Involved" on the main page.)
Ah, I see, the french version hasn't been updated yet. Thanks for correcting me. I'll ping the french translators.
The page is linked from the global navigation, but only in English for now: https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/

Mozilla has so many ways to participate [1]; IMO this outdated contributor landing page needs a major overhaul probably with the help of the Open Innovation team (previously Participation team).

[1] https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Vh8lAXh7cQ5VVBW8EWu7pTA1EaNVvpVplLFGPBELRHw/edit#gid=0&range=152:195

Comment 43

7 months ago
(In reply to Kohei Yoshino [:kohei] from comment #42)
> The page is linked from the global navigation, but only in English for now:
> https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/

Let's file the localization bugs elsewhere.

> Mozilla has so many ways to participate [1]; IMO this outdated contributor
> landing page needs a major overhaul probably with the help of the Open
> Innovation team (previously Participation team).
> 
> [1]
> https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/
> 1Vh8lAXh7cQ5VVBW8EWu7pTA1EaNVvpVplLFGPBELRHw/edit#gid=0&range=152:195

Let's address the larger overhaul elsewhere. I would like to solve the original reporter's issue, which I *think* is summarized in comment 38.
(Reporter)

Comment 44

7 months ago
(In reply to Jet Villegas (:jet) from comment #38)
> This bug has turned into quite the bikeshed. If I'm reading the original
> reporter's intent, this bug is about adding a link to this page [1] from
> this page [2] 
> 
> I can reach out to the responsible parties for a decision on that (and only
> that) so we can close this bug. Am I missing something else?
> 
> [1]
> https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Mozilla/Developer_guide/Introduction
> [2] https://www.mozilla.org/contribute/

That would be the minimal fix, although I think it would be good to restore the entire block from "Helping Users" to "Education" (except removing any that are no longer useful paths) that was in https://web.archive.org/web/20140118071228/http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/contribute/ since I'd like to see good contribution paths for areas other than writing code as well.
Flags: needinfo?(dbaron)
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