MDN feedback process is too complex



Developer Documentation
5 years ago
3 years ago


(Reporter: Art K, Unassigned)



(Whiteboard: u=mdn p=0 c=General)



5 years ago
User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 5.1; rv:6.0.2) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/6.0.2
Build ID: 20110902133214

Steps to reproduce:

Searched for info on writing/modifying extensions
Found the documentation to be incomplete & woefully out of date
Found not one single date stamp in any doc to help in judging appropriateness of info
Tried to give feedback re MDN content

Actual results:

Ran into multiple roadblocks and unnecessary obstacles to reporting
1-MDN document feedback link => Project:Feedback page
2-Feedback page is mostly about editing docs & requiring IRC
     I have no need for nor desire to partake in IRC
     My post was to be feedback about existing content, not editing
3-Finally, at the very bottom of the page is suggestion for filing a bug
    This is total overkill and a misuse of Bugzilla
     Bugzilla should be used for bugs, not for feedback
4-Three levels of links to get to an inappropriate feedback page

Expected results:

MDN content page feedback link should link directly to a feedback form NOT requiring any other resource or obstacle.

If you want user participation or want to encourage users to become contributors / developers why do you make it so difficult and erect such obstacles?

I realize that there will be a learning curve to XUL and extensions but without ready access to accurate info the curve will be just too steep. Unfortunately, this experience becomes an indication of the difficulties in getting that info and is a big demotivator.

Comment 1

5 years ago
PS - My feedback was to request/suggest date stamping all documentation only, not to complain about quality of the content
Thanks for your input!

The reason the Feedback page starts by talking about editing the content is because we find we have to remind people that MDN is a wiki and that they can contribute. We're trying to encourage people to fix problems they find instead of filing bugs. Even long-time Mozillians fail to realize they can edit the content. :)

IRC is one of many ways feedback can be offered, so we want to provide information on how to sign in.

We'll see if we can make that page more streamlined though.
Summary: MDN Feedback → MDN feedback process is too complex
Whiteboard: u=mdn p=0
Whiteboard: u=mdn p=0 → u=mdn p=0 c=General

Comment 3

5 years ago
Having an obscure Edit button that disappears as soon as the page is scrolled is not sufficient. If the MDN system is a Wiki then say it is a Wiki, not just that pages can be edited. There is a big difference in implied permission, status and content - especially to a newbie. Users from all over the internet know what a wiki is. Newcomers to MDN don't necessarily know what "edit" means for MDN or what is allowed/desired. Terminology and semantics are very important. Perhaps a good question to ask is: Why do "long-time Mozillians [still] fail to realize they can edit the content"?

You also do not have a "talk" page link/feature (see Wikipedia). If something is not clear or is confusing *in* the article, there is no mechanism for a reader to suggest that clarification and/or expansion *of* the article is needed. IOW, meta content. A reader with limited knowledge of the subject is certainly not going to embed a request for clarification or a negative critique in the page content itself but, with encouragement, might add to a "talk" page.

Although IRC may be only "one of many ways feedback can be offered", my observation was that (on the page at the time), it was the ONLY means of feedback described (which implied it was the only means permitted). A month after my post Janet Swisher added some E-mail feedback links [Thank you Janet], so that problem is alleviated.

Good documentation means not only clear and complete content but also content that is relatively easy to find. If making a "page more streamlined" is anything like what has been done to the main Mozilla pages please don't. The same mindset that is destroying the utility of Firefox with its "clean look" has ruined Mozilla's home pages. Instead of a top level portal with drop down menus of most of the places one want to go, a visitor now has to click through page after page of ambiguous titles and wade though marketing hype to try and find desired some content. There is not even a search function! Starting with the Mozilla home page and trying to find the documentation pages I gave up after four levels fruitless click throughs. That is not customer support, that is customer torture!

To return to my original request/suggestion I notice that there is now a "History" button with which one can obtain date info. If it existed in February, I didn't notice. However, since the last edit date is available would it be too much to ask that it be added to the main article page? Again as Wikipedia does.

Documentation may be a thankless job yet it is one of the most critical and beneficial aspects of customer service - especially for customer acquisition and retention. Unfortunately, the intangibility of documentation's benefits means that its utility metric is hard to quantify and requires an enlightened management to recognize and support its full due.
There is no actionable request here.
Last Resolved: 3 years ago
Resolution: --- → INCOMPLETE
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