Eyes Above The Waves

Robert O'Callahan. Christian. Repatriate Kiwi. Hacker.

Thursday 8 March 2012

Requiring Planet Mozilla Content To Be Mozilla-Project-Related

Like Taras, I think planet.mozilla.org content should be related to the Mozilla project.

Personally I like reading other community members' non-Mozilla content, but I recognize that many (most, probably) other people expect planet.mozilla.org content to be Mozilla-related (regardless of fine-print disclaimers) and I think that's a reasonable expectation. Looking at it slightly differently, Taras' request for an aggregated feed of Mozilla-project-related posts is very reasonable, and planet.mozilla.org is where people will start looking for it, so that's where it should be.

FWIW, after migrating from Moveable Type to Blogger and discovering that gave me the ability to send only Mozilla-tagged posts to planet.mozilla.org, I did just that, starting in January. If you want to read my non-Mozilla-related content, please subscribe to my blog feed directly.

I'll be writing something there shortly about my ongoing holiday in Europe. Currently I'm watching rats run around Fontaine des Innocents in Paris :-). And wondering why my Android phone suddenly can't connect to a WiFi network it was connected to an hour ago, which my laptop is using just fine :-(.


This exists for those who want it: http://planet.mozilla.org/projects/
That is too narrow (it doesn't collect community members' Mozilla-related posts, like mine), and it isn't where people looking for Mozilla-project content will first look (http://planet.mozilla.org).
Michael Kaply
The problem is I don't want to subscribe to everyone's blog. I liked having one place where I could get everyone's blog at once. I would rather see a version of planet that contains every post from everyone's blog.
Like a lot of people, I have an enormous amount of content to read in a day. When I read Planet Mozilla, I expect to get Mozilla content. Anything else makes my goal of getting the most Mozilla content in a limited time frame more difficult. I like the idea of including links to blog poster's personal blogs from the Planet Mozilla feed so the reader can choose to follow that person's non-Mozilla content as well.
Asa Dotzler
ROC, I'd like to propose a rule that email signatures showing up in Mozilla forums like the newsgroups and project or team emails be restricted to work-related content. Oh, an no more socializing on IRC. That's where work is supposed to happen and I don't want to waste my time reading about anything there that isn't Mozilla work related. And the Mozilla offices, conference rooms, and hallways.... This project cannot tolerate the sharing of personal or non-work content. We're not adults enough for that. - A
So that's why I haven't seen any non-Mozilla posts from you recently :-( It was always refreshing to see a new post from you knowing that if it wasn't about Mozilla it was still going to be interesting. I looked forward to awesome photos of volcanoes and other places that make me want to visit NZ. I actually think yours is one of the best blogs on Planet, finding a good balance between frequency and content.
Asa Dotzler
and I too miss all of your awesome NZ posts. It was fueling my desire to move there. - A
Asa, no need to play the straw-man game with me. Of course there are times and places for non-Mozilla-related content. planet.mozilla.org just isn't one of them.
Asa Dotzler
Robert, if Planet cannot tolerate content which is not Mozilla-specific, I assert (and not as a strawman-- I will move to try to have it enforced) that the Mozilla newsgroups are similarly no place for non-Mozilla-related content. Your email signature definitely falls into the category of non-Mozilla-related content. I don't find your or any other Evangelical's proselytizing offensive -- even as an atheist I enjoy being reminded of some pretty great teachings now and again, but there are plenty of atheists and non-Christians in the Mozilla project who do find this content of yours offensive and who will be very happy to see you compelled to stop sharing that content in Mozilla public forums. We are either a community of adults who can deal with differing points of view (and even thrive on differing points of view) or we are not. You have called for Planet to become a work-only forum and if it's purpose -- to feature the lives and work of the Mozilla community, I have not seen any compelling reasons as to why IRC and the Newsgroups and even the halls of Mozilla physical offices should not also be so treated. - A
Very few people are surprised to find personal statements in email signatures. Email signatures have been commonly used that way since email began. Some people may not like my signatures, but I have never ever had anyone complain they were "off topic". Newsgroups are an extension of email in this respect. [I'm surprised to hear there are people who think I should be compelled to stop using Bible verses in email signatures. I've been using email and newsgroups for 20 years and never knowingly encountered such a person.] Likewise, people are rarely surprised to find non-Mozilla discussion on some Mozilla IRC channels or in Mozilla offices. Importantly, people don't quickly visit IRC or the halls of Mozilla offices, or my email signatures, expecting to digest a bunch of Mozilla-related content there and finding something else.
Asa Dotzler
I'm surprised more haven't said it to you directly. There's a non-trivial amount of discomfort, even hostility to your signatures -- and to Christianity in general, from people around the Mozilla community . (It's unfortunate that we are an intolerant bunch.) I know this because I'm pretty regularly involved in conversations about questionable content in the Mozilla universe, from blogs to bugzilla to email, and your name comes up literally every time. I see Gerv catch it. I seen Benjamin catch it. I see Channy catch it. Many Mozillians are quite bothered by any expression of Christianity coming from other Mozillians. Your signatures cover more newsgroup ground than all of the "controversial" posts at Planet combined. I did a quick count of your newsgroup postings over the years and it's staggering. In my incomplete archive, you have shared off-topic (and offensive to many) religious content in your newsgroup postings more than a thousand times from the email address robert@ocallahan.org. Planet's seen overtly christian content posted fewer than a couple of dozen times in its entire history. I don't think we should be policing that kind of thing. I actually really like that we share with each other some of our personal lives, interests, and motivations. That's a big piece of what attracted me to Mozilla almost 15 years ago and it's a big reason why I'm still here that much later. I hope we can be a community of intelligent and accepting adults who are willing to share our ideas and our beliefs with each other openly and constructively and I'm deeply saddened that we seem to be unable to do that and so we resort to discouraging that kind of communication in our public spaces. I often laugh at the failures of other open source projects which just can't seem to get products right. But now I'm laughing at us because, while open source communities all across the Web seem to handle Planets with lots of personal content just fine, we're not mature enough to do the same. Maybe we're just too corporate for something like that.
Benoit Jacob
This is the key point: other open source projects do *NOT* handle personal content "just fine". For example, Planet GNOME is drowning under not-GNOME-relevant content and has also had several terrible flame-wars degenerating into bitter personal attacks. I don't want to see that on Planet Mozilla.
Asa: OK, that's interesting, but my first-hand experience is that over the last twenty years of prolific emailing, I recall receiving just one negative comment about my email signatures (from a complete stranger). If there's a large silent population that has a problem with them, I wish they'd mention it to me directly. Anyway, your points are tangential to my main point. planet.mozilla.org should stick to Mozilla-related content because that's what people expect to find there, whether or not they find non-Mozilla content that shows up offensive.
Asa Dotzler
Sorry. Gecko editor caused me to delete some content there. If Planet's purpose, (as outlined by the Planet Module when it was re-launched 5 years ago) -- to feature the lives and work of the Mozilla community, is destroyed and replaced by some sterile work-only alternative, then I see no compelling reasons why IRC and the other forums should not be upended similarly.
The trouble with subscribing to your personal blog is that then I'd have to see your Mozilla-related posts twice. It would be nice to be able to configure Planet so you can opt out of specific blogs.
Jeff Walden
Planet has a convenient OPML link to make it easy to subscribe to everyone's feeds, or to customize those subscriptions as desired. If you follow the Planet blog, you can get updates on feed changes and adjust your personal subscriptions accordingly. I've been doing this for awhile, partly because I want to get uncensored feeds (roc's was one such feed), and partly because I just don't have enough time in the day to follow all the feeds I follow *and* follow some of the people on planet who just aren't quite relevant enough to what I do (mostly marketing/PR, but I've added various other areas along the way -- I can't kid myself that I'm close enough to being a webdev any more to get much out of modern webdev posting, alas).
Asa Dotzler
ROC, since you personally enjoy reading other peoples non-Mozilla content, perhaps you can voice that. I am absolutely positive all the "it must be changed" forces will say something while too many of the "I actually like it" people will not be motivated to say anything and it will seem "obvious" that the change crowd is the one to cater to. http://groups.google.com/group/mozilla.governance/browse_thread/thread/6abe8b6a24eb3102/952101e4dd0bd0c7