Project/2010 Goals/SUMO

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On November 21 2008, SUMO hosted Support Firefox Day where we had three discussion sessions about the 2010 goals. These the notes and feedback we got from users and contributors during those discussions.

Rather than structuring this around the proposed goals, it's structured around discussion topics as they came up.

1) Mozilla's role in keeping the web open

  • Mozilla is about an open and transparent internet more so than anything. It is our core value and something that we kept coming back to over and over again.
  • If we're well positioned as a major player in internet technology (i.e. if Firefox is very successful) we're better able to leverage that position to advance our goals of an open internet. This is why we aim for having Mozilla as a centerpiece of the internet.
  • We also need to maintain and increase the reach of Firefox to help establish ourselves in this field.
  • Mozilla should be more proactive about open web technologies. We oppose the Flash monopoly on media on the internet not just because it's a closed technology but because it was a unilateral decision. Web standards should be decided with consultation with developers from numerous places.
  • We also collaborate with other open-source projects as well as freely lend our technology as the basis for numerous internet-related and non-internet projects
  • A larger goal like this is one major reason why people stay with the project and continue to volunteer
  • Mozilla is a force for good, looking at the greater internet rather than just increasing profits.
  • This message is very unclear to our users and may be something that we need to work on in terms of broader outreach and education.
  • An open web needs to also be secure.

2) Mozilla as an example of the strength of a community model

  • People will give freely of their time and services to be part of something like Mozilla and because they enjoy helping people
  • Local communities are a strength of Mozilla, shows our global nature. We're still very English-centered though. This may not always be the case as our user base goes global.

3) Data, privacy and the power of aggregate data

  • The internet is an exchange of your personal data for services but in its current form, this exchange is really unclear. -- your data is in hundreds of places and it's not convenient to have to reenter it places and easy to lose track of it.
  • Mozilla can lead in the area of bringing this back under the control of the user.
  • This is not the same as saying make it impossible for sites to have your data or store your data (that wouldn't be beneficial to sites and will drive them out of business), but make your information portable and easy to track where it's going and knowing how much you're sharing.
  • This is also an education goal. Users should be taught what sites can or can not track so they can make informed decisions about what to do.
  • Mozilla tracks aggregate data about users from addons and browser upgrade requests. It's not much but we can lead by being fully transparent about it. If we demonstrate how much we anonymize and show everything we track and how we do it, this may ally fears about data misuse.
  • This idea can be very off-putting to some users so we'll have to tread lightly. It's one thing to have someone treat you like a statistic, it's another to know about it.

4) Mozilla mobile project

  • Has a unique set of challenges that may be underestimated
  • The goal is bigger than just developing a mobile browser, it's also about making a common programming platform that other developers and projects can use. Rather than developing for dozens of different firmwares and OSes, they can bulid off the single Mozilla platform.

5) How support ties in with the above

  • SUMO has a lot more potential than just offering help for Firefox
  • SUMO educates users about the internet and not just Firefox -- e.g. security, adware, firewalls, etc.
  • SUMO demonstrates that volunteer-powered support can work and really shows that there are good people in the world who just want to help other people
  • SUMO is a face of Mozilla and we should make sure to represent the open web ideals
  • SUMO is also key to the spread of Firefox as you can't get good retention without good support