Thunderbird:Open Badges

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This page describes how Thunderbird might implement's Open Badges.

Changelog / Current Status

  • As of June 6 2012:
    • There is a beta implementation of Open Badges
    • OpenBadger (the simple interface for creating badges) is expected to be ready in Q3(ish). OpenBadger will also provide us with a URL for issuing badges.
    • We are currently working on providing Thunderbird badges on P2PU, but this is independent of Thunderbird (handled by the P2PU infrastructure)


Badges are graphic files (with embedded validation information) that people can earn by performing tasks or passing tests (or whatever else the badge issuer decides to validate). People can display these badges on their websites and on other sites that support the Open Badges infrastructure.

Questions / Unknowns

Is this implementation and process currently correct and possible?

  1. We define and design a set of badges.
  2. We create the JSON blobs that contain the metadata regarding issuer, criteria, etc.
  3. We use Mozilla Issuer API (Badge Baker) to embed the JSON in the PNGs.
  4. We use Mozilla's Backpack for earners to store their badges.

So, assuming that the above process is correct, is this model correct?

  1. We select a Thunderbird add-on author (or support or KB or Ambassador contributor) to whom we want to award a badge.
  2. We create a JSON blob that describes the badge and the recipient, etc, and use the Issuer API (Badge Baker) to create the PNG.
  3. We email the newly baked badge to the recipient, who will upload the PNG to their Mozilla Badge Backpack

Tasks that Earn Badges

These are some ideas about the criteria we might use to reward badges:

  • Thunderbird Core Contributor Badge: People who contribute a significant patch to the Thunderbird core, thus demonstrating a competency in programming.
  • Thunderbird Add-on Developer Badge: People who create a Thunderbird add-on that is accepted by AMO, thus demonstrating a competency in programming.
  • Thunderbird Knowledge Base Author Badge: People who create a Thunderbird Knowledge Base article that uses a set of the more complex formatting tools (templates, tables, images, etc), thus demonstrating a competency in authoring on a wiki platform and technical writing.
  • Thunderbird Support Contributor Badge: Roland, would it be acceptable to simply award this badge when a support contributor answers a certain number of questions? Roland - I'd prefer if we give them badge once they have resolved a certain number of questions rather than just count answers but that's a detail we can finalize when we are ready to award badges.
  • Thunderbird Ambassador Badge: People who create something significant outside the normal venues for contribution. For example, a Thunderbird contributor recently wrote a P2PU course and supporting workbook that explains how to set up PGP for use with Thunderbird. This is a significant effort, brings attention to Thunderbird from a whole new group.

[AMB- I would suggest to add contributors who support us on a long term basis on events - i.e: 1 or 2 members of the French Ubuntu community are always giving awareness to Thunderbird during their event. - this Ambassador badge could reward "dedication to the product"]

Thunderbird Requirements

To implement the tasks mentioned above, the Thunderbird team must:

  • track TB add-ons as they get added to AMO
    • make badges available to existing add-on authors?

[AMB: I vote that! I would create instant base of Contributors with Badges and they would spread the word]

  • track Knowledge Base contributions and analyze for complexity
    • may be too time-consuming
  • track support contributors and numbers of contributions
  • watch the internet for non-Mozilla Thunderbird ativities
    • ie, P2PU course, Ubuntu TB manual
    • Google alerts
    • lots of work but we should be doing this anyway

Implementation Overview

  • Thunderbird is the badge issuer.
    • We would create badges through OpenBadger or a Mozilla approved badge creator like (or, if we want to do this before OpenBadger is ready and don't want to use or other 3rd party badge issuer) we could manually build our badges
  • Thunderbird contributors are the badge earners
    • We would have to "manually" issue their badges (as opposed to having the badges automatically issued when earners successfully complete an exam or something like that)
  • Earners could display their badges in several ways:
    • Currently Mozilla has a badge "backpack" where earners could display their badges
    • Earners could also display their badges on their personal site, blog, etc
    • As other sites adopt the technology, earners could potentially display their badges on those site(s)
    • is undoubtedly planning to implement a badge backpack

Immediate Implementation

  • We manually create badges (need graphic and dev input, but not a huge thing)
  • We manually issue badges (as described above)
  • Earners can display their badges on the websites or on other supported social media sites from their instance of the Mozilla Open Badge Backpack

Longer-term Implementation

We could implement badges right away if we wanted, but, from a marketing point of view, it might be more valuable to wait for Open Badger and implement with them (riding on their messaging coat-tails).

Also, it would save us some effort to wait for OpenBadger.

The details would be the same as above except we would not have to manually create our badges.



  • Badge: a graphic file (PNG) that contains validation information about the Issuer, Earner, etc
  • Issuer: organizations that issue badges
  • Issuer API: JavaScript library that facilitates baking and issuing of badges
  • Earner: people who perform tasks and earn a badge
  • Displayer: website that displays an earner's badge
  • OpenBadger: easy method for creating badges; Q3
  • Badge Backpack: a site that stores and displays a person's badges

Open Badges Project Docs