Chris More, Frederic Wenzel, Mike Morgan, Chris Lyon, Steve Curbishley, David Boswell and Alex Fowler
There are a number of Mozilla sites that are still online but are no longer active or up to date. These sites can make it hard to find more current information and can also create security or privacy concerns when there is functionality that is no longer being maintained or is no longer needed.
Note that this policy deals with abandoned sites and does not touch on abandoned content within otherwise active sites.
To be able to keep the content on our sites up to date and relevant we need a way to archive or turn off abandoned sites.
Archiving or Turning Off Sites
For sites that are no longer active, we propose either archiving them or turning them off. To define these terms more clearly:
Archiving a site involves scraping the content, moving it to a read-only archive site, adding a note about the content being out of date to the top of the pages and setting up redirects (for example, if http://mozillaservice.org was archived someone going to that URL would be taken to http://website-archive.mozilla.org/mozillaservice.org/).
Turning off a site simply involves taking it down from Mozilla's web servers. If there are relevant links, redirects could be set up (for instance, pointing traffic to a blog post about why the site was taken down).
We propose the following steps for determining how to identify abandoned sites and what the best course of action is in a given situation.
Identifying Abandoned Sites
Because of Mozilla's decentralized structure, there is no easy way to get a list of all sites and their current status. Unless someone comes up with a better way of finding sites and determining their level of activity, we'll just need to manually maintain a site list.
Currently the Community Directory is the most complete reference we know of. To add new sites to this list, to suggest a site be removed or to propose that a site be moved into the Archive section, please open a www.mozilla.org bug.
Once a site has been identified as a candidate for archiving or deletion, the following steps should be followed:
- A bug should be filed in Bugzilla using the website-archive.mozilla.org component.
- An attempt to identify the owner of the site should be made to confirm the site is no longer active. If no owner can be found, the websites task force will make a decision about the site's status.
- A MXR search should be performed for the candidate site to ensure that it is not pointed to or used by any of our products. Searches should cover all supported branches of all relevant repositories (mozilla-central, comm-central, mozilla-* and comm-*, labs, chatzilla, etc).
- The Abandoned Sites working group will then take the bug and take the appropriate next steps (closing as wontfix, archiving or turning off site).
It is important to preserve the community's history, but it is also unnecessary to save every site about Mozilla that's ever existed. To help with the decision making process about what to do with an abandoned site, we offer the following guidelines.
- Is a reasonable alternative version of the content available anywhere else?
- For instance, if all of the firefoxflicks.com videos are on our YouTube channel we could turn off the site and redirect traffic there.
- Is the site a tool used to edit, view or interact with other content?
- For instance, doctor.mozilla.org has no content but allows users to edit content used on CVS-hosted sites and could be turned off.
- Is the site hosted on infrastructure run by the Mozilla Foundation or one of its subsidiaries?
- For instance, a Firefox community site run by a contributor may be archived at our discretion depending on the specific circumstances of that site.
- Are there web analytics for this site?
- For instance, does this site receive a sizeable amount of traffic (e.g. greater than 250 unique visitors per day) that warrants being redirected to an archived copy of the website?
The Abandoned Sites working group will meet periodically to discuss the steps for retirement for nominated abandoned sites.
Note: the items above related to removing a part of a site's functionality are being tracked as part of the archiving process for now, but this really deserves its own policy since these are separate issues.