Official Firefox Support Forum Goes Live

Jason Barnabe

14

I’m pleased to announce the opening of the official Firefox support forum! The forum is a result of a few months of work, and I’d like to thank all those that provided input into its design, those that coded it, and those that tested it. Now the real work begins!

These forums are meant for Firefox support only. Discussion of other Mozilla applications and general, non-technical-support Firefox discussion should continue where it happens currently, like mozillaZine. Because the forum is Firefox support only, we were able to build it so suit that purpose. Here are a few examples of the benefits the support.mozilla.com forums have over a generic forum.

The forums and the Knowledge Base being integrated in the same piece of software makes things easier for forum helpers. The syntax for forum posts is the same as for Knowledge Base articles, so linking to Knowledge Base articles is simple. Instead of remembering a URL, you just have to remember the article’s name – ((Safe Mode)) automatically becomes a link to the Safe Mode article.

Users sometimes don’t know what information is important to post for others to be able to help them. The forum automatically determines the user’s version of Firefox, operating system, and plugins, and includes this information when the user asks a question. Users are prompted to give the steps to reproduce their problem, any error text they receive, and a URL if it’s a problem with a particular website.

Forum discussions can get into the dozens of pages and it can become very hard to help any one person. This is compounded by there not being any way to tell anonymous users apart. To prevent this, the forum encourages users to start their own threads rather than continuing someone else’s thread. It will also let anonymous users enter a display name, which is then remembered in subsequent posts.

Perhaps the most useful aspect of the forum isn’t even in the forum itself. Rather than having users asking questions as their first support option, support.mozilla.com directs them to search the Knowledge Base. This will help prevent contributors from answering the same questions over and over.

There are more features coming in the future. One of them will let users mark their question as being answered, which lets helpers easily find people still looking for help. Another will let users register and ask a question in one step, which will make it easier for them to find their posts in the future. Of course, we’re open to your suggestions as well.

So go ahead and dive in! If you have a question about Firefox, ask it! If you’re fairly knowledegable about Firefox, answer some questions! If you have any feedback, it’s very much appreciated as a comment in this blog, on mozilla.support.planning, and on the new contributor’s subforum.

14 responses

  1. pkim wrote on :

    Way to go folks. This is great news!

  2. kev wrote on ::

    ‘grats on the launch, folks. awesome news!

  3. Martijn wrote on :

    No Thunderbird support forum?

  4. David Tenser wrote on ::

    Martijn, the SUMO project is for Firefox only. We might start a similar project for Thunderbird in the future, but that’s not on the roadmap for Q1 2008.

    For Thunderbird support, we have http://mozilla.org/support/thunderbird/

  5. James wrote on :

    What is the point of mentioning contributor’s subforum if you are going to lock it. http://support.mozilla.com/tiki-view_forum.php?forumId=3

    Yes, I know the forum is still being worked on.

  6. Jesper wrote on :

    It could have been nice if you had fixed the urls before launch. What has “tiki” to do with Firefox Support from a user perspective? Not much.

  7. David Tenser wrote on ::

    @James: Good point about the contributor forum. We need to setup the proper rights for it.

    @Jesper: It would have been nice, but we didn’t have the manpower to fix everything. The URLs are in the “polish” category of bugs, and we still have real bugs to fix. :)

  8. Jason Barnabe wrote on ::

    James, I must have inadvertently denied registered users permission to access the contributor’s forum when I permitted them to edit their own posts. I thought I was adding a permission, but I guess it replaced all other permissions. It should be good now.

  9. James wrote on :

    >It should be good now.

    It works now, thanks. A edit is basically a whole new post?

  10. Jason Barnabe wrote on ::

    James, I think there’s a fix for that going in the next deployment.

  11. John L. Galt wrote on ::

    Under every post, instructions on who to post links using foo.com are posted. For those of us familiar with the use of foo as a variable, if you will, it is nothing new – but for someone who has never seen it before, the problem becomes readily apparent.

    I post over at Calendar of Updates as well, and a reader brought up an issue where he tried to actually visit foo.com for whatever reason – and it turns out that the foo.com domain is actually a registered domain, and registered to a not so nice host.

    See http://www.dozleng.com/updates/index.php?showtopic=16667 for more details.

    I think that the use of foo.com should be removed completely, even though many of us know what it really means, simply because a not so friendly host has gone out and registered foo.com, and this could lead to all sorts of problems down the road.

  12. Frank wrote on :

    OK, here’s a problem. After just graduating from internet explorer to Firefox, I find that I get a “Windows cannot find http….” message for a few seconds every time I click on to an icon on my home page. This then disappears and the link proceeds normally.

    This is getting very irritating, especially as the message doubts whether I’ve typed the address correctly – BBC News, eBay, even Google!!

    What can I do to get rid of it?

  13. David Tenser wrote on ::

    Frank, this is exactly the kind of issue that is best served in the forum. Go there and ask the question and you’ll get help. :)

  14. Phai wrote on :

    Hi All,
    I had a problem while downloading Korean Language file..
    In Download dailog window, file name is displaying with Ascii values and not able to save/download the file…..

    Help.. help… help….