Since the SUMO project was created, we have been in regular contact with non-English Mozilla communities to unify our support efforts. User support is one of the easiest ways to get involved with Firefox, because there is a direct connection with users. As we get more new contributors in different languages, we need to connect those new contributors to the already existing non-English communities.
In February, we asked support localizers to add links to their local forums when localizing the Ask a question page, which tells users where to go if they cannot find the answer to their question in the knowledge base. We would like to do something similar with the How to Contribute page, which is where users interested in contributing to Firefox Support are directed. In the localized versions of the How to Contribute page, we can not only direct users to the appropriate local community sites, but include info for new contributors to directly contact their community leaders.
We have been working with the Italian locale leader to create a localized version of the How to Contribute page. In fact, it is now up for everyone to see.
We would like to all localized versions of the How to Contribute page to follow the example set on the Italian page. Here are the main points:
- A note was added after the first paragraph inviting new contributors to their local community site.
- Links to pages about helping in the support.mozilla.com forum and live chat are marked as English-only.
- The contact info section is divided into two parts: the first is contact info links for the contributor’s locale, and the second is for the English links.
As usual, if you have any questions, just post in the Contributors forum.
To say that the SUMO knowledge base is just a wiki really doesn’t do it justice. While it’s very easy to start contributing to the knowledge base and simply assume that it works just like many other wikis (e.g. Wikipedia), there are a number of characteristics of SUMO tailored toward user support which make it different. This can be both a blessing and a curse. We need to understand how SUMO is different; but once we are familiar with it, the community has better tools to provide better user support.
If you’re a new knowledge base contributor, please read our new How we are different page, which lists the differences between SUMO and other wikis and gives an overview of why we are different. New knowledge base contributors will also be able to find a link to that page in our introduction to contributing to the knowledge base.
This is also part of our response to localizer feedback, which we have been continually gathering from active SUMO localizers. Remember that if you are a SUMO localizer and would like to meet with us, just contact us on this blog or post in the Contributors forum.
One issue that sometimes confuses Knowledge Base contributors is knowing what levels of permission each user group on SUMO has. For instance, someone may be able to edit one category or articles, but not another. We now have documented it in a Group permissions page, which you can find linked on the Contributor Home Page.
In short, if you are registered you are considered a contributor. The Approvers group are contributors who have reached the point where they can be trusted on the system. The locale leaders group are contributors who are in charge of the support localization effort for a specific locale.
As part of our response to localizer feedback, we want to make sure the differences are listed and available for everyone to see. If you have any questions or suggestions, please comment on this blog post or in the Contributors forum. Thanks!
A few days ago, the SUMO community got together to polish the Firefox 3 Manual created by the amazing FLOSS Manuals community and make it ready for publishing. It was a very successful effort and we now have a manual for Firefox 3 that we can be very proud of!
What many people (outside of Italy, at least) might not know is that our new Firefox 3 Manual isn’t the first manual for Firefox produced. In fact, back in 2006, Underpass, tittoproject, and miki64 from the Mozilla Italia community wrote a Firefox manual entirely written in Italian, based on their strong experiences supporting users in their local forum. Nothing similar existed at the time, and the purpose of this manual was to provide solutions to some of the most common issues for Firefox users so fewer people had to visit the forum — just like SUMO works today!
The Italian Firefox manual is called FireFAQ and is available for download in pdf format. It was downloaded by over 30,000 people in the first 10 days and received very good reviews! Later, Mozilla Italia also wrote ThunderFAQ. The content of both manuals are released under the CC license, just like the Knowledge Base articles on SUMO.
Simone Lando (yes, that’s Underpass, one of the authors of the Italian Firefox manual!) wrote to tell me that when they had the opportunity to translate the SUMO KB contents, they decided not to update their manual anymore and instead focus entirely on SUMO. However, the experiences they gained by writing the FireFAQ manual proved to be very important for their excellent team work on SUMO today, which I think is fantastic to hear.
I am very excited that Mozilla Italia will attend to the EU Inter-Community Meetup in Geneva this weekend, where they will share more about their experiences with Firefox support and SUMO. Definitely expect a blog post about the inter-community meetup soon.
We have been meeting individually with active Support localizers to get their feedback and look at ways we can improve SUMO for them. In the latest update to SUMO, we were able to implement many website software changes that addressed localization feedback. Some examples:
There is still more we can do, which we plan on addressing soon, such as:
- Listing the differences between Contributors, Approvers/Reviewers, and Locale Leaders, and publishing what permissions each group has, as well as listing who is in each group. This helps contributors identify who the leaders of each community are, and who to contact if they have questions or requests from the leaders of their locale.
- Making it clear what is different in SUMO as opposed to other wikis. Some communities have their own sites, and many contributors are already familiar with other systems. This creates an expectation of how SUMO works, and confusion when SUMO does not work they way they expect. Examples of common causes of confusion from community members include tikiwiki markup, the staging and review system, how article translations work, and how to create/remove the “Content may be out of date” warning.
We’ve been keeping a summary of all l10n feedback on wiki.mozilla.org, so you can take a look if you’re interested. If you are a SUMO localizer, and would like to meet with us, just contact us on this blog or post in the Contributors forum. We’re always willing to meet with you!
On the Firefox Support start pages, there are blocks of text on the sidebar labeled “Improve the Knowledge Base” and “Thunderbird”.
Those are referred to as “modules”, and until now those blocks have not been localizable. We are in the midst making the interface translator work on those modules. If you’d like to help test it, you can do so on the the staging server.
If you have any issues with it, comment on bug 444439 .
If you’re not familiar with the interface translator and have questions, just reply to this post.
Website home page
Product Help start page
One feature that support localizers have been wanting for a long time is email notification when an article edit is waiting for review. We now have it! Here’s how to set it up:
- Log in to support.mozilla.com, and click on the “My Account” link in the site menu.
- In the User Preferences page, click on the “MyWatches” icon.
- At the bottom of the Watches page, there is a line that begins with “Watch wiki page changes in“. Set it to “Waiting for review” and the language you want to monitor.
- Click on “Add watch“. The watch may not appear on the page at first, but if you click on “MyWatches” it will appear.
You can also watch how to set this up in this screencast.
One really neat thing about the way this is set up is that you can set up a watch for any other category, and any other language. For instance, if you want to watch for changes to English contributor documents, just set the category to “How to Contribute” and the language to “English“.
We hope that these language-specific category watches will make it much easier to keep up with the changes that affect a particular locale. If you’re localizing Firefox Support, please give it a try and share your experiences in the Contributors forum!
In previous months, David has blogged about the Support Funnel. In short, users are directed to the Knowledge Base to get answers to their questions, and if their questions are not answered in the Knowledge Base, they are directed to the forum or Live Chat.
The transition from Knowledge Base to forum/Live Chat is done using a page titled “Ask a question“. You should see a link to the “Ask a question” page at the bottom of every Knowledge Base article and at the bottom of the search results page. In the “Ask a question” page there are links to post-Knowledge Base support options with descriptions.
When it comes to localizing the Support Funnel, simply translating the “Ask a question” page is not enough. The forum and Live Chat are currently only offered in English; so directing non-English users to those venues gives them little or no help. We need to make sure non-English users are being directed to the right places. It is important that Firefox Support localizers translate the Ask a question page, and direct users to a forum where the user will get support in their own language. Translating individual Knowledge Base articles can come after that.
For instance, the German version has links to the German support forum and the German support chat page. The Italian version has a link to the Mozilla Italia forums.
By doing this, we can ensure that non-English users are getting the help they need. It is also a great way to introduce users to Mozilla communities specific to their locale, which should result in more community participation.
One of the main priorities for SUMO in 2009 is to make localization simpler. More specifically, part 5 of the Vision for SUMO includes ideas about a clear locale overview, which is something that a lot of localizers we’ve been in touch with has asked for.
After sharing these ideas with some of the many localizers of SUMO and collecting feedback, we’ve made a mockup of how this overview could look like — let’s call it the SUMO Localization Dashboard:
Mockup of SUMO Localization Dashboard.
There are a few things we’re hoping this dashboard will achieve:
- To provide a clear overview and status of the l10n work on SUMO
- To make the l10n work on SUMO feel less daunting by making it obvious where to start
- To answer the question: “which article is the most important to translate next?”
- To establish a baseline of what we define as a healthy status of a locale, so we can make sure we provide help where it’s needed the most.
On this dashboard, we would also show full lists of articles and their translation status, with direct links to getting started with a translation or article review:
List of the most popular support articles and their translation status.
If you’re a localizer of SUMO, we’d love to hear what you think of these ideas and whether this dashboard would be helpful! Please share your thoughts by commenting on this blog post. For the complete details, see this project page.
One of the change we are making the knowledge base for Firefox 3.1 is taking the large Options window article and splitting it up into several articles (one article per panel). There are some complications in doing this; and I blogged about our need for Firefox Support locale leaders to translate a text file for us.
Out of 20 languages, we’ve received 14 translations. If you are a locale leader who has not sent me a translation of this text file please translate it and send it to me! Once this restructuring of content is done, we can get on with updating the articles to reflect the changes in Firefox 3.1. For more information on the Firefox Support update plan for Firefox 3.1, the plan is on wiki.mozilla.org.