Turning the queues around, and a new forum

We have an extraordinary community of contributors helping us succeed. Without their continuous support over the years, the add-on community wouldn’t be able to function. I want to highlight the great work some of them have been doing recently.

The Review Queues

Since we announced required signing for add-ons, all review queues have had significantly increased activity. The unlisted queues have been handled by Mozilla employee Andreas Wagner, who has been doing a heroic job keeping them mostly empty and performing most reviews within a day or two.

The listed queues have been handled mostly by volunteer reviewers. Due to so many more submissions by add-on developers, the queues ballooned to almost 800 add-ons awaiting review in early August.

Motivated by the slow review times and recent changes, we have received a record amount of reviewer applications. In the last 3 months, we have added 10 new reviewers. For reference, in all of 2014 there were only 11 reviewers added to the team.

Thanks to the efforts of our volunteer reviewers, new and veteran, the review queues now have a little over 300 add-ons awaiting review, a significant drop since August. In August alone, over 4000 reviews were performed, twice as many as July and way more than previous averages (usually ~1200 reviews per month).

I should also note that the majority of add-ons currently in the queues are flagged for admin review, which means they can’t be reviewed by volunteers. Since Andreas is busy with unlisted entries and I’m doing other work, those add-ons have been sitting in the queues unchecked for a while. We have two contractors who will join us in the coming days and will help us address this problem.

I’d like to highlight the incredible efforts done by Amir Faryar Zahedi and Teo ┼╗yczkowski; the two of them have contributed thousands of reviews in the last couple of months.

The New Forum

The migration to the new Discourse forum is now complete. The old phpBB forum has now been taken down and its former URL redirects to the new one. The add-ons category is, by far, the most active one in the community Discourse. So, thanks to all the people participating in the discussions.

Special thanks to Arenlor and Noitidart for being so helpful in the new forum, as well as our IRC channels and other places.

16 responses

  1. Evgeny Suslikov wrote on :

    I appreciate the efforts of the review team. Andreas Wagner does it best by supporting the updates of the unlisted addons in a timely manner.

    However, approving my FireShot 0.98.77 update to the AMO users has already took 4 weeks and it’s just moved from the 72nd position to 42. Why does the full review process take so long? Wouldn’t it be a good idea to create a special thread for the extensions having good reputation and review history to speed up this process? Seriously, when the update takes 2 months, it’s useless, because at the time of becoming public, it becomes automatically out-of-date.

    According to the last announcements, it looks like that Mozilla acts like Google in many aspects. If so, why don’t you borrow their experience of handling the updates for the most popular and trusted extensions? I have to be personal in this post and share my experience: my extensions are in the whitelist on the Google Web Store. It means for me, that it takes 60 minutes (!!!) to deliver a new version for my users. And it takes 4-6-8 weeks in Mozilla…

    It’s so clear for me and Google, that the developer, who spent 3-5 years for the product development and maintenance, is very far from flushing his ratings and users base by providing low-quality updates containing malware/spyware and ruin the user experience. Why don’t you simply provide a “Green Channel” for such a kind of developers?

    1. Jorge Villalobos wrote on :

      Your extension is probably in the admin-flagged group, meaning that it’s currently taking longer because we’re very short on admin reviewers. This should be fixed when we get the contractors on board, which should happen any time now. There are some tools that we will add to make it easier to review complex add-ons like yours, and ignore issues that have already been resolved in previous review iterations. Those tools are being built now, so hopefully we’ll be in a much better place in a few weeks. However, just giving a blanket approval for certain developers is something we want to avoid because it lead to many problems in the past (we used to have a feature like that called trusted add-ons).

      1. Per Johansson wrote on :

        Hello.

        Don’t you send notifications to the developer if an add-on is flagged?

        1. Jorge Villalobos wrote on :

          Yes, developers get an email if their add-on is flagged. It may be auto-flagged if they attach separate sources to the submission. That should only be done when the add-on has minified, obfuscated or compiled code.

          1. Per Johansson wrote on :

            Well, I have two in the Full Review queue (Android and SeaMonkey) that haven’t moved for a long time now, and I have not been notified about admin flagging.

            Per Johansson

    2. Per Johansson wrote on :

      The problem with Google is that extensions may contain spyware since its review process is full of holes, and Google does not remove the extension even if it is reported. I know about one such case. That would not happen with Firefox or Opera.

  2. C.V. wrote on :

    Hi,

    I also appreciate all the effort by the reviewers.

    Sadly, I am now waiting for more than __6 month__ for the review of my addon shufu and for the last 3 to 4 month I am at position 10 to 20. I have talked to the reviewers in the chat but they basically told me to wait.
    Specially since Firefox now requires signing (soon), I am not even able any more let people install the addon downloading from my own website. It really saddens me to not being able to continue my addon because of this unbelievable review delay.

    1. Noitidart wrote on :

      Hang in there mine Im in the same boat as you but im just at 2 months. Whats link to your addon?

      1. C.V. wrote on :

        My Addon link is https://addons.mozilla.org/de/firefox/addon/shufu/

  3. Mostafa wrote on :

    Hi
    How we can be AMO Reviewer?

    1. Jorge Villalobos wrote on :

      You can find out how to apply here.

  4. Andrey Tserkus wrote on :

    Hi,

    I’ve installed Firefox Beta (41.0b9) and I see, that unsigned extensions are still installed in it. However, it was said, that 41 won’t that happen.

    Has anything changed since then?

    BTW, experienced really good job by the add-on reviewers. Thank you, folks.

    1. Jorge Villalobos wrote on :

      There’s a timeline change that is already reflected on the wiki and will be announced soon.

  5. Dmitry K wrote on :

    Dear Jorge,

    I noticed that you proudly use XULforge.com as a professional front page of yourself as a developer and head of Add-ons Developer Relations. I strongly believe that XUL and XPCOM is a strong selling point of the Firefox as opposed to limited chrome-like APIs.

    So could you please explain where is this suicidal schizophrenic idea of removing XUL is coming from and what made you to turn 180┬░ degrees around to claim the XUL of enemy of the Firefox ?

    1. Jorge Villalobos wrote on :

      I created that domain before joining Mozilla, and it was meant to be a place to share my add-on development projects, among other things. Back then, XUL was everything there was.

      XUL hasn’t progressed at the same time as other technologies (that’s possibly our fault), but most importantly, the web has reached a level of maturity where XUL is almost unnecessary. The missing gaps should be filled in the future. As for XPCOM, APIs like the SDK and WebExtensions are just wrappers to it, and developers are constantly annoyed by how difficult and arcane dealing with XPCOM is. Using high-level APIs is a net win for the majority of developers. Some of the rest need to use more advanced features, and we’re looking into ways of supporting those cases.

      Removing XUL from extensions and eventually Firefox isn’t the end of the world. Technologies are deprecated and left behind all the time, most often replaced by better ones.

      1. Dmitry K wrote on :

        Thanks for explanations!
        I understand that a better alternative can possibly exist to XUL or any other technology out there. Well, I am actually perfectly fine with replacing it as soon as it is something AS GOOD or BETTER. But you want to go to something dramatically LIMITED and RESTRICTIVE! People believe that permissive addon model is actually what made Firefox as popular as it is today. But you claim it to be faulty based on what? Developers and users say that you are not right! But you want to play Chrome and pretend that community around addons means nothing, existing code base is negligible and continuity of the software code can be dropped without consequences.
        Future will show that Mozilla took the wrong turn, fox will be dead and there will be nobody to blame. Hope you guys will enjoy your golden parachutes and warm places in google corporation.
        P.S. I mean, really – when was the last time you checked uservoice for webextensions? Did you see which idea is the most popular one? “Drop webextensions” – that one! The principles of Mozilla Foundation are betrayed and its subsidiary Mozilla Corporation is up to money, nothing else!