Official Firefox Support Forum Goes Live

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 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, 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, and on the new contributor’s subforum.