Last Thursday, the bug fixes for SUMO 1.3 were pushed to support.mozilla.com. The big focus was on productization, and we also managed to add some other great changes.
So what is productization? From the beginning of the project, the plan was to create a support solution for Firefox, but do it in such a way that makers of other software could use SUMO for their own support sites. In the future, Fennec (the mobile version of Firefox) will have its own support site, using its own implementation of SUMO. In SUMO 1.3, major work was done on separating the code that is specific to Firefox Support from code that can be used for other products. In addition, work was done on turning the code into something you can install yourself. If you would like to try it yourself, we have instructions on wiki.mozilla.org.
Somehow, in all of that work, we managed to add a significant new feature: Article review email notifications. We’ve said in many previous blog posts that our knowledge base works differently from other wikis. All edits go through a review process before being public. For new contributors, who have not visited the Contributors forum, this is a major point of disconnect. When reviewing edits, it is important to state why you are approving or rejecting an edit. Even a simple “Thank you” message can go a long way.
In SUMO 1.3, we take an approach similar to posting to a moderated mailing list. When a contributor edits an article, an email is sent to the contributor, saying that their edit is waiting for review. The reviewer can approve or reject the edit, and a text box is provided for the review to give their feedback to the contributor. When the edit is reviewed, an email is sent to the contributor, telling them the result of the review, including the message from the reviewer. Just as important is the fact that all of these messages include an invitation to the Contributors forum.
This new review notification feature should make a huge difference in growing the SUMO community. Instead of newcomers making one edit and leaving (oblivious to the fact that their edit is not public yet), this gets them thinking about how SUMO works, connects them to the rest of the community, and gives us a chance to personally thank each contributor.
The full list of SUMO 1.3 bugs is on Bugzilla. This release has over 90 bugs, which is the most ever in a SUMO release (around three times more than most SUMO releases). A big thank you goes to Paul Craciunoiu, James Socol, Eric Cooper, Stephen Donner, Vishal Kamdar, Krupa Raj, and SUMOdev lead Laura Thomson for an extraordinary amount of work. Not to mention IT for all their work with the release push. If you have any questions, please feel free to post them in the Contributors forum, or join the #sumodev IRC channel to thank them yourself.