Author Archives: Cheng Wang

Updating the Firefox Manual for 3.5

Back in May, we came together and worked on a user manual for Firefox as part of the FLOSS Manuals Project, an open-source book publishing project. It was a huge success and we now have a great Firefox Manual you can download, read online or get as a nicely bound paper copy.

Now that Firefox 3.5 is out, it’s time to upgrade the manual as well. As a community, we’ll be getting together and making sure that the new manual reflects all the changes and improvements that went into this new browser and that all the content is current. It’d be great to have you join us and help make sure the manual is up to date.


Thursday, July 16 at 10 AM Pacific time, 1 PM Eastern time, 19:00 Central European time. If you’re in Europe or Asia and want to start earlier, you are of course more than welcome to!

Where and how?

  1. Register to get an account at the FLOSS Manual site.
  2. Go to the Write section of the Firefox Manual.
  3. Pick a chapter that you want to read, click the “edit” link, and start updating it!

On the right side of the website is a chat window where you will be able to chat with other participants.

What needs to be done?

Many pages need just small updates, new screenshots or changes to be updated for Firefox 3.5. Here are just some of the things that you can do:

  • Update number of users and number of locales on the Introduction page
  • Update graphics (number of total users) on the Open Source page
  • Mention this sprint in the page about the manual
  • Update screenshots in all chapters
  • Discuss new Clearing Recent History features (A new chapter replacing part of this one on the URL)
  • Discuss new Private Browsing features (may integrate with above)
  • Discuss new features (tab tearing) in the Tabbed browsing page
  • Read through full manual to correct minor changes

Just 20 minutes of your time will help keep our documentation relevant, current and useful for all Firefox users, and by making edits, your name will forever in the Credits section of both the online and paperback version.

See you Thursday!

Help Firefox users transition to 3.5

When Firefox 3.5 launches later this month, we expect it to be really popular. After all, it’s the culmination of many months of very hard work from everyone in the Mozilla community. As with any major release, some users may need help transitioning from Firefox 3.0 to Firefox 3.5 or are using Firefox for the first time: whether it’s needing help with updating add-ons or using the many new features or even possibly a release-day issue. At, we’re hoping to provide friendly, prompt and personal support to each of these new Firefox 3.5 users through our knowledge base, forums and live chat service so they can get their questions answered and can start enjoying their brand new browser as quickly as possible. This is where you come in. We’d love to have experienced Firefox users and Mozilla community members (like you!) join the dedicated support community for the first week or two after the final Firefox 3.5 release and help these users.

There are a number of ways to help. If you’d like to work with users in real time over live chat, you’ll need to get the Spark client or you can use any jabber client and be available as a resource to our contributors. Just as important is answering questions on the support forums. To get started, simply register for an account and start posting. To join in what’s sure to be an exciting community atmosphere and keep on top of the latest issues and problem, just join us in the #sumo IRC channel on That’s also a good place to go if you need help with any of the above.

In addition to helping our users, this is also a great opportunity to interact with some of the hundreds of millions of Firefox users worldwide and share with them the excitement of getting a new browser. And it’s lots of fun.

Waving Panda

Support Firefox Day — new date: June 25th 2009, 10 AM PDT

With Firefox 3.5 rolling off the presses, it’s time for the long-awaited Support Firefox Day. We’re planning on having the event June 25th at 10 AM PDT (1 PM EDT).

At this event, we’ll be talking about Firefox 3.5, supporting the fastest Firefox ever and how Firefox support has grown along with the browser. There will be a preview of some of the new Firefox 3.5 features, with live demos and Q&A. We’ll also be going over the new screencasts feature in SUMO as well as some tips and resources for helping. At the end of the session, we’ll all get together and spend a couple hours answering questions on the support forums. If you’ve never done Firefox support before or are just curious to learn about how it works at Mozilla, this is a fun and interactive way to get involved.

You can get all the details and sign up for the event at the Support Firefox Day main page.

See you there!

Rolling out with a new search engine (SUMO 1.0.2)

Last Friday, SUMO came out with a brand new search engine. Previously, we’d been using Google to do searches of the knowledge base but this new search engine (based on Sphinx) allows us to get a better control over how the results are returned and ranked.

One other thing that this allows us to do is to return solved threads from the forum and article results from the knowledge base at the same time. While the knowledge base is still the primary resource, the forum also has a wealth of solutions and tips that can help Firefox users and this new search engine allows us to provide all this information from a single results page. We can also refine search results based on what terms are commonly searched and take advantage of tiki-wiki tags to make it even more useful.

This new search is still in its early stages so be sure to check it out and let us know what you think! A lot of thanks to everyone involved in coding, testing and deploying the new engine as well as fixing all the other bugs that went into SUMO 1.0.2.

Firefox support wants your feedback… it’s survey time!

As we constantly try to improve the support experience for both Firefox users and the wonderful contributors who help them, it’s good to take time to see how we’re doing. As such, we just launched a series of surveys asking our contributors about how they use the forums and live chat, what we’re doing well and where we can make improvements. You should have gotten an e-mail from us with your survey link. Please take the time to fill it out — it’ll take only a couple minutes and will really help us in making support fun and rewarding for everyone.

If you’re interested in support or SUMO and didn’t receive an e-mail, just let us know your e-mail address and we’ll be sure to have a survey sent out ASAP.

Minutes of SUMO meeting 2009-03-16


  • Weekly metrics
    • What happened on Feb 24th (re: start page bounce rate)? djst to talk to Ken.
  • Last week’s weekly support issues
  • Push SFD back to end of May?
    • Since the original idea was to host the event in close relation to the 3.1 release, it makes sense to move this.
    • Let’s move it to late May!

Knowledge Base

  • 3.1 to 3.5 SUMO meta bug 481465
  • Best Practices doc change: be less chatty
    • This was one of the points raised in the UX audit: our documentation needs to be more concise
    • cilias to update the Best Practices and then blog
  • Useful article comments tracking page [1]
    • Some doubts about the usefulness of this separate page vs just posting in the contributor forum. At the end of each week, we could revisit the week’s list and ensure that any critical changes are taken care of.


Live Chat

  • Live Chat community is growing steadily! Weekly contributors has quadrupled since the start of 2009
  • Two threads about live chat abuse in Contributors forum, but still very rare.
  • More people crashing due to corrupt sqlite.
    • Cheng to talk to Stephen to figure out how we can best help them get more info about this bug 462476
  • Collin1000, a longtime contributor of Live Chat, is now a room monitor! :)
  • Metrics update: 4 new helpers taking chats, 16 total active helpers
  • zzxc to solicit more feedback from Live Chat contributors in the contributor forum.


  • New How to Contribute documents with improved layout and content going live today
    • Some CSS embedded on the page to make it look better; will move out to the CSS files once the design has been finalized
  • Can we enable the RSS feed functionality for forums now?
    • djst to talk to laura

Minutes of SUMO Meeting 2009-03-09

Open Format

  • Attendees: djst, Cww, zzxc, cilias, OzFox1, Tobbi, TMZ.
  • Followup on last meeting.
    • SUMO is dedicated to contributors so please give ideas for making things easier for contributors
    • Some suggestions:
      • Fix places where http:// links log you out. This is now bug 482360.
  • Firefox 3.1 KB roundup
    • Firefox 3.1 release info: beta 3 will release this week.
    • Subsequent releases will be named Firefox 3.5
    • bug 481465 tracks all the changes as a results of this rename.
  • Support Firefox Day 5
    • Topic is Firefox 3.5
    • What kinds of questions about 3.5 do you want answered/are you most interested in?
    • Cww to start Contributors forum discussion to get feedback.
  • Forum participation
    • New Helping with Forum Support Page
    • Feedback from doing 10 minutes a day:
      • Helping is an addiction… you can’t just do 10 minutes. This is great! It’s an easy way to getting into helping regularly.
      • Distinction between Proposed solution/Request for more information is not clearcut — will clarify.
      • Let contributors know if users have marked their threads as solved. This is bug 482363.

Contributors open meeting March 9th 10 AM PDT

Just over a month ago, we had our first open-format contributors meeting. It was wildly successful and we are actively taking your suggestions and ideas and using them to make SUMO better. Thus, you can imagine our excitement in announcing that the next contributors meeting will be in just over a week on March 9th 2009 at 10 AM PDT (don’t forget to turn your clocks forward in the US/Canada the day before!), 1 PM EDT, 5 PM GMT (those of you in the UK and Europe, you change your clocks a couple weeks later so the time difference looks off but it’s not, we promise!), 6 PM CET. The details of how to call in are at the bottom of this post (it’s free using Skype or toll free from the US).

In the meeting, we hope to cover the following topics:

  • Followup on last meeting. One of the big suggestions from last meeting was to streamline communication. We’d like to know how we’re doing (now that we’ve increased our blogging frequency and added a twitter feed) and what we could be doing even better. Another suggestion was to make it easier for contributors to get started contributing, we’d like to get feedback from you on we’re doing with that as well.
  • Firefox 3.1 KB roundup. Firefox 3.1 will soon be in beta 3 and release is coming up! The knowledge base has incorporated some changes and new articles in preparation for Firefox 3.1 and we want to make sure any questions that you have are cleared up as release day approaches.
  • Support Firefox Day 5. With four Support Firefox Days under our belt, the next one is in the works! Currently scheduled for the end of March, the topic will be Firefox 3.1 support (there’s a blog post in the works). Of course, it wouldn’t be an event without input from our contributors … tell us what you’d like to see covered or how we can make the event fun and informative.
  • Forum participation. As we work to encourage forum participation, we’re always interested in hearing how we can make the experience better for the contributors or get the word out more.

If there are more things you think we should cover in this or future meetings, just post to this Contributors forum thread!

We look forward to hearing from you on the 9th!

Meeting details:

Monday March 9th 10 AM PDT/1 PM EDT/5 PM GMT:

  • California: 650-903-0800 then extension 92, conference number 280#
  • Toronto: 416-848-3114 then extension 92, conference number 280#
  • Toll-free (US): 800-707-2533 then password 369, conference number 280#
  • Skype (free worldwide): +18007072533 then password 369, conference number 280#

The backchannel (where we post links and share text) is #sumo on and our agenda and notes is on the Mozilla wiki.

If you can’t make the time, never fear, just tell us your thoughts in IRC at any time or call in to one of our weekly phone meetings Mondays at 10 AM PST/1 PM EST/6 PM GMT.

Make someone’s day in just 10 minutes!

Firefox support is one of the most rewarding ways you can give back to the Firefox community and answering questions on the forums is the simplest and fastest way to contribute.  There are just two steps: Register and answer.  With hundreds of new threads every day, it’s simple to find an issue you can help with and jump right in. In just ten minutes, you can help two, three or even ten users have a much better Firefox experience.  For some users, a link to the right knowledge base article or just a few suggestions make all the difference between hours of frustration and enjoying the bounty of the internet.  Not only that, but helping research a question can sometimes lead you to discover features of Firefox you didn’t know about, knowledge base articles you hadn’t read or even add-ons that you may want to try yourself.  It’s a win-win situation.

So give this a try: set aside just ten minutes each day for the Firefox support forums.  If you find a question you can’t answer, never fear! Try the knowledge base, ask us in the #sumo IRC channel, use the Contributors forum or simply find another thread you can help in.  You’ll be brightening someone’s day somewhere — and that is the best feeling of all.

SUMO now has a twitter feed

Activity in the SUMO has increased rapidly over the past year and our community has really grown! Now we have this blog, a contributors forum and a newsgroup. There’s all sorts of work being done with users, finding common issues, writing help documentation and developing the many features on the website and tons more in the works in Bugzilla. With all this stuff going on, naturally, we figured a twitter feed would be a great way of letting community members know about things as-they-happen — in short 140-character bites. The feed will announce blog posts and discussion threads that may be of broader interest as well as give announcements that may be useful to SUMO contributors such as new KB articles, common issues or just to give a welcome to new people.

This is still very experimental and we’d love to get some feedback as to what you want to hear about. Either way, it’s casual, it’s informative and hopefully, it’s also a fun way to keep up to date with all the great things going on in the wide world of SUMO support.

If you’re new to twitter, it’s a webapp that lets users quickly update others with short messages and statuses. If you already have an account, just go to the moz_sumo page and click Follow! and you’ll be updated as to all the great things going on in the world of SUMO. If you would rather not get twitter, you can always subscribe to the RSS feed in your favorite reader or with a live bookmark and follow things right in your browser.