As anyone who has spent any time around the Mozilla Project knows, we generate a lot (lot, lot) of information. There are dozens of things to try to follow — blogs, forums, newsgroups, mailing lists, bugs, IRC, meetings — and it can be a shade overwhelming. As it’s often described, “it’s like trying to drink from a firehose”.
There are two major problems caused by the information firehose.
First, it can be incredibly offputting for people who are new to the project. If someone just wants to dabble a little and start learning more about the project and how to get involved, diving right into the thick of things can be extremely difficult, confusing, time consuming, and intimidating. We need a kinder, gentler way for these interested new contributors to get a handle on things.
Second, even those of us who live and breathe this stuff all day can miss things. Sometimes big things. Having a single, regular, reliable overview of the major goings-on in the project would be an efficient and easy way to stay on top of critical news and events.
One of the Evangelism team’s goals this quarter is to experiment with possible solutions to these problems. Thus the “newsletter” project has been born.
Right now the newsletter (boring working title: “Mozilla News”) is envisioned as a weekly publication that will be available by email (HTML or plaintext), blog, and RSS feed. The fundamental purpose of the newsletter is to help make sense of the madness. By gathering, sorting, distilling down, and publishing regular summaries of news related to the Mozilla Project, the newsletters will make it easier to figure out what’s going on and where. They will also provide that kinder, gentler “starting place” for people who are new to the project to get their feet wet, instead of making them drink directly from the Mozilla information firehose.
I’m excited about this project for a bunch of reasons, and think it would be a lot of fun to have a group of “roving reporters” out there gathering, writing up and submitting stories for our weekly news. We’re not quite ready to put out a first issue yet, but we’re getting there. If you have any ideas or comments, or if you would like to help, please drop a comment here or email me at deb-at-mozilla-dot-com.
Oh, and if you can think of a better name than “Mozilla News” or “Mozilla Weekly News” please post it in the comments here. If we end up using your suggestion, I’ll send you a t-shirt.