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Soo!… Can community infrastructure malign a project?

In my opinion it can. Why of course it can, in terms of open source, community is everything. Now that runs directly against what Google apparently believe with their approach to Android where they’re gone for ‘more open’ rather than ‘open’.

Now if you look at open, you have to ask what is bad infrastructure? Is it the inability for the community to communicate? Is it making sure the community feel like their opinions are weighted and can affect change?

Mozilla in my opinion has a few different communities. You have the Bugzilla community, the News Group communities and what I’ll dub ‘the others’ which includes forums like MozillaZine and the IRC channels. It’s not uncommon that members of each of these communities will overlap.

It goes without saying that the bulk of the power is held in the News Groups, that appears to be where most of logic behind decisions is polished, The IRC channels and MozillaZine are more fan driven and work largely in terms of review, then you have the Bugzilla community which is mostly technical. Bugzilla is the core of the Mozilla community in that without it there’s nothing. In order to implement the bulk of changes, they must run on mozilla-central which in most cases is via Bugzilla.

However as such, whenever there’s an issue with something being implemented or not being implemented, people run to Bugzilla in a bid to make themselves heard. And sadly, those people are told to take their gripes elsewhere and move it over to the News Groups. Now it goes without saying, that things like complaints shouldn’t get in the way of work-flow. But while that’s fair, they should be in-line with work-flow. They shouldn’t hinder one-another but despite that, they shouldn’t be independent of one another either.

I wonder if in managing to somehow unify the News Groups and Bugzilla, can you create better harmony in a project? Can for Feature pages host almost Facebook style widgets that show what the Test Pilot feedback on a feature is? Can we somehow host comments in a Slashdot/Digg/Reddit style? I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad idea. At the very least it’s better than such a segregated system such as the News Groups versus Bugzilla version.

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