Papercuts remixed - the bug list

Wayne Mery vseerror at Lehigh.EDU
Fri Jul 13 15:02:17 UTC 2012

Quoting Kent James <kent at>:

> On 7/13/2012 3:57 AM, Wayne Mery (d531) wrote:
>> I admire everyone's enthusiasm but I think we are blazing ahead too  
>> quickly, announcing a process and potentially blogging already only  
>> a couple days after discussion started.
> Right now, we are partly battling time. The Thunderbird brand was  
> enormously damaged by the announcement of last Friday (dare I say  
> botched announcement?) that has been interpreted much more  
> negatively than I think was intended. Now we have a small window of  
> time where people are watching Thunderbird a little more closely  
> than usual. It is really critical that a positive statement is given  
> in that window of time, and that statement needs to show hope that  
> there actually is a community effort that will back up Thunderbird.

agree, we can capitalize on media attention. I would argue further,  
that the longer we can keep that attention the better. so for example  
there should probably be onging, periodic messages.

> With Andreas and atuljangra also signing up, we now have 8  
> developers who have committed to investing in the Thunderbird  
> project over the next year. It would be good to get that message  
> out, and my target is Sunday night.
> I agree that the rest of the process is not well defined at the  
> moment, and perhaps you are correct that I should be cautious about  
> talking about the specifics of a process that is still in development.

Yes, if anything is to be announced, it may be sufficient to say that  
a process is being worked on. And ask for community volunteers to help  
address the need.

> But there is a second part of this that I'd also like to talk about  
> about, and it is a little more delicate. Part of what is going on  
> with the TB changes is that Mozilla is emphasizing stability over  
> innovation with Thunderbird.

I suggest this point is somewhat overstated, to the extent that media  
are saying (and people are repeating it) that Thunderbird won't change  
much and that Thunderbird won't be innovated.

Definitely that is what many people are perceiving. But I'm not sure  
that's what Mozilla means to say. And I think many people (we for  
example) are able to read between the lines to know that there's a lot  
that can be done given the direction that's been suggested by Mozilla.

Foremost in Mozilla's message there is, "Mozilla won't be delivering  
X".  Emphasis on "Mozilla".  Not Thunderbird. And then I perceive a  
second, hidden message of setting lower expectations of what I can  
best characterize as, "don't expect too much in the future".

But beyond these items there is of course much that is unstated or  
uknown that the press knows nothing about. For example there is indeed  
a significant contributor base, and has been growing in recent years.  
Perhaps on a per capita basis it rival's Firefox's - I don't know. But  
I know it's nowhere near zero as mnay people seem to think.

> part of the Thunderbird user base. The last thing many users want is  
> constant, unnecessary churn in the user interface. (My own pet  
> peeve: removing the folder class selection from the folder pane,  
> forcing someone to write an extension to put it back which is now  
> very popular).

This just happened to me with Firefox nightly where, my most, most,  
most used context item "send link" was removed. Thankfully, File |  
Send Link still exists. (Which is even better than context menu  
because I don't have to use the mouse.  Score for keyboard-centric user)

Regarding pet peeves - we still have module owners. And we don't know  
yet to what extent changes will be accepted in code.  Further, this  
leads me to something I've been mulling over some days, which is  
people are getting all excited that "we have been liberated", and now  
wonderful things are going to happen, my pet bug is going to get  
fixed, yada, yada.  There is some danger in people having unrealistic  

> I would like to find some positive ways to engage those people. And  
> emphasizing that we are going to be taking more concrete steps than  
> in the past to try to listen to their needs, and respond to them, is  
> a Good News story.

A good story is good :)

> But this is delicate because it is partly critical of what Mozilla  
> has done in the past - or could easily be interpreted that way. It  
> is also extolling the glories of slower release cycles at a time  
> when Mozilla is already working to respond to recent criticism of  
> rapid release (the "Firefox Update Discussion" email). I'm aware of  
> these sensitivities and want to be careful - but I think that subtle  
> criticism is acceptable and even desirable.
> So I feel strongly that a positive statement of some sort needs to  
> be put out this weekend, but I feel less strongly about the  
> specifics of the paper cut process. But that it exists, and that it  
> is reaching out to users who would prefer stability and quality over  
> innovation, is an important message that needs to be part of that  
> statement.
> Still I welcome further input on what should NOT be said right now.

Your concern about sensitivities is well founded.  I would also point  
out, that there is also flying in various forms criticisms and  
complaints of what Thunderbird developers and leadership have done in  
specific cases or in general over the past few years, which I think  
often lack perspective and are at times even vindictive. I personally  
find such comments to be negative energy, not helpful, and to be  
avoided at all costs.  We are talking about intelligent people,  
seasoned professionals, who have tried to do right by the customer and  
the community.  So I would sooner ask myself what have *I* failed to  
contribute and how have *I* failed to act in these past years, and  
what can *I* do (*do*, not just say) in the future to make things work  
better for Thunderbird (not just me).

Back to your request for input:
- Reaching out of course is good.
- I think the acceptance and nomination of papercut issues should be  
delayed until the thing can be better fleshed out.
- Blog posts and announcements should not presume to that they speak  
for "the community" or specific futures until there is some leadership  
group or process defined to formlate such things.

This message was sent using IMP, the Internet Messaging Program.

More information about the tb-planning mailing list