Thunderbird suggestion box

Eric Moore emoore at
Mon Apr 27 20:58:41 UTC 2020

Voting on features is necessary, but it's inherently risky. I worry 
about it turning from a very coarse indication of how much interest 
there is to a small group of users who feel strongly about a feature 
having too much impact because they're being pro-active (and potentially 
organized). Its also not clear why it would work any better than voting 
in Bugzilla (which seems a failure)

One thing most of the suggestion boxes appear to lack is a good way to 
bunch or merge related suggestions together. I think getting a 
discussion about the relative merits of several related suggestions can 
be far more useful than seeing how many votes a specific suggestion got, 
or getting more details for a specific suggestion. People frequently ask 
in the support forums how to do something that doesn't appear to be 
supported by Thunderbird. Frequently as you discuss various ways to 
solve their problem they get a better idea of what they "really" want. 
This sometimes can be quite different from what they originally asked 
because there is a tendency to ask how to implement what they think is 
the solution, rather than ask how to solve their real problem. They also 
might not have been exposed to some better alternatives.

I suggest a couple dozen feature requests from Bugzilla get ported to 
the suggestion box as a yeast starter. Include a link to the relevant 
bug report(s). One reason to do that is users are used to feature 
requests getting ignored or triaged. Why should users believe anything 
is going to be different this time if we completely start from scratch?

A discussion about what type of suggestion box software to use should 
include how are you going to change the process to make better use of 
the input. Otherwise its just blaming the tool.

One potential problem is that Thunderbird seems to have numerous half 
finished (just good enough to ship, and then forgotten about) features, 
such as the phishing detection. How are we going to avoid repeating that 

Before deciding on a suggestion box perhaps the community manager could 
create a TopicBox group dedicated to getting more feedback/input on 
about two dozen topics (such as what do you want in a built-in editor, 
how can we improve managing what font/fonts size is used, what sort of 
views would be useful ...). To prevent it from becoming the defacto 
suggestion box I suggest only the community manager be able to create 
threads in that group. Announce it in the official blog, and provide a 
link to that announcement in the Thunderbird start page and near the 
bottom of Thunderbird Help. State this is a pilot project which might 
get replaced later on by a separate suggestion box system. People could 
email the community manager to suggest other topics.

Based on what is learned from that over a couple of months we might be 
able to get a better handle on what sort of suggestion box we need and 
how to make better use of it.

> From: Wayne Mery <vseerror at>
> To: tb-planning <tb-planning at>
> Subject: Thunderbird suggestion box
> Message-ID: <5418df24-3327-d896-95c5-489266754cb2 at>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="windows-1252"; Format="flowed"
> Creating a suggestion box has been mentioned a few times over the years,
> in part because neither SUMO nor bugzilla are built to accept user
> feedback in a way that is simple, and that scales to provide an
> organized, prioritized list of desires to product planners.
> Rather than debate the merits of such a system and whether we should do
> it - I'd like to focus this thread on the features we'd want in a
> system, and what systems we might consider should we choose to get one.
> I've been exposed to uservoice and one other system (whose name I
> forget) as a user of paid and free software, and the experiences were
> both good - but that was a long time ago.? So it would be helpful to
> hear about systems you have used and what you liked or didn't like about
> them.
> Some links to a few references to help start the conversation
>    * and
>    *
>    * and
>    * (not sure I
>      agree with everything here, but in interesting read)

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