What goes on Planet Mozilla: a survey

Attention conservation notice: probably not of interest to anyone who doesn’t read this blog via Planet Mozilla.

I currently syndicate everything on this blog to Planet Mozilla. Given the ongoing discussion of what does and does not belong there, I would like to poll the audience: How do you feel about any of the following topics appearing on Planet?

  • Details of my recent trip to $COUNTRY
  • Offers to give away unwanted items prior to moving
  • Musings about pottery
  • Musings about video game design
  • Small programs that were a pain to write and might be useful to someone else maybe someday
  • Various Internet-security-related topics which may or may not have anything to do with The Web
  • incredibly hypothetical ideas, zany schemes, and related philosophizing
  • detailed reports on my academic research
  • explanations for a lay audience of how to use the Internet safely
  • summaries of the research presented at $CONFERENCE

This is a sincere question, which I am asking in order to decide whether I, personally, should start filtering what gets syndicated to Planet from here.

Responses to “What goes on Planet Mozilla: a survey”

  1. Dan

    If someone was posting very frequently (multiple times per week) and the majority of posts weren’t Mozilla related then I would say only a subset of those posts should be syndicated.

    However, in your case you don’t tend to post too frequently so I think all of the above are fine (it lets people know that you’re still around).

  2. Alereon

    Trip: No, I always skip over these posts, but I wouldn’t object if people thought the general interest nature of Planet Mozilla merited them.

    Moving Giveaway: No, Planet Mozilla is not Craigslist, posts should not be of narrow geographic relevance.

    Pottery: No, Planet Mozilla is not Boing Boing, but if it’s interesting to a general audience I wouldn’t object.

    Game Design: Maybe, but this is something I find interesting, so the general interest thing I keep mentioning applies. Seems slightly more relevant to Planet Mozilla than say pottery or travel.

    Small Programs: Yes, same as above but again slightly more relevant.

    Internet/Security/Web: Yes, this seems pretty close to the core relevance of Planet Mozilla.

    In general terms, I’ve been surprised at the number of people who maintain blogs that aren’t narrowly focused on Mozilla-related topics and are syndicating everything to Planet. If I had a blog that could syndicate to Planet, that would be something I took extremely seriously and would carefully consider before each post whether it should go on Planet too, much like I do whenever I write something that’s going to go to a wide audience and reflect back on me and the organization it will be published under. That could just be my personality though. That said, I do realize that if everyone followed that practice there would probably be some posts I liked reading on Planet that I would have never seen. However, I’m also quite confident that I missed posts that I would have liked to read on Planet because they were pushed off the page by stuff I didn’t care about.

  3. Mook

    For me: all of it, since they’re all no less relevant (and some are more interesting) to me than the Mozilla Journalism, HTML 5 games, and whatever else posts. I expect opinions to differ from mine on this point.

    But that’s kind of the point - there’s no need to move things around until the planet module maintainers finish whatever is necessary to fork out the on-topic feeds and the firehose feeds, so that people can choose.

  4. Jeff Walden

    First, I don’t actually read Planet, and I haven’t for a couple years or so. I read enough feeds that I needed to start pruning somewhere, and subscribing to everyone but then removing individual Mozilla feeds was the way to do it. (Which ones? Meeting minutes, most marketing/PR since I’m developer-oriented, increasingly some webdev stuff because no matter what I might wish I’m not close enough to modern webdev to be likely to use it or get much out of it, others too. I’ve been doing this awhile.)

    But that aside, I always enjoy reading posts which tell me about the people of Mozilla. Just as I enjoy reading posts telling me about the people of GNOME. (I’ve been reading pgo for about as long as I’ve read pmo; I don’t even remember which I started reading first.) I see the occasional opinion with which I disagree, of course. And that’s a good thing! I also see the occasional post that I just don’t care about. And I move on to the next one in short order. In any case, I want to know more than just the bland details of whatever someone’s current project is – I want to know who they are, what motivates them, what they do besides Mozilla, and so on. An unvarnished, unfiltered planet is an excellent way to get that.

  5. Steve Fink

    I think it’s hard to come up with a good set of rules. I find most travel reports to be incredibly dull and wish they would just go away—but I remember reading one about visiting Peru that was really cool. (From Laura, maybe? Can’t remember now.)

    I do highly recommend controlling what gets syndicated to Planet, though. I use tags for the purpose. (And I have separate mozilla and planet tags. The vast majority of posts tagged mozilla are also tagged planet, but I’ve used each tag individually too.) It’s not just for the benefit of other people; it also means that you feel free to write something without needing to consider how Planet readers might react to it. You more fully own your own blog.

    My one request for Planet authors is to use readmore tags, or whatever your blog software uses to select the text to appear above the fold in an RSS feed. Especially if the post is long, no matter how interesting you expect it to be to Planet readers. I’m fine with anyone posting anything as long as I can decide whether to skip it in a second or three and don’t need to scroll for miles to get past it. (I use Google Reader.)

    In a more perfect world, RSS feeds would carry tags through, we’d all agree on a basic set of tags, and I could filter all of Planet that way. Oh, and readers could suggest/override/vote on tags for some collaborative filtering. And everyone would use it. (I’m sure the functionality exists somewhere, but I’m pretty sure the buy-in doesn’t.)

  6. Henri Sivonen

    I suggesting including Small programs that were a pain to write and might be useful to someone else maybe someday in case they are technical in a way that might have Mozilla relevance and Various Internet-security-related topics which may or may not have anything to do with The Web on the grounds that Internet security is relevant to Mozilla.

    I don’t really have a problem with your other topics even if notes about giving away pottery in California is irrelevant to me, but in the interest of keeping divisive political and religious topics off the Planet, it’s easier to say to include only Mozilla (semi-)relevant technical stuff (or I guess Mozilla-relevant legal stuff; consider SOPA) instead of saying that things X, Y and Z should be excluded.

    Alereon: The Planet owners/peers have encouraged non-filtering at the source. See e.g. https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=502224

  7. RNiK

    Well, it’s Planet Mozilla.

    In your recent trip to $COUNTRY you visited Mozilla Communities/Mozilla Offices? Feed it to PM.

    Offers to give away unwanted items prior to moving - I find it difficult to be related to Mozilla Word so don’t feed it to PM.

    Musings about pottery- I find it difficult to be related to Mozilla Word so don’t feed it to PM.

    Musings about video game design - Web/HTML5 video game? Design concept/feature applicable to Web/HTML5? Feed it to PM.

    Various Internet-security-related topics which may or may not have anything to do with The Web - Generally speaking I would say Feed it to PM. The topic however is quite mixed so it depends on your sensibility.

    Incredibly hypothetical ideas, zany schemes, and related philosophizing - Can your ideas, schemes and philosophy concepts help Mozilla Community members? Feed it to PM.

    Detailed reports on my academic research - I don’t know what your academic research are about.

    Explanations for a lay audience of how to use the Internet safely - Always useful. Feed it to PM.

    Summaries of the research presented at CONFERENCEAgain,CONFERENCE about what?

    In the end I consider the above list useless. I expect every Mozillian mature enough to understand what to post or do-not-post on PM. Yeah, Gerv post proved I’m wrong, but it has been an isolated case.

  8. Asa Dotzler

    I am both a reader of your blog through Planet and a Planet Module peer (a member of the governance structure for Planet Mozilla.) I appreciate the wide variety of content that you and others syndicate to Planet. It helps us fulfill Planet’s mission of showcasing the human beings of Mozilla and not just the work product of Mozilla.

    If you and others syndicate less content we will know less about each other and that’s a regression in my opinion because Mozilla is more than some lines of code and some websites. We’re a global community of people participating in a movement.

    We are all about people. Our mission is to help people. Our products are in service of people. We create change by organizing people. Our forums should reflect that by showing that we are a diverse collection of people with all variety of interests, lifestyles, genders, nationalities, hobbies, and stories to tell.

    Mozilla is more than a job and I hope that we can do more, not less, to emphasize that.

  9. Robert Kaiser

    I’d love to see all the topics you list on planet. I go there for reading about the people in all community, with the whole great spectrum of opinions, hobbies and activities that entails.

  10. William Duyck (FuzzyFox)

    I personally feel that the odd, non or loosely linked posts on planet are good, and I don’t mean by percentage of what is in your personal blog, I mean overall. So I think it depends. If you are continually posting, and they never have a link back to Mozilla, then maybe filter, however I quite like to read about others on planet.

    In short… I don’t see the need for a filter in your case. I filter mine, however for the most part my blog is just Mozilla related content. Though when I do something completely unrelated I tend to prefer to let that stay just on my blog and in the readers of my blog (no planet).

  11. Gervase Markham

    I think it’s probably best if this decision is made on a community-wide basis, and you send content appropriate for aggregator policy. If there’s an aggregator for Mozilla participants feeds, as Planet is now, I’d say send everything. If that aggregator policy changes, or another one appears which is Mozilla-content-only, then, just send Mozilla stuff.

    I am personally happy to have everything in the above list in my feed reader.

  12. dis

    I agree with Alereon and RNiK. It’s quite clear that those who work for/with Mozilla like the personal posts; for the rest of us however they are irrelevant and mostly unwanted. I’m sure you can understand that I don’t care about your trip or your pottery classes because I don’t know you personally (and I don’t need to); I can follow my own friends on FB or twitter if I want to.

    Asa: Do you want to hear about my recent trip to my parents and my newborn?

  13. Asa Dotzler

    If you enjoy having planet that personalizes the people on the project and helps you learn more about them than the particular bits of code or whatever that they’re working on, you should speak up because those who would have an editorial regime put in place are going to be vocal about it. Let your voice be heard. http://groups.google.com/group/mozilla.governance/browse_thread/thread/6abe8b6a24eb3102/952101e4dd0bd0c7