Reporter FAQ

I’ve put together a quick QA on the new reporter tool to answer some questions I’ve recieved since I started working on this. These should address everything I’ve gotten so far (and cover a few bases). If you have other questions, leave a comment, and I’ll likely reply.

Why not just use Bugzilla?

Bugzilla was not the right tool for reporting evangelism for several reasons:

  1. Requires users to signup (extra work deters users from submitting reports)
  2. People don’t give enough information. “Yahoo is broke? is a bad report. We need several things to make use of the report: browser build, platform, exact page (no mistakes), problem description, and perhaps buildconfig or other information. Either users don’t give that info, some don’t know how to get that info, or they don’t bother. This creates bad reports.
  3. Because we gather accurate data (since most is automatic), we can generate much more accurate (and useful reports).

The results that reporter will give us will go into Bugzilla similar to how talkback works. Likely we’ll maintain a list of the top 20 sites bothering Firefox users.

Why can’t it just use a form?

A form would have been much easier to implement (and I did one very early on), but I ended up writing an entire extension and service for reporter to improve the accuracy of the data. With the extension, you can submit a decent report in under 20 seconds. You can submit a fantastic report in a minute. Most of the data collection is automatic, and perfect.

What about my privacy [you insensitive clod]!?!

I’ve spent quite a bit of time ensuring your privacy, and ensuring data integrity, and several things are in place to ensure it:

  1. A report is only submitted if you personally submit it. Reporter will never collect any data unless you launch the tool and submit a report. You need to do this for each page you report.
  2. There is no personally identifiable information associated with a report. We give you a random token (so we can get a user:report ratio). You never give your name, address, etc. Everything is anonymous.
  3. Yes, we do allow you to submit an email address (should you allow us to contact you in the [rare] event we need more information). Again completely optional. IP addresses are also recorded for security reasons. Both Email and IP addresses are not publicly accessible. Only an administrator can access such information. They are not searchable, or viewable in any way shape or form.

What will the data be used for?
There are several uses for the data. The first is to contact websites that are incompatible so they can fix their problems and work correctly in Gecko browsers (evangelism). The second use is to allow Gecko Engineers to see what problems are bothering the most users. This can help decide which bugs effect the most people.

What about SeaMonkey? Camino? Minimo?

I’ve already assured SeaMonkey compatibility. As far as Camino and Minimo support, it’s up to their respective development teams to come on board. I don’t have the development knowledge to do it myself, but I’d work with anyone who wants to bring such support.

When will it be localized for [insert language]?

The client side will be localized like anything else in a release. Same scheduling/policies/methods apply.

We will not be localizing webtool itself. It will be available in English. There’s just not enough cause to justify it. You can of course query the results based on the locale of the browser. And even search websites based on the TLD (for example .nl). This allows people who want to help improve support for a particular locale to zero in on what they need.

Will it be shipped with Firefox?

That remains to be seen. How it will be included (as an optional install like Talkback, default install, or not at all) has yet to be fully decided. I suspect to see it in non-release builds sooner than later.

I’m obviously lobbying to get this as a default on all installs. Since only a small percentage will participate [unlike talkback it doesn’t invoke automatically, it requires a user to do so on their own] it’s important we try and give the option to as many users as possible. The more reports from a larger audience, the more accurate the data will be.

When will it be in builds?

When cmp gets time to hook it up.

Is it true that you love monkeys?

Absolutely. And there’s a psudo-Easter egg to prove it.