Google Groups Fail

Unfortunately, for the last few months, we have not been able to hook up newly-created discussion forums to Google Groups. This means that they don’t have a method of posting over the web and they don’t have a web-based archive. (Existing groups continue to function as normal). This is bug 716007 (although note that that bug started off covering a different syncing issue). mburns writes in another bug:

Essentially, Google Groups’ codebase is at a state that new newsgroups need to manually be added by the (one?) engineer working on it. This is a low-to-not-gonna-happen level priority for them.

The underlying issue was supposed to be resolved in March, with a new rollout of the GG codebase, but wasn’t. I’ve emailed them about the ~17 other newsgroups created since than that have issues, without response.

I am working with Corey Shields, who manages Mozilla’s Systems team, to try and figure out what long-term solutions and short-term mitigations we can put in place to make this less painful. In the mean time, people may want to use or repurpose existing groups for discussions rather than starting another one. (Please don’t go off and create random free mailing lists, at Google, Yahoo or anywhere else – it just makes Mozilla project communication more fragmented and makes it harder for new people to find the group they need.)

(This post may well start a thread about the best way to technically achieve Mozilla’s goals for public discussion. If so, this document will be very relevant; I’m getting my linkage in early :-)

2 thoughts on “Google Groups Fail

  1. I had thought of a couple of things to say, but that linked document seems to cover everything (except for “current problems” being slightly out of date) that could be said. I guess all that’s needed is a decision from those who are in a position to decide…

  2. I am not following Mozilla groups for a very good reason – Mozilla doesn’t respect my privacy which make me unable to participate in the discussions. When I comment on someone else blog post, I have to put my details in the comment; Name, email and an optional URL for my identity. While the Name and URL are published, the email is kept for the blog admin eyes only, and there is not-written agreement they won’t publish my email address without prior authorization from me.

    On the other hand, Mozilla, which is known as a group of people who does what privacy mean are unable to find a solution which will allow us to keep our details private. I don’t like publishing my private email address in the public (although I have to do so sometimes). When my address is published on the web, not only I am risking in getting more junk mail I’ve never requested, but I get weird messages from people I don’t really know or prefer to talk with them in other channels (such as Facebook, Twitter, some web forums, etc).

    The current forum implementation as I see it is the following:
    • Mailing list – Real email address is required.
    • Newsgroup – You can read messages without a real mailing address, but very difficult to reply.
    • Google Groups – A real email address (Google Account) is required. Although it will be published on the web only after the user fill a strong captcha, it submits as clear text to the news/mail gateway.

    The solution: A forum owned by Mozilla. We don’t need favors from other services, as Mozilla can have a forum of its own. We can use the same forum implementation available on SUMO, as well as any other OpenSource forum system such as phpbb and bbpress, hosted on the Mozilla infrastructure and making use of every single feature we need. News and Mail can be kept by a gateway, but I guess that sooner or later most of us will use the web interface. You see, Mozilla best known for its steps to advance the web, but our discussions are kept on the same manner it was back in 1998.