Talk:Rules and guidelines

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Archived previous comments

Previous discussion was from Mar'04, so I archived it here and made a short conspect (it may be a little biased :)

  • Categorizing information.
    • Nobody likes space-colon-space in articles' names. Either use just colon, e.g. Firefox:Safe mode or don't use categorization at all, e.g. just Safe mode or Safe Mode (Firefox) when absolutely necessary. Cf. In-House Style.
    • Subpages are evil too. (Some people have proposed using them in MZKB, but looks that majority likes Page title (Application) or just Page Title more).
    • Tips/FAQs/Issues subcategories are stupid. Nobody wants them.
  • Capitalization - we shouldn't capitalize words in articles' titles. Wikipedia naming conventions regarding capitalization.

Another page that has rules is In-House Style. It has these suggestions listed as if they were rules, but the actual rules tell you to do exactly opposite, even though everybody agrees the rules are wrong. Oh well. --asqueella, almost 21st Feb'05 GMT

Just for the record, currently, the Rules page doesn't conflict with the ideas summarized above or presented below, which is good :-) It provides links to more comprehensive articles on Naming conventions, Categories and Templates. --Mozcerize 08:36, 18 September 2005 (PDT)

Categories and templates

This page's grown too large so I divided it into subpages:


==A plea: let's keep things simple== (Wintogreen 01:01, 29 Mar 2005 (PST)) Now that we've had a fair amount of discussion about the Rules and In-House Style, I would just like to make one proposal: in general, let's aim to keep the rules and style guidelines as simple as possible. New contributors should be able to read through the rules in, say, 5 minutes, and the style guidelines in another 10 minutes. They should be quick to read, easy to understand, and easy to follow. I don't mean that we shouldn't add to the Rules or not have an In-House Style, but that we should only include the specific rules/guidelines that are the most important, make them easy to implement, and then omit everything else from the "official" documents. Here's why I think so:

  • It will make the kb more inviting to new, potential contributors. And really, we do need more active contributors. People tend to be turned off, I think, by long lists of rules, guidelines, bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo.
  • Simpler rules/guidelines are easier to remember and easier to follow. The more complex we make things, the harder it will be for people to notice which rules/guidelines are really the most important.
  • Complex formatting requirements, sheerly for the sake of style, can be annoying. E.g., in the talk about keyboard shortcuts in Talk:Kb:In-House Style: it would be look great if we used the element with CSS, but it would be a pain to type this out all the time.
  • Unlike wikipedia, which is a huge sprawling project that would devolve into a gigantic mess without its bzillions of bureaucratic guidelines/rules/policies, the mozillazine kb is smaller in all aspects and can be managed differently. Let's not get carried away adding new rules/guidelines unless there's a real substantive benefit to having them.
While I mostly agree with you here -- we don't need most of wikipedia bureaucracy -- I'd like to say that current Rules/In-House Style don't take too long to read atm. And, in most of cases, we're not going to yell at someone for not following everything that's recommended in In-House Style.
We just need to make it clear on the Rules page what main points are, and that those are the main points. Maybe even move details to other pages (e.g. I think all "Naming a page" rules should be on a separate page). That way, a beginner only has to read the Rules page (short and simple) and only read other pages if he needs to. E.g. if he's going to create a new page, he'll read Creating a new page article and all the rules about naming the articles. Similarly, no-one has to read In-House Style, it's just a guide helping those who care to keep things uniform.
We also need to have those legalese pages to explain our edits. I.e. explaining why you replaced "Seamonkey" with "Mozilla Suite" (okay bad exmple) is easier when we have a page that explicitly states this is the term that must be used in KB.
Short summary ;) -- have a short Rules page and more info on separate pages; make it clear one doesn't have to read everything to start contributing.
asqueella 02:55, 29 Mar 2005 (PST)
I didn't mean to imply that the current Rules/In-House Style are too long. They're certainly not. And of course we do need the legalese stuff. I just wanted to make this "plea" now because I don't want to see the rules/guidelines have "everything but the kitchen sink" thrown into them. Also because I also don't want to see the adoption of things like Kb:Deletion policy. Good idea about making a "Creating a new page" article, by the way. Whatever happens in the end, all of these revisions are definitely for the better, and the fact that we're talking about style so much now is a sign that the kb has matured to a certain level. :) --wintogreen
I've gone ahead and implemented the Article naming conventions page. asqueella

Organizing Categorizing articles

I understand why this section was changed to "Organizing articles", but in the spirit of making the kb more welcoming to potential new editors, I've taken the liberty of changing it back (sort of) to "Categorizing articles" and removing the link to Rules/Templates. Getting people to categorize is far more important than getting them to use templates, and we don't want to overwhelm people with all the "rules" they're supposed to follow. Even if the Rules/Templates link is gone from here, there are still 3 separate links to it in Rules/Categories (1 at the top of the page and 2 in context), and I've also added a "Templates" section to In-House Style. Of course, feel free to change it back if you think it was better the way it was.... --wintogreen 09:10, 6 November 2005 (PST)

That's cool, especially since you've added a bit about templates to In-house style (which is where the template info best belongs). --Mozcerize 10:39, 6 November 2005 (PST)

Inappropriate content in user pages

The rules and guidelines don't deal with whats appropriate in a user page. Normally this isn't an issue. However some user pages have mild adult content and others promote home based businesses though the entire page isn't devoted to it. I suggest that we adopt as a rule of thumb that we'll use the same rules as the forums (but do not duplicate that list of rules). As an example, this would let the author of the aid4mail shareware mention he's the developer and what his web site is (since he's a small business selling software that related to Mozilla), but not post anything that could be interpreted as a small ad. Tanstaafl 22:10, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

I agree. We can simply link to and state that the same rules apply regarding no offensive language, no spam, advertising or adult content, etc. on user pages. Alice 02:01, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
That forum link is now dead. Alice 00:35, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

Copyright/License problems

I suggest we think about adding a short "Copyright/License problems" section in Rules_and_guidelines that sets peoples expectations. I'm splitting this out as a separate topic from "Using external sources and references in KB articles" in Knowledge_Base_changes . It has some useful background you should read before commenting on this suggestion.

  • We need to explicitly confirm with Mozilla whether we can copy/modify SUMO articles, and does that agreement also cover their other documentation (which is normally covered by a creative commons license). If we can't get that then I think we have to explicitly say we can't copy/modify any of their articles/documentation . If we do get it we need to state the article needs attribution per the license, and give an example.
  • It should explicitly state that despite being part of the open source community in general we can't copy/modify articles from other open source web sites because we don't have a compatible license.
  • It should have a one-liner about copyrights.
  • We need a simple process to deal with complaints of copyright infringement or license violations. See Wikipedia copyright problems policy. Our list of templates doesn't seem to include anything similar to the two wikipedia copyright violation templates. We need some sort of template, and it should also be mentioned in Rules/Templates.
  • It should have a link to some section in In-house_style that talks about attribution and links to sources (they're different things). It should have an example of how to do a attribution for SUMO, and suggest authors consider linking to sources when it might be useful for the reader.

Tanstaafl 08:27, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

I did a quick check of some of my Mozilla-related bookmarks for sites which mention copyrights or link to a license that covers proper attribution, both for their own editors or for those who might want to use that site's content. These are pages that MozillaZine editors might use for source material.
Before we decide what type of rule to add about using copyrighted or other material covered by a free documentation license or similar, I think that kerz should be asked for a review. I also think that a link to this section of the rules should be included in the MozillaZine Knowledge Base:Copyrights article which is linked from Project:Copyrights in the notice that everyone sees when adding KB content (see below. Alice 12:54, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
Concerning your first point, We need to explicitly confirm with Mozilla whether we can copy/modify SUMO articles, that was brought up in the forum topic about copying MozillaZine KB article content to the SUMO KB, where I posted, Each SUMO article (for example, Auto form fill) includes a link to the Creative Commons license that covers using their material and I suppose that applies to MozillaZine. From the linked page,
You are free:
  • to Share — to copy, distribute and transmit the work
  • to Remix — to adapt the work

Under the following conditions:

  • Attribution. You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).
  • Share Alike. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same, similar or a compatible license.
  • For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work. The best way to do this is with a link to this web page.
  • Any of the above conditions can be waived if you get permission from the copyright holder.
  • Nothing in this license impairs or restricts the author's moral rights.
To which David Tenser replied here (quote) About proper attribution, I can't speak for all SUMO contributors so I'll have to get back to you on that. For now, a fair judgment sounds like a good start. (Personally, I don't think attribution is needed at all, and I'd be happy to give mZ permission to use the content however you'd like, but I can't do that without first syncing with the SUMO contributors). So, you might want to send David a PM to followup. I don't want to press him on it myself; I would rather take the licence requirements at face value. Alice 12:54, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
I agree kerz should review whatever we settle on. I think getting an agreement from Mozilla (or at least SUMO) about using their articles is something thats best left to kerz. I do not understand his reluctance to adopt a compatible license, which is whats creating the problem in the first place. np had to throw a hissy fit for kerz to react to his complaints about manually creating KB accounts by himself. What can we do to get kerz to decide he needs to revisit this issue? Tanstaafl 17:33, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't understand his reluctance either since, as it stands now, (correct me if I'm wrong) without a copyright or license, MozillaZine content is totally in the public domain with no protection at all from someone copying it and placing it under their own proprietary license or copyright. As far as adding a "Copyright/License problems" section, why don't you write up an outline then PM kerz and ask him to review your suggestion and mine, which is a simple 2-line statement that All MozillaZine KB contributions should either be original or copied with permission and proper attribution. Plagiarized content is not acceptable. (I'm dropping the If you are simply including information that you found elsewhere.... part). The rest of it is overkill, in my opinion, but kerz needs to decide that for himself. I also think that kerz should agree to a link to whatever Rules and guidelines section is created for "Copyright/License problems" that would be placed in the MozillaZine Knowledge Base:Copyrights article, since that's what editors are pointed to when they edit pages. Alice 20:52, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
I will copy you on the PM. I might not send it until late tuesday. Tanstaafl 11:17, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
I changed my mind. I don't really care that much about the ability to copy entire articles from SUMO or adding a "Copyright/License problems" section. We're spending too much time focusing on bureaucratic stuff (what must people do, processes to review quality, resolve disputes etc.), while the number of active contributers has drastically dropped in the last two years.
I used to regularly see Mozcerize , Wintogreen, Filipp0s, Unarmed, Np, FatJohn , and asqueella in the KB changes and in house-style pages, and editing articles. All of them are gone or barely active. As far as I know only np basically switched to SUMO. Off the top of my head (I apologize to anybody I overlooked) you, me, and Rod Whiteley are the only ones I can think of from that time period that are still periodically creating new articles. We've gained some new editors (some of which have written new articles), but the focus seems to have shifted to maintaining existing articles/curbing vandalism rather than writing new ones and serious rework. I don't think its because of the number of articles we have.
While its good to worry about the legality/ethics of where people get stuff for articles it hasn't been a real problem (I'm not aware of a single complaint that somebody actually violated a license or copyright). Rather than worrying about that I think we should be focusing on growing the community, and writing new articles. Tanstaafl 11:35, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't think we should "focus" on Copyright issues.... I just wanted to add a simple rule, All MozillaZine KB contributions should either be original or copied with permission and proper attribution. Plagiarized content is not acceptable. and move on. About losing editors, yes I worry about that also but Unarmed is still writing new preferences articles and dickvl recently contributed two new articles, Password Manager and signons3.txt so it's not that bleak (although getting a proper system for creating new KB accounts would be helpful!) Hopefully the recent discussion about copying MozillaZine articles will get some other folks motivated. Alice 14:27, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

Using external sources and references in KB articles

There was a recent forum discussion about copying MozillaZine KB article content to the SUMO KB. Related to that, I think we should add a statement to our own Rules and guidelines about using content from other sources and referencing certain material. (I also mentioned that here in the forum topic.) I was thinking to add something like this but I wanted to make sure that it would be OK:

All MozillaZine KB contributions should either be original or copied with permission and proper attribution. Plagiarized content is not acceptable. If you are simply including information that you found elsewhere, such as a solution to a particular problem that you found in a forum topic, then that forum topic should be referenced.

Do we need approval from kerz to add something like that or would it be OK to add it? Also, the sentence that is shown whenever you create or edit KB content is as follows:

You are also promising us that you wrote this yourself, or copied it from a public domain or similar free resource (see Project:Copyrights for details). DO NOT SUBMIT COPYRIGHTED WORK WITHOUT PERMISSION!

...However, the MozillaZine Knowledge Base:Copyrights article was recently changed and no longer includes information about copying material from a public domain or other free resource. Each SUMO article, by the way, includes a statement about the Creative Commons license that covers using their material that says, This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License ... and the linked page explains under what conditions their content can be used by others. Shouldn't MozillaZine have something similar? Alice 19:02, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

That all makes sense to me. Nothing very controversial there and I don't think that you would actually need Kerz's approval to add that. However, be a bit grim if Kerz popped up later and wrote, 'Hey, I like hosting Copyrighted material!' Unlikely, I grant you, but would be better/good if Kerz, himself, posted all that. Leaves no ambiguity then.--Frank Lion 19:19, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

I edited the sentence slightly to include proper attribution. I'll wait for other opinions. Alice 19:36, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

Plagarism is a emotionally loaded word, that I'm used to seeing in a academic environment where they can get seriously hung up on the origin of a single sentence. In more collegial environments the focus is on intent (are you trying to pass something sizable off as your own effort rather than building on the efforts of others or sharing/reusing something). I believe that a wiki for a user community where people collaboratively edit documents should be concerned about copyrights (don't steal stuff), but should promote a collegial environment. Unnecessarily attributing everything has a corrosive effect. There is also a difference between getting help/ideas from somebody else, paraphrasing, isomorphic copying, and copying.
I think we need to differentiate between the deliberate planned wholesale copying of the contents of multiple articles from another communities web site (which is what SUMO did) and paraphrasing a paragraph or two you found in some forum thread, blog, or posting of some email thread. This isn't a academic environment, we don't need to give credit for every idea. I also don't see the need to attribute something from our own forums, though if it was a sizable body of text/amount of work it might be courteous to acknowledge the contribution (same effect, but different reason why we did it). The proposed rules are overreacting IMHO. There is a big difference between respecting copyrights and having to track and document the origin of everything.
I agree it would be nice if we adopted a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License but kerz has made it clear he doesn't want to specify a license (at least for now). I don't see that as an obstacle for sharing work between SUMO and MozillaZine (in either direction), I assume we just need to provide prominent attribution if we adapt one of their articles. Tanstaafl 23:35, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

I happened to be reading Nuance and Suggestion in the Tweety and Sylvester Series, where the author includes the following at the end of the article:

Textual content (c) Kevin McCorry, with all rights reserved

This article, the observations, the interpretations, and the ideas therein are the intellectual property of the author unless otherwise noted and may not be reproduced and then altered in any way without the express written consent of the author, and any scholarly quoting, paraphrasing, or other repetition of them MUST be accompanied by full stated credit to the author, with failure to do so possibly exposing an individual or group to litigation and possible civil or criminal penalty.

I'm mentioning it as an example of content that should not be copied without proper attribution, as set forth in the source content. The same applies to SUMO articles (or other articles) with a Creative Commons license. I suppose we could get rid of the "Plagiarized content" sentence and link since. as you say, it is emotionally charged and just mention something about not copying material without proper attribution as set forth in the source material? I do think that we should at least include that much. As for material taken from forum posts, that's a separate matter. I still think that we should encourage people to document such sources, for example, If you are simply including information that you found elsewhere, such as a solution to a particular problem that you found in a forum topic, then a link to that forum topic would be sufficient. I suppose we don't need to require documentation, although it is helpful to authors and users alike, to know where information comes from in particular cases. Alice 00:39, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

The issue of the MozillaZine Knowledge Base:Copyrights article being recently changed (by kerz) is another issue, since it no longer includes information about copying material from a public domain or other free resource, and therefore the (see Project:Copyrights for details) link that is seen whenever you edit a page that I mentioned above, doesn't make any sense. Alice 00:55, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

My understanding was that a quid pro quo for sharing mozillaZine articles with SUMO was that they would share theirs with us, and that the main reason why we should provide attribution for SUMO articles is reciprocity (not some legal requirement) - we ask people to do that when they use our content. Since we do not use a Creative Commons license we normally can't copy/modify articles that use that license. Am I incorrect?
The latter is my understanding too — unless we get explicit permission from the copyright holder.
Other than Mozilla web sites where else is attribution a real issue? I've never run into a situation where the source material requested attribution or had a license. I think our rules should be neutral regarding whether somebody provides attribution of ideas/information from forums/blogs etc. Whether or not our style guide wants to suggest that the author consider whether a link to source material adds value is a different issue.
As is said under the editing textarea, DO NOT SUBMIT COPYRIGHTED WORK WITHOUT PERMISSION. I understand that as meaning that if ever some MZ article is found to contain (non-freely-reusable) copyrighted material, that material should be summarily removed, unless the copyright is attributed and it can be proven that it was "used by permission" or that it fell under "fair use of copyrighted material". IMHO, except in special cases, it's usually better to refrain from using copyrighted material altogether. -- Tony 18:46, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't understand your last paragraph. The copyright statements make sense to me. We just have some limitations in what we can do due to not using a Creative Commons license (the main reason why we should keep lobbying kerz to consider using one). Tanstaafl 07:12, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
The MozillaZine Knowledge Base:Copyrights article was recently changed by kerz and no longer includes any details about using copyrighted material or copying from a public domain or other free resource, and therefore the (see Project:Copyrights for details) link that you see whenever you edit a page doesn't make any sense. It doesn't link to anywhere that gives editors any details about what non-original material can or cannot be used, and under what circumstances. Here's a screenshot, to show what I mean:
In other words, you are referred to Project:Copyrights for details about submitting non-original material to the KB but the linked page no longer gives you any such information, since the current version of MozillaZine_Knowledge_Base:Copyrights just says, The content of the MozillaZine wiki is owned by MozillaZine. Any contributions you make here are considered part of the site. As part of the open source community, we will gladly share anything here with others, assuming they will give credit back to the specific article the content is taken from. Questions or comments on this policy should be sent to the MozillaZine site forum. Thanks! . If you check the history, that page used to give a lot more information and had entire sections listing Contributors' rights and obligations, such as Using copyrighted work from others and Linking to copyrighted works. That information may have been "over the top" but I still think that the MozillaZine KB should put contributors on notice about submitting non-original content. You said that This isn't a academic environment, we don't need to give credit for every idea. which is true, but there specific cases where we do need to give credit, the main one being, if the source material demands it because of copyright or other restrictions that require proper attribution at the minimum. Alice 21:20, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't want to get hung up on the legalities, which is why I wanted to include a reference to plagiarism, since that also covers ethical concerns which, quoting from includes "the unearned increment to the plagiarizing author's reputation". In this post (in the same discussion about copying MozillaZine content to SUMO) , np quoted the following from here "Note that copyright law governs the creative expression of ideas, not the ideas or information themselves. Therefore, it is legal to read an encyclopedia article or other work, reformulate the concepts in your own words, and submit it to Wikipedia. However, it would still be unethical (but not illegal) to do so without citing the original as a reference." I don't want to beat this to death and maybe kerz is really the one to be concerned, since it's his site, after all, and he's the one that changed the page that's linked from Project:Copyrights. Alice 21:20, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
At this point we're not arguing legalities, just ethics. I would expect the worlds largest/most well known online encyclopedia which states articles should consist of encyclopedic information about "notable" subjects and not the place for "original research" — that is, new theories, etc., that have not been supported by peer review to also require that you cite sources for the information you contribute. We're just a bunch of users helping other users with a software application. I see a big difference between reformulating the information from an article from a web site (especially if that web site is used as the source for multiple articles) and using some information you find in a couple of paragraphs from some random forum thread/blog/mail message. You apparently don't.
You imply that not attributing sources creates a "unearned increment to the plagiarizing author's reputation". However, we deliberately don't identify the author in the article, make a big deal about collaboration and nobody owning an article, and once several people have edited an article it can take a bit of work to identify their contributions. Moving or merging articles also muddies who created them - thats happened to me several times and I've never complained.
I do not believe its appropriate to force everyone to adopt your ethical views. I don't have a objection to modifying the style guidelines to suggest that editors consider whether it would be useful to link to any sources. In many cases that would achieve the results you want, but for different reasons. I frequently provide a link to sources, though I typically use the external links section (or the talk page) because I'm usually concerned about adding value - not attribution. Tanstaafl 04:26, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
Using some information you find in a couple of paragraphs from some random forum thread/blog/mail message. I do understand the difference, and I later amended my earlier suggestion for including forum references and such. To quote from my earlier comment, "As for material taken from forum posts, that's a separate matter. I still think that we should encourage people to document such sources, for example, If you are simply including information that you found elsewhere, such as a solution to a particular problem that you found in a forum topic, then a link to that forum topic would be sufficient. In the case of forum topics, I never said that we would call that "plagiarism" or demand that the source be cited, only that it would be appropriate for the editor to reference the forum topic as the source of certain iformation such as the solution to a problem, since it lets everyone know where the information came from. What I was mainly concerned with was copying or reformulating material that is covered under a copyright or copyleft license that requires proper attribution, like SUMO articles and included other references as an afterthought. I'm going to reply to the issue of using copyrighted or other licensed material in the separate section above. In the case of MozillaZine KB, the "unearned increment to the plagiarizing author's reputation" would apply to the author's reputation among other editors as well as the reputation of the MozillaZine KB as a whole which may be my ethical viewpoint, not yours, but it also has a practical application since we use the author's reputation to decide how closely we review his future edits (similar to why we don't allow "bugmenot" accounts). Alice 12:54, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
There is a difference between encourage and require. Whether or not its a formal attribution or a link you want to force everybody to always cite their source (regardless of whether its legally required). I don't like the implication that we're guilty until proven innocent, especially when its for something trivial thats available from many locations. I don't think your statement about reputations is accurate. Nobody has ever complained about my sources (other than asking if there is a bugzilla bug report to back up whats been reported in the forums) and I'm one of the top contributers, yet many of my edits are closely reviewed. Tanstaafl 17:33, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
I think I see where you're coming from now... our discussion at Talk:Recovering a missing profile about Recovering a profile that suddenly disappeared? Sorry if you still hold a grudge, but that's a perfect example of a KB article in which an author relies on what he remembers from the forums instead of supplying references. The result could be "solutions" that are more folklore than fact. I'm going to drop the subject of references as it relates to forum topics/ messages and the like since I see that I'm not going to convince you, but, as far as I'm concerned, KB content that is based on solutions found in the forums should be referenced, so that anyone questioning the content can be referred to the source. Alice 20:52, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
I got over that long ago. However, what I remember is that I provided links to forum threads and Mozilla bug reports (some by PM) that you totally dismissed, because you were so used to seeing the problem caused by something else. Tanstaafl 11:17, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
What you remember and what I remember may be two different things ;-) Alice 21:02, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

New sections about article content

I moved the sections In-house_style#Articles that apply to more than one application and In-house style#Removing obsolete information from the In-house style article to this article. See the discussion in Talk:In-house_style#Keeping_this_article_about_style. Alice 14:45, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

Add-on links

Discussed here: Knowledge Base changes#Using AMO links instead of author's website whenever possible. Alice 17:13, 9 July 2008 (UTC) Section added, under Rules and guidelines#Article content. Alice 00:35, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

Prohibiting articles about individual extensions

It was brought up that a few KB articles now exist about individual extensions (some have already been trimmed down to redirects). A proposal was made to prohibit such new articles in the future, to avoid a situation in which extension authors create new KB articles to promote or "market" their own extensions. Being discussed here: Knowledge Base changes#Extension listings in the Knowledge Base Alice 00:35, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

Removing obsolete information

"Information on older versions should be removed after two major releases, if it's long or distracting. For example, if Thunderbird 3.1 and Thunderbird 3.0 are the most recent major releases then, for Thunderbird, anything before 3.0 is fair game"

That's a good general guideline but I disagree with the suggestion that information about Thunderbird is fair game. There are many users who have not upgraded (or upgraded and then gone back to because they strongly dislike 3.*, and unlike browsers where its critical to get security upgrades, if you apply common sense its safe to use for several more years. This isn't the normal reluctance to upgrade to a new major version that we saw with 1.5 and 2.0.

Very few of the Thunderbird articles have been updated for 3.0 or 3.1, we've mainly just added 3.0 and 3.1 "installation issues" and "new features and changes" articles as an interim workaround. Many popular add-ons still have not been updated for 3.0. was released on March 16, just after 3.0.3 was released.

Any objections to my rewording it to add an exception for a user revolt? Tanstaafl 09:03, 6 September 2010 (UTC)

I suggest something like the following: «Information about obsolete versions (which are not supported anymore) may be removed if it is long, confusing, and the corresponding information about all current versions is present. However, caution should be exercised when removing information concerning the latest unsupported version (such as, at time of writing [September 2010] Thunderbird 2.0.0.x or SeaMonkey 1.1.x), especially if it is felt that it still has a substantial number of users. In addition, something like "Applies to Firefox since version 0.9"», etc. — What do you think? Tony 15:19, 6 September 2010 (UTC)
I was just trying to keep the section updated, since it still said that Thunderbird 2 and Thunderbird 1.5 are the most recent major releases :-) I have no problem with rewording the section. I think what we might want to do is to redefine "obsolete" to mean something other than older than the last two major releases. We should consider a program obsolete if it is no longer being supported (like Tony mentioned). We should also consider when the program was last updated (e.g., any program updated within the past year is not obsolete?). In any case, the issue is really keeping the article uncomplicated. How about the following? Alice 15:25, 6 September 2010 (UTC)
Information about obsolete versions (i.e, versions that are no longer supported and which haven't been updated in over a year) may be removed if it is long, confusing, or distracting, if the corresponding information about current versions is present. However, a comment such as "Applies to Firefox since release 0.9" in articles about preferences is a good example of information that shouldn't be removed. It's very short, and the historical perspective can be useful. Keep in mind that older operating systems (e.g., Windows 98/Me and Mac OS X 10.3) do not meet the requirements for current Mozilla applications. Also keep in mind that some outdated versions (e.g., SeaMonkey 1, Firefox 2 and Thunderbird 2) may still be popular for various reasons; use common sense before removing information that may still be useful.
Sounds good to me. Tanstaafl? -- Tony 15:45, 6 September 2010 (UTC)
That's fine with me too. Tanstaafl 22:12, 6 September 2010 (UTC)