Every once in a while I go over to the Mozilla support forums to this query for questions asked in the last 24 hours that haven’t been answered. I like how it’s phrased. Right now it’s “6 questions in the last 24 hours have no reply. Help solve them!”. That’s out of 86 questions asked in the last day.
Looking up the answers is interesting. To answer the question, I poke around on the support forums, do a general google search, and usually find something relevant or can at least link to advice. Hopefully, the person asking the question feels happy to get a reply even if the answer isn’t easy! And, sometimes, other people who are support forum regulars come in afterwards and give a better answer or correct my answer. So I am not afraid to answer wrong; other people are on it, and if their answers are more useful they will get voted up higher on the answers page. Either way, there is plenty to learn by trying to answer well, giving a link or a source for the information, and just plain being nice to people.
Then I take a look at my SUMO user profile to see my stats build up. I only answer a question now and then, and have edited and translated a few articles. Actually I’m a sucker for anything that shows a steady buildup of activity and any kind of stats. While my mere 38 questions answered isn’t a lot compared to some of the incredibly dedicated contributors on the support leaderboard. It is like a little dragon hoard of evidence that I did something and that is satisfying even when it’s a very small hoard!
I only realized recently there are canned responses for replying in the support forums. There is an icon like a top hat, or a magician’s hat, which I didn’t notice for months. Perhaps from being a person who is way more into text than images.
It never occurred to me to click on that hat. Then someone mentioned it on IRC. Wow! I may file a bug to suggest adding a label next to it, that appears even when you don’t mouse over the hat. (Or is it a can… or a bucket?)
The selection of common responses is extremely useful. Basically there is a lot of infrastructure built to support, not just the people coming to look for answers, but the community contributors answering the questions.
Bugzilla now has user profiles which I’ll be working to improve and make useful. You can see a person’s last activity in bugzilla.mozilla.org, the number of bugs they’ve filed, commented on, and various other stats that may be relevant to bug reporters, bug triagers, and developers. I’ll post more about this soon!
By the way, my avatar on SUMO, though it kind of looks like me with its purple hair, is from a game called Glitch that closed in late 2012. Glitch was a descendent of Game Neverending. GNE had an image management and social network build into it that became Flickr. I still miss Glitch – it was a great game and a beautiful community!