Mozilla today published a draft of its new Add-on Guidelines for Firefox. While the document is primarily aimed at developers, it’s also meant as a reference documents for Firefox users to report violations to Mozilla. As such, the organization is asking everyone for feedback, which you can give over on the Google Groups newsgroup.
The guidelines, which are broken down into six sections (Be Transparent, Be Respectful to Users, Be Safe, Be Stable, Exceptions, and Enforcement), are mostly a formalization of Mozilla’s unofficial rules for Firefox add-ons. The Firefox maker hopes the document will be a distinct guide that applies to all add-ons, even those not hosted on addons.mozilla.org, and the formal process for users and community contributors to report problems with them.
Mozilla knows that add-ons are one of the main reasons users love Firefox, but it also admits that “they can also be a cause of slowdowns, instability, and other problems.” The reason is simple: Mozilla lets anyone create a Firefox add-on as it is a big believer in the open development platform. Still, the company did amid that “it can be very difficult for users to realize an add-on is to blame for these problems, and Firefox suffers because of this.”
The Add-ons team is thus responsible to find add-on problems and get them solved, but since it can’t just outright ban add-ons from all Firefox users (especially those that aren’t hosted on Mozilla’s site), the next best thing is outlining its expectations. The idea is to use documentation to avoid the creation of problematic add-ons in the first place, as well as to have a reference document for current issues. That being said, if you’re an add-on developer, this excerpt from the Enforcement section is worth reading:
Per blocklisting policy [https://wiki.mozilla.org/Blocklisting], Mozilla will do their best to contact the developer and provide a reasonable time frame for the problems to be corrected before a block is put in place. The only exception to this are add-ons that are considered to be malicious or whose developers have proven to be unreachable or unresponsive.
The document in question has already gone through two rounds of discussion, and this is the final attempt to get feedback. Once Mozilla has finalized the text, the Add-on Guidelines will be moved to a permanent location. The organization hasn’t given a date for when that will be, but we’ll make sure to keep you posted.
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