A global documentation platform | Andy Bell

Andy brings up a very valid and very scary point: what happens when Mozilla shuts down MDN? Why is one of the most important sources of web knowledge not under community stewardship? And what can we do about it?

These are all solid questions and worth thinking about. I'm not so sure that the funding model proposed here would work, but I think a hybrid approach – one with corporate subscriptions, Patreon style personal donations, and big ticket sponsorship – might. It'll just be about building the right team in the first place, and hitting that critical mass of funding to make them financially secure.

On Mozilla versus MDN:

I want to be absolutely clear that I wholeheartedly support MDN. I think it’s fantastic. I think it’s under the wrong stewardship though.
I think MDN core documentation content needs forking and an alternative platform needs to develop from that forked, attributed content that has a sustainable funding and leadership model. Mozilla ain’t providing that.

On the lacklustre demos (some seem actively problematic these days):

Often, on MDN, demos are too abstract from real world use cases and frankly uninspiring

On Mozilla's odd (and problematic) priorities:

Mozilla could invest in this work — y’know, improving the docs so they help as many people as possible — but they instead introduce an “AI” helper that lies to people. Unforgivable.
The point I’m making is we as a collective can do so much better and importantly, look after an extremely valuable resource better. Something that’s focused on what it is, rather than something that’s good, but frequently gets enshittified by terrible leadership decisions.

On Andy's proposed funding model:

In community organisations the onus is often on generous individuals and corporate sponsors. I think the onus should be on companies that rely on web documentation for profit.

On the problems of open source and why it isn't a good fit here:

Open source is unfortunately treated as free, including lots of free labour. It’s free at the point of use, but people’s time and wellbeing is often exploited to achieve that.

On why we need to act now, rather than later:

MDN isn’t safe in Mozilla’s hands and the thought of it disappearing is terrifying. We can organise though and get something positive going before we have to because MDN has been rug-pulled. Fix the roof when it’s sunny and all that.

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A very well written overview of when client-side functionality and server-side functionality make sense to use for a […]
  • Andy brings up a very valid and very scary point: what happens when Mozilla shuts down MDN? Why is one of the most important sources of web knowledge not under community stewardship? And what can we […]
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