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Roland’s Call for contributors

Who is this guy?
Roland Tanglao - Support
Name: Roland Tanglao
Based in: Vancouver, Canada
Status: Mozilla Employee
Job title: Mozilla Thunderbird Technical Support Lead
Distinctive features: Roland is a compulsive photo shooter with multiple cameraphones that have been hanging from a lanyard around his neck since 2004. A few more of his ridiculously large list of interests: #changeyourliferidabike #bicyclingToWork #LindyHop #Cross-Country-Skiing #TapDancing #ProgrammingInTheSmall #ethnicFood #German #French

Unlike David Bienvenu, the TI58C was his second programming environment, not his first. In 1977, Roland saw his first personal computer and he was hooked. It was a Commodore PET so Roland’s first programming environment was PET BASIC.

Along the way Roland dabbled in many, many computer related things (e.g. C, C++, Java, PHP, Ruby, etc. (this list is also ridiculously long)) culminating in doing support and billing for Vancouver open source Drupal startup Bryght which gave him his first introduction into open source communities and community support.

It’s there that Roland found his home. The unique combination that makes up open source community support: real users, developers, code and everything in-between is something that Roland thrives in.

It was thus a great honour for him to join Mozilla in July of 2009 as full-time support lead.

What is his role all about?
The main responsibility of support is to solve user problems. With community support the problems are generally solved by volunteers not by employees. Therefore Roland’s number one responsibility is making sure the community has the tools and information to solve Thunderbird users’ problems without wasting the community or users time or duplicating effort.

This means making sure that all hot issues are documented with workarounds and that the community is happy. It’s not that we want world peace (although we do, of course) but we do want contributors and users to see that we are working together with them to move forward and resolve their issues!

A typical day in a life of Roland:
“Half Tactical and Half Strategic” is the balance that Roland attempts to strike everyday.

Tactically, he tries to ensure any unresolved issues (found through Get Satisfaction API scripts written in Ruby, bug reports on Bugzilla, email from the tb-support-crew mailing list and feedback from the Thunderbird Knowledge Base) are documented and resolved or worked around as quickly as possible. He also tries to find quick fixes to help increase contributor and user happiness.

Strategically, Roland works to make sure the Thunderbird Knowledge Base and forum websites are up to date and evolving to make them more effective for users and contributors. This involves a lot of back-end website stuff that he works on with our Web developer.

Roland’s call for contributors:
We need more people who can help us with the Thunderbird support forums on Get Satisfaction. Besides solving individual users’ problems on Get Satisfaction forums, we’d love to have people think on a higher “meta” level that will help many users e.g. help us find, track and tag hot issues and find workarounds.

Finally, there are lots of other places and communities on the web to get Thunderbird help. If you frequent one of these non-Mozilla sites, especially in languages that aren’t English, we want you! Remember Thunderbird is localized in 52 languages. Please join the tb-support-crew mailing list and tell the support community about the hot issues in your area. We mostly communicate in English but Roland can read French and German so feel free to post in those languages

Why help Roland?
By helping Roland and helping Thunderbird users, you will participate in delivering a better Thunderbird product and experience. It’s a great way to get started learning about how software development and software communities work, which is a great skill in our world where software increasingly powers more and more communities.

While Roland isn’t as funny as Ludo, (nobody is as funny as Ludo) he promises to try. Please don’t hesitate to contact him for both bad jokes and good advice on supporting Thunderbird users and the Thunderbird Knowledge Base! You can find him on nickname :rolandtanglao or email him rtanglao AT .