Discuss: phpBB to ship with VigLink extension

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Marshalrusty
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Re: Discuss: phpBB to ship with VigLink extension

Post by Marshalrusty » Sun Dec 11, 2016 1:43 pm

Pond Life wrote:
Marshalrusty wrote: In short, while I'm not saying that we'll never accept donations, it would not provide the steady revenue stream that our organization needs.
Why not do both, the (optional) extension and paypal donations? I will never have advertising/affiliates on my site but I would donate if the option were available. Given the number of posts on this site from people wanting to monetize their forums for their own benefit, I suspect the majority will happily take the money for themselves rather than it benefiting the phpBB organisation.
At the moment, we're going to start with VigLink and see where things go :)

The expectation is that many small forums who would be earning very small amounts will not elect to collect the money themselves but have no objection to supporting the project. For those who choose to collect their own earnings, phpBB will earn a small cut from the VigLink share, for the referral.
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Re: Discuss: phpBB to ship with VigLink extension

Post by HiFiKabin » Sun Dec 11, 2016 1:49 pm

... but the opt in/out option should be made a lot clearer, as I indicated here viewtopic.php?p=14577621#p14577621

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Re: Discuss: phpBB to ship with VigLink extension

Post by scootergrisen » Sun Dec 11, 2016 1:51 pm

The injected VigLink JavsScript code sends information about domain names used on the board (from links) to VigLink.

I don't see why you would want to inform VigLink of what domains the users on my board links to.

Also first i could not understand why the JavaScript from VigLink was not loaded, it turns out uBlock extension for the browser blocks it. So that should at least tell you that this is unwanted by some people if its being blacklisted.

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Re: Discuss: phpBB to ship with VigLink extension

Post by Marshalrusty » Sun Dec 11, 2016 2:05 pm

HiFiKabin wrote:... but the opt in/out option should be made a lot clearer, as I indicated here viewtopic.php?p=14577621#p14577621
You may file an issue with your UI suggestion, however I disagree that what you described in your post is clearer than a green check mark next to "enable", as it currently looks.
scootergrisen wrote:The injected VigLink JavsScript code sends information about domain names used on the board (from links) to VigLink.

I don't see why you would want to inform VigLink of what domains the users on my board links to.

Also first i could not understand why the JavaScript from VigLink was not loaded, it turns out uBlock extension for the browser blocks it. So that should at least tell you that this is unwanted by some people if its being blacklisted.
Adsense likewise informs Google about the text and links on your forum. The vast majority of websites you visit track your activity and provide data to advertising agencies. This is why you get the final say over whether to enable the extension or not.

It sounds like uBlock is working as intended. Ad blockers block ads, but if every website stopped serving ads because some people don't like it, a good chunk of the internet would cease to exist.
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Re: Discuss: phpBB to ship with VigLink extension

Post by HiFiKabin » Sun Dec 11, 2016 2:14 pm

Marshalrusty wrote:
HiFiKabin wrote:... but the opt in/out option should be made a lot clearer, as I indicated here viewtopic.php?p=14577621#p14577621
You may file an issue with your UI suggestion, however I disagree that what you described in your post is clearer than a green check mark next to "enable", as it currently looks.
Not having a 'disable' check box implies that it can not be disabled from that page. After all, all other switches in the ACP are of the yes/no or enable/disable type.

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Re: Discuss: phpBB to ship with VigLink extension

Post by scootergrisen » Sun Dec 11, 2016 2:32 pm

Marshalrusty wrote:Adsense likewise informs Google about the text and links on your forum.
I don't use Adsense on my forum so don't see how.
Marshalrusty wrote:This is why you get the final say over whether to enable the extension or not.
Reading from what other people write it sure sounds like its being installed and enabled by default.
Marshalrusty wrote:It sounds like uBlock is working as intended. Ad blockers block ads, but if every website stopped serving ads because some people don't like it, a good chunk of the internet would cease to exist.
Sounds like a good idea.

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Re: Discuss: phpBB to ship with VigLink extension

Post by koraldon » Sun Dec 11, 2016 2:39 pm

Even though I don't intend to enable viglink (my site is 100% ad free) it sounds like a good idea.
Would like to see some way to be able to donate to phpbb directly.

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Re: Discuss: phpBB to ship with VigLink extension

Post by Ger » Mon Dec 12, 2016 9:01 am

I'm personally not too happy with this. While I understand phpBB's position about the need for income, this Viglink extension that is installed by default is IMO really not the path that fits phpBB. For several reasons actually.
  1. phpBB has the philosophy of being basic forum software without any bloat. Every feature request is measured against this philosophy: is this something the majority needs, or just for a small portion of boards? If not, it isn't added to phpBB and the feature request is cancelled and people are told to request an extension.
    This topic isn't a joke, so to speak.
  2. Incorporating Viglink, while with an opt-out, feels somewhat like "forcing" it upon is. Of course, we can opt-out, but this feels like Adobe that tries to push McAfee while updating your Flash. While [debateable] McAfee benefits the user and pushing it benefits Adobe, not many users welcome that install.
  3. The whole process feels kind of shady. Viglink has never been discussed as an RFC on Area51, nor has a blog post been made or has it been on any feature/change list. You can't really argue about the fact that inclusion of third-party software that really invades the resulting product has quite some impact. Why wasn't this discussed before adding it? And why is this suddenly pushed in a second release candidate? Such changes are usually not added in RC stage, let alone a second RC.
  4. Last but not least, changing links on forums to commercial links feels shady as well. As a website owner, you want to have absolute control over the content. Of course there is user generated content, but that's quite different from automatically altered content. I suppose you (as phpBB) have audited Viglink and decided they are to be trusted, but we all know everyone can be hacked. Advertising networks are very interesting targets for hackers, as they have thousands or maybe millions of website to inject their code. Basically you create an extra point of failure for every phpBB installation.
    When you add a third-party service within the codebase, it's checked and checked many times during alfa-, beta- and RC phases. But Viglink works remotely, so phpBB cannot check this 24/7.
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Re: Discuss: phpBB to ship with VigLink extension

Post by VSE » Mon Dec 12, 2016 9:28 am

koraldon wrote:Even though I don't intend to enable viglink (my site is 100% ad free) it sounds like a good idea.
Would like to see some way to be able to donate to phpbb directly.
Even with VigLink enabled, your site would still be 100% ad free. This is not an advertising scheme.
Ger wrote:You can't really argue about the fact that inclusion of third-party software that really invades the resulting product has quite some impact.
There is no invasion here. It's invisible to the users. And you can enable it, disable it, or delete it if you want.
Ger wrote:Last but not least, changing links on forums to commercial links feels shady as well.
VigLink does not change links. It doesn't alter them in any way.

All it does is look at when a user clicks an outgoing link. If that link is to a merchant affiliated with VigLink, and if they make a purchase, they collect a commission from the affiliate which they give back to you (or phpBB if you opt to let the proceeds go to phpBB).

The only thing commercial would be that your users are posting links to commercial sites on your board.

VigLink Convert is the product we are using, and as they say:

"Using VigLink Convert...links are immediately associated with leading advertiser marketing programs without any change to the user experience."
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Re: Discuss: phpBB to ship with VigLink extension

Post by Ger » Mon Dec 12, 2016 12:58 pm

VSE wrote: There is no invasion here. It's invisible to the users. And you can enable it, disable it, or delete it if you want.
Ger wrote:Last but not least, changing links on forums to commercial links feels shady as well.
VigLink does not change links. It doesn't alter them in any way.

All it does is look at when a user clicks an outgoing link. If that link is to a merchant affiliated with VigLink, and if they make a purchase, they collect a commission from the affiliate which they give back to you (or phpBB if you opt to let the proceeds go to phpBB).

The only thing commercial would be that your users are posting links to commercial sites on your board.

VigLink Convert is the product we are using, and as they say:

"Using VigLink Convert...links are immediately associated with leading advertiser marketing programs without any change to the user experience."
Your are semantically correct. As I understand it, the links aren't changed in the HTML directly and the average Joe won't notice a thing However, Viglink does change the resulting page and does track your user's behaviour. They have to, it's the whole point of Viglink's business. It's not like there's a magician at work there, they're probably using some kind of cookie or fingerprint or something like that.
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Re: Discuss: phpBB to ship with VigLink extension

Post by HiFiKabin » Mon Dec 12, 2016 1:05 pm

Ger wrote:<snip> It's not like there's a magician at work there, they're probably using some kind of cookie or fingerprint or something like that.
... and if there is a cookie placed, it will be outside of the phpBB core cookie use, and therefore subject to the EU law on cookie compliance https://www.cookielaw.org/the-cookie-law/

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Re: Discuss: phpBB to ship with VigLink extension

Post by DavidIQ » Mon Dec 12, 2016 1:10 pm

Ger wrote:Viglink does change the resulting page and does track your user's behaviour. They have to, it's the whole point of Viglink's business. It's not like there's a magician at work there, they're probably using some kind of cookie or fingerprint or something like that.
So you mean just like when you search on Google, Bing, or Yahoo and click on one of the advertised results and you get redirected through a referral page? Or when you search for and browse through products on a site using the browser you logged into Facebook with and then find these same products coming up on your Facebook feed because you're being somehow tracked? You've basically described what is already massively happening throughout the internet all without the user's knowledge.
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Re: Discuss: phpBB to ship with VigLink extension

Post by Scanialady » Mon Dec 12, 2016 1:58 pm

I agree to Ger and the other people who are not happy with this new "feature". I don't want to have links to affiliates or advertising on my board - never. If you think there is a need for an extension: let it be an extension as all the other extensions are. Optional.

If you want to deliver extensions with phpBB: there are a lot of extensions possible that worth it. Any kind of advertising or affiliate programs have to be personally, not globally, for my opinion. And it has to be disabled by default if it needs to be in phpBB package.

Links to affiliate programs can make the small difference between a private and a commercial site, I don't want to run into problems with EU law/German law because such a thing.

And I agree with the people here who ask: why is there no donation button for phpBB? I asked twice for the possibility do donate via PM, but I never got an answer... If we could find the donate button we would donate as we do on a lot of other sites.
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Re: Discuss: phpBB to ship with VigLink extension

Post by Ger » Mon Dec 12, 2016 2:06 pm

DavidIQ wrote:So you mean just like when you search on Google, Bing, or Yahoo and click on one of the advertised results and you get redirected through a referral page? Or when you search for and browse through products on a site using the browser you logged into Facebook with and then find these same products coming up on your Facebook feed because you're being somehow tracked? You've basically described what is already massively happening throughout the internet all without the user's knowledge.
So if Facebook starts to sell private information, it's OK for phpBB as well? And if Google starts to take secretly take pictures with the webcam when using the search engine, phpBB could also do that?

You both (VSE and DavidIQ) seems to take a defensive standing point. Please don't. As I wrote earlier: I welcome an open discussion. Please withhold the fallacies.
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Re: Discuss: phpBB to ship with VigLink extension

Post by Mark G » Mon Dec 12, 2016 2:25 pm

Whilst I understand that some are not comfortable with this approach I support it. I will have to disable VigLink on my form as I am already dependent on SkimLinks to fund my hosting costs. I would like to have a way to contribute to phpBB.

Mark G
Last edited by Mark G on Mon Dec 12, 2016 2:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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