Blog discussion [continued]

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..::Frans::..
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Blog discussion [continued]

Post by ..::Frans::.. »

Paul made a nice BLOG entry where i took the liberty to reply. Now that it seems to become a nice discussion i'm asked to put it in here so everyone else can give his/hers opinion.

Please, before continueing read Pauls Blog here: http://www.phpbb.com/blog/2008/07/19/mo ... handle-it/
..::Frans::.. wrote:Idea: Stop supporting mods entirely. Take the time to create a nice standard piece of board software and leave it with that. Support, validation time and even very basic and simple questions are:

1. NEVER answered or
2. Of a very low quality or
3. take ages

Yes, i’m one of the still very frustrated mod authors that will never release a mod here again, but on the other hand, the entire website of phpbb shows that this isn’t a site where people can discuss normal things, normal questions etc.etc.

Take, for example, the change from phpbb2 -> 3. 15 million people (just a number) used B5 version for a long time and YES, the often, not so very nice answers of phpbb was that B5 isn’t supported……

…but then again, you actually say that all these users that are using B5 and CAN’t upgrade to any RC version are fools for using your software…..

…that when there are a few very good and very simple convertors.

So, long story short: stop with all these things around phpbb. It really seems that only few here have the slightest clue as to what’s going on in the big and evil outside world and let other sites (yes, the localized communities and STG for example) handle the difficult questions. I think it would make a lot of people happy….

(and to be complete, nope, it’s not personal paul…;))
...pong

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Re: Blog discussion [continued]

Post by Highway of Life »

Thanks Frans. :)
Highway of Life wrote:Hi Frans,

We (phpBB.com) don’t actually support any MODs at all. Supporting the MODs is entirely up to the MOD Authors that create them. All we do is provide a facility for MOD Authors and end users to communicate. As well as a MOD Validation process which is very necessary.

There are many untold MODs out there (as I am sure you know) on other websites (even STG), in the MODs in development section here on .com, which contain many many security problems and vulnerabilities, that is why we (phpBB.com) recommend that users ONLY download MODs from the MOD Database to ensure they are getting a MOD that actually works and that is not going to be prone to security problems.

It would be better for us (phpBB.com) if we could find out why MOD Authors such as yourself are frustrated with the MOD Process that we use on phpBB.com, and what is preventing you from utilising the MOD Database. If we can address these issues, perhaps we can make the system better and easier, so you’ll want to come back and submit your MODs to the MOD Database.

What we need is the feedback, we know that we can improve in every area, and we are looking to improve. phpBB is making quite a few changes, and so input from MOD Authors is very valuable to us.

If questions are never answered, take ages to answer, or of low quality, it’s best if those are pointed out to us.
I am not personally aware of questions that are low quality — there will, admittedly be questions that are never answered, or might take a while to answer due to the sheer quantity, but of low quality, I do not understand.

————-

On the issue of Beta5, that really doesn’t have anything to do with the MOD process, that was a decision made early on in 3.0 development, it was stated that it could not be supported because users were going to have a very difficult time upgrading, and we couldn’t possibly address every possible issue. It was hard enough as it was between RC5 and RC6/7, but we had to support that. It would have been far worse if we had tried to support the Beta versions.

And the above paragraph is coming from someone who started running phpBB3 CVS live long before Beta1, and upgraded throughout the Beta process, RC process and now into phpBB 3.0.2 — so I know what it was like, I’ve been there. At the time I did not agree with the decision, but after everything that had to be done to get it upgraded past Beta, I fully understand and agree with that decision to not support the Betas.

————–

I’m going to use Joomla.org as an example here of a site that has *everything* within it’s own doors, even localised support. But phpBB.com provides an avenue in which localised support can be addressed at the international support sites by linking to those sites. We don’t try to provide *everything* to *everyone*, but what we do is, IMO not enough… we should be encompassing more, not decreasing what we do.

- David
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Re: Blog discussion [continued]

Post by ..::Frans::.. »

my reply
..::Frans::.. wrote:Hey David,

First of all: strange to have this conversation with you here, but hey as “user” on .com i’m talking to david, teammember @ .com so it is alright with me.

As you as person already know i am a long time user of phpbb and am writing mods for it as of i think version ~2.0. I came to .com many many times and have never, ever seen any normal question be answered in a normal manner by any of the team members. Never, yes, when someone asks how you can update from B5 -> RC1 the thread is closed within minutes with statements like: we don’t support any upgrade from B5, so team members are reading here. But if you take a look @ (and you can even do that randomly) the community board, can you show me some good examples of answers given by team members other than: read the rules, we don’t give support etc.etc. That nothing new, it was like this in the days i started with the old phpbb and it is still going on.

Next, even the phpbb team sees that there is something actually wrong with their moddb. You know for a fact that i am an enthousiast as to where it comes to something like a moddb. Don’t you think it’s kind of strange when a site like .com has over 322.000 members and only about 50 of them take the time to tell you (it was you, http://www.phpbb.com/community/viewtopi ... 9&t=760385) what they think about the moddb and the validation process. That should give some indication doesn’t it ? Why are sites like (and no, i don’t mention stg!) .nl and many many other localized sites so popular, you really get an answer from them. That is what is missing here.

Back to your little “questionnaire”. Question: do you like the ModDB: NO, but do i really need to answer 20 other questions to tell you something that was there 5 years ago and hasn’t changed, even now that phpbb sees that something must be off ??? Don’t think so, and that is also the reason me and i know some others are going someplace else and that leaves .com with only a few modders that, well, most of them are part of the team here so i guess that’s the main reason they stay…..

As for my frustration. I won’t go into detail (i think you know the details) but when someone enters a mod for validation and gets an answer after XX days (i heard mine was fast) and the complete answer breathes an air of “i don’t understand what i am doing but hey, this is my answer, take it or…” then i am out of here.

So after deep thinking of the reasons there is so much frustration i can only say one thing: .com isn’t a community, it is them against us, and that is something we don’t have @ the other site. There one can ask everything, always gets a nice answer, lots of help etc.etc.

I hope that you understand what i exactly mean. Sometimes it is hard to find exactly the right words to say something in another language but to conclude: i still think phpbb is the best, i really think the core builders are doing an awesome job and i really don’t think there is any team member on .com that has bad things in mind…..

So, i hop you will go on with .com, and i will talk to you @ deck 15…… Good deal i think…;)
...pong

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Re: Blog discussion [continued]

Post by Highway of Life »

Hi Frans,

I don’t know what you mean by “normal” question, but it appears you are referring directly to questions, and support requests for upgrades from Beta as well as questions/support requests for running Beta.
First you need to understand what you’re talking about.
You’re basing everything on the issue of supporting the phpBB 3 Betas. -- But as a web developer yourself, you should already know what Beta means... It means it is extremely unstable and is not really expected to work well. In many cases with many types of software, they just simply do not support the Beta software as it’s intended for testing purposes only.
This is the route that phpBB chose to take with phpBB3, and I believe it was the correct decision. It would have caused rather major problems if phpBB had said that they would support the Beta stage of development.

Therefore *any* question that was asked regarding support for the Beta phase was instantly locked because as they stated time and time again, support was not offered for Beta.
This is not about giving quality answers, it’s about following up on the fact that phpBB said they would not support the Beta process, and they really did mean it.
Sure other sites supported certain aspects of running Beta, but that was really up to them, phpBB stated that there would be NO official support for phpBB 3 Beta. And they meant it.

However, this is talking about something that has happened over a year ago, the Beta phase is LONG LONG past us by now, we are on to phpBB 3.0.2, with 3.2 development in full swing, and nearly 7 months have passed since phpBB 3 gold was released. Obviously, anything since phpBB 3 RC1 is going to be fully supported, as the phpBB teams stated a long time ago, so any and all questions are answered, and certainly in a quality manor.

I don’t really think it strange that out of 322,000 registered users, only 50 replied to a single topic. First off, not everyone responds to, or even reads every topic, second, not every user downloads a MOD, or enough MODs to be active enough such as asking questions or posting, and thirdly, not even all of those users came to visit more than once. And they were mostly looking for support, not just MODs. MODs is just one aspect to phpBB, it is not everything.

Why are localised sites so popular? well mainly because those people have a better time understanding... say, Dutch or German better than English, so they will naturally seek Dutch or German support. Even if they can speak English. The only reason those international support sites would not be popular is if:
  1. The Support on the localised site was horrible (non-existant or bad)
  2. There did not exist many phpBB communities in that language or country
Other than that, all of the international support sites should be fairly busy and active sites.
Users receive answers (and good answers) on phpBB.com just as much as they do on sites like .de or .nl -- go through and read the 3.0 support forums today to see what I mean. We process and answer hundreds of support requests and questions per day.

------------------

phpBB was never just *satisfied* with phpBB2, that is why phpBB3 was developed, that is why phpBB 3.2 is being developed, we don’t just build a software and say: “okay, that’s it... it’s good, it doesn’t need to be changed”. No, we are in a constant state of development. Not just for phpBB itself, but for the website, and the MOD Database, the MOD Validation process. This process is changing and has changed. Just look at the release of MODX 1.2 as a prime example.
It’s not that we believe that “something must be off”, but that we’re always looking for ways to improve and that we realise that nothing is perfect. Therefore, we press on.

phpBB has a large MOD Community that is not on the phpBB Team, so to say that the only driving force is because the MOD Authors are on the team is not actually correct. -- One way that we can tell is that we do not have anywhere near the man power that is necessary for us to process the number of MOD Submissions that we receive. We (the MOD Team) need more MOD Validators, because there are so many submissions these days. -- But even with that, we are not satisfied, we still want to see more, we still want to improve.

I won’t try to deny that some MOD Authors perhaps feel that is “them against us”, a denial for some people is a big deal, and they take it personally. Sure, this is another area that we could improve, just with communication back with the MOD Author about what is going on, why and what to do. But the MOD was denied for a reason, not because we don’t like the community or MOD Author, we do... we love you guys. It is MOD Authors such as yourself that actually keeps us motivated to continue donating our time to phpBB.com

But on the same token, as I said before, there are only a few of us (validators) to quite a few MOD Authors, so sometimes it takes quite a long time for MODs to get validated. But that is something we’re trying to fix with some new steps we are taking to improve the speed of validation, increase communication, and decrease the number of repeated submissions before the MOD is approved to the MOD Database.
But if the MOD was denied, there was a valid reason for it, be it security, incorrect packaging, bugs, not working, MODX errors, or any number of other reasons.

I do understand what you mean in that “community” feeling, but as I think you will soon see, this is an issue that we do not take lightly at phpBB.com and there will be improvements.
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Re: Blog discussion [continued]

Post by ..::Frans::.. »

First reply (and i'm still translating most of your posting in my head, just to make sure I understand what you mean) is that the beta story was just an example. Let's give another one. In the thread about Dualfusion's (and now mine) WPM mod. On page 32 i decided not to give any support anymore and posted my reasons. As you know i give full support on STG. Now, on page 47 people are still getting the suggestion they need to change the config table to accomodate PM's with length > varchar(255) and all moderators let them do so.....for 15 pages now, that is 225 postings of wrong answers. Now, i can't change the first posting although i am the mod author now (at least, i have some sort of mod "control panel"), it still says dualfusion is the mod author (i don't mind if it was mickey mouse btw), i can't lock the thread, i can't change anything on it but i will certainly NOT give support anymore. The version that there currently is is for RC2-4 and i can't understand why any serious member of the .com team leaves it as is........


Furthermore, the mod validation process is a good thing. Unexperienced users can really decide based on the mods here that it is safe to install something.....

...but hey, what about the mods on phpbbhacks, or the ones on phpbbmodders.net or the ones on STG. If i write a mod that isn't working properly and has ANY flaws in it, i will hear it the same day. My mod validation comes from very nice users, trying to find something in a mod that doesn't need to be there (even language strings). What you are telling me is that (and yes, i am playing the devil's advocate) only mods from phpbb are good ones, are safe to use and..... Don't think so.

Next, if i count the mods validated here (~75) and divide that by 11 members of the mod team and divide that again by 6 months then each one has validated ~1 mod as "good/valid" per month....

You are saying that there are many many mod authors and many mods that need validation....... So, there are just a handfull of people that can write a mod that goes by the standards of phpbb. Is that because the mod authors just don't know their stuff, or is it because the validation process is, well, too .... (fill in the blanks) ?

If you (and i believe there was asecond thread merged with the same questions) have a questionnaire like this with ~50 replies and you have 322000 members then, NO, 321000 members are not only reading here because they like the background colors or style. phpbb is the home of the package they like and they want to belong to something like that, a community like that so 50 replies is just VERY VERY little to say the least....


For now, i think i'm going to be silent in this discussion, just to let someone else give his/hers opinion.
Highway of life wrote:I do understand what you mean in that “community” feeling, but as I think you will soon see, this is an issue that we do not take lightly at phpBB.com and there will be improvements.
I really really hope so david, but you haven't convinced me for now. Let's see what the future brings us, until then, you know where to find me...;)
...pong

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Re: Blog discussion [continued]

Post by Phil »

Firstly, I'm neither a team member nor a MOD author, but I have been around the forums for quite awhile and do read nearly everything, so I'd just like to throw in my two cents if that's okay with everyone.
..::Frans::.. wrote:First reply (and i'm still translating most of your posting in my head, just to make sure I understand what you mean) is that the beta story was just an example. Let's give another one. In the thread about Dualfusion's (and now mine) WPM mod. [snip]
The MOD team and board moderators, as far as I know, generally leave threads as is unless the author changes the topic title to include the abandoned prefix or they are contacted by the author. As you were the second-hand author, and since team members don't read every single post, this was probably just an oversight. I'm sure if you had PMed a MOD Team member or a Moderator Team Member they would've happily locked it for you.
...but hey, what about the mods on phpbbhacks, or the ones on phpbbmodders.net or the ones on STG. If i write a mod that isn't working properly and has ANY flaws in it, i will hear it the same day. My mod validation comes from very nice users, trying to find something in a mod that doesn't need to be there (even language strings). What you are telling me is that (and yes, i am playing the devil's advocate) only mods from phpbb are good ones, are safe to use and..... Don't think so.
I don't think that's what they are saying here. I think what they are saying is that these are the only MODs that phpBB.com can guarantee
to be safe and secure. I'm sure there are high quality MODs not on phpBB.com, but there's no way for the MOD Team (or, by proxy, phpBB.com) to know if a particular MOD is.
Next, if i count the mods validated here (~75) and divide that by 11 members of the mod team and divide that again by 6 months then each one has validated ~1 mod as "good/valid" per month....
You also have to keep in mind that most MODs are denied multiple times before they are successfully validated.
You are saying that there are many many mod authors and many mods that need validation....... So, there are just a handfull of people that can write a mod that goes by the standards of phpbb. Is that because the mod authors just don't know their stuff, or is it because the validation process is, well, too .... (fill in the blanks) ?
I'm not really sure what you mean there. From what I know, the MOD validation process exists simply to be sure that the MODs released on phpBB.com meet the high standard that has been set. The validation process is no more a statement of the inability of anyone than taking a drivers test is a statement of your inability to drive.
If you (and i believe there was asecond thread merged with the same questions) have a questionnaire like this with ~50 replies and you have 322000 members then, NO, 321000 members are not only reading here because they like the background colors or style. phpbb is the home of the package they like and they want to belong to something like that, a community like that so 50 replies is just VERY VERY little to say the least....
Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if the number of users who genuinely care outside of the MOD team is somewhere around there (I say outside of the MOD Team [or phpBB Teams in general] as they have ways of communicating thoughts elsewise). For example of all those 321k members, I can count the number of non-team members who actively help in the phpBB3 Support Forum on one hand.
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Re: Blog discussion [continued]

Post by ..::Frans::.. »

iWisdom wrote:
..::Frans::.. wrote:- cut - readability -
The MOD team and board moderators, as far as I know, generally leave threads as is unless the author changes the topic title to include the abandoned prefix or they are contacted by the author. As you were the second-hand author, and since team members don't read every single post, this was probably just an oversight. I'm sure if you had PMed a MOD Team member or a Moderator Team Member they would've happily locked it for you.
I know, but on the other hand, i know some of the moderators read that thread (more than once)...but it was just an example of the things i mentioned in my first post.
iWisdom wrote:
..::Frans::.. wrote:- cut - readability -
I don't think that's what they are saying here. I think what they are saying is that these are the only MODs that phpBB.com can guarantee
to be safe and secure. I'm sure there are high quality MODs not on phpBB.com, but there's no way for the MOD Team (or, by proxy, phpBB.com) to know if a particular MOD is.
...and they never will if mods keep turning "down" because of the fact that the added language files aren't in the correctly named contrib/language dirs...that's EXACTLY my point. ;)
iWisdom wrote:
..::Frans::.. wrote:- cut - readability -
You also have to keep in mind that most MODs are denied multiple times before they are successfully validated.
Again, thank you for sharing the same thoughts. Let me explain. If you work in a cookie factory and you need to put 12 cookies in a package but you like the number 13, how many times does the boss have to tell you there only need to be 12 in a 12-pack ????? So, i'm not crating this discussion because there need to go 12 in, no, i think the boss has a big problem because he is telling you to put 12 in, but does that in a way (almost) nobody gets it or it takes at least 5 times explaining before you understand that it really need to be 12. We can argue that it could be you who doesn't understand the meaning of "12" but i think the boss needs to work on his communication too.....(even more if he creates rules like: if the sun shines you can only put the cookies in with your left hand, and if it rains you need to use your right) Communication is always a 2-way process, and if one of the parties is telling something the other part can't understand....whose fault would that be?
iWisdom wrote:
..::Frans::.. wrote:- cut - readability -
I'm not really sure what you mean there. From what I know, the MOD validation process exists simply to be sure that the MODs released on phpBB.com meet the high standard that has been set. The validation process is no more a statement of the inability of anyone than taking a drivers test is a statement of your inability to drive.
Again, thank you. Because, well, with 322000 members and only 50 people currently have the ability to drive according to the phpbb rules of traffic.....
iWisdom wrote:
..::Frans::.. wrote:- cut - readability -
Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if the number of users who genuinely care outside of the MOD team is somewhere around there (I say outside of the MOD Team [or phpBB Teams in general] as they have ways of communicating thoughts elsewise). For example of all those 321k members, I can count the number of non-team members who actively help in the phpBB3 Support Forum on one hand.
This last line is very important, because it was one of the statements i made. Look at other sites, just look at the (for example) dutch phpbb site. The netherlands is a very very small country and has much inhabitants as the city of new york. There are more people than 50 having a nice community there, helping out others etc. So, THAT is exactly what i mean with a community helping people. I think we all could benefit of the knowledge of others. If someone can't code 1 single line but has the best idea in years, why not create a podium for him where this guy can ventilate his thoughts? I personally would be scared to death to put it down, just because someone is checking if my lang files are in the right directory but NOT reading all threads.... ( ;) )

So, after carefully reading this posting i discovered something i have to admit myself.....i care more than i thought. I have never ever wrote postings of these sizes on a board i didn't care so.... :oops:

Anyway, thanks for your input iWisdom!
...pong

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Re: Blog discussion [continued]

Post by Paul »

Firstly, the BETA to RC thingie has really nothing todo with the MOD team. You can use it as example, but it isnt a MOD team descision, and also dont really applies to the MOD team :).

Secondly, about approved MODs. You say there are 11 MOD team members, so 11 validators. Thats pretty untrue. Currently there is only 1 person that validates from those 11. The other have other jobs, or are to busy. Validating a MOD takes time. I give at londonvasion a small presentation about that, but to write down rougly:

Code: Select all

pre validation:     						Few minutes
line by line validation (Real validation):	Few minutes till a few hours!
Testing the MOD:                            Around 15 minutes
Total:                                      From at least 30 minutes, till a few hour
Iam currently also validating, because we have a few larger MODs in queue. With that one, I currently spent around 10 hours to validate only a few files, and iam not finished yet. And this MOD has now been (I believe) denied twice, so was before already validated twice, for the same amount of time at least. When there are only a few validation, it will not go really fast.
We only want to have a certian quality of MODs in our MODDB, so the chance that it got denied is a lot bigger as it got approved. Thats mostly the reason only a few MODs are in the MODDB still. We deny a lot more MODs as that we acually approve (I think its roughly about 75% deny, and 25% approve average). So the chance is a lot higher that your MOD get denied as approved. Its pretty common that a MOD is 5 times denied, before we think about approving.
We always try to get this validation time ynunder the 2 weeks, with a max of 1 month. But when there are only a few people that know how to validate (Finding a validator isnt easy ;). You need to know how to code, but also need to understand other peoples of code.), and with a large number of MODs, or a few larger MODs, this is not always possible. We always try to validate ASAP, but we are still all volenteers, and have a personal live. I personally spent around 40-60 hours a week on phpBB, with coding and documentation mostly atm, but also did validation for most of that time before. In that time, you can sometimes validate 10 MODs, but I also have had days where I nearly validated 30 MODs.

Furthermore, about your? MOD. Currently, when we change the MOD author for a MOD we expect that the new author submits an update, so we only change it directly into our MODDB, and dont update the first post. We dont let update MOD authors the first post, we did never actually ;), because we want that part have a uniformal way of displaying. We all want to have this first post look in the same way.
I personally dont read the MOD release topics, except when I approve a MOD, because of my time. So i really have no idea if a MOD author dropped a MOD. As long we dont get a PM/report of that, we dont know its dropped. We normally dont purge MODs from the MODDB that are unsupported as in most cases someone else takes it over. So as long the MOD author dont have a good reason to have his MOD dropped, and have send us a PM or something, we will not purge it. We also never purge it (Except when there is a security issue ;)) without authors approval.

About the feedback then lastly.
I dont have really a idea why we dont get that much feedback from all MOD authors. We have several topics about getting feedback, but only a few MOD authors reply on that. We as MOD team cant do anythin about that. We ask always (and will do that also in the future) from MOD author, as we try to add/update certain things, and we dont always know how there is thinked about by the community. When we dont get feedback from the community we cant always keep them happy, as they dont reply to the community. When they give feedback at us, we always try to make them happy. We always try to add their suggestions. Thats now always possible, but we always try (And reply to them!). In some cases, the MOD authors, and the MOD team has a different opinion, and then we will discuss it with them. And in some of that cases we will change our opinion about that kind of discissions.

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Re: Blog discussion [continued]

Post by Highway of Life »

EDIT: I have to admit that this reply was written before I saw or read the replies from iWisdom’s onward.

Hi Frans,

Regarding the WPM MOD, if you don’t want to support it here on .com, and you want the topic closed -- valid, as it’s listed under you as the MOD Author -- the best thing to do would be to report the first post and get a MOD Team Member attention to lock the topic. We would be happy to comply. :)
All you need to do is communicate with us. If you don’t communicate with us, we can’t comply with any of your concerns, requests, or suggestions. :)

Regarding MODs on other sites, STG, phpbbhacks, phpbbmodders, even the MODs in Development section, I have seen several, including several popular MODs, which have very serious security issues. But most users have not spotted these. Sure they will spot bugs, but unless you get a serious coder looking at the code, the security issues are going to go unnoticed.

However, the validation process does not overlook these kinds of serious issues, as well as many others.
Security, Compatibility, Optimisation, Bug-free, Correctness, Coding-Guidelines compliant, etc...
We’ve had several MODs submitted that don’t even work, parse errors, or the MOD Author just never even tested the MOD. It’s really shocking, but it happens.

But you know that I submit my MODs to other sites, STG, Modders, MODs in Development here on .com, I do this because I know they will be tested. I know they will be run on live sites, but although I recommend that people *not* install in-development MODs (including my own) on live sites, I will still support them if they do, but at least they know the disclaimer is there.

The point is this: When people go to download MODs, they can be sure that the MODs listed in the phpBB.com MOD Database have been properly validated.
Whereas downloading from any other source, while they are permitted to do so, it is at their own risk. Obviously the decision is theirs to make where they download a MOD. But we cannot recommend users to download MODs from any other source outside of the MOD Database here on phpBB.com, I would not even recommend MODs be downloaded from my own site unless it is a Validated MOD.

- David
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Highway of Life
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Re: Blog discussion [continued]

Post by Highway of Life »

Regarding the number of members of the MOD Team, as I stated in a recent phpBB Weekly podcast, each team member has different tasks as follows:
  1. Validators
  2. Forum Moderators
  3. Coders
  4. Documentation
Not every single MOD Team member validates MODs, we have several team members that handle forum moderation in the MOD Forums. We have even more MOD Team members in charge of Coding and Documentation, and then the remaining MOD Team members are in charge of validation.

In addition, there are 120 MODs in the 3.0 MOD releases, obviously this does not count for the number of MODs that have been approved in the 2.0 MOD releases.
So 120 MODs approved since sometime late last year, not counting the hundreds of submissions that we’ve gone through that we validated and denied. Many MODs have to be denied 2, 3, 4, 5... even up to 8 times before they are approved to the MOD Database. It all depends on if the MOD Author fixes everything.
My average is I think 1 or 2 denials and approved on the second or third submission. But this is because I actually make all of the changes noted in the deny report (which are usually very few).

Regarding turning down MODs due to incorrect packaging of added language files, to be honest, this has haunted and frustrated us for a while, it was one of the main reasons we released MODX 1.2 -- MODX 1.0.x required a certain packaging to work with auto-installers. But with the new MODX 1.2, it removes those specific restrictions.

So obviously we heard yours (and other MOD Authors) concerns and took action to change it. -- Here is a great example of where Feedback and Suggestions were the driving force behind getting something changed. I can say that it was partially due to the questionnaire topics that I posted as well. We received several suggestions that we ended up implementing in the new version of MODX 1.2

Regarding the cookies, I don’t understand the point you are getting at... ?

Regarding the 50 people that responded, please stop using this as a metric. It simply does not work. Place a questionnaire on STG, 'Modders, or *any* International Support site and I dare you to receive 50 replies in the same timeframe as we did. Even combined, in the same timeframe, I think you’ll have difficulty coming up the the same number of replies.
Even all of the *active* users here on phpBB.com did not reply to that topic. I have not expected them to. Most do not see it, it does not interest them.

Take, for example... the number of people that reply to the 3.0.x version is released discussion topic. Again, not very many... why?
Because most people don’t care, they don’t bother reading it. And those who do, an even smaller percentage actually reply to the topic. You know as well as I do that this is very normal and typical bulletin board user behaviour. :)

I hope my English is still understandable, I’m very tired. -- Thanks for your thoughts Frans, they are extremely valuable to us. :D
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Re: Blog discussion [continued]

Post by david63 »

This post is not that far removed from this one http://www.phpbb.com/community/viewtopi ... &t=1050825 from a few weeks back. A lot of the sentiment is the same.

I believe that we, as mod authors, are not on a level playing field. For instance MODX 1.2.0 was released on the 2nd June but, as of this posting, we still do not have the documentation for it - but a mod can be denied for not complying with it!I fully accept that phpBB is run on a voluntary basis but in the real world a new version of any software would not be released without the documentation - tell me about it I have done technical authoring in my time.

Whilst on the subject of documentation there have been (still are?) instances where mods are denied because they do not conform to the standards laid down. OK fair enough you may say but would this not be easier for the mod author if a) all the documentation was in one place (currently there is some buried on this site, some on area 51 some included in the download) and b) if it was to be in a usable format. Currently the majority of it is all in html format and on-line. There is no downloadable, searchable option. OK one answer that is always given is that mod authors may use out of date documentation if they have a downloadable version but how often does it change? and when it does it would not be rocket science to post an announcement.

Then we have the subject of packaging - does it really matter how a mod is packaged just as long as all the files are there and can be found? Of course it is better if everyone does everything in the same way but I suspect that even with the approved mods there will be some (minor) differences.

Now we come to the subject of mod validation - do we have to have such a cumbersome process? Surely the major concern, which I suspect we all agree with, is that there are no security issues with a mod? So why not have a graded mod approval system whereby if a mod passes security checks it is approved conditionally. I cannot see what the problem is if there are not enough tabs on a line or a "{" is not quite in the right place - it will not stop the script from running. As I have said before until this process is made more user friendly (mod author in this case) then it is not going to be used. It has been stated above that virtually no mods get accepted first time and it can take up to 6, 7 or 8 attempts to get a mod accepted. To me this is saying that the standards are set too high, but not only that there is no general feedback as to what the problems are. If you are going to insist on this standard then there needs to be a "sticky" in the mod writers forum that explains what the problems are - surely the more issues that can be eradicated at the outset then the better for everyone.

It all comes back to what appears to be a "secret society" (the mods team) who have a set of rules that they work to but do not tell us, mod authors what they are. I suspect that when a mod is being validated there is a check-list of several items that the validator ticks off - perhaps if we knew what was on this list we could check them ourselves first. Yes I know that not everyone would do it and not everyone would get it right but if just 10% had that done it would save on time.

The big issue with all of this is that if the process of having a mod approved is too onerous then it is not going to happen and sooner or later there is going to be a security issue due to an "unofficial" mod. Yes the phpBB team will hold their collective hands up and say "it is nothing to do with us" - but by then the damage will have been done. I further believe that, amongst some, there is a misconception that it is all right to install mods in development. Perhaps this should be looked at being handled in some other way. It is essential that mods are beta tested but should they be posted on phpBB's board? - just posing the question.

Let's move on and talk about the questionnaire thingy. Unfortunatly a forum is not the best of media to have a questionnaire - it does not lend itself to it at all. Any questionnaire needs to be:
a) quick to fill in
b) easy to fill in in
c) one where responders select one answer from a choice of answers, with the option to add comments.

Perhaps phpBB should look into using a specialist survey package to try and glean users feelings.

OK I think that is enough for now!!!!
David
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Re: Blog discussion [continued]

Post by Paul »

Iam writing now a fast reply, will do tomorow a larger one.

We know about our docs. this is currently we are something internally discussing on how we are solving this, and we are making plans/doing this plans, at the moment I speak. The same for our policies/rules (This is one thing iam currently pretty busy with, writing policies on how certain things are handled etc.). We will be publicing certain documents in the next weeks about policies and rules.
Documention will really change in the near further, just wait a bit :).

About MODX1.2.0. I have pretty agree with you. When we released it, there wasnt any information on it, without reading and searching. We found this out, after feedback from the community ;), that this was a problem, and added a new page on how to update your MODX files. Since the moment we published that document, we have seen less problems with that.

Then packaging. ofcourse we need to have a set of rules for it. Else users, and also tools like blinky, will never be able to understand it really. With the new MOD 1.2.0 rules these are a lot easier. You only need to have a few pretty easy rules to follow.

Lastly, the validation. This is always (And probarly will be always) a important thig in this kind of discussions. we as MOD team have a few set of things a MOD need to follow before it can accepted. The most important is security, but there are there a few more (I currently dont have a lot of time, but also about this iam currently writing some more info about, and this will be published later at the MOD section.). We do this to be sure we have a certain quality in our MODDB. Most times it get a few denies is because the MOD author has, or so large problems that we decided to deny it without validating it fully, or he didnt read our deny reports and didnt fix all problems, or it was insta-denied, or someone else did validate it and found other problems. Only the last one is a "fault" on our side. We need to make sure that everyone of us validates in the same way. We are always trying to do this, but there will probarly always be a difference between validators.

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Phil
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Re: Blog discussion [continued]

Post by Phil »

I think part of the reason this problem exists is because of the relatively small size of the MOD Team compared to their task, and the constant pressure they have to go faster. Before the 3.0 MOD DB was opened, many users complained about it not being so (similar to the Styles Database now). It seems almost as if the MOD Team gave into the pressure and expedited the process of opening the MOD DB instead of waiting until they were able to fully document everything.

This rush, then, created a rush to release MODX 1.2.0 (as, as was noted above, many shortcomings in the original spec were noted when it was forced to be used). At the moment, the MOD Team is very obviously underpowered -- it consists of 11 regular members (one of whom has not logged in in over 3 weeks), who are essentially responsible for the coding of the MOD/Styles DB (Paul), the documentation for the MOD DB, the actual validating of MODs, and moderating the tremendous amount of content that flows through the MOD forums. Given that light, the fact that the MOD Team has the ability to work on these shortcomings is quite impressive.

Now, I'm fairly sure someone will probably bring up the point that if they need more help, why not get it. I've heard various members of the MOD Team more or less plead with the community to take the steps needed to eventually become a validator, and I'm fairly sure if you were truly that interested one or more of them would be happy to help you go in the right direction.

As always, this is just my two cents, and being neither a phpBB Team member nor a MOD Team member it's just based off of my observations, and if I am wrong, please, by all means, correct me. ;)
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Re: Blog discussion [continued]

Post by Paul »

Iam seeing here a lot of good comments, but all has 1 problem, as iWishdom also states. Time. We are all having other things in our personal life, and we cant spent as much as we always want on phpBB.
We currently have, 11 teammembers. Of those, are only a few validators, and of those validators are only a few validating. This means, validating a MOD takes longer as we want.
Iam at this moment, mostly busy writing documentation about policies etc. But also making a tool like MPV. before we can release such a thing, it needs to be checked and tested. This all takes time, which is limited.
The suggestion from iWisdom about helping is really a good suggestion. If you have some good documentation, you can always send one of us it, or post it at the forum. Or just think you can become a validator, you might want to read this; http://www.phpbb.com/mods/volunteer/
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Re: Blog discussion [continued]

Post by A_Jelly_Doughnut »

david63 wrote:I believe that we, as mod authors, are not on a level playing field. For instance MODX 1.2.0 was released on the 2nd June but, as of this posting, we still do not have the documentation for it - but a mod can be denied for not complying with it!I fully accept that phpBB is run on a voluntary basis but in the real world a new version of any software would not be released without the documentation - tell me about it I have done technical authoring in my time.
I didn't feel the urge to read the rest of this topic, but this is incorrect. A full specification was published at the same time as we announced MODX 1.2.0. There were a couple of omissions, but you cannot say that it was released without documentation.
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