Simple Machines Community Forum

Customizing SMF => SMF Coding Discussion => Topic started by: Joshua Dickerson on March 02, 2007, 02:16:59 AM

Title: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Joshua Dickerson on March 02, 2007, 02:16:59 AM
I want to address this question since it seems to be pretty common. To make it short - time.

The unabridged reason: we are all volunteers and we do this when we can. Some mods are very extensive and they take quite a bit of time to review. A lot of the customizations that I have seen lately don't match the coding guidelines (http://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?topic=117819) which takes a lot of time to handle. We make it a point to help customizers whenever possible. So, we try to send a PM to the author letting them know why we didn't approve the mod and suggestions as to how to do things better. If your customization doesn't contain any noticeable errors in the package-info.xml file, we attempt to install it. If it doesn't install, we try to figure out why. If it does, we then check to make sure it does what it is supposed to. If it doesn't, we then check to see why it doesn't.

Sometimes, we don't have the time to check all of these steps or we are taking all of our time to look at a larger customization that may have been in the queue for a while. We are really trying to improve the speed at which we do this. Trust me when I say that we really want to see SMF have as many customizations as possible, but it isn't possible to do as fast as people make them.

On another note, the reason that we don't want you to keep asking this question is because it takes us even longer and we don't want to waste time answering this question over and over again. If you have suggestions to make the process faster, by all means, post them. We are happy to hear how we can do things better :)
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Sarke on March 03, 2007, 01:29:58 PM
How about 1,000 monkeys working 1,000 computers?


I would suggest making all unapproved mods open-betas, so the community can download and review mods so that most problems will have been fixed by the time a SMF person reviews it.

I'd recommend doing this by creating a thread in a "Beta Mods" board for each newly submitted mod, much like how it's done when the mod is approved.  Keep the way it is now so unapproved mods can't be downloaded, but in the mod thread in "Beta Mods" provide a link to download the mod for beta testing.

This way the community can help speed up the approval process so the number of bug fixing the SMF people have to do is minimal, and regular users won't download unapproved mods by mistake.


The current system simply isn't working, at least IMO.  Mods are submitted faster than you guys can review them all, and as SMF grows so will the queue of unapproved mods.

Just my two cents...


Other than that, keep up the good work.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: karlbenson on March 04, 2007, 03:56:01 PM
^ yep i agree completely.

When a mod is submitted, having a topic created instantly where people can help to 'refine' the mod, bug fix and generally improve it.  This would also open communication lines more so between mods and authors and other authors.

I really appreciate the hard work of the mod support team in checking the mods.  However in the time it could take for a mod to be approved by the current process, community members could have tested, refined, fixed any problems that would have lead to it being rejected.  This is even more so with large new features.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Chris Curran on March 07, 2007, 10:37:11 AM
Sarke's idea is better than the way the system operates now. I've had a calendar mod up for review since Feb 3 and received zero feedback from the mod team.

cheers
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Valodim on March 11, 2007, 05:09:07 PM
"beta mods" sounds like a good idea, it provides earlier availability of mods for beta-happy people, and a platform for sorting out rough errors... definitely worth at least a thought of the mod team :)
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: NEMINI on March 11, 2007, 06:26:20 PM
all betas should be controlled though.  Proven users capable of providing useful feedback to get it to a final release stage.  Users who will just say it doesn't work and get mad won't help, in fact it makes it worse.  There needs to be a beta team, users capable and willing to test unapproved mods in multiple environments and report back their findings in clear, concise and useful manners.

Chris: last  I looked your mod showed it was updated March 8th (I may be remembering the exact date wrong but I am sure it was in march), does this mean you changed something that the team pointed out or fixed something you found and resubmitted it, thereby starting the process all over again?   
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Valodim on March 11, 2007, 06:59:20 PM
Quote
Users who will just say it doesn't work and get mad won't help, in fact it makes it worse.

Right, but if those mods are on a seperate board I don't think that would be a problem...

Quote
There needs to be a beta team, users capable and willing to test unapproved mods in multiple environments and report back their findings in clear, concise and useful manners.

I think public voluntary work would work just fine here...
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: NEMINI on March 11, 2007, 07:02:57 PM
Quote
Users who will just say it doesn't work and get mad won't help, in fact it makes it worse.

Right, but if those mods are on a seperate board I don't think that would be a problem...

Quote
There needs to be a beta team, users capable and willing to test unapproved mods in multiple environments and report back their findings in clear, concise and useful manners.

I think public voluntary work would work just fine here...
I'll have to respectfully disagree.  How does having a bunch of people who can't/won't provide useful feedback help get a mod approved faster?
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Sarke on March 11, 2007, 07:40:28 PM
I'll have to respectfully disagree.  How does having a bunch of people who can't/won't provide useful feedback help get a mod approved faster?

I think that's a very pessimistic view.  Having it in a board clearly marked "beta" should get through to most people, and if someone does decide to use it and ask for support the mod maker can either help them and find the cause, or simply tell them that the mod is currently in beta.

What DOES help is that there will be people who want to help test mods and they will provide feedback.  Even if it's just a simple "I get this error", it will help the mod maker iron out most bugs by the time it gets to the approval process.  Not everyone will be helpful, but even if just a few are it helps.

If SMF had the manpower to spare we wouldn't be in this situation.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: NEMINI on March 11, 2007, 07:58:06 PM
perhaps it is pessimistic, but it is also realistic.  There is more to beta testing then installing it and reporting any issues you accidentally come upon.  Beta testing is about trying to break things, its about purposely testing every single function and seeing if you can break them.  It's about using it in different environments, different set-ups.  It's about seeing if you can purposefully replicate bugs others report and reporting back if you can or cannot.
Beta testing is not, install it, hope it works, if it doesn't just uninstall it and wait for the next version.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Sarke on March 11, 2007, 08:01:34 PM
We're not talking about professional beta testing, just people trying to help.  No they're not experts, but reporting errors does help.  Not every regular SMF user is an idiot.

It's better than nothing.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: NEMINI on March 11, 2007, 08:19:34 PM
Is it really though?  Or is it just a way for people who don't want to wait to get their hands on it sooner?  (FYI: those are rhetorical questions.)
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Sarke on March 11, 2007, 08:47:25 PM
Yes, I'm not just someone waiting to get my hands on a mod sooner, but I'm talking from the experience I've had with my own mods.  Even after my mods were approved your average Joe SMF user found errors that the approval process missed.  Why not find these before it's approved?  It will help.

Why are you so against the idea?
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: NEMINI on March 11, 2007, 10:40:55 PM
I don't believe throwing unchecked code out to just anyone is being very responsible.  If one of these betas causes a bunch of newer webmasters/mistresses to get hacked/sites stop working do you think they are going to care or understand it was beta and not meant for production sites?  You can post all the warnings you want but the majority do not read ahead of time, only after its too late (if you don't believe that just hang around and give support in the forum and see how often the same questions are asked, the same basic information gone over 1000 times, how many times has it been said the package manager only updates the default theme?). 
A closed beta will allow people who understand the risks and have the knowledge to handle such risks, its also keeps the code from being posted publically where some hacker can dig through it to find a weakness faster then the developers can advise on closing them.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Valodim on March 12, 2007, 10:10:15 AM
It's not very difficult to find a compromise here: make it "closed" beta, but with very loose requirements.

A simple pm to a team member "I'd like to be a beta tester, I am aware of the risks and so on" and there we go, this easy step definitely eliminates the possibility of someone whining about his broken 100000 posts smf installation.

Quote
perhaps it is pessimistic, but it is also realistic.  There is more to beta testing then installing it and reporting any issues you accidentally come upon.

I disagree. In easily 80% of all cases line number and php error message are sufficient for the developer to find the bug with little effort.  
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Joshua Dickerson on March 12, 2007, 10:37:34 AM
Valodim: that is assuming that the error is a parse error. It could be something not working as expected.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Sarke on March 12, 2007, 11:16:14 AM
Could be something else too: empty arrays, undefined indexes, etc.  It all shows up in the error log.  Even a "this link doesn't work" let's the mod maker know what to look at.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Hambil on March 14, 2007, 05:59:12 PM
Not matter how carefully you review a mod, bugs will slip through. I've found bugs in many of the mods I've installed from this site. And if you look at almost any mod that's been around for any length of time you'll see a history posted right in the mod of bug fixes.

My point? Although what you are trying to do by reviewing mods before making them available may be noble, it's flawed and un-workable as SMF grows.

Take a page from vBulletin's book and create a separate mod site - so people who want to advance the core product can focus on that and separate themselves from any legal/moral responsibilities for mods.

Or at least go with the open beta idea. What you are doing right now not only doesn't work well, but it is killing the spirit of people who write mods who do it, let's face it, mostly for the positive feedback.

By the time a mod is approved here, I've already written another one.

And, not to slam any particular user, but I saw a mod posted after mine and approved the next day, and it now has 200+ downloads already, while my mod hasn't even been downloaded for review yet. So, someone is playing favorites somehow.

Oh, and I just check and said mod already has a bug fix posted today...
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: SleePy on March 14, 2007, 06:21:52 PM
Even if a bug does slip through it is better to have caught 90% of them than none from not checking.
As well as Duplicate mods to appear in the mod site and those have to be dealt with depending on the mod such. So many checks are done to ensure that the end user does not receive to much trouble is done.
You can let people download betas but updating the mod site can confuse those just wanting to get the mod and get it working and don't want to mess with betas. This is why you should keep it separate.  
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Joshua Dickerson on March 14, 2007, 06:31:15 PM
You're right, bugs will always slip through. Though, we can do what little we can to ensure that the newest user to SMF can rest assured that there has been some kind of review before they install a customization. You are also right about scaling the customization system - it will take a lot of work.

A couple of things we are trying to do to improve that is to put out guidelines (I am working on them right now) so authors know exactly what to do. Next is to improve the customization site. Have the system check for XML validation, check for mod parsing errors, check for PHP parsing errors, and check for some other basic things. After that, we will have a system that can almost run itself. As you can see, that will take a lot of work to get all of that done.

If you want something even sooner, you can create your own package server. There is a tutorial on how to do that in the Package SDK. It is actually really simple - just a XML file named packages.xml.

As to playing favorites - I haven't seen any favoritism being done. I couldn't care less who submits a mod. If anything, I scrutinize customizations by the team more than I would a normal user because I want them to set the example.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Sarke on March 14, 2007, 08:22:47 PM
I think he was talking about the mods submitted by the SMF staff get approved straight away.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Hambil on March 14, 2007, 08:45:33 PM
I think he was talking about the mods submitted by the SMF staff get approved straight away.
They shouldn't be. They should go into the queue like any other modification and get peer reviewed before going up. How can we expect the staff to understand our pain if they don't have to feel it themselves?  
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Joshua Dickerson on March 14, 2007, 09:46:35 PM
They are reviewed by their peers. Not everyone in the team has the privileges to accept/reject customizations. I don't want to put anyone above anyone else, but there are certain privileges to being a team member. That is and should be expected. If you program a superior customization to something that a team member has created, more power to you. The fact that the mod might be downloaded more is probably due to the fact that people feel as though customizations created by the team are more trustworthy. Not that, that is always the case, but people's thinking is a reality.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Hambil on March 14, 2007, 10:28:46 PM
They are reviewed by their peers. Not everyone in the team has the privileges to accept/reject customizations. I don't want to put anyone above anyone else, but there are certain privileges to being a team member. That is and should be expected.
Well, for what my 2 cents is worth this whole setup smacks of people with a superiority complex. It's condescending to both regular members and mod authors.

Quote
If you program a superior customization to something that a team member has created, more power to you.
This has nothing to do with one mod being superior to another. What I said was that everyone should have to go through the queue and face the same process and rules. What we have now appears to be team members approving their own mods while telling mod authors to leave them alone and they'll get to it when they get to it, and saying they need to 'protect' the newbie users from bad code. As I said, it's a very condescending way to run things IMHO.

Quote
The fact that the mod might be downloaded more is probably due to the fact that people feel as though customizations created by the team are more trustworthy. Not that, that is always the case, but people's thinking is a reality.
I don't know if team member mods are downloaded more or not. I suspect useful mods are downloaded more. And that people who write useful mods might find themselves being recruited to the team - rather than the other way around. Which means, by slowing down the process and alienating the new mod authors, you hurt the strength of your own team and the future of your own software.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Dannii on March 14, 2007, 10:58:14 PM
I don't see it being condescending. If the mod team approve their own mods, that's fair enough, they are the ones who wrote the guidelines and know what is required.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: karlbenson on March 15, 2007, 05:07:22 AM
Quote
And, not to slam any particular user, but I saw a mod posted after mine and approved the next day, and it now has 200+ downloads already, while my mod hasn't even been downloaded for review yet. So, someone is playing favorites somehow.

I think I should point out that sometimes mods have to be submitted again as a new mod.  This happened with my favicon mod as one example.  Once I had submitted it, I was told it had spaces in the ID which needed fixing. Since it won't let me reupload the file with a different ID, i had to resubmit.
Obviously as soon as I had fixed it.  Resubmitted (showing a new date) and once it had been rechecked, it was passed.

Basically all I'm saying is, I wouldnt necessarily trust the date shown for the mods.  There may be unknown reasons.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: KGIII on March 15, 2007, 05:34:03 AM
I will also add that I have created just two mods in my time here at SMF. One as a team member, one as not a team member. In both cases I know - without a DOUBT - that they were reviewed and processed in order, as they came with a triage sense, with as much scrutiny as any other mod gets. How do I know? I get to see the internal discussions AND in the second case I had to go back and change my mod because I had not adhered to the guidelines. (Simple oversight, I had a space in the ID tag.)

Before assuming that team members are automatically afforded free reign and able to release stuff without accountability you might wanna poke and ask around first. If they are approved faster it is because they are able to code according to the guidelines more easily because they are more fluent in them and know what is expected. In addition, chances are that they feel their own reputations (and their time - which is my essential issue personally) will be impacted by complexity and/or difficulty. Thus they attempt to do it right the first time. But, yes, they do get reviewed.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: NEMINI on March 15, 2007, 05:40:53 AM
There does seem to be a problem with notification of issues going out. Example (http://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?topic=132515.msg1007385#new)
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: SleePy on March 15, 2007, 12:48:38 PM
Sometimes the Customizers forget to send a PM. A more automated system is being worked on but requires tons of coding and rewrites so might take a while for it to actually happen ;)
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: NEMINI on March 15, 2007, 03:33:16 PM
well that makes me wonder how many more mods are just sitting around because the team thinks they are waiting on the author and the author thinks its the team.   
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: SleePy on March 15, 2007, 03:42:59 PM
We do check up on them to ensure they got a pm sent. We have a whole team board dedicated to ensuring this and discussing the mod and making sure pm is sent and status of it.
I have looked over the past 2 pages of mods awaiting approval and all of them have had pms sent to the mod author and just waiting a response from them and most likely more on the next pages.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Sarke on March 15, 2007, 03:52:40 PM
The lines of communication is very bad between the two parties.  In a semi-open beta forum things could be discussed easily...  :P

If we have to make it "closed" I would suggest making a new member group of all the mod authors, and having them look over each others mods since they all mostly know what's what, etc.

There is also a third party, the people waiting to use the mods, that should also be kept informed. 



I made a few suggestions a couple of months ago that seemed to be well received, but I haven't heard anything since.  One of my main concerncns was that the current way of doing things is stifle the mod making. 

Some of my suggestions were to add a "status" field to the mods so that everyone knows what's going on with the mods (e.g. "newly submitted", "under review",  "waiting for corrections", etc).  Another was to put a "place in mod queue" so everyone knows where in the approval queue the mod is.

You can read it here.

http://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?topic=141473.0



Either, way how about some action?  I'd hate to see SMF just "think" about this for another few months, nothing happens, and we're back with a new topic talking about the same thing...
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: SleePy on March 15, 2007, 04:34:12 PM
Action is being taken. From a User point at the moment you are not seeing the action. From more of the backend there is much action being taken. The SMF Customize Team is trying to do its best to improve this but failure to follow the guidelines or actually test it to ensure that errors do not occur is causing longer mod awaiting.
If you follow the guidelines and ensure that no errors occur on installing or using the mod then it will get approved faster. With so many mods that have problems it will still take time but I assure you the Customize Team is working to get all mods approved.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Joshua Dickerson on March 15, 2007, 04:39:55 PM
We are addressing the issue of the coding guidelines not being documented well. Hopefully within the next week I should have something posted.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Sarke on March 15, 2007, 07:13:21 PM
What other than improved guidelines is being done?  Let's face it, that's not exactly a universal solution.   
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: SleePy on March 15, 2007, 11:39:27 PM
What other than improved guidelines is being done?  Let's face it, that's not exactly a universal solution.   

If mod makers understand more what we are looking for to keep the code clean, secure, mutli language capable, etc than it will be processed quicker.
So it is a solution to help speed up the process. If mod makers where to do this in the first place mods would be approved much faster.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Hambil on March 16, 2007, 12:24:50 AM
Here's an idea: If you find a problem with a mod that would get it rejected, then rejected it immediately with a pm explaining why, and move on. The author can resubmit it when they think it's ready again.

This should keep the queue moving, and the mods that follow guidelines will get approved much faster.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: SleePy on March 16, 2007, 12:37:56 AM
That would just be outrageous and have many mods of the same that could be duplicate mods. The current way is better and more easy to detect duplicate mods. Which do occur now and then.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Joshua Dickerson on March 16, 2007, 01:36:41 AM
It's a lot less frustrating for an author of a customization to have everything wrong with it listed instead of a cycle of submitting, rejecting, fixing. Even if we didn't list everything in one go, it would still take a lot of time to review a mod in this manner.

The only way I can see the process speeding up is by automating a lot more.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Sarke on March 16, 2007, 01:41:54 AM
What other than improved guidelines is being done?  Let's face it, that's not exactly a universal solution.   

If mod makers understand more what we are looking for to keep the code clean, secure, mutli language capable, etc than it will be processed quicker.
So it is a solution to help speed up the process. If mod makers where to do this in the first place mods would be approved much faster.

That's assuming all mod makers read, understand, and follow these guidelines.  In a perfect world perhaps...

Also, not all bugs are caused by deviation from the guidelines.


The only way I can see the process speeding up is by automating a lot more.

So is that a 'no' to the beta testing idea?
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Hambil on March 16, 2007, 02:18:34 AM
Well, until you fix something, in someway, I've submitted my last mod to SMF. For all I know I'll get a mod rejected as a duplicate because I spent my time writing a mod that has already been in the queue for a month.

Your system is collapsing under it's own weight. You don't have to listen to me (or others in this thread) because reality will dictate change soon enough.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: karlbenson on March 20, 2007, 05:05:35 PM
^ yep,
I've got a list of mods I would like to make, but don't really want to start them in case one is already done.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Chris Curran on March 25, 2007, 09:53:12 PM
We do check up on them to ensure they got a pm sent. We have a whole team board dedicated to ensuring this and discussing the mod and making sure pm is sent and status of it.
I have looked over the past 2 pages of mods awaiting approval and all of them have had pms sent to the mod author and just waiting a response from them and most likely more on the next pages.

Uhh, no that's not happening (as I mention on page 1 of this thread). I've had a mod presented for approval since Feb 3 2007 and I've received no PM's regarding this mod submission (http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=655). This mod has been tested on various systems and operates as expected (e.g. Kindred has tested this mod). I'm at a loss to understand why this mod remains unapproved or at least a PM explaining why it's not being approved.

cheers,
Chris Curran
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: SleePy on March 25, 2007, 11:35:21 PM
Your mod is kinda Big (just looked at it). So it might take longer. Though I can't say why you have not go t a pm. I am not on the Customize Team only giving hands on the ones already being discussed ;) So I wouldn't know why. Hopefully a customizer can answer that clearly.
But as said the bigger they are they usually take longer due to the more coding that has to be looked at and checked. More things to test and such.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Chris Curran on March 26, 2007, 08:17:18 AM
Your mod is kinda Big (just looked at it). So it might take longer. Though I can't say why you have not go t a pm. I am not on the Customize Team only giving hands on the ones already being discussed ;) So I wouldn't know why. Hopefully a customizer can answer that clearly.
But as said the bigger they are they usually take longer due to the more coding that has to be looked at and checked. More things to test and such.

Yes, it's certainly a significant mod. However, the size of the mod, if it's done correctly, should not impact the ability of the mod approval team to install and test the mod. Further, I have a discussion thread that's more than a year old that covers this mod in detail, so I fail to understand why this process is taking so long. Either it installs and works, or it doesn't. In either case, I should have a PM (or two) from the mod team. I'd be happy to assist anyone in the approval of this mod, but I can't do anything with silence.

It's very frustrating to have to wade through the poorly documented mod process, the poorly documented coding guidelines, willy-nilly package name changes midstream (spaces in the id), the mix/match problems due to mixed LF/CR usage and plethora of other nit-pick issues only to sit and watch your mod sit for weeks on end, while numerous other mods are posted and approved in a matter of days... and no contact from anyone on any SMF team? Yet I am not allowed to contact anyone regarding the mod? (see last para of http://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?topic=117819.msg752782#msg752782). This rings of elitism and it doesn't taste good.... Something needs to change in this process - mod developers should be able to contact someone without fear of being put to the "back of the line".

cheers
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: KGIII on March 26, 2007, 09:32:08 AM
I can add that that the above comment sorta makes sense?

I put the simplest mod up (I then read the comments later though, oddly enough, I fixed it without actually having ever been contacted) and it took a LONG time to get approved. It did though and that is, I hope, my point. My next one I wrote according to spec pretty much and had a simple error that I was able to see where it had been kicked back prior to the PM and fixed it and, well, it was so simplistic that refusing it would have been as silly as my coding it. *sighs*

Anyhow...

I guess I have a point? The current system is slow and there are potential issues if other mods are installed. Can it be improved? Probably. I would say, "Give it time and keep giving feedback." If you think, for one minute, that people aren't reading this (and I mean people - as we are people) then that is mistaken. It is being read and it is being understood. ;) Improvements will happen... Give it time and do NOT stop giving feedback.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Dannii on March 26, 2007, 09:50:13 AM
I am actually now in favour of just letting everyone download them without being approved.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Hambil on March 26, 2007, 10:16:04 AM
Another option would be to create an army of volunteers. Mods authors who have proven they understand the process by releasing quality well coded mods, who are willing to review other's mods. I'd do it when I could.

I also think you have to at least provide a list of mods in the queue. As the queue grows it would be nice to know what's waiting approval so we aren't duplicating efforts.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: KGIII on March 26, 2007, 10:35:23 AM
I am actually now in favour of just letting everyone download them without being approved.

:P

I am not in favor of supporting them. ;)
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Hambil on March 26, 2007, 10:39:40 AM
I am actually now in favour of just letting everyone download them without being approved.

:P

I am not in favor of supporting them. ;)
Then don't. The mod author, and users of the mod can support it. We're SUPPOSED to be a community.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Dannii on March 26, 2007, 10:42:59 AM
I think we should have some form of community QA program. Bring back ratings, but ensure support isn't put in them.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: KGIII on March 26, 2007, 10:54:17 AM
Hambil: I think that if I scrolled up through this there were people screaming about reality. I have been pretty calm about this and said very little. I will give you a bit of MY perspective?

I absolutely WISH that this was different AND that I could do all of this. I am limited, this is me. The reality is that there are countless questions that involve mods in the forum every day. There are so many that I can't keep up and I actually feel bad about telling people to "check the mod author's thread to ensure that you get the best help available."

Let us not step away from the idea here... The idea is to let people know why mods can take a while to get approved AND to offer good methods to improve it. I would LOVE it if things got placed into nice boxes and support and documentation and developers all saw only the important stuff, but this is reality... I think.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Hambil on March 26, 2007, 01:31:02 PM
It doesn't feel like reality. It feels like a group of people with set opinions who are unwilling to change those opinions in the face of reality. It feels like lipservice to change. Many good ideas have been put forth in this thread, and all have been met with a brick wall of near automated refusal.

From my prospective it sure feels like fantasy. Reality is that thing that is about to come crashing down around your head ;)
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Chris Curran on March 26, 2007, 03:58:35 PM
It doesn't feel like reality. It feels like a group of people with set opinions who are unwilling to change those opinions in the face of reality. It feels like lipservice to change. Many good ideas have been put forth in this thread, and all have been met with a brick wall of near automated refusal.

I certainly agree with that....  
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Sarke on March 26, 2007, 05:20:00 PM
Me too.  It feels like we all just want to help but all we get is "No, go away, we can handle it" and then nothing happens.  In many cases we don't get any feedback on why the suggestions aren't worth using, or even if it's being considered or not. 

KGIII, why should we keep giving feedback?  Many times it's being ignored, so what's the point?

It sounds like whoever is in charge here is detached from the community, and is fixed on doing things their way.  It's bureaucracy if you ask me.


EDIT:  Yes, good job, just need to work on the community relations a bit. :P
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Hambil on March 26, 2007, 05:26:29 PM
I just want to say, this is incredible software and a great community. I don't want to loose sight of that as we discuss this. Yes, I (and some others) have some issues with the status quo, but it doesn't mean we don't appreciate all the hard work done so far :)
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Rudolf on March 26, 2007, 05:51:00 PM
Dudes,
I gave up a long time ago.
Whatever you do do it for the people who use SMF, not for the people who make it. They don't need your work, and you certainly don't need their help.
So what if it takes two months for a mod to be approved? Big deal. If you really want to share your mods find alternative ways. You are mod creators, I bet you can figure out something.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: KGIII on March 26, 2007, 07:09:06 PM
KGIII, why should we keep giving feedback?

Because you feel it is important. Because you want to help. Because you have contributions to share. Because you are a part of the community. Etc... While I personally don't see much merit in the methods that have been proposed for fixing these situations I also see that there are legitimate issues that are being brought up.

I will add that Rudolf raised a good point - do what you do for the people.

Eldaka raised a good/interesting point - community based QA... The problem that I see is that there is a level of quality that has to be ensured prior to releases because, like it or not, the quality will reflect on the opinions of SMF and the level of satisfaction as well as increase the loads on support volunteers.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Sarke on March 26, 2007, 09:47:15 PM
KGIII, why should we keep giving feedback?

Because you feel it is important. Because you want to help. Because you have contributions to share. Because you are a part of the community. Etc...

But if it's being ignored, what's the point?
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Joshua Dickerson on March 26, 2007, 09:59:22 PM
It's very frustrating to have to wade through *snip* the poorly documented coding guidelines
SMF Coding Guidelines - http://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?topic=159824
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: KGIII on March 26, 2007, 10:22:58 PM
But if it's being ignored, what's the point?

I don't think it is being ignored, just not acted on rapidly enough or in a manner that you approve of. Though I don't think that you should give up. Discussions take time, actions take time, and change takes time. If, as has been projected, the system will collapse then, if nothing else, that will force change.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Sarke on March 27, 2007, 12:22:49 AM
I don't think it is being ignored, just not acted on rapidly enough or in a manner that you approve of.

For something to not be considered ignored, I think an SMF staff member should acknowledge the suggestion as either worth considering, or give an idea of why it's not.  No reply = ignored, at least to me.

What do you consider no reply if not ignored?

EDIT: Same goes for reporting bugs.  A simple "we know", "we'll look into it", or "it's not a bug, you're a retard" is all that's required.  After a few bug reports that are ignored, you start wondering if it's doing any good and you just stop trying to be helpful.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Joshua Dickerson on March 27, 2007, 12:45:43 AM
Sorry Sarke, is there something that was ignored in this thread? I try to keep close tabs on this thread but often times I read it and have other things to do. I want to make sure I choose my words carefully, so I don't always post right after reading. Feel free to quote anything that you want to reiterate.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: KGIII on March 27, 2007, 12:53:19 AM
I think groundup expressed it quite well. Just because there is nothing posted in a reply doesn't mean that your thoughts aren't being seen and given consideration.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Hambil on March 27, 2007, 12:56:11 AM
Okay. I suggested that a list of in the queue hacks be made available (not for download, just the name and description). This way I can avoid spending time on a hack that has already been written and has been in the queue for a month. What is the argument against such a simple change?
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Joshua Dickerson on March 27, 2007, 01:03:35 AM
I've discussed this with some of the team members and we MAY be releasing a list of unapproved packages.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Hambil on March 27, 2007, 01:12:25 AM
I've discussed this with some of the team members and we MAY be releasing a list of unapproved packages.
That's good news. Thanks :)
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Sarke on March 27, 2007, 01:26:10 AM
Sorry Sarke, is there something that was ignored in this thread?

I'm speaking in general.  It's pretty much 50-50 when I suggest something or report a bug that it is just ignored.

But on this issue, I think the following were never addressed by a SMF staff member:

- community (open or modmakers) beta testing of mods (there's a few pages in this topic about that)
- showing the status of the mod (such as "newly received", "under review")
- showing it's place in line (basically how many unapproved mods are ahead of it) to give everyone an idea of how long the wait is (both for the mod makers sake, and people waiting to use it).

Some of the above I have suggested more than once, and not just this topic (the earliest a few months ago).


And then of course there is the issue of communication...

I think groundup expressed it quite well. Just because there is nothing posted in a reply doesn't mean that your thoughts aren't being seen and given consideration.

Sorry, but that's a very ignorant way of looking at it.  No offense meant, but you have this amazing community willing to help, and you think it's ok to just not acknowledge it?  That's very bad practice, in most things. 

A good example of what is going on would be a classroom of children.  Say the teacher writes a math problem on the board, and asked the class what the answer is.  Most children probably know it so they raise their hands.  If the teacher just ignores them and starts explaining the answer straight away, the next time fewer children will raise their hands.  I bet if you just do this for an hour, at the end of the hour none of the children will raise their hands.

Ignoring help is a very good way of having it ignore you.  People will simply stop bothering to try to help if it's not being acknowledged.  A simple short reply can give people an idea that they're help is actually doing something, and that they're making a difference, and that will lead to enthusiasm.  You are trying to make people support you financially as well, right?  ;)


My point is that it's so easy to water this enthusiasm, but not watering it will slowly kill it.  Ever since I discovered SMF and made the switch I've tried to get involved with the community; I wrote a few mods, help some people with their problems (very rewarding, they know how to acknowledge help btw).  But as soon as I try to help the SMF team all I get is a cold shoulder most of the time, and it's very frustrating.


P.S. I understand progress takes time, but I at least want to know that some sort of progress is being made.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Joshua Dickerson on March 27, 2007, 01:41:01 AM
Sarke, I doubt we are going to show a status or showing it's place in line (it doesn't always go exactly in sequential order) of the customization. Although, we may release them as unapproved customizations. Like I said, we MAY. There is still some more discussion that needs to be done on the team boards. If it hasn't been addressed, it is simply because we overlooked it.

I really like to see this enthusiasm. I think your criticism shows that you really like to help.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Sarke on March 27, 2007, 01:57:59 AM
Thank you.  That's all I really needed ("we're discussing it").
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: KGIII on March 27, 2007, 02:27:28 AM
I still fail (maybe it is just me) to see how a lack of a response is ignoring. What you see as ignorance on my part I see as impatience and a sense of entitlement on your part. I could see, say, if the thread was just locked and deleted and no response was ever given that that would be ignoring. I, for one, tend to trust the people who are making these choices (I am not one of these choice makers - I am just an observer) as they have managed to make it work so far.

It would be more informative for someone from the customization team to come and say, "Thank you for your suggestions, we will be taking them under consideration and will respond when we have watched this thread reach its conclusions and reached our own." However, I'd rather that they work on approving the mods in the queue, working on the documentation for the mod guidelines, and supporting their many personal mods.

I think that the customization team has one of the most difficult job of all of the volunteers as many of them serve double duty in supporting their own as well as debugging the heaps of code that are passed onto them. (I think support is the busiest but, well, that's just 'cause I am one so I am biased.) Then, when they post with a subject as volatile as this one seems to be, they must consider what they say carefully because people tend to read what they want to read and not what was written.

Keep in mind that I am not on the customization team which is why I hesitated to speak at all and, even then, I did so mostly just to ensure that it was clear that we all go through the approval process in one form or another. However, seeing as I have opted to continue speaking I want you to first remember that I am a support team member, not a customization team member. This post reflects not what is, what will be, or anything other than my own views and observations.

With that being said:

Quote
- community (open or modmakers) beta testing of mods (there's a few pages in this topic about that)
- showing the status of the mod (such as "newly received", "under review")
- showing it's place in line (basically how many unapproved mods are ahead of it) to give everyone an idea of how long the wait is (both for the mod makers sake, and people waiting to use it).

In order:

1. I STRONGLY disagree with that. I have, over the years, offered support in a variety of places and for a variety of companies. I disagree, very much, with all forms of open beta testing because the reality is that a high percentage of the people who utilize beta software WILL do so with the intent of having something new and don't understand the risks involved nor have the inclination/ability to offer quality feedback/bug reports. While there are many who are fully qualified, more than willing, and would do this - and do this well - the ends do not justify the means. This is not meant to point to any one specific person and say that they shouldn't be allowed near a beta but rather is an observation based on many years of beta testing and support provisioning.

(Bear with me on this - we will return to this idea. I actually have a point.)

2. I'd agree with that entirely, sort of... Right now the process is rather closed and I think that this may be, in part, due to it being a team effort. A more open display of progress with a description of the progress would be a good step in my opinion. I would suspect that if the status is to be shown that it would be, again, permissions based. For a variety of reasons - such as security issues - I would like to see something similar but, instead, a "reviewer" type of section that lets the mod author know (and is seen only by the mod author) what the status is and what the discussion is. Doing this would be problematic perhaps or at least would need to be done by someone far more skillful than I.

3. I am not sure I agree. While a larger mod may take a long time to go through the process there could be multiple smaller modifications that passed. Being "third in line" and then seeing a half dozen other mods get approved before yours would be disheartening I suspect. It would be even more disheartening if there had been no communication to let you know where things stood. I am not sure I disagree with the idea itself. On this I am undecided.

I will digress a moment:

One might say that they should be done in the order that they come, I respectfully disagree. I think they should be done in the order that best suits the skillsets people doing the work and fits their schedule best.

Having said all of that... I did mention that I would have a point. I do, if you have made it this far into this post then perhaps you will read this.

Perhaps a permissions based method of giving access to unapproved mods would suit? Instead of it being a process with added man-hour overhead a simple option, within each members profile, that is disabled by default that granted permissions to download unapproved modifications would be an avenue that someone might take into consideration. Checking this box would (of course) come with a clear warning and the unapproved/not-yet-reviewed mods would still be listed as such but then could be downloaded by willing members.

Some problems I see with this would be, well... "I just downloaded ____ which was an unapproved modification. I want to report or get support for ____." Where would that be posted? Would this require a new child board? Would the mod authors want this? Would they want to support this? Have you seen some of what makes it into the queue? Anyone can upload.... Would people post in the right areas? I feel that things of that nature make this a rather complex subject.

As you can see, I do not agree with all of what you say. That is, hopefully, okay with you because the idea of communication is exchanging ideas and it is obvious that you feel strongly about your views it is also obvious that you truly want to ensure that SMF continues to grow.

At risk of sounding arrogant (which is not something I am entitled to) I would add that in the past, a number of years ago, those ideas might have been simple enough to just plain work. I will not say "unfortunately..." I lack a better word though. Ah... "As the situation currently stands..." That will work. As the situation currently stands there are people who install a variety of scripts from within their control panel with the help of software such as Fantastico. This has increased the exposure and has resulted in many wonderful changes and great people taking an interest. It has, at the same time, also enabled people who do not have the skillset that you have to participate and, as such, would make for some potentially troublesome times for those users who, honestly, did not know better. (Err... I hope I worded that well enough.)

*sighs*

While I was typing this a couple of new posts were made it seems. I shall post it anyhow. I hope that you aren't offended by anything in this post but I think that discussions aren't about agreeing on everything but rather exchanging ideas until everyone understands as best as they are able. I suspect that that is why they are discussions and not lectures.

*fixed grammar*
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Hambil on March 27, 2007, 02:41:40 AM
I suggested that you open up the approval process to proven mod authors. In other words - by the very fact that I wrote a mod that followed the guidelines and got approved, I am qualified to review and test other's mods.

The specifics can be argued - e.g. How many mods does it take to become part of the approval team? What other criteria must be met? Should we allow for subjectivity on the part of the people deciding who gets to be a reviewer? Etc...

The point is, there are plenty of *proven* mod authors who would be more than willing to help out with approving mods. There is virtually no reason I can see to deny them from doing so.  
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: KGIII on March 27, 2007, 03:18:59 AM
The only reason I can see to deny that would be added complexity and overhead. Right now those people who are able and willing to test are generally watched and then invited to become apprentices and then team members if they seem active enough and interested enough.

Please remember my goal is not to argue but to understand.

I would also add that you, specifically you, would likely be qualified for that task or at least to weed out the ones that don't cut the mustard. (Err... So to speak.)

Yet... Hmm... *ponders*

My first mod took MONTHS (well two or so I think) to get approved. It went through without a hitch and there weren't any problems at all. At that time I wasn't privy to seeing the topics created for it. My second one is the one that I actually had to change - I had to go back and make sure that I changed the ID so that it didn't have spaces. However, I was able to see that post and so I went in and fixed it and that was the only issue so it got approved quickly. I think my idea is that there are checks and balances and that a team approach works - maybe not as speedy as one might hope or the likes... But it generally does a good enough job which doesn't mean that it shouldn't or couldn't be changed but, rather, that I suspect any changes will have to come slowly and with very good discussion such as we are seeing in this topic.

For the sake of my own comprehension...

What would you personally use as the criteria for selecting who is and who isn't a "proven mod author" and is thus judged capable? (Beyond the team membership process that is in place already?)
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Hambil on March 27, 2007, 03:26:26 AM
For the sake of my own comprehension...

What would you personally use as the criteria for selecting who is and who isn't a "proven mod author" and is thus judged capable? (Beyond the team membership process that is in place already?)
Not everyone wants to be a member of the team. I don't. Being selected as a member of the SMF team should be an honor, that one is willing to commit real effort and time too. I have my own goals in life, and am already fairly well extended. I doubt you would ever see me achieve a participation level here worthy of becoming a team member.

With that said, I am qualified to review mods, and more than willing to do so when I have time. Two dozen like me, giving time here and there when they have it, could make a real difference.

As to how to judge someone capable - you are basically already doing it. By the time you review a mod or two from an author you have a pretty good feel for their level of skill. Since the approval process can be moderated (e.g. I could review and submit my review to the team, and they could do with it as they see fit), there is little risk.

Honestly, I just want to help with whatever resources and skills I have, but the current all in or nothing policy really doesn't allow me to do that.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Sarke on March 27, 2007, 03:30:16 AM
I still fail (maybe it is just me) to see how a lack of a response is ignoring.

It's perceived to be ignored.  It might not be, it might very well be discussed by the SMF staff, but to the user who doesn't know this it looks like it's ignored.  They are left in the dark.  Like I said, water this enthusiasm, don't let it wither.


What you see as ignorance on my part I see as impatience and a sense of entitlement on your part.

I wouldn't call it impatience.  Like I mentioned earlier, I'm not demanding results right now, I just wish to know if the ball is rolling or not.  I hope you understand my perspective, since IMO I have been patienent and I've waited for a couple of months for replies to some suggestions. 

I also don't feel I'm entitled to anything, but if I do try to help I would hope to get some sort of reply.  If you help someone and they don't acknowledge it, I'm sure you would feel like that person is rude.  Besides, it is for YOUR sake that I'm pointing this out, because it's about taking care of the community.


I, for one, tend to trust the people who are making these choices (I am not one of these choice makers - I am just an observer) as they have managed to make it work so far.

I trust them too, they managed pretty well before I got here.  :P  However, I'm sure you've suggested some thing once or twice before, and imagine if those things were not replied to.  You still trust these people, but you'd probably feel left out and less enthusiastic.


It would be more informative for someone from the customization team to come and say, "Thank you for your suggestions, we will be taking them under consideration and will respond when we have watched this thread reach its conclusions and reached our own." However, I'd rather that they work on approving the mods in the queue, working on the documentation for the mod guidelines, and supporting their many personal mods.

The time it takes to reply is but a fraction of what it takes to read and consider the suggestions.  Especially for the ones being discussed by the team, with the amount of time that goes into that issue, it is a simple matter to reply with a short message saying they're looking into it.


Keep in mind that I am not on the customization team which is why I hesitated to speak at all and, even then, I did so mostly just to ensure that it was clear that we all go through the approval process in one form or another. However, seeing as I have opted to continue speaking I want you to first remember that I am a support team member, not a customization team member. This post reflects not what is, what will be, or anything other than my own views and observations.

I didn't mean that you have to reply with your thoughts on the suggestions, but you could say "the staff are discussing these things".


One might say that they should be done in the order that they come, I respectfully disagree. I think they should be done in the order that best suits the skillsets people doing the work and fits their schedule best.

Some Customizers have stated that the reason for some of the delays are because they are all done in order, and there might be a complex mod holding up the rest.  STill, I don't really care how you do it as long as it's in some sort of fair way.  My point about the "showing it's place in line" would be to give everyone an idea of where the mod is at.  Round it to the nearest 10 if you must (e.g. "This mod is in the top 20 being reviewed").  It would show some sort of progress, and that would help the people who on an almost daily basis complaining about why their mod hasn't been approved yet.


Having said all of that... I did mention that I would have a point. I do, if you have made it this far into this post then perhaps you will read this.

Still going...


Perhaps a permissions based method of giving access to unapproved mods would suit? Instead of it being a process with added man-hour overhead a simple option, within each members profile, that is disabled by default that granted permissions to download unapproved modifications would be an avenue that someone might take into consideration. Checking this box would (of course) come with a clear warning and the unapproved/not-yet-reviewed mods would still be listed as such but then could be downloaded by willing members.

Some problems I see with this would be, well... "I just downloaded ____ which was an unapproved modification. I want to report or get support for ____." Where would that be posted? Would this require a new child board? Would the mod authors want this? Would they want to support this? Have you seen some of what makes it into the queue? Anyone can upload.... Would people post in the right areas? I feel that things of that nature make this a rather complex subject.

Like I and some others (most recently Hambil) mentioned already, make the approved mod authors into a new usergroup and give them a sub-board where they can talk about and test these unapproved mods.


As you can see, I do not agree with all of what you say. That is, hopefully, okay with you because the idea of communication is exchanging ideas and it is obvious that you feel strongly about your views it is also obvious that you truly want to ensure that SMF continues to grow.

I DO feel strongly about SMF because that's what it's about.  It's all good if you don't agree, as long as you let me know.  If I'm left in the dark I will just give up after a while.  And you taking time to write such a long reply shows that you care about the feedback we're all giving you, and that really helps as well because it grows the enthusiasm I was talking about.


At risk of sounding arrogant (which is not something I am entitled to) I would add that in the past, a number of years ago, those ideas might have been simple enough to just plain work. I will not say "unfortunately..." I lack a better word though. Ah... "As the situation currently stands..." That will work. As the situation currently stands there are people who install a variety of scripts from within their control panel with the help of software such as Fantastico. This has increased the exposure and has resulted in many wonderful changes and great people taking an interest. It has, at the same time, also enabled people who do not have the skillset that you have to participate and, as such, would make for some potentially troublesome times for those users who, honestly, did not know better. (Err... I hope I worded that well enough.)

Tell me about it.  Just a few days ago I had to help a guy install one of my mods, and in doing so I noticed that he had left the "Edit account settings" permission open to new members. 

Get back to the point, those are very valid concerns.  However, they're not so big we can't figure out a way for it to work. 


While I was typing this a couple of new posts were made it seems. I shall post it anyhow. I hope that you aren't offended by anything in this post but I think that discussions aren't about agreeing on everything but rather exchanging ideas until everyone understands as best as they are able. I suspect that that is why they are discussions and not lectures.

Exchanging ideas and forums go hand in hand. :)
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: KGIII on March 27, 2007, 04:33:09 AM
I will go further to add that I have absolutely no doubt that you have the best interests in mind. I will also be brutally honest and say that I don't know of (or see) a solution that is 100% effective. The idea of an additional membergroup actually may seem like little overhead but, really, can be a lot to do if it isn't automated and when we add ego to that ("Why wasn't I made a member of the beta testing group yet?") it becomes potentially explosive I suspect.

I am not going to quote your entire post, I will just respond. I think we've reached a level where we can communicate. I agree. Perception is key. Unfortunately you saw this as ignoring. You were quite happy (seemingly) when you saw that groundup took the time to say it was being looked into. With about 1000 users online and nearly 1 million posts... Well... It is a lot. For anyone.

I am not privy to the team leader boards nor would I assume responsibility for such but I will say that this thread has grabbed the attention of quite a few people and, again, I urge you to keep giving feedback - it is not being ignored so much as being contemplated I suspect. I am still fairly new to the team, one thing I will say is that it is impressively democratic. Democracy (not to be confused with the United States of America's Republic) takes time.

Hmm... One thing I have is loyalty until I see a major ethical violation so, really, I am not going to say anything bad about the team or software unless I know it to be the truth. The closest you will come to seeing me say such is what you will see here: "I would agree that greater transparency to the issues raised in this thread and more dissemination of information would have (would be?) valuable to ensure that the interested parties are able to communicate clearly with a good understanding of the objectives." Which, frankly, is why I urged you to continue your dialog. I also would not consider that a negative statement as anyone expecting perfection from people (which is what open source really is) is expecting too much for too little. I give you kudos for rolling your sleeves up and getting your hands dirty.

I will say that I am completely certain that, unless I am mistaken and I generally am good at understanding people, your goals are the same as the rest of ours. We all want to do everything we can (it is insane how much passion OSS can generate) to ensure the betterment and survival of SMF. Personally, I lurked a long time and then started posting to help where I could and have since felt obligated to repay my debt - meaning that I have learned a billion times more than I have shared. Again, this is a huge forum, rest assured that very little goes unnoticed. Compare, if you will, the number of zero reply support topics to the over-all total. ;) They get noticed... Find one post over a day old that hasn't been read. (I don't think that is possible.) Remember the human aspect.

Now, on to more stuff seeing as you don't mind my novels...

How? You too - please give your feedback. I requested that they share what they felt was the criteria for determining what a mod author would need to undergo to permit them permission to review unapproved mods and offer feedback. How can this be done AND how can this be done without placing an additional burden on an already overwhelmed team? Not just that but - again - the human aspect. How do you tell someone that, "I am sorry, you do not meet the criteria?" Not only how do you tell them that - but how do you tell them that AND still leave them feeling encouraged and wanting to contribute? How do you provision support?

Digression: Thankfully your method won't add to my load, I consider my 'job' a labor - a labor of love but I still think of it as work. Happily. I signed on, agreed to apprentice, agreed to take the badge. With that came a responsibility to provide timely and accurate assistance as best as I am able. It is not my main priority. It is, however, a very important priority to me. You can't see my insane drivel posts but I tend to term it not love (we fall out of love) but lust. *grins* You seem to have the same lust. I lust the software, community, and the education that you all give me. I pay for it with support.

Enough digression...

This response isn't in order... *sighs* Anyhow - yes... They are done in order. At least my OBSERVATION is that they are. The approval process isn't "start one, finish one." Instead it is:

This is the mod.
This is what I see.
Do you see anything else?
Contact the author?
Response was?

Now, during that process, they can't stop and wait. Thus one large mod holds up others or gets in the way if it has issues. I guess the word that is confusing is "order."

IMPORTANT: My observation is that they are done in order for the most part BUT remember that it takes longer to build a mansion than it does to build a shack. This means that the order isn't time-based or even always submission date though oldest seem to be attended to first. This means that when a big mod that has issues comes into play that things slow down for other long/large mods will end up waiting as human resources (which is what OSS is all about) are consumed working on the existing issues AND that time-zone differences, language barriers, etc all play a part in this.

In short - it is quite complicated and making it more simple AND effective is a noble goal (I laud your attempts and heart - truly) but there are so many additional aspects that I think we are all not seeing. I am not sure but I absolutely hope that I am able to be objective enough to give you just what I see without clouding it with bias. It is a difficult process. The cohesiveness of the community is needed lest, as you say, it go without water and die.

Ah the frail human ego... Anyhow...

I would ask that we all remember that, at this time, this is still powered by SMF. Automating the group to ensure that only qualified people were admitted to the beta section would take even more time. Yeah... This is all run with SMF as the backbone.

I have given this consideration and I would like it if you would consider my proposal which, frankly, is just as likely to be impossible as any other proposal.

My current thinking is as I said. I would, if I had a choice and the capacity, create an advanced section in the members (here) profile where, if they wanted, they could go agree to hold SMF free from liability and agree to post support requests/bug reports/feedback posts where they belong. I would make it so that they had to actually type something in that way it was something that couldn't be done by accident. Even then I would ensure that, unless they alter the package manager, the only way to download beta or unapproved mods would be to do so manually. After accepting the agreement and ticking the box they would have access to beta mods. When a mod is uploaded (this needs work) a post is created in a child board that is only able to be seen by that membergroup. Posts concerning that modification are only to be placed there, all others will be deleted, repeated violations would (of course) result in potential banning.

The problem I see with this is not all people speak the language. Mods are required to be in English and yet still get uploaded in all sorts of languages - I am not sure that they are all even real languages. I don't want to point at anyone nor be offensive but, well, you should see some of what gets uploaded. In order for this to work there would have to be someone willing to say, "Yes. Yes if this gets abused we will ban this member and we will give the time to this project." That - that right there - is a kicker... Who, that is already a team member and able/willing to assume such a powerful role, is going to take on that additional work?

It is a much more complex issue than even I thought at first. Heck, I initially posted just to correct a misunderstanding to ensure you that I am a team member but I am subject to the approval process and (probably) even more heavily judged than non-team members. (I pride myself on the lack of posts about my mods - I want 'em to just work and not need support.)

I want to wrap this up... I have, well, time issues and this is important to me but support is my job and this isn't my area. I will return to post more and to read but this particular post is getting long. I disagree (and can tell you that some of your ideas will not happen but that is conversation and finding a solution that benefits all) with some of what you say but I do not disagree with your ideals. It is amazing how SMF reaches out and just grabs you... One minute you are busy paying attention to something else and you grab SMF just to try something new and, the next thing you know, sooner or later you are here posting posts like someone who is obsessed. I call it lust. Love seems to fail many, lust drives the most sane to do the absurd.

I reiterate... Do not stop posting or giving up, do not sharing ideas, and do not think you are being ignored. (Maybe work on politics a little *grins* but, really, your ideals seem to match what seems to be what most people who are really interested want.)
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Sarke on March 27, 2007, 06:09:55 AM
I don't think hand picking beta testers would be necessary.  Just make it automatic, like mod authors that have a certain number of approved mods.  Or you can make it total time of approved mods.  Either way, mod authors have already demonstrated the necessary understanding and the willingness to contribute to the community.

As for support, it's a beta.  They only purpose for a beta is to find the flaws, so anyone asking for support didn't read the disclaimer (there should be a disclaimer obviously).  If a person who has written more than a couple of mods downloads a mod clearly marked BETA, and installs it into a live environment, then it's their own damn fault if something goes wrong.

We're just dumbing down the world here if we start putting padding on all the corners.  You can only do so much to protect people from themselves, and frankly if we go overboard like this then they'll never learn to be cautious and will eventually get hurt worse.  Sorry, but even idiots understand big red signs, and if they for some reason don't they need to learn.

This is a good example of bureaucracy.  It's like outlawing breadknives because someone might cut their finger.  There will always be idiots, and if they're not cutting their fingers off with breadknives, they're sticking them in the lightsocket.  But the world still needs breadknives, and the world still needs lightsockets.  Don't let a handful of idiots stand in the way of progress.


P.S.  My politics are just fine.  It's the people outside of city hall with the signs that get the politicians' attention. ;)
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: KGIII on March 27, 2007, 06:27:01 AM
Then keep waving the sign and don't give up when they don't answer right away. ;)

I have to sleep but I will respond in the morning probably. I will mark this as unread but I'd like to have you set the criteria you would select for saying who is able to see beta mods or not per my request. You, yes you, define what is a few, what is enough, etc... AND how it would work for support or feedback reports.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Hambil on March 27, 2007, 06:44:04 AM
First, I would create a checklist - based off the coding guidelines.

Second, I would base membership in the beta group on three things:

Third, I would make mods waiting approval visible to all, but only downloadable by the beta group (and the people who can already down them, obviously).

Fourth, I would modify the mod approval process to allow for an approval by the beta group that sets the mod status to 'approved/rejected and waiting review', or some such. In order to set that status a beta group member must fill out the checklist mentioned at the top of my post. A form should probably be created based on the checklist, rather than have it free-form.

Fifth, official SMF teams can review the submitted forms, tweak their wording, and approve or reject them. Emails are automatically sent to the reviewer, and the mod author based on the content of the checklist/form.

The concept is not that different than paralegals for lawyers.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Rudolf on March 27, 2007, 06:48:22 AM
Just make it automatic, like mod authors that have a certain number of approved mods.
Once I had a suggestion for a tweak and someone suggested me to write a mod for it.
It was a one line change. I refused it. (luckily for you the next release should have the tweak)

So would you give more credit to  a person who wrote 5 mods that change a couple of lines in some template files changing the appeareance, or for a person with one mod that adds an non-existing feature (where one has to work from the database, through the source code uo until the template). So which one is more entitled to review mods?

I don't want to seem vainglorious but I saw some people who released mods that I wouldn't trust blindly. I also saw happening (and it's perfectly ok) that people released mods based on someone else's code. I mean there are folks who understood more or less the pckaging process, took some source code someone provided (and the logic behind) and released the mod. Should they be entitled to even review other mods?

My point is that the selection for mod "reviewers"  and/or "approvers" has to be pretty much like the selection of team members - man-handled. There's no automatic way to decide. 
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Hambil on March 27, 2007, 06:50:41 AM
My point is that the selection for mod "reviewers"  and/or "approvers" has to be pretty much like the selection of team members - man-handled. There's no automatic way to decide. 
I disagree - see my above post.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Rudolf on March 27, 2007, 06:54:36 AM
Member has opted-in via a checkbox in their profile
Good so you already have the approval of the people, you don't need to ask them.

Member has x number of approved mods (3 sounds like a good talking point)
BAD. See my previous post.

Member has x number of mod downloads (1000 for a talking point)
BAD.
You are implying that the success of a mod depends on how good a person is at coding and not about the modification it offers.
Take Chris here on this thread. He's working on a Calendar mod, right? He can revamp completely the calendar and write something just perfectly gorgeous from the coding point of view, with no bugs whatsoever, and perfectly secure. But I will never download it because it offers a feature I don't need and want.
So it means that the system will penalize the mod authors based on the usefullness of their mod.
Addedum: There could be a person who releases 3 mods that are downloaded 30000 times, but all three are full of bugs. Would that person be suitable to review other mods?
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Rudolf on March 27, 2007, 06:55:18 AM
My point is that the selection for mod "reviewers"  and/or "approvers" has to be pretty much like the selection of team members - man-handled. There's no automatic way to decide. 
I disagree - see my above post.
I disagree - see my above post.
:D :D
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Hambil on March 27, 2007, 07:03:31 AM
Member has opted-in via a checkbox in their profile
Good so you already have the approval of the people, you don't need to ask them.

Member has x number of approved mods (3 sounds like a good talking point)
BAD. See my previous post.

Member has x number of mod downloads (1000 for a talking point)
BAD.
This implies that the success of a mod depends on how good a person is at coding and not about the modification it offers.
Take Chris here on this thread. He's working on a Calendar mod, right? He can revamp completely the calendar and write something just perfectly gorgeous from the coding point of view, with no bugs whatsoever, and perfectly secure. But I will never download it because it offers a feature I don't need and want.
So it means that the system will penalize the mod authors based on the usefullness of their mod.
If you are determine to see it that way, then you would be correct. However, I feel your logic is flawed.

First, all mods should be considered 'well coded' by the very nature of the system you have created. If a lot of 'not well coded' mods are being approved then all that does is show even more cracks in your current system. If almost exclusively 'well coded' mods are being approved, then your system works (which you keep claiming it does), and 3 approved mods should be a strong indicator that a member knows the guidelines.

Second, can someone create three small mods that get 1000 downloads and get into the beta-group faster or easier than another person who creates 1 large mod that doesn't get a lot of installs? Sure, but I think looking at the actual stats for mod authors will show this to be a rather rare thing. And, if it does happen, worse case scenario is some mod authors get into the beta-group faster or easier than others, so what? It doesn't invalidate the proposed system in anyway.  
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Sarke on March 27, 2007, 07:19:11 AM
All they need is to understand the situation, their ability to code is not the biggest concern.  Even an average joe can install a mod and see if it gives errors or not, and as long as they understand the risks that is ok. 

I don't think these beta testers should have any power though, all they should have is access to a sub-board where they can download and give feeback to other mod authors.  That's all that is needed, a sub-board with one topic per unapproved mod.  People in this group can download the unapproved mods, test them and give feedback if they wish.  There is no need to support these mods because they're not supposed to be used in a live enviroment, and those who do use it like that do so at their own risk.

I would say as little as one approved mod is needed, and if that is a one-liner then so be it.  They've set themselves apart from the general community by being able to put some code together and that should weed out most of the people who don't understands the risk of a beta.  A big red sign should take care of the rest.


To put this into perspective.  By paying MONEY people are given access to betas of SMF, is that not correct?  How does money qualify those people?  Are they somehow smarter?
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Hambil on March 27, 2007, 07:29:04 AM
Quote
To put this into perspective.  By paying MONEY people are given access to betas of SMF, is that not correct?  How does money qualify those people?  Are they somehow smarter?
Really? I did not know this.  :o

Quote
With your Charter Membership you are given access to a closed section of our Community forums, as well as a spiffy badge under your name showing that you're a Charter Member. Here you're able to discuss the latest betas, mods which haven't been publicly released yet, as well as provide feedback about SMF.

So, now some things are starting to click into place. We're asking them to give away what they are already charging for. No wonder they don't want to. This changes some things IMHO. I thought there was NO avenue for getting a look at unapproved mods. If all I have to do is pay $50 a year, well, maybe it's not so much an issue for me anymore.

The question is, how can they make use of the paid forums to improve the speed at which mods are approved. I mean, all the protests about skill levels have already just gone right out the window because a total noob can get access to unreleased mods and provide feedback, for $50 a year.  
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Dannii on March 27, 2007, 07:50:28 AM
AFAIK Charter Members don't have access to unreleased mods. Maybe they should. If they all started beta testing, would that be a big enough group to speed up the process?
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Rudolf on March 27, 2007, 08:26:35 AM
To put this into perspective.  By paying MONEY people are given access to betas of SMF, is that not correct?  How does money qualify those people?  Are they somehow smarter?
You are wrong. Look I am a charter member. We have access to betas before you. But the difference is minimal. Most of the time what you can access and what I can acces is the same. Access to betas a couple of weeks before releasing to public is just a small plus to what the Charter members get.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Rudolf on March 27, 2007, 09:04:24 AM
Quote from: Hambil
Member has opted-in via a checkbox in their profile
Good so you already have the approval of the people, you don't need to ask them.

Member has x number of approved mods (3 sounds like a good talking point)
BAD. See my previous post.

Member has x number of mod downloads (1000 for a talking point)
BAD.
This implies that the success of a mod depends on how good a person is at coding and not about the modification it offers.
Take Chris here on this thread. He's working on a Calendar mod, right? He can revamp completely the calendar and write something just perfectly gorgeous from the coding point of view, with no bugs whatsoever, and perfectly secure. But I will never download it because it offers a feature I don't need and want.
So it means that the system will penalize the mod authors based on the usefullness of their mod.
If you are determine to see it that way, then you would be correct. However, I feel your logic is flawed.

First, all mods should be considered 'well coded' by the very nature of the system you have created. If a lot of 'not well coded' mods are being approved then all that does is show even more cracks in your current system. If almost exclusively 'well coded' mods are being approved, then your system works (which you keep claiming it does), and 3 approved mods should be a strong indicator that a member knows the guidelines.

Second, can someone create three small mods that get 1000 downloads and get into the beta-group faster or easier than another person who creates 1 large mod that doesn't get a lot of installs? Sure, but I think looking at the actual stats for mod authors will show this to be a rather rare thing. And, if it does happen, worse case scenario is some mod authors get into the beta-group faster or easier than others, so what? It doesn't invalidate the proposed system in anyway. 
Look, you are right about the number of mods approved. They do show in some way how good a person is, or how active is.
But in reality it doesn't works like that, and it's not only rare thing. I can write three mods that change one line each in the code - change not add- and just wait until 1000 people download it, and I will get the right to approve other mods. This is very close to reality, and you couldn't even blaim the cracks in the system.
I can write 3 mods and just don't come back anymore for a year. In the meantime people kept downloading my mods, and I will reach the limit to enter the "mod approval team". Is that right towards a person who is actively and supporting developing mods over the year, but can't get the number of downloads because maybe he implemented a thing that not many need? Maybe only 700 people need it, so he still wouldn't have any chance to be considered even after years and years of contribution. See the fundamental flaw in your system? This is reality.
One other thing you should consider is that the code base of the software is changing, and you can bet that the next big release of SMF (not the small upgrades to the 1.1 line) will have their code and logic changed big times. There are mod creators who don't update anymore their mods, they lost interest or they don't have the time to do so... yet they would be eligible and part of the "team approval team". Is this right towards a person who actively follows the development of the software, keeps himself up to date with the news, but can't achieve a certain number of downloads or a certain number of mods released?

You just can't automatize the process, there must be some human evaluation... because whatever criterias you put in the program every one of them will have a major flaw. There will be cases when the system wouldn't take the "right" decision. That's why you have to use people in this process. At least you have who to blaim if things go wrong. If a software fails to chose the right people, then you'll blame the developers, if the developers make decisions based on their "gut feeling" you will blame the developers. In any case they will get the blame, so why would they bother creating a system that doesn't solves their problem?


First of all, lets make one thing clear. Maybe I explained myself clear.
My main issue is with the number of downloads, but you can take any fixed criteria and apply it.
The criteria of number of downloads is just bad, because it doesn't measures in any way how well a person knows to code and how well he/she knows the guidelines. It just measures how many people are using his/her mod. In this case you can have two members that have similar level of knowledge, but one can have approve/review mods and the other not. This is simple discrimination based on how good = useful their mods are. Which has nothing to do with how good they are at coding. It's like saying: you are white so you can approve mods or you are over 18 so you can approve mods, you are female so you can't approve mods.

The entrance of any group whatsoever should be based on merit, in this case how well they know to code, to understand the software and to manipulate, and not on any other criteria (sex, color, religion, age, total number of downloads <-- I repeat: these have nothing to do with the professionality of a coder)

As a last note to you Hambil: there were times when I saw mods written (and approved) by customization-team members that were -IMO- kind of a disaster. They worked, but the way they did their thing was just awful. OK? It is not a very rare case. No one is on the same level, and in an open source project there are a lot of noobs hanging around learning. (I was one once... and 80% of the times I still feel a noob)
So what you suggest would lead soon to disaster.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Hambil on March 27, 2007, 09:22:01 AM
It can't lead to disaster if it's a moderated process, which is one of the things I proposed.

Look, any system like this is about checks and balances. You can take any one criteria and say "that can be abused", but the idea is that the sum is more than the parts. By combining number of mods, number of downloads, and hell add in a few other criteria if needed like "member is active in the last month" and members hacks are xKB in size when totaled. You can come up with all kinds of criteria. Each added criteria works together with the others to balance the system -  no single point of failure. You could even allow a mod author to qualify by reaching 3 of 4 criteria. You can configure this however you desire, and it's really not hard to do.

And, I reiterate, because the mod must be approved by a certified SMF team member before it hits the public, very little harm can be done.

Honestly, the resistance to ideas like this is just mind-boggling. It has elitism written all over it. 
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Chris Curran on March 27, 2007, 09:37:52 AM
It's very frustrating to have to wade through *snip* the poorly documented coding guidelines
SMF Coding Guidelines - http://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?topic=159824

groundup,

Yes, you have that link NOW, but it wasn't always there with that content and the info in it keeps changing. Didn't you guys have a meeting at the front of this project and nail down your guidelines then? Lets take a current example. My mod uses GPL style function parameter declarations. This is the style that's used in apache, gnome and many, many other projects. It's a very old and well established coding style. An example:

functionName($var1,
                      $var2,
                      $var3)
{

... code ....
}

There are many benefits to this style, but that conversation is beyond the scope of this post. As you know, the SMF coding style does not cover this topic. I get a message yesterday from an unnamed SMF member that I need to change that code because "it looks weird". WTF!?!?! You have GOT to be kidding me! The youth, lack of experience and lack of formal education in the field of computer science is starting to show at the SMF team level. Frankly, I'm not going to change the code. I don't much care if the mod is approved or not at this point. It's classic, valid code and I'm not jumping through yet another hoop because some kid doesn't know what he's looking at.

cheers,
Chris
 
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Chris Curran on March 27, 2007, 09:40:03 AM
Dudes,
I gave up a long time ago.
Whatever you do do it for the people who use SMF, not for the people who make it. They don't need your work, and you certainly don't need their help.
So what if it takes two months for a mod to be approved? Big deal. If you really want to share your mods find alternative ways. You are mod creators, I bet you can figure out something.

Well said Rudolf. You make a good point and thanks for pointing it out. Since I house my home PC's/servers in a 42u rack, I think I'll start my own mod server and not be bothered with the kids running this show.... Forgive me for not reading the rest of this thread - it's just not worth my time.....

cheers,
Chris
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Rudolf on March 27, 2007, 09:44:39 AM
And, I reiterate, because the mod must be approved by a certified SMF team member before it hits the public, very little harm can be done.

In this case it would be enough a separate boards where people can kind of submit they beta mods to the whole community. Team members could follow the threads in it to see the status of the mod based on beta testers. Check out this (http://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?topic=154921.0), the mod author posted the mod in that board on my suggestion (I suppose) and he has an thread where peolpe can download his mod and test it. It is something I did with most of my mods.
So everyone can use it and give feedback. The customization team could check once in a while to see if there are obvious complaints about the mod and/or to interact with the mod author - and the best of all everyone could see that work is done and things are moving.

Is this a good enough solution for you?
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Hambil on March 27, 2007, 09:47:56 AM
Dudes,
I gave up a long time ago.
Whatever you do do it for the people who use SMF, not for the people who make it. They don't need your work, and you certainly don't need their help.
So what if it takes two months for a mod to be approved? Big deal. If you really want to share your mods find alternative ways. You are mod creators, I bet you can figure out something.

Well said Rudolf. You make a good point and thanks for pointing it out. Since I house my home PC's/servers in a 42u rack, I think I'll start my own mod server and not be bothered with the kids running this show.... Forgive me for not reading the rest of this thread - it's just not worth my time.....

cheers,
Chris

Chris,

There are a few realities to deal with here (for some of us at least). One of those realities is that this SMF site has a huge amount of traffic. If you have a desire to create professional mods at some point, you'll need to leverage this site just like you need to leverage vbulletin.org for vb hacks.

It can get frustrating, and I understand your desire to give up, and should you do so I wouldn't fault you. But, it would be sad to see experienced developers turn away. Yes, there are some "kids" who haven't been living in front of a computer since 1980 involved in running the show here - that's not uncommon with open source. But, they are valuable. They bring young and energy and a passion I couldn't reclaim even if I could still live on Mountain Dew and Hot Pockets.

You and I (and others I'm sure) have age and wisdom and experience to offer, and I hope they find ways to hear our voices. I'm going to keep talking one way or another :D
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Hambil on March 27, 2007, 09:49:16 AM
And, I reiterate, because the mod must be approved by a certified SMF team member before it hits the public, very little harm can be done.

In this case it would be enough a separate boards where people can kind of submit they beta mods to the whole community. Team members could follow the threads in it to see the status of the mod based on beta testers. Check out this (http://this), the mod author posted the mod in that board on my suggestion (I suppose) and he has an thread where peolpe can download his mod and test it. It is something I did with most of my mods.
So everyone can use it and give feedback. The customization team could check once in a while to see if there are obvious complaints about the mod and/or to interact with the mod author - and the best of all everyone could see that work is done and things are moving.

Is this a good enough solution for you?
I am not able to check out that link. But, your idea certainly sounds like a move in the right direction :)
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Rudolf on March 27, 2007, 10:02:07 AM
Sorry, I forgot to give the link. I edited the post.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Dannii on March 27, 2007, 10:05:41 AM
I've had beta testing threads for both of my two major mods, I think its a great idea. Maybe it should be formalised, with a special board?
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: karlbenson on March 27, 2007, 02:14:37 PM
I've had beta testing threads for both of my two major mods, I think its a great idea. Maybe it should be formalised, with a special board?
Seconded.

I've got a large mod in developed for ad revenue sharing. Lots of ideas, lots of bug fixes.
A special place for us to gather would help improve each others mods (and hopefully mean less to fix/do come moderating time)
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Sarke on March 27, 2007, 03:08:56 PM
I've had beta testing threads for both of my two major mods, I think its a great idea. Maybe it should be formalised, with a special board?

See that's all I've been asking about.  People can already post a new topic with a link to download of their unapproved mod, so why the big fuss about all the potential problems of making it a sub-board?
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: karlbenson on March 27, 2007, 03:27:12 PM
a child board would be better as the betas won't get lost along with 'how can I do this' queries and such in the coding section.

Just as you have people who tend to hang around the importers/converters section, you would probably have people that would do the same around a beta mod board.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: 青山 素子 on March 29, 2007, 04:47:54 PM
I really should restrain myself from getting involved in these types of topics...

Member has x number of approved mods (3 sounds like a good talking point)

Member has x number of mod downloads (1000 for a talking point)

Those aren't really good qualifications for allowing someone to review a mod. What about someone who has five approved mods, but needed some help with each one because of small errors on each one? Is someone who keeps making mistakes, but fixes when notified, a good person to be reviewing mods?

Likewise for the downloads. Some mods are very much there to satisfy a niche need. Tying popularity into the equation could remove some very good candidates.

Like it or not, choosing people who are qualified to review mods is not an empirical process, it is very subjective.


There are discussions going on on how to improve the situation aroudn the mod and theme sites, so keep the feedback going.  
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: formlesstree4 on July 13, 2007, 09:45:06 AM
There appears to be (to me) only one team that reviews all mods. There should in fact be two teams. Here is how i think it should work. (do not quote me for this, as i am very tired and will try to make sense.)

                    Mod arrives to standard Customization team.
                    Mod is tested to see if it installs and does what if it is supposed to do.
--------------- If mod fails to do what it is supposed to do, follow the arrow.
|                    If Mod works, it gets approved, and is shown, author gets a pm.                        |                       
|                                                                                                                                     
|                     ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
|   
|-->>>   The mod is examined for parsing (if thats how you spell it) errors in both the php and xml files. (By now, the author has gotten a PM saying that the mod is being debugged by a special team.)
If the error is found, the debug team (Customization debug team) will attempt to fix it.
If they cannot fix it, then the mod is sent back to the author with a reason why.

If this doesn't make sense, i will post later, but i shouldn't get involved in this kind of thing, but to see a community as strong as this be torn apart by simple communication problems and a few others is just amazing.

Hope what i said helps. (Now I am probably off to sleep  :D)




Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Dannii on July 13, 2007, 10:29:53 PM
If there are errors that's the responsibility of the mod's author to fix. The team is already overworked, it would be silly for them to have to fix broken mods too.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: formlesstree4 on July 14, 2007, 01:20:53 AM
The team may be yes, but I am saying have another team formed just specifically for mod checking [kinda like there already is, but different.]

Let me say it like this:

Main Team: Does SMF Core stuff and designs.

Second Team: Made just for Mods and run mod site to allow the Main team to work on SMF.

They are separate that way if one gets a lot of work, the other can keep on going with no problem.

EX:

Lots of mods come in. In current route, the Main Team has to deal with them AND make SMF. With this new way i think would work, the Main Team would be unaffected if the Mod Team got a lot of mods that they had to work on, therefore increasing time towards developing SMF.

The Second Team would be formed like the first team was, but no member of the main team can be a member of the second team and vise versa. Get it?
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Dannii on July 14, 2007, 01:23:11 AM
If there's not enough people for the existing teams, where are all these people for new teams going to come from?
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: 青山 素子 on July 14, 2007, 01:41:40 AM
They are separate that way if one gets a lot of work, the other can keep on going with no problem.

That is the way they are already. The developer team works on SMF. The customize team looks at the mods. If the mod is broken, the author is told so and asked to fix and re-submit.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: formlesstree4 on July 14, 2007, 02:44:24 AM
Then why is there a communication problem? Is there not enough 'qualified' people?

If so, what makes a person qualified?
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: 青山 素子 on July 14, 2007, 11:51:42 AM
What communication problem is this?
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: formlesstree4 on July 14, 2007, 03:48:10 PM
The problem that mod authors sometimes do not get any status on their mod, and may not even get the PM that their mod is being reviewed.

That is the problem I am seeing from what I have read.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: 青山 素子 on July 15, 2007, 03:00:32 AM
Adding another team won't fix things then. It will only complicate things further. As far a I know, a PM is sent at the end of evaluation if there are problems with the mod. There has been a problem with a large queue causing backlog, but that seems to have gone down. I only see 25 pending mods right now.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Aquire on July 20, 2007, 11:39:13 AM
and what about my theme..It's ok.i've my theme on my site.Already tested.

still taking too long..:(
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: 青山 素子 on July 20, 2007, 11:46:21 PM
Have patience, it was only submitted seven days ago. Due to some recent issues with copyright violations on our theme site (some being unauthorized conversions of commercial themes that we received legal notice on), things are taking a bit longer as we have to investigate more before it can be approved.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: formlesstree4 on July 23, 2007, 04:41:14 AM
Have patience, it was only submitted seven days ago. Due to some recent issues with copyright violations on our theme site (some being unauthorized conversions of commercial themes that we received legal notice on), things are taking a bit longer as we have to investigate more before it can be approved.

That is something that all the theme creators should be told, not just the ones that ask....unless you have done that already (if you have, just ignore this post :D)

Since when did people do that kind of thing? I mean, do illegal conversions of skins......that is just like using an illegal copy of vBulletin....or worse :O
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: 青山 素子 on July 23, 2007, 11:05:10 AM
Themes and ripping (http://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?topic=171243.0)

Posted as a sticky in the Graphics and Templates board.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: Akatsuki_dawn on December 23, 2007, 04:58:28 PM
Hello Motoko-chan. Im impressed by the way things are happening in this thread. I just read like two pages of it. Its unbeleivable. Your great, so thnx a lot for your time to everyone.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: [SiNaN] on March 11, 2008, 05:29:38 AM
Is it correct what I do according to the rules or this just cause my mod to be taken to the end of the que?

1. Mod is sent.
2. Mod is checked by the team member, problem is reported by pm.
3. Member have read the pm and replied as he will fix the problem and then report the update by pm to the customization team.
4. Problem is fixed, mod is updated and the fix is reported to the customization team by pm.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: 青山 素子 on March 11, 2008, 10:43:14 AM
That should be perfectly fine to do.
Title: Re: Why does my customization (mod/theme) take so long to be reviewed?
Post by: [SiNaN] on March 11, 2008, 11:57:28 AM
That should be perfectly fine to do.

It took reasonabley much time for my mod to be approved. Just I wanted to be sure that if the pm reporting the uptade caused that. Thanks.