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Author Topic: What can we do to help grow our 3PDs?  (Read 244269 times)

Offline Dannii

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Re: What can we do to help grow our 3PDs?
« Reply #60 on: July 22, 2008, 10:40:20 AM »
Just though I'd post on the idea of mod subforums again. I now think they're not required. I have the 5th largest topic (probably soon to be 4th) and I haven't had any trouble keeping up with supporting my mod in a single topic. If there are mods that are generating an unmanageable number of support requests it's probably because the mod is very badly written. I think it would be better to provide further mod docs and possibly raise the mod coding standards.
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Offline skyhintack

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Re: What can we do to help grow our 3PDs?
« Reply #61 on: December 08, 2008, 02:36:49 PM »
I think modifications that are in request by many people that have been "discontinued" by the author or the author hasn't kept up with the latest releases should (at least tried) to be taken over by the SMF Development Team. For people, like myself, who have no knowledge (or only enough to edit variables and insert comments  :D ) of php find it very difficult to get exactly what they want out of SMF. If the mod(s) they're looking for are outdated or aren't available, of course they'll turn to another option even if SMF does have some really nice core features.

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Re: What can we do to help grow our 3PDs?
« Reply #62 on: December 08, 2008, 07:41:11 PM »
it is not the smf team's responsibility to pick up dropped 3rd party development... nor do we have the time to do so with our focus being on development of the SMF core.
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Offline Night09

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Re: What can we do to help grow our 3PDs?
« Reply #63 on: December 08, 2008, 08:10:18 PM »
Also if you make a post in mod requests regarding the particular mod your looking at somone may be willing to try and update it or already have a fix they have come up with.

The SMF is busy on SMF core development but some of the mod makers anyway may be interested in looking at some mod worth maybe updating if its brought to their attention.

Offline Oldiesmann

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Re: What can we do to help grow our 3PDs?
« Reply #64 on: December 08, 2008, 09:42:11 PM »
If you see an outdated mod, contact the developer and ask them to update it. If they don't have time to maintain it, they can also post on the forum asking to have someone take over development. That way everyone wins - the community can enjoy the mod, and the mod author doesn't have to worry about not having time to maintain it.
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Offline Fustrate

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Re: What can we do to help grow our 3PDs?
« Reply #65 on: December 12, 2008, 06:45:56 PM »
Hmm... what about adding another staff member (or group, like the Beta Testers) to update mods from people who haven't been online for over a year and can't be contacted? I'm sure there's a few of us here who would gladly just update mods for the latest release of it's line (1.1.4 -> 1.1.7, 1.0.8 -> 1.0.15, etc.) and provide minimal support for orphans :) and if the original author comes back, they still retain ownership and can continue development if they wish to.

Just an idea!
« Last Edit: December 12, 2008, 06:48:51 PM by YodaOfDarkness »
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Offline 青山 素子

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Re: What can we do to help grow our 3PDs?
« Reply #66 on: December 12, 2008, 06:58:47 PM »
The problem comes from determining what license they used and if that gives permission to actually do that.
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Offline Fustrate

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Re: What can we do to help grow our 3PDs?
« Reply #67 on: December 12, 2008, 07:14:21 PM »
That would be a little tricky, yes... what about adding a checkbox on the mod edit page that says something to the effect of "If I cannot be contacted for 30 days, permission is given to (Simple Machines/whomever) to update this modification for security and compatibility reasons." in bold so that it's noticed?

And of course leave it unchecked for all old mods, and auto-check it for all new mods... would that work?
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Offline Night09

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Re: What can we do to help grow our 3PDs?
« Reply #68 on: December 12, 2008, 07:48:18 PM »
Quote
The problem comes from determining what license they used and if that gives permission to actually do that.                      

Make a condition that mods must be open licence so if they are abandoned then somone can continue developement of them.OR just split mods into  group categories.Dont actually split the mod site but give the mods a rank label with its status as licenced,open,active or abandoned if not upgraded for 3 months after an upgrade is required.

This would give an indication of how active a mod is as well as flag it for upgrade after a pre determined time.Maybe a timer on mod site so when SMF is changed it is reset and counts down for 3 months automatic.If the mod is fixed then it is cancelled.If not it will flag after the time as abandoned.When  upgrades are not needed the timer is stopped again until one is.

A condition of submittal would be you agree if you let your mod become abandoned SMF can designate a new modder from who may be interested.


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Re: What can we do to help grow our 3PDs?
« Reply #69 on: December 12, 2008, 07:51:23 PM »
I think that having the team take ownership of any mods or themes defeats the purpose of trying to grow third party development.

If the team takes it over, it stops being third party.  This is the opposite of growing third party development.

Offline Fustrate

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Re: What can we do to help grow our 3PDs?
« Reply #70 on: December 12, 2008, 08:20:26 PM »
That's why it wouldn't really be "taking over", just babysitting it until the original author returns.

Let's say that I'm the one who leaves, and Orstio is a person who can update orphaned mods. If a security issue is found with the Referrals mod, he can make the applicable changes in the code and re-submit it as a bugfix. When I come back four months later, the mod is still in my name and I can continue where I left off, including the new updates from Orstio. Nowhere would Orstio's name be mentioned, except perhaps to myself on the mod page ("This modification was updated on March 17th, 2009 by Orstio. Reason: A hole was found in Referrals.php that allowed spammers to harvest email addresses.")
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Offline metallica48423

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Re: What can we do to help grow our 3PDs?
« Reply #71 on: December 12, 2008, 09:29:27 PM »
I personally feel that the team itself really needs to focus its primary efforts on the main core distribution of SMF and on the community here, specifically.  I can see where it makes sense to do but we really do not have the manpower to also take on and learn mods, their inner workings, and the like.  Even on enough of a basis of updating them.  It isn't an unsound idea but I do not feel that it is workable to have the team take on that additional huge burden.  Not to mention, that it might not even be LEGAL in some cases to grant someone else the right to do so without permission of the author

Moving onto the other discussion, the problem with explicitly requiring an open license is that it ALSO restricts what sort of mods can be found on the modsite.  Some people, while they do release their code for free to the community for use, may desire to have their own terms -- which is understandable.  It is, after all, their hard work.  The main importance is that SMF retains the right to distribute the mod -- we are essentially giving them resources to host their works. 

I can see an option on the modsite which allows for the author to "release" their mods to the community or release their mods for others to take over without need for a lengthy intervention between them and the customization team.  I think that would help with orphaned mods the most.

Its a tricky situation... but I don't think theres anywhere we can intervene either legally or without doing more harm than good to third party relations by policy changes in being more uptight about what we accept.  We can't legally take someone's work away from them.  Especially in the US where copyright is assumed automatically.  Forcing them to give up that right is also illegal in some cases, so i can see where that'd be a bad idea. 

I'm not saying the ideas are by any means bad... but I don't think they're workable in this case.  We cannot just give people the right to edit a work, nor can we force people to give that right.
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Offline Fustrate

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Re: What can we do to help grow our 3PDs?
« Reply #72 on: December 12, 2008, 09:56:01 PM »
Checkboxes aren't mandatory! Heck, you can even leave it unchecked by default if you'd like. Either way, there would/should probably be enough text nearby to give them a complete understanding of what they're doing by checking the box.

And I don't think it would ever take away from development of the core of SMF - people (like myself) who would probably never join the team but are capable of mod development could easily update orphaned mods every once in a while.

I think trying something like this is a lot more feasible than having mod authors write/submit a near-duplicate of another mod just because the original author up and left ;)
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Offline metallica48423

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Re: What can we do to help grow our 3PDs?
« Reply #73 on: December 12, 2008, 10:11:17 PM »
Like i said, a clean way for mod abandonment would be desirable, but I don't the team can be expected to pick it up with all the other responsibilities they carry, and the core distribution.  But i don't think its something we can *force* on authors, option or otherwise.  It would be of questionable legality and would be more likely to push mod authors away, I feel.
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Offline Night09

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Re: What can we do to help grow our 3PDs?
« Reply #74 on: December 12, 2008, 10:29:46 PM »
A voluntary option to allow another to take over should you not be able or willing maybe to continue would not break any law as such.

Even if it was to a seperate link or e mail telling the mod owner that they are giving their approval for a third party to update a modification should they be willing to do this.The SMF team doesnt have to get bogged down in the middle since the permission can only be granted by the mod writer so not involving the SMF team.If they dont want to allow it they simply dont use the option.

It would also allow mod writers to work more directly with each other and allow those who want to take over some of the work a chance to do so.This to me would be more flexable when it comes to old mods left on the mod site.

Offline Fustrate

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Re: What can we do to help grow our 3PDs?
« Reply #75 on: December 12, 2008, 10:44:37 PM »
Well I like the current system, how multiple people are allowed to edit the same mod. That would kind of prevent it in the future, as long as we each have friends who we trust here.

Oh, and when was the last time mods were moved to the "Archived" section? Should any outdated ones, like from 1.1.4 back, that haven't been updated be put there? That might help a bit, to let us know which mods might need to be remade...
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Offline IchBin™

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Re: What can we do to help grow our 3PDs?
« Reply #76 on: December 13, 2008, 12:51:48 AM »
In my personal opinion, SMF shouldn't even be handling 3rd party mods. Mods and Themes should be a separate part from SMF and not even handled by the Team. The team has enough work to do by supporting the forum itself. This is in my mind, a very big reason we don't have any big third party mod sites. Why start your own when SMF is already doing it all?  I don't think adding a permission for someone to be able to edit someone elses mod is a viable solution. Its not a contract of any kind just checking a checkbox. That leaves too many options or loopholes for someone to say that they didn't mean to check that checkbox or something. There could be a million excuses for people to cause trouble over these types of issues, and SMF should keep ALL HANDS OFF when it comes to any issues with other peoples licenses.

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Offline Fustrate

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Re: What can we do to help grow our 3PDs?
« Reply #77 on: December 13, 2008, 04:39:53 AM »
* YodaOfDarkness surrenders!

And I'm guessing it's not viable or acceptable or legalresponsibility-able to move all of the mods to a new 3rd party site now... it would've had to be done at the very beginning.
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Offline HecKel

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Re: What can we do to help grow our 3PDs?
« Reply #78 on: December 13, 2008, 07:34:27 AM »
SMF 7 is where it gets good. That has time travel. You can go back and post before the guy who flamed you. :P

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Re: What can we do to help grow our 3PDs?
« Reply #79 on: December 13, 2008, 09:39:51 AM »
* YodaOfDarkness surrenders!

And I'm guessing it's not viable or acceptable or legalresponsibility-able to move all of the mods to a new 3rd party site now... it would've had to be done at the very beginning.

So, in the actual spirit of the topic, what would it take for somebody to start a third party mod site where mod and theme developers could voluntarily* post their mods and possibly have an active third party environment?

Think of it this way -- What's stopping you, for example, from creating such a site? 

* It's very important that any third party development listings be voluntary.  In the past, people have tried to download all the mods and make their own mod sites, but without anyone's permission to distribute the mods.