Just spitballing here, but based on the promise of SMF's package manager "portal" (for lack of a better term), what if the wedge add-ons section had the ability to put in repository-like links?
SMF already has it, incidentally, just it's incredibly under-used and of all those who set up package servers, I think vbgamer's site and SimpleDesk were the only ones to do it that served more than one mod at a time through it.
Yeah, the idea is for us to do something more groundbreaking with it, but there is still the problem of actually getting sites added to them in the first place. All the mods that actively work with such repositories have to add them themselves on installation.
and as long as the wedge forum software had hooks to some gateway-type client piece that mods could put on their hosting sites, the management of subscriptions and such could still be done externally between mod writers and forum admins with the portal piece possibly supporting user/pass logins for retrieval of purchased subscriptions.
I actually discussed this sort of thing as being part of the service that SMF Marketplace would offer, by being able to accept client logins for the list of mods served.
(edit: or if you want to get away from user/pass management, maybe each wedge install gets a uniquely generated identifier that the repository client can grant/deny download access)
Far better to do it with user/pass setup, to be honest.
Arantor, perhaps I didn't get the idea of the placeholders across in the right way. I didn't mean that there would be the download for the mod and a link to an outside site.
*nods* I got the idea of placeholders in a way that seems consistent with what you're suggesting, I just didn't get it to start with ;)
However I think that the convenience of a central directory (of sorts) of mods outweighs that. It's better them to find it and be redirected than them never knowing it was available in the first place, IMO.
Oh, definitely, which is why I've been sort of banging the drum about being able to support paid mods much earlier on in the cycle. From my perspective, I think the number of people able and willing to provide premium resources for an ecosystem is an indication of that ecosystem.
Want premium WP themes and mods? There's no shortage of them at all, even though by their own admission they prefer free (and WP is GPL so free is pretty much a requirement anyway, meaning you pay for support rather than the resource itself). And the network effect pretty much validates the whole premium gig on WP anyway.
The same can't be said for SMF; there are I think 3 sites offering premium themes and 2 offering premium and that to me says there's a problem with the ecosystem.
Which give you full authority to pick who you want, and kick off who you don't. And since the project are your pets it seems to reason that you'd only want to pick the best for the job. People who you knew would get the job done.
Therein lies the problem. There is a shortage of people who would get the job done, simply because finding people of that calibre is hard enough generally, and even if you do find people of the right calibre, odds are they're not going to have a lot of time to dump into sifting through what other people write.
To be brutally honest, I reviewed dozens and dozens of mods for SMF, and I never approved a great many of them, simply because they weren't up to standard, with a large percentage simply not even working in the first place, let alone reasonably tested.
In regards to the badges, there is the possibility of advertising the "Approved" badges in the same way that nightly builds or beta software could: It's not that they are unsafe, they just haven't been tested, so you should test them out yourself before putting them into a production environment
Interesting, and unfortunately I have to say it's a little naive, if well meant. There was a warning on the sm.org download page for *years* that 2.0 was still in development and not meant for a production environment, yet it didn't prevent great numbers of people using it in such, and then complaining about it when it was in use in such. Those people tended to get short shrift from me, though...
When you say experience do you mean from the Cust Team? Because if so then there is no reason why you have to follow in the same path. It seems to me that if you were to adopt a rule about eligibility for MotM then you would stick to it, or hell any rule really.
*nods* I think we'd stick to our rules better than most, especially because of what's happened, but I've learned over time that any rule in place for the regulation of any environment invariably leads to people testing the limits of that rule. Which means if we had a featured mod area of some kind, there would need to be criteria, and that criteria is invariably up for debate, especially if it means either any 'team' member being able to showcase their material there at will, or excluding their material which is equally unfair.
Although I came to regret a great many things that happened during my time with SMF, I'm damned if I'm going to repeat their mistakes, and that's one of the things that I see as a mistake. The phrase at this point is simply, "Who watches the watchers?"
In another related note, there is one issue with people approving mods: who approves them when it's an approver releasing a mod? Another approver?
Just adding on here, it might be better to reward those modders who provide good quality mods than worry about offending those who don't.
That's always going to be a tricky balance, as I discovered while on the Cust Team. There were a number of people that I upset during my time as a reviewer, because I insisted that they follow the guidelines and they didn't understand why they had to, when as far as they were concerned, they'd done the hard work by writing a mod in the first place, and that was enough, apparently.
I like the idea of advancing from a support topic to a board. Give those the room that need it. Very smart.
That's the way I roll. Using a single topic is fine for some mods, it isn't for bigger mods. On the flip side, we need to be very careful about not repeating the... debacle that was the Aeva board on sm.org. For those who don't remember/know, Aeva was temporarily given its own board by the sm.org team, and it wasn't what Nao really wanted or needed, especially when he wasn't made its moderator (which would have solved a great many problems, actually), plus the board was set to post approval. You can only imagine how this didn't solve the problems the team perceived there to be.
What I really like about things like this is simply that they're not huge tasks to implement, meaning that we can actually implement it pretty quickly, and if it turns out that it isn't working that well, we can think about something else. The real success isn't whether something is a success, but how quickly you can move on through failures.
It seems to me that the audience for Wedge would be more capable of handling the occasional mod support here and there. Though I guess the argument could be made that even if they could...would they?
I have the feeling that the reality will not coincide with the theory here. The theory is that Wedge will be more tech-user oriented, but the reality is that if it's good, and usable, people will use it. Even though there is the tech-orientation mindset in there, the fact is we are making it more usable generally, which is going to lower the barrier to entry whatever else happens.
Which means that as much as we might notionally have this minimum tech knowledge level to cope with, the reality is less clear cut, and we are going to end up fielding non technical users' questions and problems, which includes mod support.
You also ask probably the most important question at the end there. Even if they could, would they? The answer is probably not. sm.org is the evidence here: of the people who offer support on mods, those providing support tend to be in the category of offering support on well documented/well known problems, or general functionality issues - not on debugging and cases that actually need support. Sure, there were and are a few people that do actually do support on mods that is a bit more than just helping users who don't bother to read support materials like the mod's page or FAQ, but they're so few and far between it's unreal.
Sorry about not quoting. I'm just trying to get through this post and then head to bed.
No worries :)
Hope you slept well.
I have no problem with it being hosted here where Apple host both paid and free from one server as well as Google's Market.
*nods* This is the approach I was wondering about, really. Apple and Google have shown that it is viable enough.
But at the same time you do get abuses there, where people publish free, limited versions of apps and then proceed to sell the paid, less crippled/less irritating versions. It's not so bad for Apple where they actually sanity check stuff before it enters the marketplace though.
I guess I'm looking for some way to provide all the good stuff (choice for users, encouragement for premium resources) without all the bad (abuse).
Before anyone starts accusations of profiteering out of a platform, there is a valid point to be made: in any ecosystem, market forces do apply. If a paid mod is sufficiently desirable, there's enough demand that supply will inevitably pick up for it - if WedgeDesk gets exceptionally popular while paid, I would imagine that a free competitor would emerge for it, and that's how it's supposed to work.
The problem was that there was this overriding mentality at sm.org that if one exists, that's good enough, even if it isn't necessarily the best way to do it. But if there is encouragement to build things that work, and work really well, the problem does actually go away for the most part, because normally the only reason for alternatives to crop up is if something actually doesn't work that well to start with.
Consider: for years, Ad Management was the
ad mod to use. After a while, SimpleAds turned up and took away a decent number of users, because it didn't have the same barriers to entry as Ad Management did - then Ad Management came back and upped its game. Competition is, really, a wonderful thing for spurring on development.