[interface] Forum topic links in Add-ons Manager

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Iris
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[interface] Forum topic links in Add-ons Manager

Post by Iris »

Hi,

I committed some new functionality just in time for Wesnoth 1.11.8 (which may or may not exist depending on whether it has been observed or not) to display forum topic URLs for add-ons from the server that have such information attached to them through the new .pbl [feedback] tag at upload time, supported since around 2014-01-04 13:30 UTC (i.e. yesterday) by the live 1.11.x and trunk (testing) add-ons server instances on wesnoth.org.

(And in order to make room for the new controls on 800x480 screens, I had to redesign the whole Description dialog. Oops!)
I would have preferred to use a popular add-on for the test, but I couldn’t find anyone on IRC willing to risk getting their add-on data and download stats deleted forever by an accidentally-botched vim command sequence sent through an unstable and slow SSH link.
I would have preferred to use a popular add-on for the test, but I couldn’t find anyone on IRC willing to risk getting their add-on data and download stats deleted forever by an accidentally-botched vim command sequence sent through an unstable and slow SSH link.
In order to ensure people don’t go around posting malicious links that the player may click without a second thought, add-on uploaders are limited to providing only certain parameters for the URL, defined by the add-ons server operator(s). With our current configuration, the only such parameter supported is the topic id (topic_id), and the server sends URLs in the format http://forums.wesnoth.org/viewtopic.php?t=YYYYY to clients requesting the server list upon connection.

The technical aspects of this feature are mostly intended to ease third-party server deployments in the future (with different URLs and parameters) and are not the actual focus of this topic, even though the amount of written words I have allotted for describing them may suggest otherwise. Nonetheless, I am currently considering implementing a topic_id .pbl attribute on the root level of the document (i.e. not under a [tag]) that could serve as a syntactic shortcut for [feedback] topic_id for wesnoth.org in particular. It’s not too important to make a decision immediately considering that:
  1. The relevant segment of our audience can read documentation and stay up to date with changes made to it (otherwise they’d never find out how to upload an add-on in the first place); and
  2. The .pbl syntax is a purely server-side thing* that can be changed and deployed on the live server whenever I feel like it the need arises without anyone noticing a difference. Keeping backwards compatibility in this particular case would be both desirable and cheap.
* Unless you are using wesnoth_addon_manager — in such case, this feature won’t even work for you right now, and in fact, neither does the dependencies attribute (bug #21189 [Gna.org]).

What I really want to — and must — get right before 1.12 are the client-side presentation details.

As seen in the screenshot above, in order to suit the most generic use case for this feature, the field label used in the UI is simply “Website”. Not “Forum Topic”, not “Feedback”, not “Development”. Does anyone feel this is a problem, even with the URL in plain sight like above?

Additionally, I’d like to gather opinions on what might be the best way to warn the user that the website or page they are about to visit is not officially endorsed by the development team and — most importantly — that it may not be in their native language. Perhaps a catch-all warning with similar behavior to the one displayed when deleting a saved game for the first time?
Replace the contents with something about non-officialness, not-safe-for-work content, viruses, hackers out to get your credit card information, and foreign languages, I guess.
Replace the contents with something about non-officialness, not-safe-for-work content, viruses, hackers out to get your credit card information, and foreign languages, I guess.
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Dugi
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Re: [interface] Forum topic links in Add-ons Manager

Post by Dugi »

The idea itself is good, but I see some complications that might cause trouble.

I am not quite sure about the link. It shows the first page of the feedback topic, but in the case of many campaigns, the first posts are about early alpha versions that have little in common than the latest version discussed on the last pages of the topic. To an unsuspecting forum newbie (I can remember the time when I was one), it might look like if the add-on was still an alpha with two scenarios complete and tons of bugs, while the later posts are discussing the actual stage of the campaign, with three episodes, good balance and very little bugs. The author can edit the first post (given that he's the original author or the original author is still active), but the rest of posts will say otherwise (showstopper bug in scenario 2, lame balance and absent graphics or something like that). This might be solved if authors asked moderators to split the old posts in their topic into some archive threads, so it's not so serious. Or maybe making the forums show all posts in a topic by default, to make everyone see how is the thread long. Or allowing links on the wiki which would allow the author to post all relevant (clickable) links and information.

Another problem is that some add-ons are developed by unofficial forums (usually if made by non-english speaking players, for example Balancing Extended Era Modification, an era with many pretty decent sprites, developed on some italian forums), and so their feedback topics aren't on this website. Maybe allowing several other websites besides wesnoth.org would be suitable, or maybe allowing more websites, where one would be preferred based on the language set (english by default).
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Re: [interface] Forum topic links in Add-ons Manager

Post by fabi »

Dugi wrote:Another problem is that some add-ons are developed by unofficial forums (usually if made by non-english speaking players, for example Balancing Extended Era Modification, with many pretty decent sprites), and so their feedback topics aren't on this website. Maybe allowing several other websites besides wesnoth.org would be suitable, or maybe allowing more websites, where one would be preferred based on the language set (english by default).
This point seems like a very minor issue to me.
Nothing speaks against a proxy topic (with text in non English language, and an English translation below) providing an URL to the real discussion.
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Re: [interface] Forum topic links in Add-ons Manager

Post by Pentarctagon »

Dugi wrote:I am not quite sure about the link. It shows the first page of the feedback topic, but in the case of many campaigns, the first posts are about early alpha versions that have little in common than the latest version discussed on the last pages of the topic. To an unsuspecting forum newbie (I can remember the time when I was one), it might look like if the add-on was still an alpha with two scenarios complete and tons of bugs, while the later posts are discussing the actual stage of the campaign, with three episodes, good balance and very little bugs. The author can edit the first post (given that he's the original author or the original author is still active), but the rest of posts will say otherwise (showstopper bug in scenario 2, lame balance and absent graphics or something like that). This might be solved if authors asked moderators to split the old posts in their topic into some archive threads, so it's not so serious. Or maybe making the forums show all posts in a topic by default, to make everyone see how is the thread long. Or allowing links on the wiki which would allow the author to post all relevant (clickable) links and information.
That seems a bit outside the scope of how to present the new info on the client.

I don't really see any of that as a problem either. If the add-on creator doesn't update the opening post in their thread since the first release, then that's their problem for being too lazy to update the very first thing many people potentially interested in their add-on will see. If the person potentially interested doesn't understand that the most recent posts are the ones that would be most representative of the current state of the add-on, then having the threads be displayed on one page or many won't help much either.
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Re: [interface] Forum topic links in Add-ons Manager

Post by Dugi »

Pentarctagon wrote:If the add-on creator doesn't update the opening post in their thread since the first release, then that's their problem for being too lazy to update the very first thing many people potentially interested in their add-on will see.
Dugi wrote:...but the rest of posts will say otherwise (showstopper bug in scenario 2, lame balance and absent graphics or something like that).
Yes, he can edit the first post, but everybody can describe their own add-on as a shiny piece of heavenly grace. It is a good idea to look at the posts of others bellow, and when somebody does it, he'll see a plenty of posts telling that the add-on is incomplete and bugged. Looking through the several hundreds of posts does not look like a solution and relevant posts are near the end, and that isn't always obvious.
Last edited by Dugi on January 5th, 2014, 1:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: [interface] Forum topic links in Add-ons Manager

Post by bumbadadabum »

People might be able to see a post from a long time ago might not be accurate anymore, especially if they see the last upload is much more recent.
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Re: [interface] Forum topic links in Add-ons Manager

Post by Dugi »

Not everyone looks at the times when the posts were made (especially people who are new to the forums), see the number of accidental forum necromancers around.
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Turuk
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Re: [interface] Forum topic links in Add-ons Manager

Post by Turuk »

If the add-on creator can't manage to indicate in the very first post players read that his post has been updated as of X date and that players should move to the last page of posts for the most recent information, that's a big failure as it's not that hard to do.

If a player manages to read that post indicating such, and does not follow directions to read the most current posts first, that's a failing on their part.

I understand the concern to some extent, but I'm with Pentarctagon about laziness, we can't hold thier hands the whole way.
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Re: [interface] Forum topic links in Add-ons Manager

Post by doofus-01 »

shadowm wrote:As seen in the screenshot above, in order to suit the most generic use case for this feature, the field label used in the UI is simply “Website”. Not “Forum Topic”, not “Feedback”, not “Development”. Does anyone feel this is a problem, even with the URL in plain sight like above?
That seems OK to me.
shadowm wrote:Additionally, I’d like to gather opinions on what might be the best way to warn the user that the website or page they are about to visit is not officially endorsed by the development team and — most importantly — that it may not be in their native language. Perhaps a catch-all warning with similar behavior to the one displayed when deleting a saved game for the first time?
A one-time pop-up sounds reasonable (as long as the warning message isn't too threatening and ominous).
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Re: [interface] Forum topic links in Add-ons Manager

Post by Crow_T »

shadowm wrote:Additionally, I’d like to gather opinions on what might be the best way to warn the user that the website or page they are about to visit is not officially endorsed by the development team and — most importantly — that it may not be in their native language. Perhaps a catch-all warning with similar behavior to the one displayed when deleting a saved game for the first time?
Isn't it safe to say that none of the addon content is officially endorsed by the dev team, else it'd be in mainline, and that a number of addons aren't translated? The concerns about an outside link are no different than the entire addon server- restricting links to this forum is safe enough IMO.

This is a much needed feature that will make addon shopping much more productive and straightforward.
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Re: [interface] Forum topic links in Add-ons Manager

Post by Max »

fabi wrote:Nothing speaks against a proxy topic (with text in non English language, and an English translation below) providing an URL to the real discussion.
how about a small landing page on the wiki? with a short summary and links to the discussion and feedback-thread, maybe relevant units.wesnoth.org page, etc... someone could also provide a nice template.
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Re: [interface] Forum topic links in Add-ons Manager

Post by Pentarctagon »

A couple ideas:

1) Allow multiple [feedback] tags in the .pbl file, so that multiple topics can be linked. For example, if an era had an art topic and a feedback/balancing topic.
2) Add an optional key to allow the uploader to specify the description of the link. For example (from here), the text in the description key would replace "Website" if provided.

Also shadowm's from here:
shadowm wrote:One of the problems with (1) is that this could easily clutter up the dialog and render the essential content unreadable, unless there was a limit to the amount of links that may be provided. Right now, add-on authors are expected to be able to edit their thread's OP to add any and all information that they deem necessary to the user.

The other problem with it is that GUI2 doesn't really lend itself to dynamically-generated dialog contents.

As for (2), campaignd does not currently support add-on field translations. While the description being necessarily in English is excusable, having an untranslatable UI field label wouldn't really be good form.
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Re: [interface] Forum topic links in Add-ons Manager

Post by GunChleoc »

I think Wiki landing pages are a good idea. Addon authors could add links to any number of forum threads etc. there + a short description of the add-on.

Of course, they could also edit the first post in their chosen forum thread with any relevent information, including links to the post where the discussion about the current version starts.
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Re: [interface] Forum topic links in Add-ons Manager

Post by Blarumyrran »

good idea! :D
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