Forum Purpose and Intent

Open: A proposal for community standards of forum behavior

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Nalates
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Forum Purpose and Intent

Post by Nalates » Sun May 23, 2010 6:01 pm

As I review the SD&D sections and organize the information I find we have skipped over one of the basic concepts, purpose and intent. I think forum members familiar with a purpose tend to over look such basic information. Whatever...

As I am winding my way through the forum looking for support for my understanding of the purpose OpenUru.org I'm having trouble finding it. It seems a bit scattered. For instance...

And this brings up another point too... I make the assumption that new people will arrive at http://openuru.org. This brings up the simple home page. We have the fancier home page... which I thought had been adopted. I think the newer home page works and looks much better. A few minor cleanups are needed, but it works as is. Is there some reason we haven't made it the primary page for new arrivals?

Back to the original train of thought.The home page sets out the purpose for OpenUru.org. On coming into the forum it is only after the forum home page is left one sees any link to forum rules. The rules are not included in registration agreement page. The intent for inclusiveness is also only found deeper within the forum in a few difficult to find places.

On registering one sees a standardized set of forum rules.
By accessing “Open Source URU” (hereinafter “we”, “us”, “our”, “Open Source URU”, “http://forums.openuru.org”), you agree to be legally bound by the following terms. If you do not agree to be legally bound by all of the following terms then please do not access and/or use “Open Source URU”. We may change these at any time and we’ll do our utmost in informing you, though it would be prudent to review this regularly yourself as your continued usage of “Open Source URU” after changes mean you agree to be legally bound by these terms as they are updated and/or amended.

Our forums are powered by phpBB (hereinafter “they”, “them”, “their”, “phpBB software”, “www.phpbb.com”, “phpBB Group”, “phpBB Teams”) which is a bulletin board solution released under the “General Public License” (hereinafter “GPL”) and can be downloaded from http://www.phpbb.com. The phpBB software only facilitates internet based discussions, the phpBB Group is not responsible for what we allow and/or disallow as permissible content and/or conduct. For further information about phpBB, please see: http://www.phpbb.com/.

You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening, sexually-orientated or any other material that may violate any laws be it of your country, the country where “Open Source URU” is hosted or International Law. Doing so may lead to you being immediately and permanently banned, with notification of your Internet Service Provider if deemed required by us. The IP address of all posts are recorded to aid in enforcing these conditions. You agree that “Open Source URU” has the right to remove, edit, move or close any topic at any time should we see fit. As a user you agree to any information you have entered to being stored in a database. While this information will not be disclosed to any third party without your consent, neither “Open Source URU” nor phpBB shall be held responsible for any hacking attempt that may lead to the data being compromised.
I suggest the registration agreement be modified to include a bit more of what I consider the flavor of JWP's intent.
By accessing “Open Source URU” (hereinafter “we”, “us”, “our”, “Open Source URU”, “http://forums.openuru.org”), you agree to be legally bound by the following terms and ideas. If you do not agree to abide by and be legally bound by all of the following terms then please do not access and/or use “Open Source URU”. We may change these requirements and rules at any time and we’ll do our utmost to inform you, though it would be prudent to review this regularly yourself as your continued usage of “Open Source URU” after anychanges means you agree to be legally bound by the new terms as they are updated and/or amended.

Our purpose is to provide a place and resources for projects in a cooperative environment for the exploration, development and exchange of ideas in Cyan Worlds' Myst universe and Open Source URU for a diverse community.

Our intent is to be as inclusive as possible within our stated field of interest.


Our forums are powered by phpBB (hereinafter “they”, “them”, “their”, “phpBB software”, “www.phpbb.com”, “phpBB Group”, “phpBB Teams”) which is a bulletin board solution released under the “General Public License” (hereinafter “GPL”) and can be downloaded from http://www.phpbb.com. The phpBB software only facilitates internet based discussions, the phpBB Group is not responsible for what we allow and/or disallow as permissible content and/or conduct. For further information about phpBB, please see: http://www.phpbb.com/.

You agree to our rules as linked to at the top of any active forum page. (Reference:Forum rules)
1. Do no damage.
2. Interpret rule 1 with the broadest scope of inclusion for people, places, things, encouragement, and personal well-being.


And for the more specific real world issues, you further
agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening, sexually-orientated or any other material that may violate any laws be it of your country, the country where “Open Source URU” is hosted or International Law. Doing so may lead to you being immediately and permanently banned, with notification of your Internet Service Provider if deemed required by us.

The IP addresses of all posts are recorded to aid in enforcing these conditions.

You agree that “Open Source URU” has the right to remove, edit, move or close any topic at any time should we see fit.

As a user you agree to any information you have entered to being stored in a database. While this information will not be disclosed to any third party without your consent, neither “Open Source URU” nor phpBB shall be held responsible for any hacking attempt that may lead to the data being compromised.
I italicized the parts I suggest be added or changed. I also broke the current last paragraph into several for easier reading. It also places the main points were people scanning the information are likely to pick up on them. This also get all the important stuff in one place.

I also suggest a quote of the registration agreement be placed on the 'Rules' page, as once one is registered it is difficult to get back to them.

I also suggest a more direct statement on copyright and file copy/distribution issues be added.

Your thoughts?
Nalates
GoW, GoMa and GoA apprentice - Guildmaster GoC - SL = Nalates Urriah

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Mac_Fife
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Re: Forum Purpose and Intent

Post by Mac_Fife » Sun May 23, 2010 7:22 pm

Just a very quick response on a couple of points...

I think we always refer to this site as simply "OpenUru.org" (rather than "Open Source Uru", even though that appears on the forum banner).

I've often thought about the agreement page text, not just here but on other sites, as it is very rarely changed from the standard text. The privacy policy and T&C text is contained in one of the language files e.g. \language\en\ucp.php or \language\en-us\ucp.php, so since these may get replaced each time you apply a software update (depending on how it gets done), it can mean work to re-apply the modified text to each langauge pack. I know JW is keen to keep the software installation "vanilla" to minimise the admin work, but if the rules visibility is seen to be a big enough issue, it may be a bullet that needs to be bitten.

Forum Rules in phpBB3 are not technically "global". Each forum (or "Project" in OpenUru.org terms) can have a pointer set to a post that contains the rules for that specific forum, and that is the link that appears above the forum listing. So I guess there's a kind of Object Oriented inheritance/specialization thing here: All Projects inherit JW's base rules, but could then supplement them with rules specific to the work in that project. I don't believe anyone has actually considered that possibility so far, but I admit that it's not an obvious feature of phpBB3: You need to know that it's something you could ask the admin for.
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Nalates
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Re: Forum Purpose and Intent

Post by Nalates » Sun May 23, 2010 10:19 pm

I think that came up when we were starting SD&D. I know I did not get that it was so much an aspect of phpBB as it was policy.

Since the OU reg agreement already has OU specific text, I would think that is something already being done.

Keeping the forum easy to update is understandable. I know with the OpenSim software updates I have resorted to a batch file that moves out the old version so that I can do a quick reversion if I find problems. I then save new INI control files and copy in my custom files, i.e., INI's and other config files. Then I use a file comparison to find changes and integrate the two. I am surprised they have not yet moved all the special and likely to change files to a configuration section.

I have not had to upgrade a phpBB install nor do I know how frequently an upgrade is needed. I upgraded OS 3 times this in the last 6 weeks. Thus the batch file. But, whatever works best for JWP is acceptable.

If the reg agreement is problematic, then may be copying it and integrating it into rules as I suggest is an easier solution.
Nalates
GoW, GoMa and GoA apprentice - Guildmaster GoC - SL = Nalates Urriah

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Mac_Fife
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Re: Forum Purpose and Intent

Post by Mac_Fife » Mon May 24, 2010 12:23 pm

Nalates wrote:Since the OU reg agreement already has OU specific text, I would think that is something already being done.
Hmm... I think the only "OU specific text" is the substitution of a text string with the site name that is configured in the Admin Control Panel Board Settings, so that specific element is held in the database, not in the language files. I guess the whole registration agreement could be made to be part of the database, but on multi-lingual boards that would need an entry for each installed language. It's "doable" but it would need to come from phpBB, as a mod like that to these forums could seriously screw up future updates.
The only thing that sits in a "config file" are the details for connecting to the database.

As I said, it depends on how the updates are applied: The upgrade script generally tries to merge user customisations back into the update and gives you an "accept/reject" option for each suggestion, so that should work pretty painlessly. The problem I had with one of my forums was that the suggested merges were all over the place and didn't look like they'd work, so I opted to just do a fresh install and re-apply my customisations instead. Assuming JW does the former rather than the latter for updates, then what you originally suggested ought to work out OK.
I think the newer home page works and looks much better. A few minor cleanups are needed, but it works as is. Is there some reason we haven't made it the primary page for new arrivals?
Probably just lost sight of that recently. I did a bit of work on developing that Wiki Page-Web Page link into a mini-CMS kind of thing, but I think JW was (quite reasonably) a bit nervous over security. Shortly after we last discussed this (back at the end of January), some "other things" started to happen that took our attention elsewhere :)
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