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 Post subject: Calling All Experienced/Knowledgable Users
PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2021 7:53 pm 
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What it says on the tin - of course, referring to Winstep apps, i.e., Winstep Xtreme, NeXus Ultimate, and freebie NeXus.

As already indicated here https://forums.winstep.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=11932, I am preparing a few provisional, simplified Board/Forum Rules as well as some general Guidelines and Hints & Tips.

If any of you think you know something that ought to be included in the latter, which is mainly concerned with the niceties and technicalities of posting as well as with submitting problems and queries etc., this is the place to make your voice count for the next week. All contributions welcome. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Board Etiquette/Moderation Questions
PostPosted: Sat Oct 09, 2021 9:22 pm 
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nexter wrote:
Definitely looking for suggestions and discussion. Meanwhile, draft is coming along so perhaps consult with DesertDwarf around next weekend.


From another reputable forum's terms and conditions:

TERMS OF USE

By accessing “Winstep Forums” (hereinafter “we”, “us”, “our”, “Winstep Forums”, “https://forums.winstep.net/phpBB2/index.php”), 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 “Winstep Forums”. 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 “Winstep Forums” 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 Limited”, “phpBB Teams”) which is a bulletin board solution released under the “GNU General Public License v2” (hereinafter “GPL”) and can be downloaded from http://www.phpbb.com. The phpBB software only facilitates internet based discussions; phpBB Limited is not responsible for what we allow and/or disallow as permissible content and/or conduct. For further information about phpBB, please see: https://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 “Winstep Forums” 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 “Winstep Forums” have 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 “Winstep Forums” nor phpBB shall be held responsible for any hacking attempt that may lead to the data being compromised.

Winstep Forums: By creating an account on the Winstep forums, you agree to the following:

You won't advertise commercial sites or products: Any account created that has any links to commercial sites or products in any part of the account information will be immediately and permanently banned and deleted. Any post made in the forums that contains links to commercial sites or products will be removed, and the user account will be banned and deleted. No warnings are given, and no appeal is possible. Spammers of any kind are just not welcome.

The Winstep forums are polite: The Winstep forums are a "community" of people who are either asking for help with the application and the skins made with it, or providing that help. Unlike some technically oriented forums, all posts and replies on the Winstep forums must be polite, with at least the intent to be helpful. Any post or reply that is dismissive, overly argumentative, or in any way hostile in nature will be removed. Personal attacks of any kind will not be tolerated. Persisting in this behavior can get the user account banned for a period of time, up to and including a permanent ban.

The Winstep forums are safe-for-work: The language in posts or any attached or linked files or images will not contain any profanity, nudity, or other material that would not be appropriate in a family or work environment, nor any content that is racist, sexist, abusive, threatening or otherwise "hateful" in nature. Posts with any content of this kind will be removed. Persisting in this behavior can get the user account banned for a period of time, up to and including a permanent ban.

The Winstep forums are about Winstep: Posts that contain material about politics, religion, world affairs or other topics likely to cause controversy irrelevant to the purpose of the forums will be removed. Persisting in this behavior can get the user account banned for a period of time, up to and including a permanent ban.

PRIVACY POLICY

A valid, working email address is required to create an account on the Winstep forums. This email address is stored with your account information, however it is used for one single purpose. A confirmation email will be sent to the address when you create an account, as a security measure. Replying to this email is required to "activate" your account. The Winstep forums will never send you emails after this, unless you specifically tell it to do so in your settings for "notifications" of private messages or "bookmarked" forum topics. Your email address is never publicly displayed or shared with any external entity.

Your computer's IP address is stored when you create an account and any time you are using the Winstep forums. Your IP address is never publicly displayed or shared with any external entity.

The phpBB software used to run the Winstep forums will create several browser cookies on your computer when you are logged into the system. These are to create a "session" to keep you logged into the system, and to keep track of your "read" and "unread" topics in the forum areas. There are no cookies that are in any way related to advertising or that are created by or shared with any external entity.

The password you create for your account is encrypted when stored. While nobody, including the administrators of the Winstep forum, has access to this password, care should always be taken to use different passwords on different systems. The Winstep forums can't be responsible for any hacking that might take place on this system or others you may use, and strong, unique passwords are your best protection.

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Chuck


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 Post subject: Re: Board Etiquette/Moderation Questions
PostPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2021 4:41 am 
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Chuck wrote:
nexter wrote:
Definitely looking for suggestions and discussion. Meanwhile, draft is coming along so perhaps consult with DesertDwarf around next weekend.


From another reputable forum's terms and conditions:

TERMS OF USE

By accessing “Winstep Forums” (hereinafter “we”, “us”, “our”, “Winstep Forums”, “https://forums.winstep.net/phpBB2/index.php”), 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 “Winstep Forums”. 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 “Winstep Forums” 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 Limited”, “phpBB Teams”) which is a bulletin board solution released under the “GNU General Public License v2” (hereinafter “GPL”) and can be downloaded from http://www.phpbb.com. The phpBB software only facilitates internet based discussions; phpBB Limited is not responsible for what we allow and/or disallow as permissible content and/or conduct. For further information about phpBB, please see: https://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 “Winstep Forums” 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 “Winstep Forums” have 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 “Winstep Forums” nor phpBB shall be held responsible for any hacking attempt that may lead to the data being compromised.

Winstep Forums: By creating an account on the Winstep forums, you agree to the following:

You won't advertise commercial sites or products: Any account created that has any links to commercial sites or products in any part of the account information will be immediately and permanently banned and deleted. Any post made in the forums that contains links to commercial sites or products will be removed, and the user account will be banned and deleted. No warnings are given, and no appeal is possible. Spammers of any kind are just not welcome.

The Winstep forums are polite: The Winstep forums are a "community" of people who are either asking for help with the application and the skins made with it, or providing that help. Unlike some technically oriented forums, all posts and replies on the Winstep forums must be polite, with at least the intent to be helpful. Any post or reply that is dismissive, overly argumentative, or in any way hostile in nature will be removed. Personal attacks of any kind will not be tolerated. Persisting in this behavior can get the user account banned for a period of time, up to and including a permanent ban.

The Winstep forums are safe-for-work: The language in posts or any attached or linked files or images will not contain any profanity, nudity, or other material that would not be appropriate in a family or work environment, nor any content that is racist, sexist, abusive, threatening or otherwise "hateful" in nature. Posts with any content of this kind will be removed. Persisting in this behavior can get the user account banned for a period of time, up to and including a permanent ban.

The Winstep forums are about Winstep: Posts that contain material about politics, religion, world affairs or other topics likely to cause controversy irrelevant to the purpose of the forums will be removed. Persisting in this behavior can get the user account banned for a period of time, up to and including a permanent ban.

PRIVACY POLICY

A valid, working email address is required to create an account on the Winstep forums. This email address is stored with your account information, however it is used for one single purpose. A confirmation email will be sent to the address when you create an account, as a security measure. Replying to this email is required to "activate" your account. The Winstep forums will never send you emails after this, unless you specifically tell it to do so in your settings for "notifications" of private messages or "bookmarked" forum topics. Your email address is never publicly displayed or shared with any external entity.

Your computer's IP address is stored when you create an account and any time you are using the Winstep forums. Your IP address is never publicly displayed or shared with any external entity.

The phpBB software used to run the Winstep forums will create several browser cookies on your computer when you are logged into the system. These are to create a "session" to keep you logged into the system, and to keep track of your "read" and "unread" topics in the forum areas. There are no cookies that are in any way related to advertising or that are created by or shared with any external entity.

The password you create for your account is encrypted when stored. While nobody, including the administrators of the Winstep forum, has access to this password, care should always be taken to use different passwords on different systems. The Winstep forums can't be responsible for any hacking that might take place on this system or others you may use, and strong, unique passwords are your best protection.

Thanks for that, Chuck. :)
The first part is actually part of the standard phpBB supplied T&Cs (displayed when signing p for an account) so would be duplicating. Besides, it's full of "Politically Correct" 'Newspeak' which in itself is an infringement and indeed oppression of free speech and expression. There's some of that, too, in the second part.

Also, I'm sure we don't mind the odd bit of 'profanity' or good old Anglo-Saxon expressions as long as it isn't directed at another user or staff and kept in moderation. :) We're all grown up here, after all. (I hope!) :) I'd draw the line though at someone calling somebody else a 'cupid stunt' [Spoonerism used!]. ;) However, even the old 'c-word' has its legitimacy - after all, even the immortal Chaucer used it (albeit of course, in its Middle English form and in its proper meaning only, not as a term of abuse) a number of times in his wonderful poetry, and if it was good enough for him it certainly ought to be good enough for anybody. ;)

Anyway, there certainly are some points there too keep in mind. But what I'm mainly looking for here are things that should be included in 'Guidelines and Hints & Tips', i.e., things concerned with basics of posting in the forums and general conduct.

Luckily, I can also draw on several 'Forum Rules' that I wrote for boards that I admin'ed in the past or have been an admin on.

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 Post subject: Re: Calling All Experienced/Knowledgable Users
PostPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2021 8:17 am 
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Feel a bit fraudulent given the topic title, as I'm only a novice on this product set at the moment - however, here goes:

We've already mentioned that any query related posts should include details on the WinStep application that they are asking about - NextStart, Nexus Ultimate, Nexus Free, or Start Menu organiser - and the associated version number.

It may be useful to know if a user has WinStep Xtreme but this doesn't necessarily clarify which application they are asking about, unless the remaining context makes this clear.

On the subject of context it would be beneficial (sic..) if the user was clear as to whether their query relates to the Taskbar, a Dock, or a Workshelf.

Other information that may prove useful (depending upon nature of query) could include:
  1. Windows version / type
  2. Any other 3rd party utilities being used that may affect the operation being queried

It would be helpful to other board users if the topic title could provide a clear short synopsis of the topic context. I appreciate that this may be difficult in some cases.

As a discussion item I'm trying to decide if it would be useful to have some form of visual indicator as to which product is being discussed - something like topic tags, or separate sub-forums for the different products. I sort of lean towards the tags as topics may(?) bridge products.

Where a topic relates to a product query then I think that it should be restricted to one issue(?) per entry, as this will make it easier for other forum users with similar issues to find a potential solution.

Starter for 10.

Thoughts / comments?


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 Post subject: Re: Calling All Experienced/Knowledgable Users
PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2021 1:51 am 
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techlobo wrote:
Feel a bit fraudulent given the topic title, as I'm only a novice on this product set at the moment - however, here goes:

We've already mentioned that any query related posts should include details on the WinStep application that they are asking about - NextStart, Nexus Ultimate, Nexus Free, or Start Menu organiser - and the associated version number.

It may be useful to know if a user has WinStep Xtreme but this doesn't necessarily clarify which application they are asking about, unless the remaining context makes this clear.

On the subject of context it would be beneficial (sic..) if the user was clear as to whether their query relates to the Taskbar, a Dock, or a Workshelf.

Other information that may prove useful (depending upon nature of query) could include:
  1. Windows version / type
  2. Any other 3rd party utilities being used that may affect the operation being queried

It would be helpful to other board users if the topic title could provide a clear short synopsis of the topic context. I appreciate that this may be difficult in some cases.

As a discussion item I'm trying to decide if it would be useful to have some form of visual indicator as to which product is being discussed - something like topic tags, or separate sub-forums for the different products. I sort of lean towards the tags as topics may(?) bridge products.

Where a topic relates to a product query then I think that it should be restricted to one issue(?) per entry, as this will make it easier for other forum users with similar issues to find a potential solution.

Starter for 10.

Thoughts / comments?

Thanks for that, techlobo. You hardly need feel fraudulent, given that you are quite an active member of this community already and indeed have actually helped other members with their queries/problems. Award yourself a star. ;)

Now,I agree that if a user specifies Xtreme it would also be necessary to specify which component app their query is concerned with and by that I mean they ought to be very specific, i.e. Nextstart taskbar, Nextstart menus, Workshelf, NeXus dock, etc. The reason making this necessary is that too many users keep using wrong terminology when describing their problem, e.g., calling everything a 'bar' and so on, which could mean just about any Winstep component except the modules! (The same would also apply to Nexus Ultimate as it's not always clear whether people mean the dock or shelf! but this can all be combined, of course.)

Windows version etc. is already covered.:) Third party utils are not so far, and I think I may well include that, too.

Clear, to the point topic titles I've also got covered. :)

I don't think separate sub-forums for different products would be helpful in this particular case as quite often a problem or issue may have a bearing on more than one. And although I've done the odd bit of coding in php a long time ago now, I wouldn't like to even try to hack into phpBB code to create tags. :)

Something like, "Please use separate topics if you have more than one query" might be useful indeed.

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 Post subject: Re: Calling All Experienced/Knowledgable Users
PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2021 7:37 am 
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Yeah, been a long time since I've done any PHP coding as well (or any proper coding really), but wondered if an extension like RH Topic Tags would work?

Not major, just curious.


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 Post subject: Re: Calling All Experienced/Knowledgable Users
PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2021 8:34 pm 
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techlobo wrote:
Yeah, been a long time since I've done any PHP coding as well (or any proper coding really), but wondered if an extension like RH Topic Tags would work?

Not major, just curious.

Hmm, yeah, might be worth looking into. We'll have to put this to Jorge when he returns to active service. :)

Meanwhile, due to the positively underwhelming response here so far I'm extending the consultation period until at least end of next week (and also I'm a bit short of time anyway).

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 Post subject: Re: Calling All Experienced/Knowledgable Users
PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2021 3:58 am 
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And a complete aside here concerned with the running - smooth or otherwise - of this board. I'm sure at least some folks here must have been cognisant of much the same things as those I'm about to discuss.

In the first place, I've never come across another board where most of the time the visitors consist entirely of guests (and bots). And yet, there is a steady stream of new users registering, many of whom never even put in another appearance! What is the point of this? When I sign up to a board, I want to see what posts I haven't seen yet since my last appearance so I don't have to waste my time looking for new posts, so I always log in.

Anyway, since becoming an active moderator here, I have been doing a lot of random checks going through the years of users with zero posts or one or two, and most - almost all! - have never been seen again. I also continually have been checking the statistics for new users that have registered since I became a moderator, and it's much the same picture. Most stay around for a handful of minutes or even less and are never seen again. And many of all these users, both old and new, seem to just register to deposit spam in their profiles and/or signatures. I'd also go so far as to say that I suspect anybody who signs on and doesn't stick around for more than a few short minutes of being a spammer or at least a potential one. Unfortunately, we moderators cannot do anything about spam in profiles and signatures - editing them requires admin privileges, and we cannot delete users accounts where they have actually posted spam for the same reason.

As for general inactive accounts, most boards that I have ever used or am using now have policies of deleting inactive users (often even if they do occasionally log in but never post themselves) after a set time, most often after a year or two.

Does anyone here share my view that this board ought to have a similar policy? After all, inactive users (at least those who never even log in) just clog up the board database. Only drawback would be, more admin work for Jorge of course.

All in all I find it quite sad that the number of names that I see more or less regularly or even just occasionally logging in is, frankly, pitifully small these days - you could probably count them on the fingers of four or so hands. Having been with this project since its inception I have to say that - even allowing for the fact that a new project always tends to generate excitement that eventually, gradually, settles down a bit - the Winstep user community used to be very much more active in the past, with users always quick to try and help others and generally lively discussions. This was helped by the fact that for a long time we had IRC also, but even after that was dropped things remained very active for a quite a long time. Other boards that I use (mainly Linux and -related ones, as well as a few arts, literary-related, and similar), some with small, and some with very large user bases, usually have very active members and generally fewer guests (where these are allowed - some boards are members only and some even by invitation only!) than registered users.

However, what gives me hope for the future of this board is that we do still have some users who pretty much regularly make valuable contributions to the forums and that sometimes we even get the odd new user sticking around and making active and valuable contributions.


:Edit: And here's something I forgot. I wish Jorge would enable the default 'New Users' user group and a minimum (default setting, IIRC) of the first five posts by a newly registered user having to be approved by a moderator or admin before it is shown in the forum. That way, spam would never show up anywhere, and things are also made much easier for moderators. This is common on all the boards I've ever known. :/Edit:

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 Post subject: Re: Calling All Experienced/Knowledgable Users
PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2021 6:22 pm 
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nexter wrote:

:Edit: And here's something I forgot. I wish Jorge would enable the default 'New Users' user group and a minimum (default setting, IIRC) of the first five posts by a newly registered user having to be approved by a moderator or admin before it is shown in the forum. That way, spam would never show up anywhere, and things are also made much easier for moderators. This is common on all the boards I've ever known. :/Edit:


I was going to mention this before you included the Edit. A number of the boards that I have dealt with follow this practice for new users - although not all (possibly these are ones that have experienced a lot of 'temporary' users). I certainly think that it is worth trialling provided it doesn't create more work for the moderators.

I think that there is a case for removal of inactive users provided that this does not significantly damage topic thread integrity. This is likely not to be an issue for the group of 'temporary' registrants who sign up to the board for whatever reason and are not active. For those who have a number of posts but who have fallen silent you can either: suspend the account, or delete it but retain the posts. There will be a bit more work involved but I believe there are extensions that can assist.

In terms of the level of user activity - this is largely dependent upon the needs being addressed, the maturity of the topic area, and the changes being introduced into it. For instance I have been a user of Windows based environments for decades, but it is only recently that I determined a need for the use of functionality provided by products such as Winstep. The emergence of Windows 11 may introduce an increased interest from users who are not happy with the new toolbar paradigm - and certainly this was one of the things that attracted me to the application suite.


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 Post subject: Re: Calling All Experienced/Knowledgable Users
PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2021 1:40 am 
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techlobo wrote:
nexter wrote:

:Edit: And here's something I forgot. I wish Jorge would enable the default 'New Users' user group and a minimum (default setting, IIRC) of the first five posts by a newly registered user having to be approved by a moderator or admin before it is shown in the forum. That way, spam would never show up anywhere, and things are also made much easier for moderators. This is common on all the boards I've ever known. :/Edit:


I was going to mention this before you included the Edit. A number of the boards that I have dealt with follow this practice for new users - although not all (possibly these are ones that have experienced a lot of 'temporary' users). I certainly think that it is worth trialling provided it doesn't create more work for the moderators.

I think that there is a case for removal of inactive users provided that this does not significantly damage topic thread integrity. This is likely not to be an issue for the group of 'temporary' registrants who sign up to the board for whatever reason and are not active. For those who have a number of posts but who have fallen silent you can either: suspend the account, or delete it but retain the posts. There will be a bit more work involved but I believe there are extensions that can assist.

In terms of the level of user activity - this is largely dependent upon the needs being addressed, the maturity of the topic area, and the changes being introduced into it. For instance I have been a user of Windows based environments for decades, but it is only recently that I determined a need for the use of functionality provided by products such as Winstep. The emergence of Windows 11 may introduce an increased interest from users who are not happy with the new toolbar paradigm - and certainly this was one of the things that attracted me to the application suite.

Well, for a start it would be easiest to just delete the accounts of users who have never posted at all and signed on say 15 years ago or so, and one could then gradually move forward. When it comes to those who have posted perhaps a few times or even a fair amount in their active period, again, account deletion would be quite sufficient, leaving posts intact. Obviously, in both cases one could try and notify affected users by PM and give them say a month to respond. In any event, as I pointed out, the deletion of accounts cannot be undertaken by moderators, alas, this requires admin privilege.

Eventually, I think one could settle on 1 year of inactivity as being a reasonable period for account deletion except in the case of fairly active posters thus far who might just be taking a prolonged break or be otherwise prevented by circumstances from signing in.

Posts would only need to be deleted if a user requested it.

Incidentally, I too have been a Windows user for decades - experimentally since NT 3.51, more regularly since NT4, after a long line of more noble platforms. Although at least NT 4 was very usable, I still hated it and missed the convenience of better GUIs such as NeXT and other Unix variants,etc. So it was fortuitous that I met up with two guys desiring to create a program for Windblows that gave some of the look and feel as well as functionality of NeXT/Openstep, and thus Nextstart was conceived sometime around 1998. :)

Winstep Xtreme is something that makes Win much more usable for me and more productive, when I still have to use it. (I use Linux as my main OS for quite some time now.) And of course, having been with the project since the very beginning, I'll keep at least some small Win partition with Winstep Xtreme for testing any new features or whatever even once the time comes that I won't need Windblows at all any more. :)

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