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Proposing a dedicated "Beta Testing" solution/forum added to xenForo.com

Freelancer

Well-known member
#1
Issue: With third party developers support forums (a thread for each add-on) there are many things mixing up: Bug reports, user feedback, questions – which makes it difficult to track and distinguish between "this button color is so ugly – how can I change it?" requests from "the template xyz misses certain classes at id=abc". This leads to a chaotic cross-post-communication and users as well as developers being frustrated by the other ones' lack of response. The process is too general. You wait for response, then the other one waits for response, if he has seen your post... making progress takes longer than needed or is good for the add-ons.

Proposal: Create a (closed – with limited access) "Beta Testing" forum in the "Development Help" category with a sub-forum per add-on where only a group of assorted beta testers (in a special user group) can help developers find bugs and fixes in a straight forward process. Let developers pick the Beta Testers and help add them to the add-on forum. That distinguishes dedicated testers from the random users that have more general questions and knowledge. Then let the one-thread-support in the Resources Manager be just for general questions and help. But have the Beta Testers be working directly with the developer on making progress with the add-on.

Why not using the developers' support site? Well, for example, I have about 90+ add-ons and I do not want to register on 50 support websites. A centralized approach helps developers to fix inter-add-on-incompatibilites (or features). Developers can track what's going on with other add-ons and tag other developers. Beta Testers might be the "usual suspects" over the add-ons range most of the time. Having everything scattered across numerous boards does slow down the process of information sharing too.

With a dedicated Beta Test Forum, developers will have the certainty that there are responsive testers with particular knowledge that take developing seriously and who are available without loss of friction because developers do not have to wait too long for feedback. A win/win for everybody and it pushes the XF community.
 
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xenfans

Well-known member
#2
But if you have one or more add-ons, why not have your own support site away from xenforo itself?

I for one love your addon's, but when I click on 'whats new' i certainly dont want to have misleading bug reports and feature requests etc, constantly having to double check if every thread listed is in this or that or the other forum. As a customer i come for xenforo, not for a page filled with unofficial xenforo contributions.

That sounds mean, I don't mean it that way. Just not sure how to explain it.

A solution would be to simply not include the content as if it's public, but let the people participating automatically watch those forums. I guess.

But on your own site you're at least in control of the thread tags, the replies, the way you handle data, etc. Every developer is different with different ways of working. I for one wouldn't want to miss out on great contributions through xenforo for my addons, but at the same time i would keep my own add-on site for stuff i wouldn't submit here. But wouldn't want people to submit the same thing a couple of times to try and get more attention to it.
 

Freelancer

Well-known member
#3
You missed the entire point of my proposal and ask questions I already answered in the initial post. I am not proposing a "support" forum, I am proposing a "beta test" forum, where experienced users can dedicate their time for straight forward testing to the developer by exchanging their insights with him and others. A smaller circle that does teamwork to fix things. The answer why not on their own websites was already given by me.
 

xenfans

Well-known member
#4
An additional forum to this one, so when we click on search or what's new, that we get all that content as well
Or an additional board aside from this one?

Be it support, beta, or something that doesn't fit inside the resource itself, will just clutter up my search results when i am trying to see if some issue is a bug with xenforo and worth reporting, etc, or when you search for support. I - to be honest - dont need the extra content when ppl beta test things and those keywords add to the confusion.

That's my only concern, i agree with the rest basically. and i can understand why. but as a customer, im here for support, results, and optionally for addons. If it's excluded from the search results it's easier.

Sorry if i dont get what you're trying to suggest.
 

Freelancer

Well-known member
#5
I - to be honest - dont need the extra content when ppl beta test things and those keywords add to the confusion.
Maybe it is clearer when I add that the forums can be with limited access for a "beta testers" user group only. So users that do not have access do not see their news feed cluttered with stuff they don't want to read...
 

Tracy Perry

Well-known member
#8
Sorry, I don't see where it is the business of the official XenForo site to make specific areas for specific add-ons for limited discussions amongst selected persons. That is usually done on the developers (for the add-on) support site. I also own numerous add-ons, and if need/want support for them I DO register on those sites as that is (to me) where the support should be provided at.

I could see this somewhat working if there was a "Groups" ability in the script that would allow users (the developer) to set up their own groups - but I don't see where it is really any business of XenForo to officially delve that deeply into direct support of any developers directly on the site.
 

xenfans

Well-known member
#9
Sorry, I don't see where it is the business of the official XenForo site to make specific areas for specific add-ons for limited discussions amongst selected persons. That is usually done on the developers (for the add-on) support site. I also own numerous add-ons, and if need/want support for them I DO register on those sites as that is (to me) where the support should be provided at.

I could see this somewhat working if there was a "Groups" ability in the script that would allow users (the developer) to set up their own groups - but I don't see where it is really any business of XenForo to officially delve that deeply into direct support of any developers directly on the site.
We simply invited those who showed an interest in intensive bug reporting sessions or beta testing unreleased stuff etc to the xenfans site and had a not-public temporary sub-forum where we did this.
 

Freelancer

Well-known member
#10
I also own numerous add-ons, and if need/want support for them I DO register on those sites as that is (to me) where the support should be provided at.
...and again, I am NOT talking about "Support". I am proposing a separation between support and BETA TESTING... some users (admins) like me get into the mill with support requests like "how can I change the button color on that page?". What I want is dedicated TESTING and BUG FIXING in a straight forward process, with a group of people that have a different skill set.

We simply invited those who showed an interest in intensive bug reporting sessions or beta testing unreleased stuff etc to the xenfans site and had a not-public temporary sub-forum where we did this.
I can relate to that but the main disadvantage of that is the lack of inter-add-on compatibility. Some add-on s force conflicts on others. If I need to negotiate cross board and websites, it is much more friction loss than having it right in one place.
 

xenfans

Well-known member
#11
...and again, I am NOT talking about "Support". I am proposing a separation between support and BETA TESTING... some users (admins) like me get into the mill with support requests like "how can I change the button color on that page?". What I want is dedicated TESTING and BUG FIXING in a straight forward process, with a group of people that have a different skill set.


I can relate to that but the main disadvantage of that is the lack of inter-add-on compatibility. Some add-on s force conflicts on others. If I need to negotiate cross board and websites, it is much more friction loss than having it right in one place.
But to quite a few xenforo is just another site to release it on, it's not the main site for their business. I am in good contact with some people who run xenforo plugin sites for customized things, they don't release them here. While for others it is the first point of contact with customers, and have their own site (if any) as an additional source. Not a counter argument, just .. another point of view on it.
 

Freelancer

Well-known member
#12
While for others it is the first point of contact with customers, and have their own site (if any) as an additional source. Not a counter argument, just .. another point of view on it.
I know that and I find that this is worth being praised but it is to my observation the minority. The main benefit of my proposal is fusion of energy and effort, making users team up and get tasks done quicker. It is the difference between a scattergun approach and sniper shot. In the end all sides benefit from it, even those add-on users not involved.
 

Brogan

XenForo moderator
Staff member
#13
So, 2000+ private forums with a different set of 'beta testers' for each forum?

Let developers pick the Beta Testers and help add them to the add-on forum.
How?
Only administrators can grant access to forums.

It would be a logistical and time consuming burden setting that up and maintaining it on an ongoing basis.

I don't believe it's a viable proposition for this site, or a good fit, and I can't see anything like that being implemented.

Edit: I understand the drawbacks of using a single thread for a (complex) add-on -- that is what prompted me to set up my own support site -- but having dedicated forums per add-on, on this site, isn't a viable alternative.
 

Tracy Perry

Well-known member
#14
...and again, I am NOT talking about "Support". I am proposing a separation between support and BETA TESTING... some users (admins) like me get into the mill with support requests like "how can I change the button color on that page?". What I want is dedicated TESTING and BUG FIXING in a straight forward process, with a group of people that have a different skill set.
Same theory applies... I go to @Bob site for any of my BETA test stuff when I was a participant. I still believe expecting the official XenForo site to supply a BETA/Developers area for add-ons to be more than should be expected. BETA testers are still participating in SUPPORT of that BETA version.
Again, if the script supported user controlled "groups" it could be done, but it would still be an imposition on the XF developers that should not be expected.
 

Tracy Perry

Well-known member
#15
We simply invited those who showed an interest in intensive bug reporting sessions or beta testing unreleased stuff etc to the xenfans site and had a not-public temporary sub-forum where we did this.
As it should be. Developers are more likely to be more active on their own distribution/support site than a third party one (which XenForo would be).
 

Freelancer

Well-known member
#16
So, 2000+ private forums with a different set of 'beta testers' for each forum?
Let's be fair here... I doubt that there is an equal interest in 2000+ add-ons. Major popular add-ons that really need beta testing might be under 100 – if at all.

I don't believe it's a viable proposition for this site, or a good fit, and I can't see anything like that being implemented.
If xenForo would have a native Social Groups add-on, this wouldn't be a problem.

Of course, it feels easier to accept if it is a business decision to not have such things covered here for resources and manpower reasons. But then I feel like treading water.

I go to @Bob site for any of my BETA test stuff when I was a participant.
Well... I do the same and he is one of the good examples. So good, that I did not even envision any of his add-ons on the imaginary list here. Generally when it comes to finding incompatibilities with other add-ons, it is not possible to "tag" another developer from board xyz on board abc and draw them into a testing discussion when it comes to checking on cross-functionality stuff.
 

SneakyDave

Well-known member
#17
Is there a use case for this? Is this a solution that doesn't really have a problem? I don't know what devs would want beta testing of their add-on governed by the rules and policies of xenforo ltd