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Vanilla Reactions and Badges - Would you buy it?

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Comments

  • TimTim Operations Vanilla Staff

    If a community-built Badges system is developed and turns out to be of high quality, it will be approved on the site just like other quality plugins.

    Vanilla Forums Senior Developer [GitHub, Twitter, About.me]

    netigate
  • phreakphreak VanillaAPP - Your white label app for Vanillaforums MVP
    edited May 2012

    Tim said:
    If a community-built Badges system is developed and turns out to be of high quality, it will be approved on the site just like other quality plugins.

    Ah, another highly productive comment from the core. Yawn

    I see no need of an approvement through the core team for a community-built Badges @mcu_hq @Tim, i see a need for Badges. That's nothing we can count on (see all the not approved plugins that went standard for a lot of installations, i guess there is not much contact between the core-team and those developers taking them to the level "approved").

    Btw. Is this thread set to sink-mode? It doesn't appear on the start page.

    Anyone can confirm that: @brainolution, @x00, @candyman, @jason2007, @hbf, @422, @peregrine, @aery.

  • mcu_hqmcu_hq yippie ki-yay Arizona, USA ✭✭✭

    It has been sunk.

  • phreakphreak VanillaAPP - Your white label app for Vanillaforums MVP
    edited May 2012

    Wow, sorry to say, but as a democratic-middle-european with the 5 years badge i do not understand the steps the vanilla team is taking => closing the doors (discussions sunk, plugins, community communication, etc.) of an open source project.

    When we are talking here about a Badge alternative and @Tim is speaking about "will be approved probably" there is no way to sink this thread, as here is the discussion going on about this community alternative.

    Not more than 35 people are on board of this forum than 5 years, not more than 44 people have over 100 postings. Expect just 3 or 4 postings in webtech-blogs that tell about the twofaced play of Vanilla and they are killed forever. I can't belive the community makers do not understand what THE community means for a project like this.

    Waiting for a comment of the team (as long as im not getting kicked), and please guys take your answer seriously.

    unixhero
  • TimTim Operations Vanilla Staff

    Alright, with regard to your first comment. So someone lamented that even if the community DID write their own Badges implementation, it would be pushed aside by the core team and not approved on the addon site. I responded, saying that if the feature was good I would happily ensure that it was approved. That's all. Would you have been happier if I'd said no?

    I had 2 possible options: yes approve, no don't approve. Which one would you have been happy with? It seems like I chose the most favorable option, but you're still whining about it. Make up your mind.

    On the topic of your second post. I've said this elsewhere before, but clearly you didn't read it, so here's an abridged version just for you.

    Vanilla Forums is open source. We have no plans to closed-source the core product, and to my knowledge we've never closed-sourced anything that was previously open source. I believe those two facts completely absolve us from the label of "two-faced". Now that we've gotten THAT out of the way...

    As far as new plugins, things are different. We may decide to code features to offer on our hosted platform that we do not make available as open source code. This is 100% our prerogative, just as it is your prerogative to write closed-source plugins yourself (though judging from your impressively vacant list of contributions to the code, I see little chance of that happening).

    There are LOTS of reasons why we might do this, but MONEY is probably the biggest one. Yeah, shock and horror, we actually need money to continue working! Other considerations are that to release something for the hosted side is MUCH easier than releasing it here. For one thing, we don't get people logging in here saying "hi plz, I installed this on my IIS server on Win 95 and it broke. halp me!" or "Um, this doesn't work in EXACTLY the way I need it to work, when can I expect you to drop everything and customize this just for my needs?". As if we're obliged to do any of that. On the hosted platform we know precisely what the hardware situation is going to be. We know we can rely on there being a working memcache server, properly configured mysql server, optimized webserver (of a compatible type and configuration), writable filesystem, etc. We don't have to code twice the lines just to ensure that the features are baby-proof.

    And here is where you throw up your arms and yell "Why are you doing this!? Don't you understand that this community IS the projects?!" But that's where you're wrong. This community is a FREE SERVICE provided to you as a courtesy by Vanilla Forums. We pay for the hosting, we pay for the development of the core product, we spend time trying to moderate and organize the content, etc. We've got a few very awesome people that have contributed over the life of the project, but MOST of what happens with this product is paid for (and don't kid yourself, it is PAID for with MONEY) by us.

    Where does that money come from? As a democratic-middle-european, what is your opinion on the magical source of our money? Does it come from the Great Open Source Wallet of Benevolence? I wish. It comes from CUSTOMERS. Hosted customers.

    So from people like you, @phreak, we get whining, complaints, demands for very specific features, but no code or money. From our customers we get data, real-use-case requests, and MONEY. So we can buy food, and keep coding the core product. Which you get FOR FREE!

    Are you really going to sit there and act self-righteous about the fact that others are paying money so you can have a free product? Come on.

    Vanilla Forums Senior Developer [GitHub, Twitter, About.me]

  • I hope this is available for open source soon.

  • unixherounixhero
    edited August 2012

    So from people like you, @phreak, we get whining, complaints, demands for very specific features, but no code or money. From our customers we get data, real-use-case requests, and MONEY. So we can buy food, and keep coding the core product. Which you get FOR FREE!

    Please note, this is not accusatory, this is not whining. It is healthy dialogue between stakeholders.
    It is smart to avoid ad hominems.

    @Tim
    // begin free advice

    You are in a luxury position.
    Your company has a product (badges) which many potential customers want.
    All you have to do is to capitalize on it.

    Let's get in a helicopter and look at the ground situation from the air.
    Here you have a company, paying customers in one segment and potential customers in an entirely other segment. Please allow me to elaborate.

    There are plenty of indications that many "self hosters" are willing and interested in paying for the Badges feature. These users (including myself) are users who are not interested in the current product, professional hosting and customization. Therefore it constitutes a different segment.
    You have the opportunity to capitalize on a good that you have already produced, from a user segment which is outside the scope of your current offerings (hosted product).

    Of course a company needs money to keep afloat, then why not sit down, and look at other venues of making money. Namely the self-hosting "crowd". It is complementary to the product/service you are already offering, and it MAKES SENSE for your company to do so.

    The core product you are offering, as far as I can tell, is a professional looking configuration, nicely and tightly themed, professionally hosted and professionally supported by you. This should take care of the concerns regarding piracy. The customers would use your hosting service nevertheless if they could find the elusive Badges (addon) on ThePirateBay. Therefore I hold that offering Badges for sale it would not cannibalize on your existing product, hosted service.
    Again, what I'm saying is that you would not loose the target customers for your hosting product, you would only open up the possibility of targeting this new segment market of the market, the open source users. The users of paid hosting would not refrain from using that service, only because it could buy Badges on the side and host it themselves. The reason anyone chooses a hosted solution is because they wish to outsource the entire hosting/support of the software solution.

    On the support-nightmare:
    I really don't understand why you're so afraid of the support-nightmare - provide two options:
    just sell it as a limited support product and sell a premium-support backed product which would cost more.

    I don't see a SUPPORT US / DONATE US page.
    The only way I can support you at the current moment, is to pay for your hosting service. This is a product I do not need, and do not want. But if there would have been a way to support you in other fashions I probably would have. Therefore I hope that you will provide more ways to support the company, other than buying the hosted service.

    // end free advice

    All the best -- unixhero

    background:

    MBA (2011)

    BSc International Business (2008)

    MaxDphreakAnonymoose
  • phreakphreak VanillaAPP - Your white label app for Vanillaforums MVP
    edited August 2012

    @unixhero: Thanx a lot for your comment and the clarification, that's exactly the point i think.

    @Tim: Sorry, i was not yet in the mood to comment on your words. To me it seemed presumptuous and overbearing. It's needless to say but i've been working with Vanilla now for several years. Even though i have not made one ticket on Git or appeared as a addon developer you assume should have been the case to qualify as a true Vanilla supporter. Instead i recommended Vanilla on several occasions to friends or clients like advertising agencies like Wunderman, Publicis and so on (just badged the supporter star level 1 on my chest. ;) and have been active on forums, a german translation i shared and so on.

    As put in place by different people before: I'm a self hoster interested in buying this addon.
    I'd be happy to buy you food as your product gives me the possibility to buy my food also.

    My company runs 14 parenting websites (Vanilla > www.babyforum.at). It's a complex structure ranging from Ad-Serving to Zend. I need to self-host in daily operations, external developers working on my pages, different CMSystems are in use and so on.

    And why is this discussion - in many comments very productive - on sunk. Doesn't the vanillaforums.org startpage says something like:


    "We believe that online communities should be unique, intuitive and engaging. Vanilla allows you to create a customized community that rewards positive participation, ..."

  • I just downloaded Vanilla and must admit I thought that the badges/reactions came with the open source version.... disappointing, although I do understand they have an income to generate.

    MaxD
  • Christ, this all got a little out of hand.

  • LincLinc Vanilla's Bard (and Director of Development) Detroit Vanilla Staff
    edited August 2012

    There are LOTS of reasons why we might do this

    Though Tim only elaborated on the financial side, there are indeed legitimate technical reasons. Technical kludges that won't work on all platforms supported by the OS project, necessity of providing upgrade paths, UI kludges we made to simplify Badges on vfcom, known bugs that require support intervention, future plans that would be harmed by multiple out-of-date copies in the wild, default or hard-coded assets being hosted on our servers, reams of code comments that give away our future plans, and entire feature sets that are clearly under development in the code but hidden to clients - those are some other considerations.

    We can't just flip a switch and say "here, buy it!" It would be a lot of work to start that business model, and we don't have the time or energy to pursue it currently. It's also pretty damn hard for a company to release surprisingly good new features when everyone is watching their repos for the newest incremental work to hit.

    Personally, I am extremely pro-open sourcing of projects like Badges. Badges is my favorite project and I've done a ton of work on it. Heck, I started it before I even joined the company. You wouldn't hear me regularly agitating for it to be open-sourced during our meetings though because, from my perspective inside the company, it's not to anyone's long-term advantage to do it now.

    phreak
  • With all due respect to developers business decisions, here's my 2 cents on the subject.

    Those features are in no way an incentive to make the usual self hosted user make the switch to Vanilla's hosting services. It's 2 market segments that each have their needs. I understand that Vanilla need to cash in. But I don't think they should focus only on selling their hosting services.

    I'm a self hosted user and I would definitely pay for those plugins. But I can't and It's frustrating. After reading @Tim's comments, It seems that Vanilla want to focus on their hosting services and that makes me reconsider my choice of using Vanilla.

    Why don't you guys have a plugin store where you could sell yours or make 3rd party developers sell theirs? It seems to work very well for PrestaShop which have a similar type of business (open source product + hosting plans).

    Or why not offering annual subscriptions to Vanilla Premium services that would include premium plugins and tech support ?

    I'm sure you probably have thought about all this, but I'd really like to hear Vanilla's position on this.

    Cheers

  • shanertshanert New
    edited October 2012

    It's so sad. We used Vanilla for a few projects and a new one is in the pipeline right now. For that, we would have loved to use the Badge-Feature and we thought of use the payed, hosted version of Vanilla for that.

    But the way the Vanilla-Team is communicating here, especially Tim, drove us away from Vanilla. And this is not the first time that this is happening.

    Someone asked the valid question, why a really good topic like this is sunked and Tim jumped in and acted like someone has raped him.

    MaxDnetigate
  • I'm bored so im coding my own 'Achievements' plugin quick.

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