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Why you don't collect data on configurations used on our ins


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We all know that some really useful features was removed after the public test of 4.0 (e.g. per-group setting "Can open/close own topics?")

So, i have 2 questions:

  1. How do you decide to remove some features? This decisions are based only on your(dev teams) opinion about necessity of this features, or decisions are based on statistics on use of those features?
  2. Why you don't collect data on configurations used on our separate installations? Doing this you can get a lot of very valuable information about real features usage. Also it can help to make better default settings based on this info. Personally I would like to send info about my configuration to IPS if it will be really used to improve your products.
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I don't understand why. People will happily use ad's on websites to help fund them (they may not have them viewable to themselves) but the same principle applies, without usage statistics how are you (IPS) supposed to understand on what your user base does in reality?

Going with the small percentage of the customer base that are "active" on the forums, is not a good enough usage statistic in my opinion and you would understand more by having these statistics. I think you should open this up again for consideration or do what most would do and do it and then explain why.

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Data Collection about users has always been a tricky thing and anyone who surfs the net will always have a negative reaction to having their personal data collected. I think I would have a problem with data about my community being collected, as well. I don't know how it is now, but in the past, IPS had removed features or added new features into the software based mainly on what their corporate clients/customers asked for. I don't know how much influence they had but it was pretty significant because I remember this particular subject cropping up when IPS started working on IPS3, which was a major upgrade from IPB 2.x.

While many of those features were removed, the IPS Community Suite seems to be too heavily influenced with features that social media seems to be creating. I've always said that software developers shouldn't just copy features that other software developers are using because it tends to load their software to too much bloatware and becomes too burdensome to the end user.

The downside of adding too many features is that the software starts having longer load times to the end-user. If you compare the load times of IPB 2.x to IPS 3.x and then to IPS 4.x, the loading times are much longer. I'm still trying to work with the IPSCS and there is still a drag in the load times. But, IPS is always improving the software, that's the one thing that many of us appreciate.

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Ignoring that part of the question then, how are decisions on what's added/removed from the feature set made though?

I understand feedback is taken into account etc, but from the outside looking in it seems like maybe the developers are driving change, not maybe with what they think is useful or not, but what from a coding perspective makes more sense, or maybe is simpler. Not saying that's wrong as you can't spend weeks making a tiny piece of functionality work when time is better spent elsewhere.

But from a user experience point of view it's not ideal, as it just appears that useful features are removed without much or any logical reasoning?

Edited by Dll
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1 hour ago, Morisato said:

The downside of adding too many features is that the software starts having longer load times to the end-user. If you compare the load times of IPB 2.x to IPS 3.x and then to IPS 4.x, the loading times are much longer. I'm still trying to work with the IPSCS and there is still a drag in the load times. But, IPS is always improving the software, that's the one thing that many of us appreciate.

See I disagree with that.....You can have all the features in the world, IMO, but at the same time if you refine/optimize the product, then  performance and what not is just fine. I am not saying IPB isn't a refined or optimized product. But going from generation to generation, you don't expect performance to degrade or expect features to be removed to get performance similar to previous generation of software.

IPB4.X for the most part loads and works just as fast as 3.4.X except in places such as page navigations and such.

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Well, when it comes to the IPS software, as long as it's not too intrusive, it doesn't matter with me what IPS does, providing that they aren't violating any privacy laws in the process. It's one reason why I refuse to use Cloudflare services. When signing up for their services, they actually require you to allow them to investigate any person involved with your website and I found their Terms of Service to go far beyond what an online service should be able to do. While I'd love to use their services, I found their Terms of Service to be very unacceptable behavior for an online service.

Thankfully, IPS' Terms of Service isn't THAT restrictive because Cloudflare represents how bad ideas can corrupt a business entity.

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1 hour ago, Charles said:

To be clear: when we proposed this a while back we weren't collecting data on users. We were just collecting the on/off settings for all the options in the software.

Which is fair enough, if it helps IPS understand customers habits for using the software and what is popular and what is not so popular then that can only be a good thing. When it's personal data being collected, that's a bit different.

I would welcome this if it was to be proposed again, if it helps IPS create an even better software as a result, that's a good thing.

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I think that's just a complete misunderstanding, we are all under surveillance every time we connect to the internet.

People and organisation that want to know what we are up to online, know what we are upto - just a case of clearing the cobwebs in from of some peoples eyes and given them a shake and telling them "IPS data collecting on settings is a good thing". 

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  • 2 years later...

I'm okay with usage statistics.  Some thoughts in no particular order:

  • Snowden - Back in 2013, the world was in an uproar.¬† But like¬†a goldfish, we have limited¬†capacity to remain concerned over large issues - it's so exhausting.¬† The world is still spinning, the NSA is still monitoring everyone and their grandma, my Yahoo mail keeps getting hacked, and everything is fine.¬† Life has moved on, and I feel like most people would be much more agreeable now that the news cycle has faded.
  • Choice to Opt Out¬†- I still think users should be notified and given a choice during the upgrade process, but it should be clear this is anonymous and aggregated data and can help IPS make better decisions.¬†
  • Sharing the Data - I think this data should be shared with everyone in an annual report.¬† It could even be shared with everyone¬†in your annual newsletter "Annual State of Invision".¬† It'll be hugely valuable third-party devs; it'll be mildly interesting for the rest of us; and best of all, Matt can even do a fun infographic for your Facebook page, which is kinda sparse anyways.
    • Recently, a Marketplace dev asked his users if he should require PHP 7.0 as the latest version.¬† A grand total of 3 people provided feedback.¬† Transparency and education to your Marketplace devs can only help them make informed decisions.¬†
  • Google - Google tracks my schedule, recommends new restaurants, and suggests parks where I can jog.¬† It's creepy, insightful, and pragmatic and I'm waiting for the day when it can start hooking me up with cute guys.¬† IPS usage statistics is nowhere near that personal; most apps already request feedback and usage statistics.¬†¬†
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I thought you're already collect some data after this suggestion, because i've seen option "Send diagnostics data?" during upgrade process from 3.4 to 4.x and also because there is the same option already exists in ACP. So this option is for something other? For what then?

Edited by Mr 13
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22 hours ago, Mr 13 said:

I thought you're already collect some data after this suggestion, because i've seen option "Send diagnostics data?" during upgrade process from 3.4 to 4.x and also because there is the same option already exists in ACP. So this option is for something other? For what then?

If you're currently opted in to sending diagnostic data, Invision Community reports things such as stack traces for error pages that may be getting displayed (so that we can see what's causing them and fix the issue)

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1 hour ago, Charles said:

As our software has a viewable source there is never any secret in what we are doing.

My guess is Charles, 90% of software users out there couldn't even begin to know where to look for that information in the code little lone read the code. That extra step to be transparent and bring the information up front for everyone is somewhat comforting to people. Asking people to dig into code to find the answers appears on top to be a obstacle when all it really takes is for a simple, "Here's what we collect" line up-front. I guess everyone sees this differently, but I don't think telling a non-coder to dig in and find it yourself is a good option nor does it give the appearance your not trying to hide something. Just my 2 cents on that.

On a side note Charles, not going to mention a company name here but I think you'll know who I'm referencing here, The company I host withs owner says hello and had some fairly positive things to say about you and asked me to tell you hello, his name is Ryan.

If you don't know who I'm referencing I'll be glad to send you his full name and business name. This is by far in all the years I have been doing this the best hosting company I've had. You mentored/trained/advised him well.

Kind Regards

Edited by DesignzShop
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