[wp-hackers] Automatic feedback from users

Omry Yadan omry at yadan.net
Sat Sep 15 17:53:19 GMT 2007


I was thinking in the direction of having this functionality in
WordPress core, and not as a plugin, so your concern about disabling the
plugins is not relevant.

I can think of a few options to ask, for example in the initial
installation screen we can have a sentence with a checkbox (for
installing users), and we can also pop up some message in the admin
screen if a user never answered the question before (by saying yes or no).

2. see below.

3. this is a part of the system information I think we can send once the
user say it's okay to send system information.

in FireStats I send the following bits (not all are relevant to wp, but
to get the idea):

 * System information includes:
 * Unique firestats id
 * FireStats version
 * Installation time
 * PHP version
 * MySQL version
 * Server software (apache? IIS? which version?)
 * Memory limit
 * Number of sites monitored
 * Number of sites monitored from each type (how many wordpress blogs,
how many drupals etc).

for wp we can also add plugin and their versions.

its tempting to add a notification mechanism that tells the user about
updates, but let's not mix those two things.

this should be strictly for statistics, I don't think it would be wise
to bundle any functionality with it.

something like that should probably be implemented and designed separately.

Personally I don't have much time to put into coding this, but I will be
willing to provide code that does similar things, for both the server
and client side, to kickstart the effort.

Callum Macdonald wrote:

> I think this is a great idea and would provide some excellent data to
> base decisions on. It would also be fascinating data.
> Questions:
> 1) At what point would we ask the user to give permission? You
> mentioned the Upgrade script, I think that would be sensible, except,
> users are "supposed" to disable all their plugins before they upgrade.
> 2) I've heard talk about auto-notifying users when plugins are
> updated. Could we add this functionality? If each WordPress
> installation has a unique ID we could easily gather stats.
> 3) Could we add a second question to the install? Currently we ask
> "Notify XXX about new posts", we could also add "Notify WordPress.org
> about my server environment, plugins and tell me about plugin updates".
> I'd also be happy to put some time into this.
> Cheers - Callum.
> Omry Yadan wrote:
>> Hi all.
>> when developing software, in many cases we are guessing things and
>> continuing assuming this guess is true.
>> that's the nature of the work, and this will not change.
>> recent examples:
>> * sticking with PHP4 for now: based on the guess that PHP4 is still
>> dominant and will stay dominant in the near future.
>> * holding on to PHPMailer: based on the guess that it's good enough for
>> 90% of the users.
>> and so on.
>> wouldn't it be nice if at least for some of those things, you would be
>> able to base your actions on facts instead of on guesses?
>> In FireStats 1.3, I added an option for users to send me system
>> information.
>> on the first run, I ask them if they agree, and if they do I send the
>> information to my server when ever something changes.
>> this allow me to get a good idea about the popularity of various php
>> versions and mysql versions among my users, as well as to know about
>> some usage patterns (in my case - how many sites each instance of
>> FireStats is monitoring on average, for example).
>> I intend to make some of the information I obtain public when I get the
>> time, for now just take a look at this:
>> http://misc.firestats.cc
>> so, my suggestion is to add a similar mechanism to WordPress.
>> this can also send a list of plugins users are using, provide a lot of
>> information on what users want from WordPress.
>> for example, if you find that 15% of the users are using some kind of
>> email plugin, it's a pretty strong indication that the "90% of the users
>> are happy with current mail support" is false.
>> another example: if you see that 10% of the users have some kind of
>> podcast plugin installed, it's a strong indication that at least 10% of
>> the users of WordPress are podcasting.
>> I am willing to help on the technical level with this, I have a pretty
>> robust solution for this that will work even if the server does not have
>> http access (data is sent from the client browser).
>> just to stress the a point here:
>> I am not suggesting spying on users: we will only get information from
>> users that agree to help.
>>     Omry.
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