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[closed] Is it ethical for a company to continue to distribute a product known to harmful (25 posts)

  1. Magenta Cuda
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    Is it ethical for a company to continue to distribute a product known to harmful to some of its users?

    According to the stats currently NGG2 is downloaded over 10,000 times a day. A significant number of these users will suffer in some way. In many cases it will be just the inconvenience of having to do a rollback after wasting some time trying to understand what is going wrong. But, in some cases due to user ignorance the damage will be the complete and total loss of the image database. (Of course this is the user's fault for being ignorant but you know this is happening.) It may very well be that a majority of your users have a successful upgrade but it is also clear that a very significant number do not. By significant I mean far more than is normal for a usual major upgrade. Since, upgrade in recent times has become an almost painless process most of these innocent users have no idea of the possible damage they may suffer. If you were a user would you not wish that a company did its best to protect you from this kind of damage? Would not such a company once it found that its product was harmful to a significant number of users withdraw that product from distribution?

    If you read some of my previous post you will know that I an not your enemy. I actually like and respect the work you have done. I hope that NGG 2 will eventually become a successful product. However, I believe to continue to distribute a product known to harm a significant number of its users is not the right thing to do.

    http://wordpress.org/plugins/nextgen-gallery/

  2. KeesD
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    Magenta Cuda, you are so right!

  3. surocharg
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    Spot on!

    I've just suggested that the latest stabil version of NGG (1.9 something) should be available via wordpress so that newbies and others can install it without risk.

    And that NGG 2.0 should be the version downloaded via websites and uploaded via FTP for those who are interested in testing it.

  4. Disclaimer: I'm not a NGG plugin user and all opinions are my own and do not reflect that of anyone else or any group. So there. ;)

    Is it ethical for a company to continue to distribute a product known to harmful to some of its users?

    Guys? That's really uncalled for and come on, give photocrati a break.

    This is a free plugin that the plugin author is supporting on his own time and frankly is making a heroic effort to attempt to resolve these issues.

    Unless you are a paying customer* of photocrati's then this plugin you installed on your self-hosted is your responsibility. You can always install the older version and with a little editing prevent it from being updated.

    Search for "Mark Jaquith" and "exclude wordpress plugin from updates" and you'll find the code to add. Or you can just use the old version and choose not to upgrade, that's a valid option too.

    Yes, these problem with 2.x does make your life difficult if you have a problem but you have choices and disparaging the plugin author is not called for.

    *If you are a paying customer then these forums are not for you. Visit Photocrati's contact page on his own site for that level of support.

    http://www.nextgen-gallery.com/contact/

  5. Magenta Cuda
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    This is my reply to Jan Dembowski.

    I an not trying to disparage Photocrati. In an earlier post I tried to do this in a gentler way but Photocrati didn't get it. If you read my earlier posts you will understand that I actually am on Photocrati's side. I do not think these are bad people but they are currently overwhelmed by the situation and not using good judgement.

    Photocrati is actually a for profit company but this is really totally irrelevant. A developer whether for profit or not should have the responsibility to do the right thing for his users. Being a freeware developer should not give you the right to be irresponsible. Just because it is free should not make it right to distribute something harmful.

    I understand your point on user responsibility but the reality is just different. WordPress because of is ease of use attracts "irresponsible" users. The kind of users that never do a backup. The kind of user that is going to delete the plugin without realizing that he is also deleting the image database of thousands of photos that he may have spent years building. (If you read the posts this has happened many times.) You may say that these people got what they deserve for being irresponsible. I disagree. I think protecting this user from himself as much as practically possible is the right thing to do.

    An Aside: I think the world is moving towards removing responsibilities from users. The Google Chromebook is a very good example. I think developers should also be moving in this direction and assume your user is irresponsible because this is the reality.

    The problem with your other suggestions is that they are not one-click easy solutions. Even installing an earlier version is going to be challenging to some users. (WordPress should consider making it one-click easy to do a roll-back.) I feel very strongly that developers have a responsibility to novice users but I sense that you disagree. I think you are wrong because I think the novice user may be the majority user. (I don't know this for a fact it is my estimate only.)

  6. Alex Rabe
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    A developer whether for profit or not should have the responsibility to do the right thing for his users. Being a freeware developer should not give you the right to be irresponsible.

    Well, you fully missunderstand the WordPress plugin directory, people who contribute here are not responsible for anything. Automattic is not responsible for WordPress , and if a WordPress upgrade failed on whatever reason, they cannot be made responsible, it's free, it's GPL and nothing else...

    You said the the plugin is harmful , why ? From the statistic it's it today approx 10000 times loaded, 100 of them click on the "not working for me" button, what's with the other 9900 user ?

    Photocrati did real major update, just 1000 give it a try in the beta time, what do you expect ? Buy the Pro version, you may get faster support, pay a web developer if it doesn't work for you and you don't know where to look.I see that they trying they best to fix all reported problems in a certain time, so they feel "responsible", but it's impossible to check a plugin against all themes and other plugins.

    I know that novice user always expect a hasselfree upgrade without investing time and effort in knowing HTML, PHP and CSS... Well , you can get it , Automattic called it WordPress.com or <a http://vip.wordpress.com/our-services/

    Think about it....

  7. Magenta Cuda
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    Hi Alex Rabe,

    First thanks for a great plugin.

    Second some after thoughts: If Photocrati is going to continue to distribute 2.0.7 then I think they should:
    (1) Display a prominent warning that a user may have much more than the usual probability of major problems, referring them to the forum and allowing them to opt out of the installation.
    (2) A prominent warning about the consequences of deleting the plugin - i.e. loss of the image database.
    (3) A one-click auto rollback facility.

    Third I want to say some words in my defense:
    I honestly have nothing against the people at Photocrati. I do believe it is wrong to continue to distribute 2.0.7 but not because the people at Photocrati are deliberately irresponsible but because they are overwhelmed with the current situation and are not thinking straight. If you read my earlier posts you will see that I have admired the engineering that went into 2.0 - I especially liked the Pope implementation. I an not their enemy.

    I said "should have the responsibility" not "has the responsibility" since I am referring to "moral" responsibility not "legal" responsibility. Moral responsibility means you do the right thing even if you are not legally required to do so.

    As to the statistics you are quoting when as of August 12 101 people out of 115 - 87% - says something is broken I think it is time to conclude something is seriously wrong and consider withdrawing the product. (Of course I understand that people are more likely to vote negatively and this statistic is skewed negatively but even so these numbers are so one-sided that they are significant.) Consider this: the bulk of your users probably have not yet upgraded but everyday you are exposing an additional 10,000 to a deficient product. Would it not be wiser to withdraw the product, fix it and then release again.

    Lastly, I strongly sense a lack of empathy for the novice user. I am actually from the time when freeware was distributed in source code and you were expected to compile your own binary. Needless to say freeware was only used by a small elite. Freeware has steadily become more and more user friendly and consequently more and more widespread. I think the market now is the novice user and developers should keep him in mind. I think to disregard the novice user is going against flow of time. That's my opinion and time will tell which of us is right.

  8. lauritasita
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    @Alex Rabe,

    If you as a plugin developer choose to believe that the number of users that this product failed for was low and that's not important to you, bear in mind that this decision can affect your reputation as a developer.

    I belong to many technical groups who are well aware of the serious flaws in this upgrade, and they have chosen to either wait, or they have rolled back because maybe their entire business depends on it.

    I think that Photocrati should at least make a formal announcement that this upgrade is seriously flawed, and should take it off the market for now, and roll back the version upgrade on the WordPress.org dashboard.

    I don't think that this is a lot to ask.

    I don't agree that buying the pro version will get faster support, as a matter of fact, I think it will do the opposite. I have never used NextGEN before, and I got a bad first impression from downloading 2.0.

    I would never buy it, especially when there are other free plugins that can do as good a job and the developers treat their users better.

    I have been monitoring the support section for a couple of days and I am floored at the amount of reports of bugs and problems coming in by the hour. I've never seen anything like this. Version 2.0 should be taken down immediately.

    I'm only sorry that I am learning to use NextGEN under these circumstances. Version 1.9.13 was a wonderful product.

  9. reinhardf
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    Some write the source code quality is very good. but if you look here:

    https://bitbucket.org/photocrati/nextgen-gallery/commits/all

    the programming is rather sloppy and confused. They make new versions without testing it properly. This can be seen in the time column.

    Also suggests that photocrati is overwhelmed:
    "124 of 997 threads in the support load two months have been resolved."

    Version 2 was too much. So many changes makes one better in small increments. But they wanted their PRO version just sell quickly. Think about: They want $ 39 per year - that's $ 390 in ten years!

  10. Vohl
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    Alex, I wasn't expecting this kind of gibberish talk from you, mate.

    Your ubuesque inclination towards the pro version and your naive understanding of statistics are almost as depressing as Photocrati's so-called work.

    Nextgen 2.0 is a complete and utter failure. Bear in mind that if this debacle of comical proportions continues, your plugin is going down the drain.

  11. lauritasita
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    First of all, I don't believe that this was tested as thoroughly as they said it was, sorry. Why was it changed so drastically? They could've just maintained it as it was and gradually built it up. It was not necessary to change it so much at one time.

    I think this is just another case of corporate greed (or developer greed), nothing more. They thought they could crank out a sophisticated upgrade and get everyone to buy it, but it looks like it backfired, and they can't handle all the bugs.

    It is unprofessional to say that they consider that the upgrade worked for most users, and the rest are a minority, so who cares about them?

    Why would anyone buy this for $39 if this is how they are treating users?

  12. reinhardf
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    @Alex
    You can not say only 100 of 10,000 updates do not work. The errors since version 2.0.0 are so many that EVERYONE is affected. Some just do not notice it immediately or have not yet been updated. While others might have been updated and tested ten times unsuccessfully and downgrading. So 10,000 downloads could possibly be carried out by 2,000 users.

    In my opinion it is ok that a free plugin does not work right for some users after a big update.

    But it is not ok if your entire site therefore no longer works even without any plugin conflicts. And it's not OK, that at a photo plugin that you delete all photos are deleted. It is surely clear that one wants to keep his uploaded photos!

  13. lauritasita
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    "...it is not ok if your entire site no longer works even without any plugin conflicts."

    I agree. These are not minor conflicts and has rendered some websites totally unusable, leaving businesses at stake.

  14. Damiende2
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    I upgraded to version 2.0 and i could not add single pictures into posts. I reported it as a bug. And here is the reply i got..

    The interface to add a singlepic hasn't been incorporated into the new Attach to Post interface, yet. But you can still do it. You just need to click the normal WordPress Media button. You'll see a NextGEN Gallery option there. Just navigate to the image you want and click "Insert as Singlepic". Thanks!

    Yeah right.... Bet those who pay for it got that option. But crap like that doesn't work with me. Whats happening now is the equivalent of selling a car and forcing people to pay more for brakes.

  15. lauritasita
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    I don't know who is more behind the corporate arrogance here, but I don't like being told that my website's issues are in the minority, so it doesn't matter what happens to me, and that if I buy it, I'll get better support. Are they kidding? It seems that it's more than a few websites going down. I can't count the number of different issues on the support forum here. How are they going to sort it all out, and who wants a plugin that can't really be used with other plugins without issues?

  16. Magenta Cuda
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    I do not believe that Alex Rabe and Photocrati are really bad people. I believe the problem is that they are so heavily involved in the situation that they cannot form a proper perspective. When I read what Alex has written I absolutely can tell that these are the thoughts and feelings of a developer - a developer's perspective. If Alex and Photocrati would completely stop thinking like a developer and start thinking totally (and I really mean totally) like a non-technical user and consider the thoughts and feelings of that user I think they would have a different perspective. Proper balance is not automatic it takes work.

  17. MassimoD
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    I did a possitive review 3 days ago, telling people not to be so negative about it.

    Now, reading the reply of AB, i must say i shall be looking for a new gallery.

  18. ilovecola
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    I did update to latest version and my entire web site had a problem - wherever I click it opens first page! :S

    I thought maybe it's theme issue, but no - i tested on other themes! Fortunately after downgrading to 1.9.13 everything works again! :)

    I how developer will do their best to fix bug and next versions will be much better and stable! :)

  19. markus2013
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    @ilovecola

    Yep - here the same problem: http://wordpress.org/support/topic/nextgen-20-blocks-all-links-on-twenty-ten-theme

    Also the problem exists in 2.08 and i guess in 2.09: If you reset the nextgen-settings under "OtherOptions" nothing works anymore! Every link goes to homepage...

  20. toniclife
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    @ Alex Rabe

    First: Thank you and photocrati for the work! I think NGG is a great plugin - I found nothing similar. But...

    Well, you fully missunderstand the WordPress plugin directory, people who contribute here are not responsible for anything.

    Well, I don't think so. WordPress is a great product and it's so popular, because it's so powerful and very simple to use. A person who is "kind of advanced user" is attracted by these facts when he or she decided to build up an own website. I was attracted by these facts, too, so I changed from my old, very complicated CMS to WordPress. I think, there are many more of my kind. We trust the whole WordPress-Developer-Community that everything what is offered works - and at least doesn't crash a website. So developers actually have a responsibility, because if people stop trusting the developers, they will avoid WordPress. This would be really sad.

    Buy the Pro version, you may get faster support, pay a web developer if it doesn't work for you and you don't know where to look.

    No, I don't want to pay anyone for my private site that I don't run to make money. I run this website, because it is fun and sometimes very useful. I don't want to spend money for that, except for the webspace.

    I know that novice user always expect a hasselfree upgrade without investing time and effort in knowing HTML, PHP and CSS...

    Yes. I actually do expect this. I'm no programmer, I don't know anything about php-coding, just a little bit html and css. I have a full-time job and I'm not interested in learning anything about php at all. That's a reason why I chose WordPress - it's not harder to use than MS Office.

    I don't expect any great features in free software, but if the devoloper tells me it works I get very angry when the software crashes my website, my PC or any other device. For example, I don't expect anyone a free version of photoshop. But when some guys come up and provide "The GIMP" I expect it to work (Gimp works great) and at least not to crash or delete anything on my computer. You can't expect me to learn C++ or something before I use a freeware - if someone thinks different, he or she shouldn't provide it.

    That's photocrati's mistake. They provided a product, NGG 2.0.x, which many many users installed believing it would bring something good, because normally updates are something good, not complicated and you don't have to care about. Now those many many people are very disappointed - even if not everyone reports the bugs. They lose trust in NGG and feel like beta-testers. In my opinion this process is not very useful for NGG and WP.

    Think about it...

  21. Alex Rabe
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    Some final words about this... and why I'm getting upset on the initial post :

    First, let me apologize if I wrote the last message with a lot of emotion, but I did made a lot of painful experiences with upgrades during a couple of years. I know from the past that it's extremely hard to get a feeling how many people are affected (100, 1000, 10000 user) ? I never get a real number how much people uses a plugin, and from the statistic you can see how fragmented a plugin distribution could be, due to the fact that many user not updated.

    Yes the upgrade to V2.0 went obviously wrong for some/many user, how many can nobody judge. I'm not blind, and I also do not want to misinterpreted the numbers. But please give them time to fix it, I can see they work on this every day. This is a major change, something I fear all the years and the main reason why my development slow down over the past years.

    Second, toniclife give exact the reason why I no longer able to support such a project. He give the reason why WordPress is so successful and what is the general exception from the user standpoint. I understand this standpoint and it works for many project, but even not for me.

    I hope that the next upgrades went smooth and you trust again this plugin.

  22. Magenta Cuda
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    Alex I know you are angry but I am also angry. And just as you want people to understand your anger I want you to understand mine.

    The critical fact here is how many users are having major problems with 2.0.7. You think it is some/many but I think it is really many/most.

    One way to look at this is - there are over 10,000 downloads per day but only a couple of hundred complaints so 98% of the users are happy. But, I think most users happy or unhappy are silent so this ratio is not meaningful.

    More meaningful is that 121 out of 136 users report that 2.0.7 is broken. However, since a user is more likely to report something broken this number is negatively skewed so it is hard to estimate the proportion of unhappy users.

    The most meaningful statistics is the reviews - 2.0.7 is a major upgrade with many new features if it was successful for most users you should be receiving more positive reviews than negative ones but the reviews are overwhelmingly negative.

    Now I will try and explain why this makes me angry. 2.0.7 is causing harm to many/most users - in most cases just wasted time and effort and temporary downtime on websites, in some cases difficulty between a developer and his clients and in some rare cases actual material damage - loss of data. In view of this I really cannot understand why it is necessary to continue to distribute 2.0.7 as the default distribution. The problem reports you are receiving are duplicates of earlier days you are not learning anything new. Of course, we should be patient and wait for Photocrati to fix these problems but I don't see why this requires the continued distribution of 2.0.7, especially without a warning since it is not the usual expected experience. 2.0.7 should be an optional download with proper caveats. I know the post that you reacted to has strong language in it but I did try in an earlier post to do it in a more gentle way but it was ignored so I decided that I needed to get your attention.

    Some other thoughts:
    I thought about the problem of estimating the number of users with major problems. The solution I came up with is to look at the daily download count of 1.9.13 on the first complete day after the start of distribution of 2.0.7. This number is probably pretty close to number of users who have downloaded 2.0.7 and then immediately roll-backed. On subsequent days the number will be contaminated with users who have read about problems with 2.0.7 and have opted to manually install 1.9.13. I don't know how to get this number but if you can it would give the best statistic for this problem.

    The way I learned 2.0.7 was bad was on an installation with all other plugins deactivated running twentytwelve (actually a child theme of but I have only a trivial functions.php file in it) so essentially a clean installation except the database has data in it and I could not do something as basic as upload a single image. I actually debugged this since I like to debug and found that a required field 'image_slug' did not have a value in a SQL INSERT. This makes me surmise that either your in-house testing was insufficient or there is something wrong with your in-house testing protocol. I am a developer and I don't think this kind of bug should have passed in-house testing. I think Photocrati has a problem with its in-house testing.

    In the process of debugging I also read some of the source code - actually spent several hours over two days reading it since I found it interesting. I am totally impressed with the level of expertise and also the care and thought that went into the design of 2.0. The Pope framework confused me at first but later I began to see the beauty of it all. This is really good stuff. But, it really doesn't matter if you cannot make it work. If I were Photocrati I would admit that 2.0.7 is a failure and work on 2.1 I think this stuff has tremendous potential and hope to see it a big success.

    Lastly, I really do understand the life of a developer. I was a developer for many years. Not a PHP developer in the Internet world but a VBA developer in the business world. The environments are a little different but the human dynamics are essentially the same. I know the good feeling you get when you release good software - then you are a hero because you have made life better for so many people. Conversely, I know the bad feeling you get when you release bad software - now you are the devil because you have caused problems for so many people. Of course at work you are so busy trying to fix the problem that you don't have time to think about it. But, riding the last train home at midnight alone it hits you - you have just let everybody down and in my case since this is the business world I personally knew many of my users. And you want to stop at some bar and get a drink but you can't because you have to get home, take a shower, sleep for a few hours and then take the 5:00AM train back to the office. I have been there sadly multiple times. As you have said it is impossible to test for everything and if you don't test everything there is bound to be problems. I really do understand all of this and really do have a lot of sympathy for developers.

  23. photocrati
    Member
    Plugin Author

    Posted 1 year ago #

    Hi all,

    I really should have responded in this thread earlier. Jan and Alex, I really appreciate you posting here.

    I think Magenta Cuda and others here have a justifiable right to ask some hard questions and even ask whether we should keep pushing forward.

    I started writing a long response to this and other similar threads, but it kept getting longer and we thought it needed to be more visible than it would be single thread. So I've posted here:

    http://www.nextgen-gallery.com/open-letter-to-the-nextgen-community-from-erick-danzer/

    Beyond that, I just want to address a few things specifically:

    @Magenta Cuda: you've been very balanced in your criticism, and I appreciate that. One note - it's not that easy to "just roll everyone back to 1.9.13" at this point.

    @lauritasita: I'm really not sure where the "corporate greed/arrogance" angle comes from. We're just a small team of 9 WordPress enthusiasts (3 developers). I'm not sure corporate would really apply here.
    Apart from that, I just want to emphasize that we care deeply about every user having an issue right now, especially if severe. It doesn't matter if it's a big percentage or small percentage, it's clear there's a large absolute number of people major problems. Right now, the best thing we can do is just try to track down and fix issues as quickly as possible, and that's what we're doing.

    @reinhardf: "But it is not ok if your entire site therefore no longer works even without any plugin conflicts." Bingo. You nailed that. Those are the things we just can't bear to see right now and the ones we're focused on sorting. I think it's important to point out that among all the threads here, and also in the voting, there are very different levels of issues. There are severe ones causing site or gallery breakage. Other issues are much smaller, like the one referenced above about needing to add singlepics via the WP media button vs NG button. Those issues are also behind the high broken votes.

    @toniclife: I really agree you have a right to expect at least reasonably smooth updates. This wasn't. I've assessed why in my letter above, but for now, the more important issue for us is just solving issues quickly now that it's done.

    -
    I know it will be time consuming for me if I spend a lot of time in this thread going back and forth, so I'm checking out for now, and I'm going to focus on just solving issues. I'll check back in another couple days. Again, each of you with issues have my sincere apologies. We're doing everything we can to right that now.

    Thanks,
    Erick
    (mods please don't delete the signature on this one so people know who is writing and my name is different from the username)

    [No problem. We don't object to people signing off with their name. It's all of the other stuff that people add to .sigs that is usually removed. :-) ]

  24. alpha911
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    # # # 87% - says something is broken # # #

    Hmm - I think many user click "broken", although in many cases only a (small) part does not work. photocrati-bashing is probably "in" at the moment. But for one of the biggest wordpress plugins of all time, unfortunately, the negative reactions and emotions are always around several times stronger than the positive reports.

    The big problem is, in my opinion, that nextgen 2 engages too hard in the wordpress system. In my eyes, this is not absolutely necessary in this form. Nextgen also should adhere to the standard methods - for example the proper and standard way enqueue of css and js or leave jquery-loading/register untouched. Nobody wants that nextgen totally messes up the source code.
    Cache plugins, combine js plugins, combine css plugins, google jquery Version 1.10.2 etc. should always work with or without nextgen. Currently, the nextgen loading of js and css is so funny or buggy that many of these plugins (for example autoptimize) do not work properly.

  25. esmi
    Forum Moderator
    Posted 1 year ago #

    Closing this topic as it is not longer contributing anything useful to the WordPress community.

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