WordPress.org

Ready to get started?Download WordPress

Forums

[Plugin: Automatic WordPress Backup] Plugin Adds Link without Permission, Breaks Repository Guidelin (25 posts)

  1. clindsey
    Member
    Posted 4 years ago #

    This plugin, Automatic WordPress Backup, breaks the WordPress Plugin Repository Guidelines. Restriction #4 is:

    The plugin must not embed external links on the public site (like a "powered by" link) without explicitly asking the user's permission.

    This plugin automatically adds a link to the footer of the public-facing website with a link to the Web Design Company:

    echo '<p>Powered by Web Design Company Plugins</p>';

    There is an option to turn off the link (rather coyly), but by default, the plugin places the link in the footer of the public site. The plugin file with the link is /automatic-wordpress-backup/wdc/wdc.class.php.

    I really like this plugin, but it is doing something wrong.

    Btw, why doesn't WordPress search the entire plugins archive for "Powered by". That might get rid of some of these plugins.

    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/automatic-wordpress-backup/

  2. Mark Jaquith
    WordPress Lead Dev
    Posted 4 years ago #

    Btw, why doesn't WordPress search the entire plugins archive for "Powered by". That might get rid of some of these plugins.

    It's tedious work. It often involves installing the plugin. We're handling them as they're reported. Hopefully awareness will spread, and more plugin authors will correct without getting a suspension or an e-mail from us!

  3. clindsey
    Member
    Posted 4 years ago #

    Mark,
    Is something happening with this plugin/plugin author then? Or do I need to contact Dan? Thanks for the response.

  4. melvinram
    Member
    Posted 4 years ago #

    Hi Mark,

    I'm the owner of WebDesignCompany.net, the company sponsoring the development of the plugin. My first gut reaction to this is that it doesn't seem right for multiple reasons. I'm going to take the weekend to think about this topic before responding further.

    Melvin Ram

  5. clindsey
    Member
    Posted 4 years ago #

    Melvin,

    I don't understand your post. What doesn't seem right?

    To me this seems pretty cut-and-dry: I install this plugin, activate it, and then a link appears on the front-page of my website. It doesn't ask the user permission to show the link. The Guidelines specifically mention "Powered by..." links, which your plugin shows by default.

  6. melvinram
    Member
    Posted 4 years ago #

    The guideline seems new as it's not showing in the Internet Archives for that page and by "not right" I meant with guideline is unfair and wrong. Instead of trying to think out loud here, I'll respond in a clear, well thought out manner once I've gathered my thoughts.

  7. MacMacken
    Member
    Posted 4 years ago #

    @melvinram: Have you been able to gather your thoughts?

    The above-mentioned guidelines apply only to plugins hosted by WordPress. It is therefore your choice: Comply with the guidelines or remove the plugin from the WordPress plugin directory.

  8. clindsey
    Member
    Posted 4 years ago #

    Agreed. @melvinram, any response?

  9. traag1
    Member
    Posted 4 years ago #

    @melvinram:

    I can understand that you probably feel that after all the work you done to create a clean and useful plugin for the community to use that you deserve some recognition for those efforts, but consider this:

    1. Everyone who uses your plugin will know who you are, so you are already getting positive recognition from them.

    2. No one who reads their blogs care about the "powered by" links anyway; I certainly ignore them by default. I mean, are you assuming that everyone who reads a WordPress blog also owns and moderates one, and could make use of a WordPress Backup plugin? Besides, the blogs all use themes, which were most likely not designed by you, so I don't see how a "powered by" link is effective advertising you on the average Jo's WordPress blog anyway.

    3. Like it or not, the guidelines are in place for a reason. My blogs average about 8-9 plugins or more apiece. Can you imagine if there was a powered by link for each and every one of those? All those links would clutter the blog and distract from what was important in the first place: the content. The average blog reader doesn't care what plugins a blog admin uses on their blog.

    4. Your true audience are the people who are using your product, in this case the WordPress Backup plugin, and by not following a very basic guideline you will establish yourself as unethical and probably get your plugin removed from the repository altogether. See in this one instance how Clindsey, who otherwise really likes your plugin, is now feeling rather negative about your product because he feels you have infringed upon his personal blog space with your advertisement without his permission? What's really "not right" here?

    5. I think you'll find that if you politely give the users of your plugin the OPTION to place your link on their blog, many of them probably will. And even if they don't, you've already demonstrated your expertise to them, and they will have a positive reaction to you, your product and your company. Isn't THAT what you really want?

    So please, take your time gathering your thoughts, and if you still feel that following the clearly outlined guidelines to hosting your plugin in the official repository are unfair or "not right" feel free to host them on your site instead.

  10. clindsey
    Member
    Posted 4 years ago #

    Neither the developer or the "sponsor" of this plugin have responded for 6 days now (and they haven't responded to the issue at all). I would ask that a moderator take a look at this plugin and ask the owners to make the link option turned OFF by default or remove the plugin. Again...

    The Plugin Repository guidelines say:

    The plugin must not embed external links on the public site (like a "powered by" link) without explicitly asking the user's permission.

    This plugin automatically adds a link in the footer of the public-facing website to the Web Design Company. There is an option to turn off the link (rather coyly), but by default, the plugin places the link in the footer of the public site. The plugin file with the link is /automatic-wordpress-backup/wdc/wdc.class.php.

  11. melvinram
    Member
    Posted 4 years ago #

    A) Chris Lindsey, please don't use the plugin. PLEASE don't.

    B) I'm in discussions with Mark Jaquith to figure out an appropriate way to handle this that would meet WP.org's new guidelines and still provide enough incentive for continuous support and development.

    C) traag1 - You make some valid points, though when considering what ends up happening in reality, a lot of them don't hold up. I'll go into depth with this once I've figure out the exact direction we're going with the plugin after I reach agreement with Mark.

  12. clindsey
    Member
    Posted 4 years ago #

    Still no update on this plugin?

    Melvin, I apologize for any harsh feelings between us. I really like your plugin and utilize it, but I think the version on the WordPress plugin repository needs to be changed or removed as it pretty clearly violates the guidelines..

  13. Chip Bennett
    Theme Review Admin
    Posted 4 years ago #

    While you're waiting for a response, you can easily remove the footer credits, using the following steps:

    1) In your plugins directory, open /automatic-wordpress-backup/wdc/wdc.class.php (either within your backend, or using your text editor of choice)

    2) Find the following code on Line #78

    add_action('wp_footer', array(&$wdc_settings, 'credits'));

    3) Comment out the line, by placing two forward slashes in front, as such:

    \\ add_action('wp_footer', array(&$wdc_settings, 'credits'));

    Now the credit text will no longer be added to the footer.

  14. melvinram
    Member
    Posted 4 years ago #

    You could just do it the easy way and turn off the credits using the mechanism we've included. No code hacking needed.

    Also, if you comment out that code above, your hack will go away when you update to newer versions which may result in the credit line showing up unexpectedly... and you might get mad at us for providing a free plugin (that others are selling for $150), supporting it and asking for some credit in exchange.

    If you do it using the mechanism we include, your choice of not showing the credit line will be remembered and it won't out of the blue show the link. I'd recommend this approach if you want to hide the link.

    PS: We have reached an agree of how we'll be handling the credits part. The new approach will go into effect once v2 is out of beta and ready for release.

  15. clindsey
    Member
    Posted 4 years ago #

    you might get mad at us for providing a free plugin (that others are selling for $150), supporting it and asking for some credit in exchange

    Melvin, there are a lot of folks out there who provide great plugins that don't embed links in a site without asking permission.

  16. melvinram
    Member
    Posted 4 years ago #

    Yep, and that is exactly why a lot of plugins are left abandoned without someone else to adopt them.

  17. Chip Bennett
    Theme Review Admin
    Posted 4 years ago #

    You could just do it the easy way and turn off the credits using the mechanism we've included. No code hacking needed.

    Ah, I've not yet actually installed the plugin. I assumed that, since others were asking how to disable the credits, that no option was presented.

    So, kudos to you for including the option.

    and you might get mad at us for providing a free plugin (that others are selling for $150), supporting it and asking for some credit in exchange

    I've heard this argument before, and do not find it to be persuasive. In fact, the underlying argument falls contrary to the wording of the GPL and GNU's stated definition of free software.

    (It is very good that you provide an option for displaying a credit link. If you did not do so, I would argue that you would be in violation of the GPL for displaying a credit link without providing the end user an option.)

    PS: We have reached an agree of how we'll be handling the credits part. The new approach will go into effect once v2 is out of beta and ready for release.

    I assume that the change in Version 2 will simply be to default the credits-display option to disabled?

    Yep, and that is exactly why a lot of plugins are left abandoned without someone else to adopt them.

    Say what?!? Plugins not embedding links in a site without asking permission is "exactly why a lot of plugins are left abandoned"?

    That makes no sense whatsoever, and I challenge you to try to support that assertion empirically.

    I look forward to trying out Version 2, by the way. It looks like it will definitely meet a current need, and if it does so, I will be happy to write a positive review (which I believe will provide far more "support" than a footer credit link).

  18. melvinram
    Member
    Posted 4 years ago #

    Chip,

    What I meant by "Yep, and that is exactly why a lot of plugins are left abandoned without someone else to adopt them" is that without real world incentives to continue development, interest fades over time. For a long time I wondered why some of my favorite plugins were not being updated to work with the newest version of WP.

    After this plugin, it's clear to me why and I am sympathetic to them. Just a quick search on Google will show lots of articles on the topic. Plugins need to be self-sustaining to grow and become as good as they can be.

    I've got an ambitious mission for this plugin: simple, automated backup for all WordPress websites. We had a good start with v1. With v2, we're making a lot more progress but we're still not where I want it to be... so it'll take even more time and money (Dan isn't programming this for free. He is a really great programmer so I wouldn't have it any other way.)

    Donations don't add up to much and lead people to build up ultra high expectations which is why we stopped allowing/accepting donations. Projects & clients earned as a result of the plugin are minimal for us.

    For us, the links that we've gained through the generosity of the people who have left the link active has allowed us to continue development and support.

    I definitely prefer an honest review over the footer link. In fact, a lot of times I get in touch with people who leave the footer link to suggest that so thank you for already thinking along those lines.

    The change in Version 2 with regard to the credit line will be that it will make you decide if you want to add the credit line or not. It won't be disabled or enabled by default and will be a required to select one before the plugin will function.

    I hope this sheds a little light on where we're coming from.

  19. Chip Bennett
    Theme Review Admin
    Posted 4 years ago #

    Melvin,

    I agree that good code work deserves to be compensated, and that it doesn't - and shouldn't - come for free.

    If this plugin works as advertised - and as per your ambitious goal - I see no reason why you shouldn't just adopt a pay-model for the plugin. Take a look at GravityForms, or Shopp, or Ajax Edit Comments (or, even better, the forthcoming VaultPress from Automattic).

    Whether you settled on a single-payment-for-download model, or a monthly/yearly subscription model, automatic, off-site (i.e. off-webhost-server) backups (especially with ability to restore from backup) are something many, many people would find to be of enough value to pay for.

    For instance, I am in the process of moving my modest, 2GB (and growing, thanks to having kids now :) ) photo collection from Flickr to my own host. I've been paying $25/year to Flickr. I don't think it would be hard to convince me to pay that same amount for automated, off-site backup and restore for my entire (WordPress-driven) website and database.

  20. melvinram
    Member
    Posted 4 years ago #

    It's something that goes against the 'all WordPress websites' part of our mission so that's why we didn't go down that road. We don't think everyone can/would pay for a backup plugin but everyone can write a review or add a footer link so that's why we settled with that.
    Now with a website that is as large as 2GB, we've found that you might encounter the problem of PHP timing out and just creating lots and lots of temporary files. So I would either recommend not using this backup tool on your really big site (1GB or higher) or set your time out limit much higher than usual.

    Also, keep an eye on the AWB folder in the first few days to make sure it's not creating lots of temporary files. The plugin cleans them up when it's finishing up but if it times out, it can't clean it up and know that it was backed up... so it'll try again... and again... and again.

    Hope that makes sense.

  21. Chip Bennett
    Theme Review Admin
    Posted 4 years ago #

    Melvin,

    Does AWB perform backups incrementally, or does it re-create full backups each time? (I'm wondering if the PHP time-out issue will be a one-time thing, or something that I'd have to account for continuously.)

  22. melvinram
    Member
    Posted 4 years ago #

    It does a full backup each time. That way each backup is a snapshot of your website and it's easy to restore from any given point in time.

  23. Chip Bennett
    Theme Review Admin
    Posted 4 years ago #

    That does make restoring from backup very easy.

    Have you ever considered optional functionality for incremental backup (at least of files, or even just wp-content?

    Full database backup and incremental file backup would be awesome! The trade-off, of course, would be ease-of-use. But, if those uncomfortable with re-installing WP or re-importing a backed-up database have the option of full backup/restore, while those comfortable with those tasks could optionally select incremental backup, you would have one awesome product.

    (As it is, I somewhat cringe at the thought of transferring 2BG+ to S3 on every backup, when 99.9% of those files will be forever unchanged.)

  24. melvinram
    Member
    Posted 4 years ago #

    Yea, I hear you. I'll keep that in mind for the future.

  25. dkats
    Member
    Posted 3 years ago #

    Melvin,
    thank for the great plugin,
    works for us like a charm :)

    One little thing I wanted to note however -
    I used new amazon IAM system to create access keys that had minimal possible permissions - only for particular bucket and nothing else.

    When presented with those access keys, plugin errors out in S3.php line 87, when it tried to run S3::listBuckets (which is obviously is denied).

    Since it doesn't allow to type the name of the existing bucket,
    using the interface you are stuck...

    I worked it around by temporarily giving it access keys to see all buckets, selecting the right bucket and when changing the keys.

    Everything else works great -
    thank you for your good work :)
    David

Topic Closed

This topic has been closed to new replies.

About this Topic