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[Plugin: Plugin Register] I Just don't like this one (6 posts)

  1. houseofstrauss
    Member
    Posted 4 years ago #

    This is not a reaction comment as I've thought about the plugin for a while before writing.

    I think this code is potentially intrusive and prying. Although I understand your rationale for the developer to track where his/her plugin is used, the concept of secretly reporting back site URLs is not IMHO the right way to do it.

    some websites are deliberately covert, not for sinister reasons only, but as a matter of security and sensitivity of content. This code has the potential to expose anonymous websites without their knowing.

    For example, I have developed sites for the Diplomatic service and my clients insist on minimal tracability except to members. OK, wordpress is not the best pl;atform for that, but this development makes thinks worse. I will personally check for this code and strip it out if found.

    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/plugin-register/

  2. Chris Taylor
    Member
    Posted 4 years ago #

    Hi, thanks for your feedback. I think I agree with you, and the issue of private (i.e. hidden, registration-only or behind-firewall) sites is not one I considered. There is still clearly a market for this kind of plugin, but it does need to be handled carefully.

    Therefore I have added some text to the description of all of my plugins which use Plugin Register to explain what it does, and ask people not to use the plugin if the aren't happy with me being notified. I've also added a section to the plugin readme entitled "Privacy" that explains this issue and stresses that plugin developers should walk carefully.

    I'm also considering making the registration of plugins an optional thing triggered by an explicit user action. Something like "Thank you for installing this plugin. Click here to register your site with the plugin developer so they know you are using their plugin."

    The other issue I've begun to think about is when plugins are used on sites which developers do not agree with, either for moral, religious, idealistic or other reasons. Even in the last 24 hours I've seen some sites using my plugins which I'm not sure if they asked me directly (rather than just downloading the plugin from the repository) I'd be happy allowing them to use my work. However, that is the point of Open Source software.

    The only difference that Plugin Register makes with either of these issues is it makes the developer aware of where their work is being used. That can have, I can see now, both positive and negative results. I think I need to do a lot more thinking about this.

  3. houseofstrauss
    Member
    Posted 4 years ago #

    Hi MrWiblog, I'm glad you are reconsidering the privacy factors in this. And yes, you are right sometimes 'knowing' where a plugin has been used, in some rare cases raises moral dilemmas. Discovering a plugin has been used on an illeagal site might conflict with a developers conscience to 'do something about it' rather than turn a blind eye. That spawns more issues beyond the scope of this discussion.

    In the interest of fair play, you are right to expose the tracking function as an option in the installation stage. This at least keeps things above board and in the open. Let's hope other developers don't take a more covert approach with this concept.

    Thanks for your feedback.

  4. Chris Taylor
    Member
    Posted 4 years ago #

    Yes, I think making registration a manual thing is the right way forward. The likelyhood is that many users will choose not to register, but even if just a few do it's still better than nohing.

    Doing it that way makes the plugin more complex, so I'll work on a new version as soon as I can.

  5. Chris Taylor
    Member
    Posted 4 years ago #

    I've changed this plugin so registration is no longer automatic. Instead a message is shown to the user who activates a plugin asking them to register. There are a few options, for example you can override the default registration message and thanks message, and the code is simpler.

    This will lead to a lower number of registrations, but it honours the privacy of users and sites.

  6. Chris Taylor
    Member
    Posted 4 years ago #

    The latest version (0.3) makes the registration of plugins a manual operation, meaning that users can choose not to register.

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