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Policy on plugin developer with intrusive demands for donations (13 posts)

  1. guileshill
    Member
    Posted 3 years ago #

    Is there a policy to guide plugin developers in their way of asking for donatations? If so I'd like to see it and send it to Dennis Hoppe. His plugins are quite good but his approach to self promotion and requests for donations is rude and intrusive. Even after donating when I upgrade any of his plugins a donations screen that occupies nearly half of the dashboard page appears. On another of his plugins his promotion of a pro version of a plugin is placed into the plugins page and overwrites some of the details of adjacent plugins.

    He says he supports open source but his understanding of this is just plain wrong. He says he has done his job now it is his plugin user's responsibility to donate and he, in essence, dominates the dashboard until you do and then keeps on doing so after you have.

    Before I deal with him directly I should like to know if there is a guide to acceptable behaviour embraced by developers.

  2. What Dennis is doing is unattractive, but it's not in violation of GPL or Open Source. If you really can't stand it, you can fork the plugin and remove the nag screens.

  3. @mercime
    Volunteer Moderator
    Posted 3 years ago #

    I found it off-putting myself. I have donated to plugin developers and am glad about the reminder in their plugin's settings page in admin. Just got turned off with his big big donation reminder in the dashboard area which appeared in all dashboards of test multisite install. I chose not to use the plugin, but if you need the plugin check this thread for some solutions.

  4. Perfectly within your rights.

    I do hope that SOME people will donate to the plugin devs who make the plugins to drive their websites, though. Speaking as a dev, you rarely get even a couple bucks donation.

  5. esmi
    Theme Diva & Forum Moderator
    Posted 3 years ago #

    Speaking as a dev, you rarely get even a couple bucks donation.

    Loudly seconded.

  6. ax11
    Member
    Posted 3 years ago #

    Well, being a plugin -and a lot of other things- dev myself, I think this request should even go further: I'd -and I will in an extra thread- suggest a "not-annoying-plugin" badge exclusively for plugins that

    • are not panhandling in an aggressive way
    • do not require "registration" with untrusted third parties
    • are not only teasers for paid services

    The plugins section sometimes reminds me to certain areas in the net where you should never go with javascript allowed. I don't think this will have any positive effects on the long run.

  7. do not require "registration" with untrusted third parties

    Trust is in the eye of the beholder. YOU may trust Google with your stats. I may not. Etc etc. :/

    Openness is the key here, though.

  8. nv1962
    Member
    Posted 3 years ago #

    I'm with Ipstenu on this.

    Interesting because I just spent some time arguing a bit in a remotely related back-and-forth, over a new WP feature that in my opinion is "in your face" and yet here I am, defending relatively assertive reminders to donate by developers.

    The team of WordPress "core" developers and the legion of plugin developers out there, who have the fruits of their hard labor shared with the world via the canonical WP plugin and theme repository do that for free.

    Some developers also have a "premium" version, requiring some moolah to switch on extra features. Many have requests for donations, with a link. And yet many, many more are offered without even that. And on the other hand, those who require a paid license are not (anymore) in the open repository. And that's a good system, I think.

    I have no problem with "obtrusive" requests for donations. I do have a problem with "spyware" - i.e. plugins that have e.g. an image bug in them specifically for tracking purposes - and that is also where I think WP draws the line for inclusion in the repository.

    Absent that, it's a free world. Just as in theory I could stomp my little feet and move to different CMS (which I won't; WP is near-perfect in my opinion) people are free to not use a certain plugin that "just" begs for money to compensate the hard work put in by the developer.

    Heck, I think there should be a WP donation button for those inclined to support WP, in their tireless efforts to offer more and better options to do what you do with "their" software. But a more or less aggressive request for donations? If - and that's the key - a donation "gets rid" of it, I believe that's a fair and acceptable practice.

  9. If you see a plugin with spyware in the WordPress repo, PLEASE email plugins@wordpress.org ASAFP and tell them! Those are NOT allowed.

  10. ax11
    Member
    Posted 3 years ago #

    I do not trust anyone. Especially noone who has even remotely to do with search engines. And if I discover spyware or what I believe to be a rip-off anywhere I use to inform everyone within reach. Even if my occasionally drastic words are not always appreciated ;)
    And for the rest: I think a "donate" button is perfectly ok. I have not said a word against that. I just think that there should be an eye kept on some increasingly "creative" and proactive ways of monetarization. Some of them do not seem to leave the most positive impression to everyone and they might affect WPs overall reputation if left completely uncontrolled.

  11. nv1962
    Member
    Posted 3 years ago #

    A bit earlier, you made an interesting suggestion. That may be an avenue; I don't know how practical it would be. But it's an idea.

    Thing is, the line between "functionally reasonable" and "unacceptably intrusive" is very blurry.

    E.g., and just as one fairly obvious example: the WP Stats plugin doesn't "just" embed its own, obviously necessary JS calls home. I've also noticed calls to the QuantCast service, and I think that's perfectly legit for several reasons (e.g.: as a data integrity fall-back or back-up, or to provide a symbiotic service to the QC people so as to tweak their code logic to improve metrics accuracy for WP sites, etc.) This is in my view a "functionally reasonable" instance. Perhaps I could pick a nit over "disclosure" (which really isn't that nutty an argument, i.e. why would Google be "bad" yet QuantCast not?) but overall, in that case it's still an acceptable instance.

    Also: while Google due to its sheer gargantuan size inspires a lot of apprehension, I think the "little" bugs out there are the more troubling ones, just because they're much less visible than Google's. And it's even a security consideration, to not foster a plethora of bugs planted in the WP repository so I'm actually glad to see WP is aggressive about pursuit of the "unacceptably intrusive" cases.

    My point here is that it's nonetheless hard to make clear distinctions in general... It's a case-by-case evaluation, almost necessarily. And so it's up to the community to flag the suspect cases.

  12. ax11
    Member
    Posted 3 years ago #

    Point made. There are -as I see things- two possibilities of taking action:

    • the fundamental one, which is introduction of a -voluntary and optional- 'radically free' badge which means absolutely no registration, maximally one "donate" button, one link that can be opted out.
    • the alternative with votes and so on, which I see -at least partiall- implemented in the rating system, but should be extended in a way that any 'phone home'-routine or required registration must be mentioned (before installation)

    I far as I am into these things. the second point might even be necessary to conform with some European privacy laws. I am quite sure that this applies at least to Germany.

  13. sergeletko
    Member
    Posted 3 years ago #

    E-junkie is the best policy , either you make them free or you sell your plugins, but IN ANY CASE RESPECT YOUR CUSTOMERS !

    i'm selling some of my plugins, but for the others as they are free the's no support warranteed, i'm not begging

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