Thoughts about forum categories that have probably outlived their usefulness

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sozzled
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Thoughts about forum categories that have probably outlived their usefulness

Post by sozzled » Sat Nov 10, 2018 7:14 pm

As a volunteer member of this community it is not my place to tell the people who run this forum how they should run this forum; it is also not my place to tell people who visit this forum what kind of help they might receive when they visit this forum. Instead, I want to lay a few facts on the table about some of the expectations that people may have when they use the forum to seek support for problems that they may be experiencing with their Joomla websites.

Fact 1: There is no official support for any version of Joomla available via these forums. These forums are operated by volunteers who give their time freely to help others as best they can. Sometimes we may be able to offer step-by-step instructions; sometimes we may only be able to give general pointers to information and sometimes our advice might be confronting (that is to say, sometimes the best advice we can give is to inform people that their problems are bigger than they thought). Above all else, this is a self-help forum where it is up to people to choose to follow our advice or not.

Fact 2: There is only one stable version of Joomla available at this time (which is J! 3.9). All other versions of Joomla are obsolete, meaning that the Joomla CMS developers or bugsquad members will not be making patches for older versions that have reached their end of life. In order to further make this point clear, J! 1.0, J! 1.5, J! 1.6/1.7/2.5 are "officially" dead. J! 4 is currently in alpha testing; it is not yet stable. The reliability of releases of J! 3.x that pre-date J! 3.9.0 is entirely a matter for individuals who use them and the resourcefulness of the volunteers who may be able to give some advice.

Fact 3: Problems happen (and sometimes they happen without someone being aware that they've happened). The best way to prevent problems with websites is to keep them maintained with up-to-date software; talk with the people who run the webhosting services where websites are housed; make sure that you have a way of restoring your website so that, when problems happen, you can carry on "business as usual" while you find out how to deal with your problems. The success or failure to resolve problems is a matter for the people who own or manage websites; it's not "Joomla's fault" that something went wrong or that something can't be fixed.

Fact 4: Problems don't "just happen" because of updating to a newer version of Joomla. The cause of most problems is user negligence; I am as guilty of being negligent as the next person. When we analyse the causes of problems—particularly the problems that surface when we update from one version of J! to the next—we usually discover something that we put there, buried somewhere and for reasons that we cannot remember, and it may take hours (if not days) of painstaking detective work to discover that it was our fault that we didn't take the necessary precautions before we updated from one version of J! to the next.

Fact 5: There is no such thing as updating from J! 1.x to J! 3.x. Updating implies that it's something automatic that happens if you click a button. Migrating from J! 1.x to J! 3.x involves converting the database as well as replacing (or updating) sofware components; the process of migrating from J! 1.x to J! 3.x could take many hours (or days or weeks) before it's completed. On the other hand, updating from J! 3.8.13 to J! 3.9.0 might only take a few minutes.

Having outlined these facts, my question—primarily directed towards the people who manage and moderate the forum—concerns the continued usefulness of several forum categories that currently exist for people to seek "support" for obsolete (i.e. "officially" dead) versions of Joomla.

What are the benefits for members of the community to expect help regarding:

a) "reporting bugs" with;
b) finding "extensions" and "templates" for;
c) seeking assistance about "SEO" about;
d) "coding", in respect of;
e) continued operations with products (e.g. Google reCAPTCHA v1.0) that are officially dead, used with;
f) compliance with regulatory changes (e.g. the EU "cookie law" and GDPR) in respect of;
g) compatibility with webhosting business practices (e.g. discontinued support for outdated or deprecated versions of PHP) used with

J! 1.0, J! 1.5, J! 1.6/1.7/2.5?

If there are benefits in retaining the forum categories that relate to these matters, I should be grateful if someone would explain them to me. If there are no benefits in retaining these forum categories—if we, as members of the community want to send a clear message about what the word "obsolete" means—maybe it would be an idea if they were closed?
Last edited by sozzled on Sat Nov 10, 2018 8:10 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Thoughts about forum categories that have probably outlived their usefulness

Post by Webdongle » Sat Nov 10, 2018 7:52 pm

I second that. Please can all boards that are not Joomla 3 be locked ?
http://www.weblinksonline.co.uk/
https://www.weblinksonline.co.uk/updating-joomla.html
"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results": Albert Einstein

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Re: Thoughts about forum categories that have probably outlived their usefulness

Post by sozzled » Sat Nov 10, 2018 8:25 pm

Thanks, @Webdongle. I wasn't prepared to advocate a complete/wholesale closure of all forum categories that relate to [officially declared] "end-of-life" versions of Joomla. I still see some marginal benefits in allowing people to ask questions about migrating from older versions of Joomla as a pathway to migrating them to J! 3.9 (or whatever is the current stable release of Joomla). I also understand that some people may be stumped for answers about why EOL versions of Joomla cause problems (or become susceptible to attack) and to allow people to ask for advice about what might the best way(s) forward.

Even though these kinds of questions have been asked thousands of times before, it may not hurt if people ask them again (although we'll probably just give the same answers to those same questions). Asking the same question doesn't produce different results (as a general rule).

Sometimes—very rarely—I see people provide new insights about old versions of Joomla, ways of tackling environmental change (e.g. using Google reCAPTCHA v2.0) with old versions of Joomla as a way of perpetuating the life of websites built with these old versions of Joomla. For those reasons, it may not necessarily be a good idea to completely shutdown all the forum categories relating to antiquated versions of Joomla.

Perhaps a few "general questions" or "how to migrate" categories may still be useful. I really can't say. I'm not disagreeing with you, @Webdongle, but I'm not sure that it would be a good thing either. :)
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Re: Thoughts about forum categories that have probably outlived their usefulness

Post by Webdongle » Sat Nov 10, 2018 9:08 pm

There are several guides in J3 migration forum about migrating to J3 from previous versions.
http://www.weblinksonline.co.uk/
https://www.weblinksonline.co.uk/updating-joomla.html
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Re: Thoughts about forum categories that have probably outlived their usefulness

Post by ooffick » Sat Nov 10, 2018 11:52 pm

We will look into this, but I do not think we will lock or archive all the old version forums.

In any case I have locked the installation forums for those old versions.

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Re: Thoughts about forum categories that have probably outlived their usefulness

Post by Webdongle » Sun Nov 11, 2018 12:13 am

Well I can see that users with old versions need somewhere to post ... because if they don't post we can tell them we dont support the old versions. And If they had nowhere to post we could not reply telling them we wont support them until they upgrade.

But if the boards for the old versions were locked then users could post their 1.5/2.5 problems on the general board ... we can just as easily reply there that we don't support older versions.
http://www.weblinksonline.co.uk/
https://www.weblinksonline.co.uk/updating-joomla.html
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Re: Thoughts about forum categories that have probably outlived their usefulness

Post by sozzled » Sun Nov 11, 2018 12:21 am

ooffick wrote:
Sat Nov 10, 2018 11:52 pm
We will look into this, but I do not think we will lock or archive all the old version forums.

In any case I have locked the installation forums for those old versions.
I'm fairly sure you'll change your mind (about locking old forum categories) over time. Good start by locking down the "Installing J!" for all those ancient forums! Keep going. :laugh:
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Re: Thoughts about forum categories that have probably outlived their usefulness

Post by Per Yngve Berg » Sun Nov 11, 2018 8:30 am

Forums such as beta testing of 1.0-2.5 and 3.x can be entirely deleted.

It's even worse on many of the international forums. Many sub-forums for obsolete versions and none for current version.

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Re: Thoughts about forum categories that have probably outlived their usefulness

Post by sozzled » Sun Nov 11, 2018 5:59 pm

I think that the next forum categories to lock are:
  1. Performance - 1.0.x viewforum.php?f=268
  2. Performance - Joomla! 1.5 viewforum.php?f=433
  3. Performance - Joomla 2.5 viewforum.php?f=616
"Performance" is, to some extent, dependent on the version of PHP (and possibly the version of webserver software) used on the webhost. With J! 1.0 dependent on PHP 4 and J! 1.5 or J! 2.5 dependent on PHP 5, these versions of PHP either obsolete or at end-of-life—really the only way to improve the performance of J! 1.0, J! 1.5 or J! 1.6/1.7/2.5 is to migrate the sites to J! 3.x and (if performance is at the key issue) to use PHP 7.x.

There are obvious other practices that people can employ (that are peripheral to the improvements with the evolution of in PHP, such as caching, compression and reducing the number of HTTP requests) but I don't believe our primary focus involves suggestions for short-term improvements in respect of websites that were created five, ten or more years ago. There may be other benefits by changing the webhosting platform ... and good luck if you can still find webhosting providers who offer software "support" for J! 1.0 or J! 1.5.

It is a well-established principle among website developers that sites need to be overhauled and made-over about every two years; sites that are not overhauled or "updated" tend to become forgotten or considered relics not worth the trouble involved in visiting them.

I hope that my latest suggestion—to close the "performance" categories for versions of Joomla that are no longer in active development—will be considered favourably. Thanks.
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Re: Thoughts about forum categories that have probably outlived their usefulness

Post by Webdongle » Sun Nov 11, 2018 6:52 pm

Would it be easier to say all except? That would be a shorter list than the ones to lock.
http://www.weblinksonline.co.uk/
https://www.weblinksonline.co.uk/updating-joomla.html
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Re: Thoughts about forum categories that have probably outlived their usefulness

Post by sozzled » Sun Nov 11, 2018 7:14 pm

Webdongle wrote:
Sun Nov 11, 2018 6:52 pm
Would it be easier to say all except? That would be a shorter list than the ones to lock.
Of course it would be easier to say that (and I've written something along those lines before: see viewtopic.php?f=7&t=960705) and look where that got me! :-[

Therefore, based on my past experiences, it may be too adventurous to recommend wholesale closure of large portions of the forum and because those, who manage the forum, are (shall we say) "risk averse" to too much radical change, I've decided to approach this matter differently. ;)

By tackling one small portion of the problem, one piece at a time, I'm hoping that the end result—the ultimate closure of these obsolete parts of the forum—will eventually be realised. It will take time and some of the suggestions will be controversial. I'm just trying to steer a cautious path and avoid the opprobrium of certain key players—they know who they are—who have strongly resisted the suggestions that I've made in the past.

One thing is patently clear from the recent changes that we've seen: the level of nuisance, spam and necroposting forum abuse has been significantly reduced. The forum moderators are now exercising their powers without being hamstrung in having to facilitate discussions on dead issues and their obligations to the community to arbitrate in such matters (regardless of their personal views).

I haven't seen much involvement from the forum moderators in respect of my suggestions about locking categories or topics. Perhaps they disagree with me; perhaps they agree with me. I don't know. Maybe they feel it's better to stay clear of the argument and allow things to evolve without their public involvement?
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