Details

    • Type: Sub-task Sub-task
    • Status: Open
    • Priority: Minor Minor
    • Resolution: Unresolved
    • Affects Version/s: 2.3
    • Fix Version/s: DEV backlog
    • Component/s: Forum
    • Labels:
      None
    • Affected Branches:
      MOODLE_23_STABLE
    • Rank:
      42476

      Description

      An issue to gather technical/review comments of forumng

        Activity

        Hide
        Dan Poltawski added a comment -

        Adding some OU people here. Note i'm just creating this issue early to record thoughts early, feel free to ignore

        Show
        Dan Poltawski added a comment - Adding some OU people here. Note i'm just creating this issue early to record thoughts early, feel free to ignore
        Hide
        Dan Poltawski added a comment -

        Well, I didn't get very far before I ran out of effort this evening

        1. Currently blocked by CONTRIB-3681 (aka mod_forumng_filemanager_evilhack/mod_forumng_filemanager_evilhack_requires). I haven't yet fully understood the problem (as to why this is required). But clearly we need to make core make this unnecessary
        2. When installing, some of the settings made me think:
          1. forumng_feedtype and forumng_feedtype both seem to be able to control the 'disabled' state which is weird considering they are both system level flags
          2. forumng_showusername/idnumber I don't think is 'moodley' - there are capabilites/global settings for this now, I think?
          3. forumng_enableadvanced could we drop that setting and always ahve the advanced features enabled?
          4. forumng_reportunacceptable (and the course module level setting) are sort of unsusual for moodle. We notify graders using capabilities. However an email address might make more sense here. Open question - do we have a wider need for some reporting system like this in Moodle?
          5. forumng_usebcc - is a weird setting. From a server point of view, i'm not sure that using bcc like this really helps - if the mail has to be sent on to 1000 different mail servers its just as tricky. Also it prevents techniques like VERP from working. My viewpoint on this is that its really the job of the MTA to do this kind of thing.
            1. QUESTION to investigate: does forumng use mailing list headers like moodle does? I think thats a very useful feature that would be wise to loose.
        3. create_instance_from_record_public - custom 'hack'
        Show
        Dan Poltawski added a comment - Well, I didn't get very far before I ran out of effort this evening Currently blocked by CONTRIB-3681 (aka mod_forumng_filemanager_evilhack/mod_forumng_filemanager_evilhack_requires). I haven't yet fully understood the problem (as to why this is required). But clearly we need to make core make this unnecessary When installing, some of the settings made me think: forumng_feedtype and forumng_feedtype both seem to be able to control the 'disabled' state which is weird considering they are both system level flags forumng_showusername/idnumber I don't think is 'moodley' - there are capabilites/global settings for this now, I think? forumng_enableadvanced could we drop that setting and always ahve the advanced features enabled? forumng_reportunacceptable (and the course module level setting) are sort of unsusual for moodle. We notify graders using capabilities. However an email address might make more sense here. Open question - do we have a wider need for some reporting system like this in Moodle? forumng_usebcc - is a weird setting. From a server point of view, i'm not sure that using bcc like this really helps - if the mail has to be sent on to 1000 different mail servers its just as tricky. Also it prevents techniques like VERP from working. My viewpoint on this is that its really the job of the MTA to do this kind of thing. QUESTION to investigate: does forumng use mailing list headers like moodle does? I think thats a very useful feature that would be wise to loose. create_instance_from_record_public - custom 'hack'
        Hide
        Dan Poltawski added a comment -

        About 1, I just saw comment on Sam's blog from Sam, heh:

        I think it's something to do with the file manager / HTML editor - there is some really specialised code in order to get the HTML editor (with accompanying file manager) to appear dynamically within the discussion page. I remember writing it that I was doing my best to make it cope with changes, but felt it would still be pretty fragile.
        It might well be better to rewrite this code to use an iframe for the editor during reply/edit operations so that it can be displayed 'normally'.

        Show
        Dan Poltawski added a comment - About 1, I just saw comment on Sam's blog from Sam, heh: I think it's something to do with the file manager / HTML editor - there is some really specialised code in order to get the HTML editor (with accompanying file manager) to appear dynamically within the discussion page. I remember writing it that I was doing my best to make it cope with changes, but felt it would still be pretty fragile. It might well be better to rewrite this code to use an iframe for the editor during reply/edit operations so that it can be displayed 'normally'.
        Hide
        Sam Marshall added a comment - - edited

        You got my opinion on the html editor stuff The way it was coded made good sense in 1.9 (it meant there were literally no server requests when triggering the editor) but makes a lot less sense in 2.0 with the file manager stuff, so I think iframe would be preferable. (There may still be some difficulties in getting the editor - or more accurately, the e.g. reply form which includes the editor - 'on its own' in the iframe without a border and stuff, and to do with resizing the editor, though, so it won't be a walk in the park.)

        Regarding the other ones:

        1 System level flags - I'm not particularly happy with how this works - one goal which they do I believe achieve and I think is important, is that it should be possible to fix the options at system level so that they don't appear on each forum, making the forum settings form simpler. However there is a question as to whether you should EVER have that option on individual forum (see next).

        1b RELATED NOTE - I'm also not happy with the 'limit on number of items' format for RSS/Atom feed items in forum (which was taken from standard forum originally) - I think this should (a) use a date as well, so it can be e.g. 'last 10 items or the last 24 hours of posts, whichever is more', and (b) not be a configurable option at all even in admin settings, it should just be fixed to something reasonable (like what I just said).

        2 Yes there is global setting (which I implemented), these should be removed.

        3 Probably, I can't remember what it does

        4 This feature is important for us (without it we cannot offer open-to-the-public forums unless there is a paid moderator for each one, which is impractical), but I don't like the way it's currently implemented in forum as it's possible you may want to use that feature in other activities (in fact I think we do want to do that, at some point). We were considering making a local plugin, but it could also be a core subsystem. Note: you could implement it as a block independent from activities like forum, but for reporting, it's rather helpful to indicate which post you have a problem with, so we didn't think that was a good solution.

        5 Yes the BCC feature should be deleted. It probably doesn't work any more anyhow. I think over half of the processing time is spent generating messages rather than waiting for the mailserver, anyhow. But, to note, I think to be 'Moodle 2-y' it should use the horrid notifications system instead.

        5.1 I don't think we currently support headers in email but we definitely should at some point, this is a feature request we already have here.

        Show
        Sam Marshall added a comment - - edited You got my opinion on the html editor stuff The way it was coded made good sense in 1.9 (it meant there were literally no server requests when triggering the editor) but makes a lot less sense in 2.0 with the file manager stuff, so I think iframe would be preferable. (There may still be some difficulties in getting the editor - or more accurately, the e.g. reply form which includes the editor - 'on its own' in the iframe without a border and stuff, and to do with resizing the editor, though, so it won't be a walk in the park.) Regarding the other ones: 1 System level flags - I'm not particularly happy with how this works - one goal which they do I believe achieve and I think is important, is that it should be possible to fix the options at system level so that they don't appear on each forum, making the forum settings form simpler. However there is a question as to whether you should EVER have that option on individual forum (see next). 1b RELATED NOTE - I'm also not happy with the 'limit on number of items' format for RSS/Atom feed items in forum (which was taken from standard forum originally) - I think this should (a) use a date as well, so it can be e.g. 'last 10 items or the last 24 hours of posts, whichever is more', and (b) not be a configurable option at all even in admin settings, it should just be fixed to something reasonable (like what I just said). 2 Yes there is global setting (which I implemented), these should be removed. 3 Probably, I can't remember what it does 4 This feature is important for us (without it we cannot offer open-to-the-public forums unless there is a paid moderator for each one, which is impractical), but I don't like the way it's currently implemented in forum as it's possible you may want to use that feature in other activities (in fact I think we do want to do that, at some point). We were considering making a local plugin, but it could also be a core subsystem. Note: you could implement it as a block independent from activities like forum, but for reporting, it's rather helpful to indicate which post you have a problem with, so we didn't think that was a good solution. 5 Yes the BCC feature should be deleted. It probably doesn't work any more anyhow. I think over half of the processing time is spent generating messages rather than waiting for the mailserver, anyhow. But, to note, I think to be 'Moodle 2-y' it should use the horrid notifications system instead. 5.1 I don't think we currently support headers in email but we definitely should at some point, this is a feature request we already have here.
        Hide
        Dan Poltawski added a comment -

        Regarding 4. Note to be clear that I think that we do want that feature in Moodle, i'm just not sure if a single address per forum makes 'moodley' sense. In fact Helen is crying out for something similar on moodle.org

        Show
        Dan Poltawski added a comment - Regarding 4. Note to be clear that I think that we do want that feature in Moodle, i'm just not sure if a single address per forum makes 'moodley' sense. In fact Helen is crying out for something similar on moodle.org
        Hide
        Sam Marshall added a comment -

        Oh I see. Yes using a capability would be a perfectly fine approach. We probably just did it that way because it was easy (to develop and for end users) not because we actually rejected the capability option.

        Show
        Sam Marshall added a comment - Oh I see. Yes using a capability would be a perfectly fine approach. We probably just did it that way because it was easy (to develop and for end users) not because we actually rejected the capability option.
        Hide
        David Mudrak added a comment -

        Just went quickly through the post-install setup and mod_form (then was blocked by CONTRIB-3681). So some quick notes

        • Could "Email for reporting offensive posts" be replaced with "Allow reporting of offensive posts" which would a) mark the reported post internally so there is an in-built report of them and b) use the standard Messaging and notification system to inform relevant users (chosen by capability I would say). As far as I can see, alert.php just sends the email and logs it.
        • Can you consider being brave and implement support for advanced grading methods? Using rubrics to assess forum post, glossary entries and database entries has been seen as very-nice-to-have feature by some people I talked to.
        • Do you plan to implement the Questions & Answers forum type? From what I know, Petr would really like to see a separate mod_news so the mod_forum(ng) would be intended to "real" discussions with threads and everything, while News would be a simpler module for notice boards in courses (no replies, no ratings, just optional comments, more control over the display period etc). Or maybe just a "course module frontend" for a block_news instance.
        Show
        David Mudrak added a comment - Just went quickly through the post-install setup and mod_form (then was blocked by CONTRIB-3681 ). So some quick notes Could "Email for reporting offensive posts" be replaced with "Allow reporting of offensive posts" which would a) mark the reported post internally so there is an in-built report of them and b) use the standard Messaging and notification system to inform relevant users (chosen by capability I would say). As far as I can see, alert.php just sends the email and logs it. Can you consider being brave and implement support for advanced grading methods? Using rubrics to assess forum post, glossary entries and database entries has been seen as very-nice-to-have feature by some people I talked to. Do you plan to implement the Questions & Answers forum type? From what I know, Petr would really like to see a separate mod_news so the mod_forum(ng) would be intended to "real" discussions with threads and everything, while News would be a simpler module for notice boards in courses (no replies, no ratings, just optional comments, more control over the display period etc). Or maybe just a "course module frontend" for a block_news instance.
        Hide
        Sam Marshall added a comment -

        1. The offensive post reporting feature works by just typing an address because that is easy for admin to set up (more important for individual forum than at system level, obviously). I don't think that's a critical requirement, so yes it could be changed as suggested. See also my comments above - basically I wonder if this should be a generic facility defined by system and enabled e.g. per-context, and not just part of forum code (i.e. what if people want to report an offensive wiki edit or something). Probably needs a proper design and stuff. Using capabilities would make sense.

        2. I don't know anything about advanced grading methods, however ForumNG will very soon have support for 'grading by contribution' (I'm code reviewing this now) which is the feature also supported by oublog and ouwiki. Basically, the way you grade users by rating posts is useful in rare cases, but more often you want the teacher to grade users (i.e. have an index of users and you can click and see all the posts they made all together, and then assign a grade), which is what grading by contribution does. If advanced grading methods are added, I hope it is to this new page which isn't there yet rather than to the rating stuff.

        3a. The OU has just released block_news, I would encourage you to consider that if you didn't already It actually works on moodle 2.3 and I did a screencast about it, http://learn.open.ac.uk/mod/oublog/viewpost.php?post=116717

        3b. I think we would like to implement the Q&A forum type but this has never come to the top of a priority list yet.

        Regarding 3b and what development we do in general - I don't know whether any development time has been assigned for us to make ForumNG changes in order to make it easier for community to accept it. I think it should be possible to get this time assigned but it might be helpful if the request came from Martin to my boss For example, you could request that we make all the changes listed in this issue.

        Show
        Sam Marshall added a comment - 1. The offensive post reporting feature works by just typing an address because that is easy for admin to set up (more important for individual forum than at system level, obviously). I don't think that's a critical requirement, so yes it could be changed as suggested. See also my comments above - basically I wonder if this should be a generic facility defined by system and enabled e.g. per-context, and not just part of forum code (i.e. what if people want to report an offensive wiki edit or something). Probably needs a proper design and stuff. Using capabilities would make sense. 2. I don't know anything about advanced grading methods, however ForumNG will very soon have support for 'grading by contribution' (I'm code reviewing this now) which is the feature also supported by oublog and ouwiki. Basically, the way you grade users by rating posts is useful in rare cases, but more often you want the teacher to grade users (i.e. have an index of users and you can click and see all the posts they made all together, and then assign a grade), which is what grading by contribution does. If advanced grading methods are added, I hope it is to this new page which isn't there yet rather than to the rating stuff. 3a. The OU has just released block_news, I would encourage you to consider that if you didn't already It actually works on moodle 2.3 and I did a screencast about it, http://learn.open.ac.uk/mod/oublog/viewpost.php?post=116717 3b. I think we would like to implement the Q&A forum type but this has never come to the top of a priority list yet. Regarding 3b and what development we do in general - I don't know whether any development time has been assigned for us to make ForumNG changes in order to make it easier for community to accept it. I think it should be possible to get this time assigned but it might be helpful if the request came from Martin to my boss For example, you could request that we make all the changes listed in this issue.
        Hide
        Derek Chirnside added a comment -

        Does anyone know if Martin has made the call to Sam's boss??
        We really cannot do this without the OU crew.

        I have a non-programmer's suggestion for a way ahead: can we not leap this wide chasm in three leaps, similar to the approach for Assignments 2.3:
        1) Implement NG as an option in the activity picker.
        2) (Later) Add an import/convert from legacy to NG. This could be anticiapated by a careful definition of "default" values for an imported forum.
        (Later) Add the assignment options like Q&A.
        3) Step three I'm not sure of: whatever will happen when we dispense with the 4 legacy Assignments?

        Just thinking aloud. I am prepared for a little untidiness around the edges, even ForumNG being in 'experimental' for a while.

        -Derek

        Show
        Derek Chirnside added a comment - Does anyone know if Martin has made the call to Sam's boss?? We really cannot do this without the OU crew. I have a non-programmer's suggestion for a way ahead: can we not leap this wide chasm in three leaps, similar to the approach for Assignments 2.3: 1) Implement NG as an option in the activity picker. 2) (Later) Add an import/convert from legacy to NG. This could be anticiapated by a careful definition of "default" values for an imported forum. (Later) Add the assignment options like Q&A. 3) Step three I'm not sure of: whatever will happen when we dispense with the 4 legacy Assignments? Just thinking aloud. I am prepared for a little untidiness around the edges, even ForumNG being in 'experimental' for a while. -Derek
        Hide
        Derek Chirnside added a comment -

        (And @Dan, I appreciate you adding this to "record thoughts" but these are the posts I really actually like to know about, and I'll try not to ignore)

        Show
        Derek Chirnside added a comment - (And @Dan, I appreciate you adding this to "record thoughts" but these are the posts I really actually like to know about, and I'll try not to ignore)
        Hide
        Martin Dougiamas added a comment - - edited

        Yes we are all in contact (Moodle and OU) ... at the moment it's in the OU's hands to upgrade ForumNG for Moodle 2.3 and then we'll do another gap analysis to see what is left to implement for core.

        Sam, let me know directly if you think I need to talk about anything specific with Ross.

        Show
        Martin Dougiamas added a comment - - edited Yes we are all in contact (Moodle and OU) ... at the moment it's in the OU's hands to upgrade ForumNG for Moodle 2.3 and then we'll do another gap analysis to see what is left to implement for core. Sam, let me know directly if you think I need to talk about anything specific with Ross.
        Hide
        Sam Marshall added a comment -

        As an update - latest ForumNG code is actually working in Moodle 2.3 now (I did the rewrite of the discussion page html editor part mentioned above), but it hasn't been tested yet and frankly I think testers are likely to find a number of problems as a result of the changes (both mine + possibly general 2.3 issues).

        We are hoping to get testing soon (I'm not actually looking after this, but I hope within a few weeks) and it might be advisable to wait until that's complete and we fixed the problems they found before looking at it in more detail.

        Show
        Sam Marshall added a comment - As an update - latest ForumNG code is actually working in Moodle 2.3 now (I did the rewrite of the discussion page html editor part mentioned above), but it hasn't been tested yet and frankly I think testers are likely to find a number of problems as a result of the changes (both mine + possibly general 2.3 issues). We are hoping to get testing soon (I'm not actually looking after this, but I hope within a few weeks) and it might be advisable to wait until that's complete and we fixed the problems they found before looking at it in more detail.
        Hide
        Derek Chirnside added a comment -

        Dan, Sam, Tim, Martin: I'm just a little insecure as to whether anyone has thought about my suggestion posted above:

        I quote:
        "I have a non-programmer's suggestion for a way ahead: can we not leap this wide chasm in three leaps, similar to the approach for Assignments 2.3:
        1) Implement NG as an option in the activity picker.
        2) (Later) Add an import/convert from legacy to NG. This could be anticiapated by a careful definition of "default" values for an imported forum.
        (Later) Add the assignment options like Q&A.
        3) Step three I'm not sure of: whatever will happen when we dispense with the 4 legacy Assignments?"

        I can now find several substantive posts/threads on detail (geek detail) on forumNG mainly Sam.

        -Derek

        Show
        Derek Chirnside added a comment - Dan, Sam, Tim, Martin: I'm just a little insecure as to whether anyone has thought about my suggestion posted above: I quote: "I have a non-programmer's suggestion for a way ahead: can we not leap this wide chasm in three leaps, similar to the approach for Assignments 2.3: 1) Implement NG as an option in the activity picker. 2) (Later) Add an import/convert from legacy to NG. This could be anticiapated by a careful definition of "default" values for an imported forum. (Later) Add the assignment options like Q&A. 3) Step three I'm not sure of: whatever will happen when we dispense with the 4 legacy Assignments?" I can now find several substantive posts/threads on detail (geek detail) on forumNG mainly Sam. -Derek
        Hide
        Dan Poltawski added a comment -

        Hi Derek,

        Frankly.. in HQ we've been very busy on other things, so sorry if you've not been reassured by the comments.

        I don't especially like your suggested solution as we don't get any maintenance benefits of loosing the old module and its not clear to me how that is better than ForumNG existing as it does today in contrib. The big part of the work here is that we in HQ need to get to know the code, find the problems we have with it and work together to fix them. If anything, i'd say that the migration of the forums from old module -> new module is proof that we have a worthy replacement and is worth having when it goes into core.

        Dan

        Show
        Dan Poltawski added a comment - Hi Derek, Frankly.. in HQ we've been very busy on other things, so sorry if you've not been reassured by the comments. I don't especially like your suggested solution as we don't get any maintenance benefits of loosing the old module and its not clear to me how that is better than ForumNG existing as it does today in contrib. The big part of the work here is that we in HQ need to get to know the code, find the problems we have with it and work together to fix them. If anything, i'd say that the migration of the forums from old module -> new module is proof that we have a worthy replacement and is worth having when it goes into core. Dan
        Hide
        Derek Chirnside added a comment -

        Dan, wow, that was quick. Your comment: "its not clear to me how that is better than ForumNG existing as it does today in contrib"

        Several things: Re NG as a separate module in core. People will get a change to try out ForumNG and engage in it's features and benefits - and downsides.
        This will indirectly lead to a path where final specifications can be developed and picked apart by more people.

        Re my other comment about putting NG into Moodle.org. Point taken. I was just trying to avoid 1) bringing thread subscription into Moodle.org and 2) later a new forum into Moodle. Seemed like extra work.

        BUT, thanks for the reply. I know you are busy. (It's a constant refrain) But I figured wait until after 2.4, and before Christmas to give the matter a little bump.

        -Derek

        Show
        Derek Chirnside added a comment - Dan, wow, that was quick. Your comment: "its not clear to me how that is better than ForumNG existing as it does today in contrib" Several things: Re NG as a separate module in core. People will get a change to try out ForumNG and engage in it's features and benefits - and downsides. This will indirectly lead to a path where final specifications can be developed and picked apart by more people. Re my other comment about putting NG into Moodle.org. Point taken. I was just trying to avoid 1) bringing thread subscription into Moodle.org and 2) later a new forum into Moodle. Seemed like extra work. BUT, thanks for the reply. I know you are busy. (It's a constant refrain) But I figured wait until after 2.4, and before Christmas to give the matter a little bump. -Derek
        Hide
        Dan Poltawski added a comment -

        > Re my other comment about putting NG into Moodle.org. Point taken. I was just trying to avoid 1) bringing thread subscription into Moodle.org and 2) later a new forum into Moodle. Seemed like extra work

        Indeed, and in the end we didn't do that, as commented in that bug - I still think forumng integration would be a better use of time.

        I want forumng in core [almost] as much as you!

        Show
        Dan Poltawski added a comment - > Re my other comment about putting NG into Moodle.org. Point taken. I was just trying to avoid 1) bringing thread subscription into Moodle.org and 2) later a new forum into Moodle. Seemed like extra work Indeed, and in the end we didn't do that, as commented in that bug - I still think forumng integration would be a better use of time. I want forumng in core [almost] as much as you!
        Hide
        Mark Pearson added a comment -

        I have had ForumNG available on our moodle 1.9 site for a number of years. One thing that puts off faculty who want to use discussion forums seriously is the lack of Q&A type. That is, the behaviour of not seeing anyone's response to the question posed by the Teacher until after you have posted your own response. Having this feature present in ForumNG / the new default Forum would be a winner. It makes the difference between 'me too' replies and more considered and well worded ones.

        Show
        Mark Pearson added a comment - I have had ForumNG available on our moodle 1.9 site for a number of years. One thing that puts off faculty who want to use discussion forums seriously is the lack of Q&A type. That is, the behaviour of not seeing anyone's response to the question posed by the Teacher until after you have posted your own response. Having this feature present in ForumNG / the new default Forum would be a winner. It makes the difference between 'me too' replies and more considered and well worded ones.

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