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  A road map to "public beta"

+ 3 like - 0 dislike

In the context of these discussions, the majority of us rather agreed that it is a good idea to go publicely online as soon as possible, even if this means that we focus on the Q&A section first while keep developping the (hidden) Reviews part of PhysicsOverflow.

So lets get serious about that now :-)

As this thread was written, we assumed that the Reviews and Q&A sections will be brought online at the same time, before we realized that developping the Reviews section is slightly more involved than thought at a first glance, so it still contains many issues that can actually savely be solved while the site is already publicely online.

So lets make a new list of things that urgently and seriously need to be done before going publicly online with the Q&A part of PhysicsOverflow ("Public Beta"), because if not resolved they would strongly  handicap the functionality of the site, make us look unprofessional / diletante / or otherwise bad, etc ...

Making this final todo list should be rather straight forward, as we need mostly to take out and copy here the relevant unresolve issues already listed here, here, here, and here for example.

So when everything in the emerging (and hopefully not eternally inflating) todo list is [DONE], [RESOLVED], or [DEFERRED], PhysicsOverflow should finally get born !

Note that certain things (such as adjusting the permissions in the Admin Panel, moving the URL to our final home, etc) should and can be done only a short time before the big bang PhysicsOverflow will hopefully make in the physics online community :-) ...

asked Mar 20, 2014 in Discussion by Dilaton (6,240 points) [ revision history ]
edited Mar 24, 2015 by dimension10
Most voted comments show all comments

I have installed the Permission2Categories plugin of Kirill Fuchs. Actally, all categories are set as visible and accessible to all. Before we go online, these permissions will have to be changed. When you edit a category in the admin section you will notice a select box. Simply choose the permission level you would like to set.

Note that P2C treats sub-categories as a normal category, it does not take it's parent category permission level into account. So we will have to change permissions for all sub-categories.

OK, I see you want to have me out there ):-P
Let me see what I can do.

Edited: Uuups, anonymous that was polarkernel.

I have adapted the Permission2Categories plugin of Kirill Fuchs so that it allows now also creating permissions based on user rep.

When you edit a category in the admin section you will notice a select box for the user level and another for the required rep. Both are combined using an OR. If for instance the user level is set to Expert+ and the rep level to 500, a registered user will see the category if he has more than 500 points, while an expert will see that category, even if he has zero rep.

The category permissions will only be set if you click "Save" in the category edit section. It is only required to set the permissions on the restricted categories; all other categories will not be affected. However, sub-categories are treated as normal categories; they do not take their parent category permission into account. So we will have to change permissions for all sub-categories of a restricted category. Actually I have not yet set any restrictions. @dimension10 Do you like to set them?

@polarkernel Thanks a lot : ) I will set the permissions for the community moderation category now. 

I am not sure if we need to actually make the reviews section hidden, it won't have any posts for now anyway. 

@dimension10 Wait with the review section until we have defined the category system for this section. If the depth of the categories will be large, I will add a checkbox to this plugin that allows to set the permissions automatically to all sub-categories.

Most recent comments show all comments

The plugin enables category permissions based on the user level (Anyone+, Expert+, Editor+, Moderator+, Admin+ and SuperAdmin), but not on points. Would in this case a point based permission be required?

If we want to make community moderation (the section) only visible to > 500 rep users, the point based permission is required ...

16 Answers

+ 2 like - 0 dislike

Make the landing page /main

answered Mar 20, 2014 by dimension10 (1,985 points) [ no revision ]

I think this is among the things that can be done relatively shortly before we go online, but yes.

@dimension10 I have found a way to do that in the configuration file. Shall I install it now?

@polarkernel Yes! (However, it is important that this is easy to revert, because we will have to revert this once there are at least 10 times more questions in main than in meta). Thanks! 

+ 2 like - 0 dislike


Is it possible to exclude the Reviews section from the site statistics of % answered questions etc ? 

(I know this pertains to the reviews section, but it is still important to do this before going online.) 

answered Mar 20, 2014 by dimension10 (1,985 points) [ revision history ]
edited Mar 23, 2014 by dimension10

Hm but as long as the Reviews section does not contain much, it can not bias the statistics, no? So maybe this could be delayd a bit until the ArXiv papers are getting imported and questions created?

@Dilaton probably, but I thought that we would  eventually be importing the posts during the public beta itself, then take two months to sort them into categories.  

Yes, but maybe getting the bot for importing ready takes some time too, as you said in a conversation with Ron (?), such that we could say the public beta can be started without the Reviews statistics issue solved, but just before we start importing the ArXiv papers a viable solution has to be there?

I am a bit worried about otherwise delaying the public beta too much by this issue ...

But yes, it could be done later after they are all imported. But we should be clear about how we are going to do this though. 

Do you mean the recategorizing or the solution of the site statistics issue?

I think the site statistics issue should be resolved shortly before the mass import, and concerning the recategorizing it would then probably be nice to have a FM where people who want to help could exactly see how to to what to get things done efficently.

+ 2 like - 0 dislike


The PO message box needs to be fixed.  

answered Mar 20, 2014 by dimension10 (1,985 points) [ revision history ]
edited Mar 27, 2014 by dimension10

Yes, I think as it worked once, it should be possible to make it running again ...

I have uninstalled and reinstalled it. Let's see if it works now. From a first browsing through the code, I have no idea, why this stopped working.

@polarkernel Unfortunately, it seems that it is not. 

@polarkernel any update on the plugin?

@dimension10 Not yet. I am actually changing the category permission plugin from level to reps. To fix the message box I have first to understand its code. Maybe we have some interference with other changes we have made. Should I give priority to this?

@polarkernel No, I think the category permission is more important, the notification box problem is less important since one can still see their user history anyway. 

+ 2 like - 0 dislike


In my opinion, Ron was right when pointing out that some caution is indicated when going public just with the Q&A part, to not relatively delay the Reviews part too much and be careful about attracting the right audience right from the start.

This means that we have to agree upon how to efficiently enough keep spam, nonsense, trolls, and other nasty things out here and keep up the level of the site.

As soon as we are clear about this, apart from marking this answer as [done], our agreement upon how to deal with bad things should also be explained in the FAQ.

answered Mar 20, 2014 by Dilaton (6,240 points) [ revision history ]
edited Mar 29, 2014 by dimension10

So I am not completely sure, if it is enough that registered users can flag things and make good use of the request for close and delete votes as for example described here

Maybe we should right from the start have enough people to (at least temporatily until the PhysicsOverflow community has grown) deal rather fast with obviously bad and inappropriate things ...?

Can't this be done by "warning" people about the reviews section to come as much as possible, and simply closing the obviously off-topic things on sight? Of course, over-moderating will scare good people away.  

Yes, by no means should PhysicsOverflow be overmoderated...

But I just thought for the obviously off-topic things be closed, it should be clear who should do it for example ...

I hope that the reception of PhysicsOverflow will mostly be friendly (if we dont post about it at certain places in the internet), and that already from the name and its similarity to MathOverflow, it will be clear to most people what a PhysicsOverflow is meant to be and therefore what is appropriate / on topic and what not, such that Ron's concerns will be rendered unnecessary at the end.

@Dilaton I have expanded your post about it in the FAQ. Was that the intention or does anything else need to be done?   

Nah, I thought it would be good if @RonMaimon could really help with the moderation too, when we the public beta starts, as Moshe and Lumo are not yet here.

I could write Lumo a mail, giving him the link to our present site and asking him if he would be willing to help keeping things straight a bit, though ...

And maybe Lumo would even know how to reach Moshe to ask him too ...

@Dilaton, I see, I agree, of course. I hope Ron agrees to be a permanent moderator, or at least expert.  

+ 2 like - 0 dislike


We need to upload images onto physicsoverflow, rather than currently relying on a third party site that a user provides a link to. Maybe the edtor can be configured to do this?

answered Mar 27, 2014 by physicsnewbie (-20 points) [ revision history ]
edited Mar 28, 2014 by dimension10

+1 however, have you seen this?  

It will be possible to add some code that enables image uploads in our PO-editor. Also almost all other requests concerning our editor are feasible. However, I have delayed them to force progress on the review development. So keep this requirement in the feature requests but mark it as delayed.

+ 1 like - 0 dislike

The FAQ needs to be expanded. This will not take long. 

answered Mar 20, 2014 by dimension10 (1,985 points) [ no revision ]

Yes, it would be a good idea determine in some detail which parts are still completely missing and what needs to be improved/epanded. Maybe we can leave comments below the different parts (answers) of the FAQ saying "this part seems to be [completed]" if they are good enough for going online? This would not prevent them from getting dynamically changed and improved later, as needed of course ...

+ 1 like - 0 dislike


Hidden posts should not contribute to a user's reputation.  

answered Mar 20, 2014 by dimension10 (1,985 points) [ revision history ]
edited Mar 22, 2014 by dimension10
Most voted comments show all comments

@Dilaton maybe, this can come as a corollary to the CW plugin? I.E. Make the hide function also make the post Community Wiki?  

Should be solved now.

At the end, the solution was extremely simple. Beside comments, the type of a post may be 'Q' and 'A', for questions and answers, while for hidden posts, these types change to 'Q_HIDDEN' or 'A_HIDDEN'. In the final SQL statement, Gidon tested only the first character. Like this, also hidden posts could contribute to vote counts and points. With a simple change of a few keywords, the solution was found. However, I starred for hours to the code until I noted Gidons trick.

Are you sure that questions may not hard deleted? If I click in the admin panel on 'Hidden' I get a list of all hidden posts. Below them, there is a "delete" button. If I press it in my local site, the post disappears.

@polarkernel Thanks!

I forgot about the hard deletion through the admin panel! I meant that on most answers and comments, one gets a button saying "delete" after hiding it, but not on questions. 

Yes this is strange, when going to admin/hidden to see the Recent hidden content, one can (hard) delete comments and answers, but not question... Maybe this is a bug to ask about on the Q2Q support site (if it is not already there)?

Oh yes, checking it again, some posts (all comments and answers, but only some questions) can be hard deleted, but there are some questions which can't. It is a pretty minor bug, I wouldn't care much about it.      

Most recent comments show all comments

@polarkernel No I didn't know about that discussion.

However, I still stick to this answer. I have hidden a few posts because I accidentally imported them twice from SE, and they should not contribute to the user's rep. 

Also, the discussion there does not apply as long as we don't hide posts for being wrong. 

@Dilaton the problem is that one cannot hard-delete questions (excpet directly through the database), and that under certain circumstances, not even answers.   

+ 1 like - 0 dislike


We need a community-wiki plugin.             

 It is described here: http://question2answer.org/qa/32648/is-there-a-community-wiki-plugin-for-q2a   

Basically, under every post, there should be a box which can be checked by it's author or a moderator, such that when it is checked, the author does not gain or lose any reputation from the post, and the reputation barrier for editing is reduced (this should be possible to configure from Admin/Permissions).   

answered Mar 20, 2014 by dimension10 (1,985 points) [ revision history ]
edited Mar 23, 2014 by dimension10

I am not sure how complicated this is, as no developer spoke up on the Q2A support site, it seems to boil down to a task for @Polarkenel too.

A potential work around, at least concerning the nullifying of rep, could involve assigning these posts meant to be community wiki to a "community user", such as this one for example (I have lost the overview of what kind of such "botty" users we have ...)

@Dilaton I was under the impression that it won't be so difficult, since even OSQA (which is much less advanced than Q2A is) has a CW feature in it's core.  

This is quite difficult to realize because of the logical design of Q2A. Permissions are bound to users and not to questions. There will be a similar issue for the review type of questions, lowering the reputation barrier for editing in just this question. I will try to realize this by a plugin, which contains an editor (the same as we actually use), which then injects the edited text into the question.

Another issue is the rep count, which is bound to the votes record in the posts table. Again, we will have a similar issue for review questions, where rep is even not yet defined clearly.

So, writing a CW plugin is a stone on the roadmap and would delay going online significantly.

I forgot: Bot users, as proposed by @Dilaton would not solve this issue because they should not have more rights than a registered user and can not be used by other users.

I dont know how detrimental it would be to have a limited number of but users with rep and therefor rights, as bots only do what they are intended to except when possessed by bad ghosts ... ;-).

@polarkernel I guess it is ok then, since if needed we can have a category, "Community Wiki" and the same trick that was used for nullifying meta points can be used. 

+ 1 like - 0 dislike

The post revisions should be made visible to everyone and the robots.txt file should be changed to disallow /revisions and /revisions/* 

answered Mar 20, 2014 by dimension10 (1,985 points) [ no revision ]

Huh, I have to admit that I do not properly understand this... What and where is this robots.txt file, and what does it generally?

@Dilaton It is located here: http://www.physicsoverflow.org/robots.txt It disallows bots (incl. search engines) from browsing certain parts of the site. I think polarkernel has purposely disallowed everything temporarily till the end of the private beta so that search engines can't index the secret domain either. 

It was advised on the plug-in description page to disallow robots from searching post revisions, because this results in the search engines suspecting duplicated content, which reduces the SEO.    

Aah, now I see and agree ;-)

+ 1 like - 0 dislike


On /regain-account-page, in the "password" field description, we should add something like "If you used an email account, then enter your email password". Two users so far have emailed admin@physicsoverflow.org saying that they have not used any "password" on the Stack Exchange site. I considered the same when checking if the regain account facility works. 

answered Mar 22, 2014 by dimension10 (1,985 points) [ revision history ]
edited Mar 23, 2014 by dimension10


@polarkernel One more request regarding the regain account page; instead of just mentioning TP.SE, can the text also mention Physics Stack Exchange, since we have also imported  questions from there.  

Also done

@polarkernel Thanks.  

@polarkernel Sorry for repeatedly bugging you about the text on this page, but I have now merged all the (SE) accounts to the right ones, so can we have an additional instruction saying:  

If you participated on both sites, please only regain your Theoretical Physics Stack Exchange account. Your Physics.SE account is already merged into this account. 

But are not new users created when we keep importing questions again from SE? I would therefore leave it as is ... For example, if I manage to invite Joshphysics, he will have to regain his SE account too, etc

@Dilaton Yes, I forgot that. Oops. You're right, we shouldn't change the description. 

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