[Greasemonkey] Greasemonkeyed.com, userscript.org, forums, source code, and the future of our community

Jed jedsbugs at gmail.com
Mon Aug 1 09:34:46 EDT 2005


> A system like this is also interesting legally. I don't recall
> anything like this ever existing before.

Actually, this is exactly how much of the Firefox community works together.

For those interested, search around the ExtensionsMirror
(extensionsmirror.nl) and you will find many 'user fixes/enhancments'
to extensions out there.

i.e. MiniT
http://www.extensionsmirror.nl/index.php?showtopic=161&hl=minit

Something like this would be awesome, however beleive this works so
well for ExtensionsMirror for 2 reasons
1) They have a large Volunteering staff and some funding.
2) It's all restricted and form based (Only staff can publish
extensions and fixes/enhancments).

Would be very interesting to find a middle ground like this that is
perhaps a bit less restrictive.

-Jed


On 7/31/05, Aaron Boodman <zboogs at gmail.com> wrote:
> :-)
> 
> Sorry for the dramatic post title. Actually my nit is rather quite small.
> 
> I was just out taking the new beta Greasemonkey for a spin and I
> wanted to try out Greasemonkeyed.com. Fully half of the scripts I
> chose at random were broken, and not because of changes in
> Greasemonkey. Upon inspection, I found that sites had just changed
> slightly.
> 
> Annotate Google [1] seems to have fallen prey to a change to the
> <title> of Google's search results. I checked to see if GMaps Add
> Waypoint ever got fixed, and it hadn't. [2]
> 
> The problem here is that although user scripts are easy to write, they
> are hard to maintain. Typically the original author has lost interest
> and doesn't keep them up to date.
> 
> Here's where it gets interesting though: I am perfectly happy to
> update somebody else's script when it doesn't work for me. From my
> point of view, they already did the hard part. It's way easier for me
> to simply fix their script than start from scratch.
> 
> But I need somewhere to put this script. And I don't want to upload it
> to my server, give it a new name, etc. It's just a tiny variation -- a
> patch -- of the original.
> 
> So I propose that Greasemonkeyed.com or userscript.org or whatever
> evolve into this forum-like, flickr groups-like, deviantART-like
> community. Where people have avatars or signatures and identities that
> they care about. Where long threads of user scripts develop, each one
> an optimization, improvement, or fix on the same original idea. Where
> people can install something and be more reasonably confident that
> something will work because it was updated an hour ago.
> 
> So here's a use case:
> 
> * I'm browsing the scripts and run across one which adds del.icio.us
> tags to Google search results.
> * I install the script but see that it doesn't work.
> * After a quick debug, I find the assumption which was broken and fix it.
> * I go back to the site, go to the script, and click [post fix].
> Another option might be [post branch].
> * I log if not already logged in.
> * I add a little description of the fix, "Removed title check since it
> was failing. It wasn't really necessary since it was just preventing
> the code from running an xpath which would return zero results in
> cases where the title check failed."
> * I pasted my new script (or upload from local file) and press [submit].
> * Since I am a long time user, maybe my update immediately goes into
> effect. If I were a "new" user, maybe it would have to be reviewed,
> unless I were fixing my own script.
> * I go back to the page and see that my revision is posted. I can
> click [diff] to see a diff against the previous version, and also
> examine the complete revision history.
> 
> This effectively makes the pool of scripts the community's property,
> not the individuals. We all keep them up to date together. It also
> reduce the amount of garbage in two ways: first, it reduces the number
> of duplicates which are just bug fixes. Second, it decreases the
> chance of a broken script staying that way for long.
> 
> Of course, some people will still feel strongly about their personal
> work and not want it to become community property this way, even
> though they would always retain credit for the original
> implementation. I feel that this minority is small enough that we
> could just punt on it initially. But there could also be a checkbox on
> the submit form that allows you to disable fixing and branching.
> 
> A system like this is also interesting legally. I don't recall
> anything like this ever existing before. I would imagine the rate of
> code evolution would be really quite amazing, and that you'd quickly
> see versions of scripts which look basically nothing like the
> original. "Credit" would come more for the number of fixes, knowledge,
> and visibility in the community than that one magic script idea you
> came up with.
> 
> What do you guys think?
> 
> I know it's rude to suggest features for projects which you aren't
> contributing to. And I really can't say when I'd have time to help on
> either of these sites. But I do feel strongly that this would really
> strengthen the community and user scripting in general.
> 
> Just my random-ass thoughts.
> 
> --
> Aaron
> 
> 
> [1] http://greasemonkeyed.com/scripts/show/813
> [2] http://greasemonkeyed.com/scripts/show/771
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