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Thread: [Discussion] Citizen classes simplification

  1. #1
    Lifthrasir's Avatar "Capre" Dunkerquois
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    Default [Discussion] Citizen classes simplification

    I'm not used to the exercice and I'm not especially good at writting. So, I'm going straight to the point.
    Considering that post from GED:
    Quote Originally Posted by GrnEyedDvl View Post
    (...)
    There is no "optimizing" vBulletin with a forum structure 1200 forums deep. The software has too many inherent design issues to continue down that path. Most specifically, the way the forumcache works with forum vs user permissions.

    The permission structure of vBulletin is actually very, very granular, which allows us to do some of the things we do. Unfortunately that also means that every one of those permissions (both on forums and on users) has to be parsed every time a user reads a thread or enters a forum. And we have users that by default are part of 3-4 user groups. Staff and modders are members of more than that, then for every customization there is generally a user group tied to that. Because the permissions system is how you give people the extra eye candy, or take stuff away, or grant access to certain forums.

    Every custom user title color, thats a user group.
    Every badge, that's a user group.
    Every moderation level (no rep, no D&D posting, no avatar, no sig, etc) is a user group.
    Various suspension levels, those are user groups.
    Every hosted mod Dev Forum is a user group.
    Every Curia Award (Artifex, Patrician, Divus, etc) is a user group.

    Emperor Commodus, you are a member of 3 groups. I am a member of 5. Halie Satanus is a member of 6. Leonardo is a member of 2. AnthoniusII is a member of 5. Mak is a member of 8. Some people are members of a dozen.

    Gigantus is a member of 15. Biggest one I found with a quick look, since searching that isnt built in. I have to manually type someone's name in to look at it.
    (...)
    I've made a little calculation and the Citizens use currently 4 user groups as follow:
    - Citizens
    - Civitate
    - Artifex
    - Patrician (for Citizens)
    - Patrician (for non-Citizens)

    So I'm wondering how many of us, Citizens, are ready to make a little gesture to the site by keeping only the Citizen user group and removing all the others, at least for the time being GED provides a better solution to run the site?

    As I understand that some might be attached to these badges, I'm proposing to make the distinction between these classes with medals instead of badges as they don't use user groups.

    So, let's discuss
    Under the patronage of Flinn, proud patron of Jadli, of the Imperial House of Hader


  2. #2

    Default Re: [Discussion] Citizen classes simplification

    I'm opposed, but I wouldn't mind hearing from GED just how much doing this would actually help.

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  3. #3
    Lifthrasir's Avatar "Capre" Dunkerquois
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    Default Re: [Discussion] Citizen classes simplification

    Can you expand a bit about the reason why you're opposed?
    The idea here is really to find a way to help the site. If people (and especially Citizens) don't elaborate their answer, that's not gonna work
    Last edited by Lifthrasir; March 05, 2021 at 10:37 AM.
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  4. #4
    Halie Satanus's Avatar Emperor of ice cream
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    Default Re: [Discussion] Citizen classes simplification

    Citizenship evolved to the point where at least two classes were needed. Civitate and Artifex. The other three are largely superfluous.

    I'm guessing you could also remove one from - Moderation Mentor, Staff Emeritus, and condense to one group. Content Emeritus, Not sure what that entails but sounds unnecessary, especially if you're still in content staff.... I'm sure there are other groups

    I'm a member of four other groups, three of which were last posted in, by anyone.

    November 21, 2018
    September 20, 2012
    June 26, 2011

    I'm sure there are hundreds more inactive groups that could be removed before we start kicking the old hive.

  5. #5
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: [Discussion] Citizen classes simplification

    Content Emeritus is a usergroup for former senior Content Staff, so they can advise current staff. It gives them access to Content Staff forums (including the one for Content Directors).

    It's rare for someone to be Content Emeritus and Content Staff at the same time. Usually this means that a former staffer is helping out temporarily.

    Hex removed two Content user groups (Librarians and Content Artists) as part of the general reduction of user groups and sub-forums. We also removed the Modding Staff user groups, as well as others.

  6. #6
    Lifthrasir's Avatar "Capre" Dunkerquois
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    Default Re: [Discussion] Citizen classes simplification

    @ Halie, I get your point. However, we can only decide what concerns directly the Curia here. I think that it is fair that the Curia gives its contribution to solve the issue and it is even more evident for me that the Curia has to decide what concerns itself.
    So yes, there are other user groups to be ckecked and possibly removed but that's not depending on the Curia.
    The main category affecting the site is obviously the mod dev forums. However, it sounds a bit unrealistic to tell the modders to remove or relocate their dev forums. That would be detrimental to the site.
    So let's start where it can be "quite easily" done even if it would contribute in a minor way. Little is always better than nothing
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  7. #7
    Leonardo's Avatar Reborn Old Timer
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    Default Re: [Discussion] Citizen classes simplification

    Quote Originally Posted by Halie Satanus View Post
    Citizenship evolved to the point where at least two classes were needed. Civitate and Artifex. The other three are largely superfluous.
    I was just about to say the same thing myself.

    Quote Originally Posted by Halie Satanus View Post
    I'm guessing you could also remove one from - Moderation Mentor, Staff Emeritus, and condense to one group. Content Emeritus, Not sure what that entails but sounds unnecessary, especially if you're still in content staff.... I'm sure there are other groups
    To my knowledge the Staff Emeritus group doesn't exist, but the Administrator Emeritus group does exist and Hader, Gigantus, StealthFox are members of the Administrator Emeritus group. Maybe a few more, I dunno.

    I think Alwyn can tell us if the Staff Emeritus group exist or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Halie Satanus View Post
    I'm sure there are hundreds more inactive groups that could be removed before we start kicking the old hive.
    Every hosted mod forum that's either abandoned or inactive (the mod link is dead) has groups that could be removed.



    Quote Originally Posted by Alwyn View Post
    It's rare for someone to be Content Emeritus and Content Staff at the same time. Usually this means that a former staffer is helping out temporarily.
    The only one who was a member of both groups was Lifth a while back when he re-joined Content Artist at the same time was a Content Emeritus or was that part of the reduction of groups.


    There is also separate permissions such as specific added and one who have such permissions is atthias since he was part of the Modding Staff and continue after the Content Staff took over the responsibility from the Modding Staff.
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  8. #8
    Halie Satanus's Avatar Emperor of ice cream
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    Default Re: [Discussion] Citizen classes simplification

    Quote Originally Posted by Lifthrasir View Post
    @ Halie, I get your point. However, we can only decide what concerns directly the Curia here. I think that it is fair that the Curia gives its contribution to solve the issue and it is even more evident for me that the Curia has to decide what concerns itself.
    So yes, there are other user groups to be ckecked and possibly removed but that's not depending on the Curia.
    The main category affecting the site is obviously the mod dev forums. However, it sounds a bit unrealistic to tell the modders to remove or relocate their dev forums. That would be detrimental to the site.
    So let's start where it can be "quite easily" done even if it would contribute in a minor way. Little is always better than nothing
    Removing Artifex goes way beyond the Curia. You've misjudged the value of the award and the potential effect of removing it.

  9. #9
    Veteraan's Avatar TATW Local Moderator
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    Default Re: [Discussion] Citizen classes simplification

    I don't mind having just Citizen as option, always used it. I am a member of the Artifex group, just to have the option as the majority of my contributions to this site have to do with modding. But I never actually felt the need to change to Artifex in the past six years. Using a medal, or anything else that doesn't use user groups seems fine to me. Not sure if I would use it, but it is a nice to have for those that want to show their main focus. I could imagine more choices than Citizen, Artifex and Civitate could be offered, which would make this a more appealing proposal IMO.

    I'm not a Patrician, but if I would be, I wouldn't mind having a medal or some other indication instead for showing it.

    Anyway, I would rather have a somewhat decent performing site with a little less bling where necessary than what it is now.

    Getting rid of unused groups and other (dead) parts of the site should of course happen regardless of this particular proposal.

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  10. #10
    Hitai de Bodemloze's Avatar 避世絕俗
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    Default Re: [Discussion] Citizen classes simplification

    Happy to support in theory, but would prefer to hear it from GED/HEX. I know little about the tech issues, and I'm guessing not many of us do. The running of the forum is a staff issue, so the onus is really on staff to come up with a plan and put together a list of groups that can be axed or merged, with some indication about how this would affect performance. Running it by us in the Curia would be a formality that would be appreciated, but not entirely necessary, and they have a right to make executive decisions when it comes to the health of the site. For most of us who don't really know what we're talking about, it's probably best we don't get involved whilst they work things out.

  11. #11
    Lifthrasir's Avatar "Capre" Dunkerquois
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    Default Re: [Discussion] Citizen classes simplification

    @ Halie, I wouldn't mind to go for your option if people think that it's a better compromise. Again, this thread is really to discuss and hopefully find a soluton that satisfies most of us.

    @ Vet, yes, I'm probably the only one having the Emeritus and content staff stuff. This is hopefully temporary and I've already proposed another alternative to the relevant persons

    @ Hitai, GED has already explained it in his post I'm mentionning in the OP. I've only quoted the part to summarize the point. Here is the full explanation:

    Quote Originally Posted by GrnEyedDvl View Post
    (...)
    There is no "optimizing" vBulletin with a forum structure 1200 forums deep. The software has too many inherent design issues to continue down that path. Most specifically, the way the forumcache works with forum vs user permissions.

    The permission structure of vBulletin is actually very, very granular, which allows us to do some of the things we do. Unfortunately that also means that every one of those permissions (both on forums and on users) has to be parsed every time a user reads a thread or enters a forum. And we have users that by default are part of 3-4 user groups. Staff and modders are members of more than that, then for every customization there is generally a user group tied to that. Because the permissions system is how you give people the extra eye candy, or take stuff away, or grant access to certain forums.

    Every custom user title color, thats a user group.
    Every badge, that's a user group.
    Every moderation level (no rep, no D&D posting, no avatar, no sig, etc) is a user group.
    Various suspension levels, those are user groups.
    Every hosted mod Dev Forum is a user group.
    Every Curia Award (Artifex, Patrician, Divus, etc) is a user group.

    Emperor Commodus, you are a member of 3 groups. I am a member of 5. Halie Satanus is a member of 6. Leonardo is a member of 2. AnthoniusII is a member of 5. Mak is a member of 8. Some people are members of a dozen.

    Gigantus is a member of 15. Biggest one I found with a quick look, since searching that isnt built in. I have to manually type someone's name in to look at it.


    Anyways, there are about 300+ (am not going to count them) individual permissions in 35 categories/sections (I did count those) that can be assigned. Every single one of them has to be set, for every single user group. Even though most of them are the same across every single user group, some of them are not. And some of them may conflict. For instance one group CAN do something, but another CANNOT. So now the groups have a hierarchy, so your Primary group permission overrides the other, whichever option that is.

    So for Commodus, the software has to query 900+ permissions, churn through them and apply them correctly, BEFORE it displays anything on your screen. So the custom query for that is a nightmare. Its actually several queries just for one group. At least 35, one for each category such as Blogs, Awards, Polls, Private Messages, etc. Some of the categories have multiple queries built in depending what you are doing. But we will go with 35 for now.

    So every time you do ANYTHING on the site, Commodus is generating a minimum of 105 individual database queries just to establish his permissions. Gigantus is generating 525, at a minimum.

    To get away from all those queries there is a function called the forumcache. Basically when you login it caches your permissions so it doesnt have to look them up every time. That's great in theory, until you add forum permissions in as well.

    Every single forum can be assigned permissions based on every single user group. So it also caches 1200 forums x 35 queries per user group x 500 something user groups which is 20 million something queries, for you to view this thread. Yes, those are all cached when you login. But it has to actually READ that cache to assign your permissions. So its happening in RAM which is really fast, but its still a really big file and it takes time to read.

    On top of that there is this crappy thing called Forum Masks which lets you assign an individual user specific permissions for every single forum no matter what group he is in. So take those 20 million queries and multiply it by every user. Those were used quite a bit back in the early days, because its a fast and easy way to grant someone permission into something. But its seriously overhead intensive. Its fine for a forum with a few hundred members, but it doesn't scale well at all. I believe I nuked every single one of those years ago

    Back in 2008 Simetrical and I took a hard look at this with vBulletin 3. If you lok through the Tech forums you can see some of that stuff. Some is not public as it probably isn't a good idea to post some technical information like that in public. He actually rewrote part of the forumcache to make it more efficient, but there is a limit to what can be done. vBulletin 4 actually included some of his improvements, and added a few of their own. At that time the forumcache (per user) was something like 50 megs. Its probably more like 150 megs now. And it has to be parsed every single time you click.

    That is the root of our problems. It always has been.

    The biggest source of user groups and forum permissions is the Hosted Mod Dev Forums. Remember, this is exponential.

    This is one reason most sites (or most workplaces) do NOT have insane amounts of permission groups. Aside from the manpower overhead to manage it, its a ton of processing power. And time. We have tons of groups with 1 or 3 members because of how the forums are setup.

    What is particularly painful to me, is that because x number of idiots are currently in some form of moderation points we have to process a ton of info for their user groups. That is one reason why most places just ban your dumb ass when you misbehave, rather than spending a bunch of manpower and processing power dealing with you. Its small potatoes at the scale we are talking about here, since its 4-5 user groups, but it still bothers me.

    So, add all that up and the bottom line is that ANY forum structure is going to work in a similar fashion. Some might be better at it than others, but you won't know that for certain until you spend some $ and actually convert. In my opinion, the forum structure is not sustainable the way we currently do things. On any platform.
    (...)
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  12. #12
    Hitai de Bodemloze's Avatar 避世絕俗
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    Default Re: [Discussion] Citizen classes simplification

    Yes, I've read it, but beyond 'user groups affect site performance', it is difficult to contextualize the problem. Ideally someone (Hex/Tech Staff) would crunch some numbers and say something like, in order to run the forum optimally, we should have a maximum limit of x user groups. Then they can assess which user groups are essential, and from the remainder we can decide which to keep so that they sum to x.

  13. #13
    Lifthrasir's Avatar "Capre" Dunkerquois
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    Default Re: [Discussion] Citizen classes simplification

    I might be wrong but only GED could possibly gives such details

    And to be perfectly honest, I'd prefer to remove any of the curial one rather to any other related to the modding community. Modders are more useful to the site in terms of traffic than the Curia. But that's just my opinion
    Last edited by Lifthrasir; March 06, 2021 at 08:26 AM.
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  14. #14
    Iskar's Avatar Insanity with Dignity
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    Default Re: [Discussion] Citizen classes simplification

    I commend the attitude, Lifth, but I think the Citizen usergroups are actually not the ones to be pruned:
    Artifex is an important point of identification for the Modder-citizens that are vital to the site's modding sections.
    Civitate is of eminent historical value and carries a lot of TWC-typical flavour.
    Citizen is there for everyone who is neither a debater or a modder or actually both.

    The only group(s) I wouldn't mind being removed are the Patrician ones. These are essentially just additional bling with no value of their own (since the actual value is in the large awards they are tied to.)
    "Non i titoli illustrano gli uomini, ma gli uomini i titoli." - Niccolo Machiavelli, Discorsi
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  15. #15

    Default Re: [Discussion] Citizen classes simplification

    Given my (nonexistent) background, take what I think of this with a grain of salt and correct me if I'm wrong.

    Reading through this thread and its like, there seems to be a higher reverence of the side badges from people trying to think of their holders than reverence from the holders themselves. I don't see a defence of Artifex from someone truly committed to its name. If people holding it themselves do not come out and express their personal interest in the badge, then it seems like catching smoke. I believe the average attitude of modders favors their own work, their own community, and knowledge of their own accomplishment. Not citizenship itself, or the distinction of Artifex. If the Curia wishes to recognize them for modding, there are several badges at its disposal to do so... most of which appear ignored.

    In fact, the only stickler to keeping a badge in this thread so far was from a Patrician holder. Perhaps a wider survey is required to see how many users truly care for the titles and why.

    Specific numbers for 'running optimally' are arbitrary for an issue that crept up over time. It is not a threshold. The more there are, the less the stability. That is the blanket technical offering from the administration and a fairly common observation for someone familiar with software like this board. Every bit helps. If it is not needed, then it does not need to add in. Arguably, being conservative now gives more leeway to add things with a new mindset in the future.

    .2 cents. bows

  16. #16

    Default Re: [Discussion] Citizen classes simplification

    These are essentially just additional bling with no value of their own (since the actual value is in the large awards they are tied to.)
    Additional bling is a value in and of itself. You could make the same argument for any badge. Citizenship has no value of it's own since the actual value is derived from the community's recognition of them.

    It's rhetorical nonsense.

    Can you expand a bit about the reason why you're opposed?
    Because without knowing exactly how much something like this would even help it's a bit reactionary and pointless to try to make these changes. Until GED or another tech staff can explain exactly how much this would help there's really no point.

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  17. #17
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: [Discussion] Citizen classes simplification

    Quote Originally Posted by Leonardo View Post
    I think Alwyn can tell us if the Staff Emeritus group exist or not.
    There isn't a user group called Staff Emeritus. Maybe Halie meant to type Moderation Emeritus (since Staff Emeritus was listed after Moderation Mentor). It's not a big deal, either way.

    I can see where Hitai is coming from. It would be helpful if we had specific maximum number of user groups and sub-forums, or have a numerical value for the removal of a particular user group or sub-forum. As far as I can see, Twilight Esker is right - we don't have specific numbers. The numbers we have are the ones which GED gave us, quoted by Lifthrasir above - these, with GED's comments, tell us that we have accumulated more user groups and sub-forums than the forum software can handle.

    Halie suggested removing inactive user groups. Hex have removed user groups and sub-forums which we can live without and we're continuing to do this. GED has done serious pruning. The situation has improved, but I still get a few database errors - and that's before we add the sub-forums that we'll need in future, when more Total War games are released.

    Iskar made a good point that Artifex and Civitate have historical value and add to the site's flavour. I agree, too, that Artifex has practical value, as a sign of an expert modder. Content's Librarian and Content Artist user groups had historical and practical value as well. For example, people could identify Librarians by their badge, which may have encouraged people to recommend threads to them for inclusion in the Scriptorium. Despite this, Content removed these user groups, as part of our contribution to dealing with the database errors. This doesn't mean that we have to merge Citizen, Civitate and Artifex - it simply means that it would be helpful if we could continue to think about whether the Curia has user groups which we can live without.

    Iskar suggested removing the Patrician user groups. As I see it, these groups significant contributions to TWC, which may encourage others to do the same. What I don't understand is why we have two of them. One user group is for citizen Patricians and the other is for non-citizen Patricians. Could we put both citizen Patricians and non-citizen Patricians in one Patrician user group? Citizen Patricians would continue to belong to both the Citizen and Patrician user groups, as we do now, so we could be distinguished from non-Citizen Patricians, if we needed to do that.
    Last edited by Alwyn; March 07, 2021 at 02:23 AM.

  18. #18
    Iskar's Avatar Insanity with Dignity
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    Default Re: [Discussion] Citizen classes simplification

    Quote Originally Posted by Akar View Post
    Additional bling is a value in and of itself. You could make the same argument for any badge. Citizenship has no value of it's own since the actual value is derived from the community's recognition of them.

    It's rhetorical nonsense.
    On the contrary, I think your argument is based on a false equivalence: My point was based on the fact that the Patrician badge is second order bling: bling you get automatically for having other bling. Citizenship is first order bling: bling you get directly for your contributions to the site. As such, the former has less value of its own and is easier to do away with.
    "Non i titoli illustrano gli uomini, ma gli uomini i titoli." - Niccolo Machiavelli, Discorsi
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    On an eternal crusade for reason, logics, catholicism and chocolate. Mostly chocolate, though.

    I can heartily recommend the Italian Wars mod by Aneirin.
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  19. #19
    Leonardo's Avatar Reborn Old Timer
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    Default Re: [Discussion] Citizen classes simplification

    Quote Originally Posted by Alwyn View Post
    I can see where Hitai is coming from. It would be helpful if we had specific maximum number of user groups and sub-forums, or have a numerical value for the removal of a particular user group or sub-forum. As far as I can see, Twilight Esker is right - we don't have specific numbers. The numbers we have are the ones which GED gave us, quoted by Lifthrasir above - these, with GED's comments, tell us that we have accumulated more user groups and sub-forums than the forum software can handle.

    Halie suggested removing inactive user groups. Hex have removed user groups and sub-forums which we can live without and we're continuing to do this. GED has done serious pruning. The situation has improved, but I still get a few database errors - and that's before we add the sub-forums that we'll need in future, when more Total War games are released.
    Actually we have limited knowledge about how many subforums there is. For example, the forum structure the current workshops for both RTW, M2TW now have and I bet that hasn't been touched since it was created a long time ago.

    We only need to look around the forum to find unnecessary subforums.

    Quote Originally Posted by Leonardo View Post
    Earlier today I read a new post and after I read it I realized that the workshop forum for both RTW and M2TW definitely need a make over, because doing that a lot of subforums could be deleted in the process and I see no reason to keep it as it is. Which will free up resources that could be used for other needs.

    It is also worth considering to merge the two M2TW hosted mod forums fora into one by simple remove abandoned hosted mod forums from one of the two forums or from both forums.




    Quote Originally Posted by Alwyn View Post
    Iskar made a good point that Artifex and Civitate have historical value and add to the site's flavour. I agree, too, that Artifex has practical value, as a sign of an expert modder. Content's Librarian and Content Artist user groups had historical and practical value as well. For example, people could identify Librarians by their badge, which may have encouraged people to recommend threads to them for inclusion in the Scriptorium. Despite this, Content removed these user groups, as part of our contribution to dealing with the database errors. This doesn't mean that we have to merge Citizen, Civitate and Artifex - it simply means that it would be helpful if we could continue to think about whether the Curia has user groups which we can live without.

    Iskar suggested removing the Patrician user groups. As I see it, these groups significant contributions to TWC, which may encourage others to do the same. What I don't understand is why we have two of them. One user group is for citizen Patricians and the other is for non-citizen Patricians. Could we put both citizen Patricians and non-citizen Patricians in one Patrician user group? Citizen Patricians would continue to belong to both the Citizen and Patrician user groups, as we do now, so we could be distinguished from non-Citizen Patricians, if we needed to do that.
    Halie also suggested to remove the Citizen badge and the two Partician groups, which I think Tango explained why there are two separate Partician groups (non-Citizen, Citizen) and that is a technicial solution if I am not mistaken.

    It all comes down to citizens who once was a citizen, but not anymore and had a large award e.g Opifex, Novus (Aradan, Gigantus also have Divus). So, removing those two Partician groups will definitely improve the server at the same time reducing database errors.
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  20. #20
    Lifthrasir's Avatar "Capre" Dunkerquois
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    Default Re: [Discussion] Citizen classes simplification

    Quote Originally Posted by Iskar View Post
    On the contrary, I think your argument is based on a false equivalence: My point was based on the fact that the Patrician badge is second order bling: bling you get automatically for having other bling. Citizenship is first order bling: bling you get directly for your contributions to the site. As such, the former has less value of its own and is easier to do away with.
    Not to mention that the Patrician badge comes in addition to the large award. Looks like there's only one member who got it for his contribution as Hex without holding a large award
    He's actually the only one who can complain about its possible removal with a good argument IMO.
    Last edited by Lifthrasir; March 07, 2021 at 05:20 AM.
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