7

I don't have anything against change, but there are APIs and userscripts we use to moderate our site. The recent UI changes that moved the stats on when things were asked/active and viewed have unintentionally broken our userscripts.

It would be helpful if there was some warning for major changes that could break things. It might also be useful for script writers for SE to consider somewhat friendlier and self documenting CSS design.

For example - it's broken the Roomba Forecaster,

  • 2
    Note: It took about a day after the update was released, but Roomba Forecaster has been updated to be functional with the new layout. It will get another update soon to incorporate the fact that SE added a tooltip with the actual number of views, rather than rely on the simplified, human readable, approximate number which is the displayed text. – Makyen Jul 29 at 5:11
17

Even if it is announced what is going to be changed that won't solve much.

SE would first need a list of used user scripts that use certain elements as their hook/extension point. Then they would need to evaluate if a change would impact user scripts that use that element. If yes, they would announce the change and for it to be useful it would need to include how that element would change (size, position, and removed).

You need a working implementation before you can determine if a user script is impacted by a change. Then the user script author needs time to make the needed changes, test them and make them ready to work with the changes.

In theory you could open https://dev.stackoverflow.com for this. And SE could create public extension points for their software. That still doesn't guarantee that userscripts won't break. For example, for those scripts that the maintainer is no longer interested in maintaining.

Keep in mind that SE pushes changes out daily. It would cripple their progress if they have to include external script developers into their stakeholder mix.

The current system works fine. Users find a bug, create an actionable bug report, ping the maintainer and they fix it. In case of major rework some chat rooms might have to facilitate in pinning a message to their starboard to prevent that the user script developer is more occupied with replying with yes, I know there is an issue, I'm fixing it then with actually fixing the bug.

I want SE developers to make progress. We have plenty of resources and users that are capable of adapting after a breaking change has been pushed to production.

10

The recent UI changes have unintentionally broken our userscripts.

I don't believe that the Stack Exchange development or even product management team can reasonably take into account which changes might break any user scripts already out in the wild.

Please announce it beforehand what you are going to change.

Also expecting announcements for any changes going is a bit too far. That would generate additional effort, and being a serious obstacle in simply implementing improvements.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .