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Formal request to Polyethene


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sumon
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IMPORTANT NOTE! This request has been fulfilled as of late-October 2012 (and there is now only one "recommended"/official version of AutoHotkey, formerly known as AutoHotkey_L) and we are moving forward in other manners too. See this post for the announcement.

Dear polyethene,
There has been a lot of discussion, dispute and bad blood (occasionally followed by uncomfortable silence) in the AutoHotkey community in the past month. This letter is an attempt to summarize the views of some concerned community members, an attempt to renew the discussion, and an attempt to reconcile and unite the community so that we may move forward strengthened.

Background

After Chris had announced he'd like for someone to take over the site, you were a given candidate for your previous recognition and work with AutoHotkey, and you and I were together assigned to cooperate in improving the "the future of AutoHotkey.com". A team and community effort was planned to upgrade and update the forum and the site step by step, following a number of requirements as well as a vision. I created several threads in the forum to discuss the changes, project, design, but also how AutoHotkey should be advertised in the future. I had perceived a rather unisone opinion about the community-driven AutoHotkey_L de facto being (and "should be") the main version of AutoHotkey, and wanted to verify this by opening up for discussion.

Then, at the date of April 05, you decided to take action. The main site was updated with a new frontpage design, and the forum was upgraded. What caused most of the discussion was the (temporary) entire removal of AutoHotkey_L from the download page, where previously it had been popularly recommended - disregarding the previous discussion. Many of us got the impression you have strong feelings against AutoHotkey_L, and that you may even want to drive advanced users to, in the long run, leave the community.

Discussion easily gets heated and aggressive, especially when it comes to "politics" - or when these discussions take place in a forum. People have been upset for different reasons, and many still are. Let's make the following clear: We respect your past effort you have put into AutoHotkey and its' community. We respect you for volunteering to continue your work with the website. We respect that you have a vision for the future of AutoHotkey - and would like for you to clarify it further. However, we disagree on the method where authority trumps discussion & consensus. We also have a slightly different vision of AutoHotkey's future. Generally very similar - but with differing key points. Let me briefly try to summarize what we envision:

Vision

We envision AutoHotkey_L renamed and promoted as the "main" supported version of AutoHotkey, with full support throughout the site: On the downloads page, the (rewritten) documentation as well as the forums. With one active version, which is supported by a majority of active users and developers, AutoHotkey will be a better and ever improving experience for beginners and veterans alike. We respect that most users do not need many of the improvements or additions of AutoHotkey (_L), but we want these improvements over the years to be available and easy to use for everyone who wants them. We also respect that a (very) small number of users specifically need "Classic AutoHotkey", and will make sure that old versions will be available for download, and anyone can be free to use them.

As well as you, polyethene, we respect the unbelievably great original work of Chris Mallett's classic AutoHotkey - we do not want this to be forgotten. We also respect that Chris has lost interest in AutoHotkey, but we love AHK so much that we can't live without it being actively developed. Therefore we are also grateful to the great work Lexikos, fincs, Sean, jackieku and several other contributors have done creating and still improving AutoHotkey, as well as the contributions of countless members who are writing new scripts, functions and libraries improving AutoHotkey's capacities even further.

It has often been stated: AutoHotkey_L is not something entirely new, it is just AutoHotkey "classic" plus some potentially useful improvements and extras (for more info, see "Why use AutoHotkey_L?"). It introduces numerous bug fixes, improved as well as added features & advanced concepts. To mention a few: Improved GUI and menu support, #if-directive, native COM, arrays and objects, and more... But it does not force a user to use these. A script in AutoHotkey_L can be written by a non-programmer just as easily as in AutoHotkey classic - often even easier. AutoHotkey_L is still ~99% backwards compatible to AutoHotkey classic. For the 1% "advanced" (usually involving DllCalls) scripts that may need updating, we hereby offer help for conversion of such scripts, in the event that a transition should be made.

[*:2ih39kiq]We also collectively offer to actively take part in a rewrite of the documentation as a community effort, looking over both current documentation as well as improving and adding comprehensible additions to the tutorials as well as the more advanced features of AutoHotkey[*:2ih39kiq]Lexikos has offered to remain the lead developer of AutoHotkey - initially planning to improve user experience by making the installation process easier - and he has our full support in that[*:2ih39kiq]I (sumon) am still interested in participating in website design, development & maintenance as part of a team[*:2ih39kiq]Maul.esel, fincs & others are willing to lead and participate in a project to drastically improve the availability and ease-of-use of the standard library, providing support for a real lib "standard"[*:2ih39kiq]octal is willing to work with CloudAHK (& more), potentially enabling an open source content distribution network when combined with an improved standard library[*:2ih39kiq]Apart from the above mentioned, we also have outspoken or implicit support from numerous active users and developers, who are willing to help actively assisting in these tasks and more
Now you see that we, too, have a vision. And we are willing to work for it. We think that the AutoHotkey community is simply too wonderful to be lost because of either lack of open discussion, or lack of action. We agree that AutoHotkey was, is and should stay a scripting language suitable and easy to learn for non-programmers - and we are willing to work continuously to achieve this shared goal. But we also think a community, and especially the beginners, benefit from advanced users helping them, creating and maintaining scripts, functions, libraries and services. We encourage you to work together with us, improving the site, community and eventually software too - perhaps by your work with IronAHK, a .NET version of AutoHotkey to make it gain even more recognition on other operating systems.

Summary

Your currently known vision and plans for the future of AutoHotkey do not fit our needs - which is why we here declare what we envision. We hope to be able to work together with you. But if no consensus at all can be reached - nor enough common ground found, we would be forced to take our own way - unfortunately involving an inevitable community split. If so happens we hope that it could take place in an orderly fashion with AutoHotkey's spirit of "Let's help each others" in mind.

However, our main hope is that no such thing would be necessary, and that we can discuss and find enough common ground to move on together, improving AutoHotkey with united powers. This is our request.

We invite every user of AutoHotkey and the forum to support us and/or to state his or her opinion and participate in the discussion.

Kind regards,

corrupt
elesar
fincs
fragman
Frankie
gwarble
hoppfrosch
isnull
jethrow
Learning one
Lexikos
maul.esel
sumon
tank
wtg


guest3456
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I'm a Basic user and yet I still think _L should be the way forward. I have resisted the switch as long as possible, fearing exactly this situation: the community splitting, and two ahk's going separate ways. I think this is the worst thing that can happen.

I consider myself an average, middle-of-the-pack programmer. I think the object implementation in _L is pretty complicated. And I don't even know what the word variadic means. So I agree some of the stuff in _L is a bit far out, but that doesn't mean I'm forced to use them. I can continue using dynamic variables instead of arrays if I want to. I envision the main marketing of AHK to REMAIN to be very basic, promoting hotkeys, hotstrings, Send, and other basic stuff. The average newbie need not know about anything more and the updated docs should reflect that

I vote for poly and lex working TOGETHER, and keeping the community (your biggest asset) in tact. If poly has gripes with _L why not voice them and participate in the discussion threads along with everyone else, so everyone can move forward TOGETHER? Lexikos absence isn't helping anything either, he needs to be here participating and communicating with poly too. Poly, why not help develop v2 in tandem with Lex? You can promote _L as main in the interim.

I support _L as the future.

Frankie
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I completely agree with the message. If nothing else, the "why not?" factor of [L] being backwards compatible makes only offering Basic seam silly and pointless. It allows the advanced users to write scripts in their fancy advanced ways, and the more basic users to write scripts in their more basic ways. Everyone wins.

P.s. feel free to add my name to the letter.
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OldBloke
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Thanks for that clear statement Sumon. Clearly you have put a lot of thought into it, with wisdom and good motivations. You have described what I was already thinking about the situation, but could not have said as clearly as you did.

I am a basic scripter and only use a small subset of AHK_L's features, but even so L offers me several important advantages over the old AHK Classic.

I hope L will recognised officially as the current alive AHK, with Classic kept available but not the version recommended to new users.

I started with Classic because when I discovered AHK it was the only one mentioned on the front page (polythene had hidden AHK_L at the time). Two weeks later I discovered L and, after reading lots of threads here, made the change because L is the obvious best choice even for simple users like me.

Surely this forum community will flourish best if it attracts a wide range of users, including noobs, and old users who will never progress beyond basic scripting, and expert programmers too.
That cannot happen unless polyethene changes how he is operating here, either becoming a team player (if he can) or stepping aside.
If he doesn't do that, it will be necessary for the majority of the community to move to a new forum and website supporting AHKL. What a waste of time and energy and resources that would be! Unfortunately polyethene is in a position to force that to be necessary - if he imagines he has the right to dictate as the self-appointed supreme leader who knows best, instead of working in harmony with this wonderful community and accepting the consensus view.

The conflict started by polyethene's recent coup d'état has cost everybody too much energy and time and worry. I hope it will be resolved very soon.

just me
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Thanks, sumon, that's exactly my point of view. I hope this will lead back to an open and objective discussion.

Prefer ahkscript.org for the time being.


Carcophan
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+1

oldbrother
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Thank you very much Sumon !!!
+1

polyethene
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To summarise:

Main version - I cannot discuss AutoHotkey_L replacing AutoHotkey unless the author, Lexikos, is happy about it. His response to this has so far been unclear, and I don't want to force him into anything because a few forum members are demanding it. My position is to continue the arrangement Chris originally decided on - to have both versions available and offer users the choice. I believe AutoHotkey_L has the platform and recognition that is both respectful to the author and in the best interests of our audience. Finally, from my private conversions with Lexikos I have provided additional resources and support that is not given to the public, so he knows that I am more than happy to cooperate.

Documentation - in previous discussions you told me that you are not going to work on the documentation so I agreed to take it on. If you have changed your mind please let me know.

Collaboration - a lot of people here talk but nobody actually does anything. I've seen this happen many times before when Chris put out threads asking for contributions and help, more bureaucracy clearly isn't the answer. This isn't directed to you sumon so please don't take offence. Also this isn't a playground for anyone to get involved, I take this seriously and expect to see quality results.

autohotkey.com/net Site Manager

 

Contact me by email (polyethene at autohotkey.net) or message tidbit


sumon
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First, let's just add that I've understood you might be busy for the coming week poly, and I respect that - I hope you'll get involved afterwards, and that we can get things moving (again). I just wanted to put this "topic" out for discussion so that the "worries" could be turned into something constructive, starting now.

To summarise:

Main version - I cannot discuss AutoHotkey_L replacing AutoHotkey unless the author, Lexikos, is happy about it. His response to this has so far been unclear, and I don't want to force him into anything because a few forum members are demanding it. My position is to continue the arrangement Chris originally decided on - to have both versions available and offer users the choice. I believe AutoHotkey_L has the platform and recognition that is both respectful to the author and in the best interests of our audience.


That's nice to hear. I have also been worried about Lexikos intentions, but I've been talking to him too and he is in general willing to work with _L, v2, renamed or not. It is not unexpected that (quote) "the website and community will affect my [Lexikos'] level of motivation and the direction in which I take the project".

Finally, from my private conversions with Lexikos I have provided additional resources and support that is not given to the public, so he knows that I am more than happy to cooperate.


That too is nice.

Documentation - in previous discussions you told me that you are not going to work on the documentation so I agreed to take it on. If you have changed your mind please let me know.


To briefly summarize and explain - that was in connection to my stance after the events that made you appear unwilling to cooperate. My intention has always been to make things in the right order, and rewriting the documentations should be made with consideration to which version of AutoHotkey is considered the main version. I personally do not believe there is a need to diversify the documentation (as in: Maintain two separate versions) because it would be more beneficial to promote a single version (namely "previously known as _L"). This might mostly have bearing on things such as the documented Gui window limit of Classic, and other sections that have been updated in the last few years of coding.

I speak for myself (and eventually others) when I say that it feels better to work for a vision that I share, rather than work for something which I believe will not work out well.

So in short, I have not changed my mind - but the offer to update the documentation as a community effort is something that should let you reevaluate whether you need to take it on yourself.

Collaboration - a lot of people here talk but nobody actually does anything. I've seen this happen many times before when Chris put out threads asking for contributions and help, more bureaucracy clearly isn't the answer. This isn't directed to you sumon so please don't take offence. Also this isn't a playground for anyone to get involved, I take this seriously and expect to see quality results.


None taken. My stance is also that quality results is of importance, but even if it might be true that running a site is not a democracy - it has been proven over and over that community contribution is what counts (and generates "value") in the long run. Just take a look at all the work of the Scripts forums, and the step by step collaborative improvements of accessible libraries and so on. In short: Consent leads to contribution.

JSLover
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Collaboration - a lot of people here talk but nobody actually does anything.

...we don't have access to do anything...I've offered to help many times ("a lot of people here talk")...but I haven't done anything, since I can't...I need some way to submit my changes/help.

Also this isn't a playground for anyone to get involved...

...you want people to help ("nobody actually does anything") but don't ("this isn't a playground")?

I have many outstanding Suggestions/Issues (some that you haven't even read/replied to) that I'd like to see fixed -- & I could (& would) fix myself -- if I had access, to do so. I understand you can't just give out access to everyone, but then you also can't complain about people not doing anything. Give me access & I'll fix the issues I reported. Don't Give me access & I'll just keep reporting stuff...& not be able to "do anything" else except report.
Useful forum links: New content since: Last visitPast weekPast 2 weeks (links will show YOUR posts, not mine)

OMFG, the AutoHotkey forum is IP.board now (yuck!)...I may not be able to continue coming here (& I love AutoHotkey)...I liked phpBB, but not this...ugh...

Note...
I may not reply to any topics (specifically ones I was previously involved in), mostly cuz I can't find the ones I replied to, to continue helping, but also just cuz I can't stand the new forum...phpBB was soo perfect. This is 100% the opposite of "perfect".

I also semi-plan to start my own, phpBB-based AutoHotkey forum (or take over the old one, if he'll let me)
PM me if you're interested in a new phpBB-based forum (I need to know if anyone would use it)
How (or why) did they create the Neil Armstrong memorial site (neilarmstronginfo.com) BEFORE he died?

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We invite every user of AutoHotkey and the forum to support us and/or to state his or her opinion and participate in the discussion.


Thank you. I accept your invitation.

@Polythene
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tank
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its a difficult task to be sure. how to allow collaboration prevent malicious code and moderate it all

I am going to write a php module that will allow the use of ckeditor strip out any code but allow easy formatting.
the second part will be a publisher module so that submissions can be reviewed and approved or dismissed.
publisher rights and login will be part of the module


My question to you Polythene; do you prefer file based submission storage or database driven? And are you interested in this as a means of updating documentation?
Never lose.
WIN or LEARN.

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Strategic planning and vision:

"What do we do?"
"For whom do we do it?"
"How do we excel?"

From polyethene's post:

As mentioned in previous posts my primary objective is to go back to the grass roots of AutoHotkey and target a non-programmer audience.



Autohotkey should stay as it is and will give many non-programmers an opportunity to have a go at creatively changing windows with their own ideas with a well documented application.It will have a unique place under scripting languages and can be promoted as such.

Autohotkey_l should go its own way under a different name and with a different vision.

I left ahk some months ago in the end using ahk_l for its unicode support but finding python a better suited language for the programs i use .

You only have to look at the python documentation to see the work ahead if you want to have the same level in ahk_l.The sudden support for helping in these matters by members is irrelevant,it will take a lot more than a handfull parttimers who talk a lot ...........

I hope polyethene as a capitan will steer a steady course ,the ship is sturdy and has proven its worth.The crew is a motley collection than will change over time............

maul.esel
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Autohotkey [...] will give many non-programmers an opportunity to have a go at creatively changing windows with their own ideas with a well documented application.

How does AHK_L not do this? AHK_L lets you do ALL the stuff AHK (classic) does - and MORE (not less).

A user can learn & use these extra things (COM, Objects, ...) - but he can also simply ignore them if he's not interested. And he can benefit from "simple" additions (#if, Link support in GUIs, ...), 64bit and Unicode support and numerous bugfixes.

I think your perception of AHK_L as advanced-only language (it seems to be common) is really caused by the way it is advertised. If the community works together, as suggested here, we can advertise AHK (renamed AHK_L) as beginner language (no need to bother with "complex stuff") with rich potential, as useful tool for intermediate and advanced users, and we can possibly even explain objects etc. in a way they don't seem that complex anymore (documentation improvements).
Join the discussion on The future of AutoHotkey
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sumon, you deserve much respect, I wish you were the main site admin, things wouldn't go banana like this then
The forum was fine, Lex was happy going forward developing his most used version of AutoHotkey, everything on here was fine and then this poly decided to fix what wasn't broken.