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STEP Wabbajack?

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#16 Mercury71

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Posted 08 November 2020 - 04:58 PM

Claims that are made without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.

I didn't actually write that - you are misrepresenting what I actually wrote.

  Again misrepresenting my arguments.  Please do me the honour, as I did for you, of addressing what I actually wrote and don't strawman my comments.

What's your point?  I've been in the modding community since ~2006 and this has always been the case.

I want to make clear i have nothing in general against tools like Wabbajack. I do use a lot of different tools for modding my games.

But i do belive that it is not good if the STEP devs had to service a Wabbajack version of the STEP Guide.

Why?

First Tech has stated they do not have the resources.

Having an official version at Wabbajack means it must be updated and maintained like the guide here on STEP.

"Spreading out" , so to say, a guide in different places is never a good thing. I belive there where a discussion in this line about a STEP Discord if i am not misstaken when it commes to STEP support?

It is very easy to be "everywhere" but very hard to maintain it and keep the quality up i think.


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#17 theblackman

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Posted 09 November 2020 - 01:29 PM

<snippity>

Thanks for taking the time to give such a comprehensive reply.  I know you have another project you are passionate about and would most probably rather be doing that. :)

 

I acknowledge and appreciate your apology.  No hard feelings.

 

From my perspective, automation is one of those domains about which people allow their personal feelings, prejudices and innate cognitive biases to influence their opinions. 

 

That makes discussing it difficult because people say "I think X" but provide no evidentiary or logical reason for thinking that.

 

We're not talking about ice cream flavours here where personal preference is what matters.  What you think is less interesting what why you think it, particularly if you have sound evidence or logical reasons for thinking it. 

 

To address the points made:

 

1.  Both you and Mercury71 have overlooked the fact that you are already using automation in the STEP guide.  Two examples are any mod manager and BethINI.  These are both forms of automation.  Given that, you drawing the line at Wabbajack seems rather arbitrary and illogical.

 

2.  Following on from #1, your points about automation 'dumbing down' the user base also logically apply to automation tools like mod managers and BethINI.  Yet you both seem to again arbitrarily draw the line at Wabbajack.  This seems inconsistent to me.

 

3.  Your thesis that automation causes the 'dumbing down' of the user base has no evidentiary support.  It might be persuasive to you, but it isn't to me.  Maybe you're suffering from a phenomenon that we all suffer from at times: confirmation bias (that's not a personal attack but a well-known human failing).  Further, and again going back to the points above, if your thesis had merit, we would be able to tell if there has been a 'dumbing down' due to the effects of other automation tools like BethINI and mod managers.  I've seen no evidence that users are 'dumber' now than in 2006.  Further, some things in life are counter-intuitive.  This could be one of those things.  Use of automation tools might actually contribute to users becoming smarter mod users.  One person's experience isn't enough to conclude either way, unfortunately.

 

4.  As I stated before, but this point was ignored, virtually all of the points made by you and Mercury71 about automation can also be made about curated modlists.  How do I know this?  Because other people have made them to me over the years.

 

5.  I don't agree with your statement that automation contributes to information being lost.  In my experience (which in this domain is considerable) automation improves people's productivity because they can focus on doing more important, higher-value tasks.  Information isn't lost, merely the experience of performing the repetitive, low-value tasks.

 

6.  Even if I agree with you that information is lost, you've ignored the fact that time is gained.  This may not be an acceptable trade-off to you, but it is to many people.  If I might paraphrase your earlier comment: this is time that could be better spent with families, making mods etc.  What would you rather be doing: resolving mod conflicts, or making mods for the game?

 

7.  Neither you nor Mercury71 have defined how much knowledge one needs about modding in order to avoid suffering from 'dumbing down' when using automation tools.  Given there are so many variables to consider here, and your statements are very 'general' in nature, I would think that this question alone is fatal to your statements about automation with regards modding, especially given you are already recommending automation tools in STEP.

 

8.

 

Our actual support for the Guides is quite low.

This seems to contradict your earlier statement that automation creates more support than it prevents.  It could be that one reason the support requirement is quite low is due to the effects of using automation tools.

 

I don't expect my responses to convert you into automation disciples but I think your views would benefit from exposure to a fresher perspective, which I have tried to provide.

 

****

 

 

Actually, he's right. Most users will add more mods on top of the STEP Guides.

No he isn't.  The sentence terminates at the period, not at the first bracket.  Ironically, he's misrepresenting his own comment. See here, underlined:

 

Most A few people also adds mods outside off the STEP Guide for there own taste (at least i do and i belive all of you do so to) and then go to forums saying the guide is broken (i have seen that for current Wabbajack lists, STEP Guide, Lexys guide and others).

 

Didn't read as imposing, but an opinion, as have all of your statements.

You missed the 'should' part.  Where I've given my opinion, I've provided a 'why'.  In other words, I don't expect people to believe my opinion just because I said so.

 

I don't recall a single staff member reporting to actually using STEPupper.

That's not actually the point I was making - I was highlighting your value judgement in contrast to DoubleYou's comment.  However, you've since clarified so it's irrelevant now.

 

 

But i do belive that it is not good if the STEP devs had to service a Wabbajack version of the STEP Guide.

Why?

First Tech has stated they do not have the resources.

Having an official version at Wabbajack means it must be updated and maintained like the guide here on STEP.

"Spreading out" , so to say, a guide in different places is never a good thing. I belive there where a discussion in this line about a STEP Discord if i am not misstaken when it commes to STEP support?

It is very easy to be "everywhere" but very hard to maintain it and keep the quality up i think.

This is not uncommon in software development.  People who highlight all the problems as justification to not do something rather than being aspirational and looking for solutions.  This is how cool tech is made.

 

Nobody said that Tech and z92669 had to also maintain a Wabbajack guide.  New/existing team and community members may like to step up.

 

I'm happy to contribute however I can.


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#18 TechAngel85

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Posted 09 November 2020 - 08:55 PM

Thanks for taking the time to give such a comprehensive reply.  I know you have another project you are passionate about and would most probably rather be doing that. :)

No problem! Here's the next:

1. This is true, but Wabbajack would basically do away with the entire Guide, according to my understanding...or the majority of it. If ever explored, it would be an option; never a replacement for the Guides.

2. Hmm...I feel we're reaching a bit. Lets narrow our focus on what the automation tools are providing, rather than looking at them so broadly.

  • BethINI handles INIs. It still allows users full customization of these settings too. BethINI's scope ≠ Wabbajack's scope. In fact, they're built for different purposes so not a 1:1 compare.
  • DynDOLOD...yes, it's also automation. There is no other way of doing what this program does unless you built your own program. But again, DynDOLOD ≠ Wabbajack. Not a 1:1 compare.
  • Mod managers...same thing. Although, these two would be the closest to a fair comparison as they're both for mod installations.

These tools may be automation to some extent but you're applying your concept far too broadly, imo. STEP would have to look at these tools far more narrowly when considering them. So it's only inconsistent when you're put everything under the very broad banner of "automation" without narrowing down to what these tools are actually doing and providing.

3 & 4 & 7. I decided not to address these because we're just going back and forth rather than having a forward discussion. It serves no benefit to the topic to discuss these points given the responses. As to my responses, they are formed from years of running STEP.

5. Your view is not wrong and I can see your point, but perhaps you can see my point? Loss of experience is loss of information. Let me put it this way...

  • One can not gain wisdom without experience nor experience without doing. Automating takes away some of the "doing", therefore not has much experience is gained, which means less wisdom to narrow down issues when they arise. Not there yet? Real world...
  • It's the same thing when your car breaks down. If you have the knowledge and experience, you can fix it yourself (and save a lot of money). Else, you have to take it to a shop and let someone else fix it for you. Now turn that into automation...
    • If you have the knowledge and experience, you can fix whatever is wrong "under the hood" of that automation tool yourself, instead of running to a discord/forum to have someone give you your solution.

I'm not against some automation, but someone has to know what's going on under the hood. 

6. I don't think anyone would deny that time is gained from automation. However, information lost from experience isn't an acceptable trade-off...for me. For others, it would most definitely be the other way around. I'm the type of person that gets more from the journey than the destination.

RE: Guide Support...
It "could" be, but the drop in support isn't from the addition of these tools and that is a fact. Considering who you're discussing with, this statement implies that we don't know our own project. We've ran this site for years and released numerous Guides in that time. The only way for anyone not involved in STEP to know how we've reduced our support is to do an in-depth analysis of generated support related to Guide releases over the period of time which STEP has operated. I'll assume you haven't done this because doing so would be crazy...unless you're into that sort of thing.  :huh:
 
I will say your thought is not a bad one, it's simply not correct. We've refined the Guide little by little over time, and little by little support has reduced. DynDOLOD has been a part of the Guides for a good chunk of this time. BethINI was more recently introduced with the SE Guide, however, there was been no obvious change in support regarding INIs because there was little to none to begin with. Same thing with xLODGen, it was introduced with SE (with the last couple releases actually). Therefore, the evidence, in regards to STEP, doesn't support your thought of it being partly automation that has reduced our support. In fact, those tools created a hell of a lot of additional support requests when they were introduced vs when we didn't have them...though some of that is to be expected because of their newness to the users. So, did these tools cause a reduction in support? From my first-hand experience, no. They simply added another point of possible user error.
 
Part of the reduce, I will freely admit is due to less users using the Guides. However, from where we used to be...we now have a really good workflow with the SE Guide, better instructions, and patches that are user-oriented. All these have attributed to reduced support and we're aiming to improve workflow even more with our updated wiki framework.

 

With all that is said and done where does the "burden of proof" lie? I would say it's on the users wanting, supporting, and requesting automation. You would not?

Burden of proofs always lies with the initiating party. So if you or someone want take the STEP Guide, produce a Wabbajack for it, and then present STEP with a "show and tell", go for it! Be prepared to answer plenty of questions. We'll specifically have to know:

  • Do you, honestly, believe it would be simple to maintain within a structured released project? ...meaning it would have to updated for every single change and release to the Guides. Is this simple enough to not be a burden on maintenance? (Obviously, only STEP can answer these for STEP, but I want to hear your opinion.)

What would be our ideal maintenance overhead for something automated like Wabbajack?
Basically...let us get the mod list set up in MO because we're doing that anyway as part of the Guide releases. Once it's set and done, click a button and a file is exported that we can upload. That is simple and involves a process that we're doing already (aka doesn't really add any extra maintenance overhead).





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