Announcing a Change in the AppleVis Rules Covering Posting of Information About Beta Apple Software

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

We are extremely pleased to announce that we are now able to significantly relax our rules covering what can and cannot be said about beta versions of Apple software on the AppleVis website.

Previously, our rules covering new features or changes in a forthcoming software release have only permitted sharing of information which has already been made public by Apple itself. This typically included information made available at events such as new product launch announcements, Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, and on the preview pages of Apple’s website.

We hope that you will be pleased to hear that most information about new features or changes in beta Apple software can now be freely shared and discussed on the AppleVis website - even if not originally made public by Apple itself - provided that any post does not include the following:

  • Anything which could be considered as technical support. For example, seeking help with installing/using beta software or problems with native or third-party apps after installing a beta.
  • Discussion of bugs introduced or fixed in a beta release.
  • Detailed descriptions, reviews or walk-throughs of how new or changed features are implemented in a beta release.

Please note that we reserve the right to remove from the AppleVis website any posts which we believe to be a breach of these rules, as well as questions that could only be answered by breaching them. Removing user-submitted content is never a pleasant decision for us, and it is something that we only do on the rare occasions when we believe it is necessary in order to protect the reputation and best interests of the AppleVis community.

Your continued respect for our rules covering discussion of beta Apple software is truly appreciated. The most up-to-date version of these rules can always be found here.

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14 Comments

#1 Good idea I've got A lot of reservations

App Developer

Even though this could spawn a lot of discussion, I believe that the Apple Corporation has the right to protect there privacy on development of software.The other reservation I have is how vindictive the blind Community Tends to be on the issue of accessibility.

#2 good news I guess, still its

good news I guess, still its a bit ridiculous that information has been freely obtainable for years and apple has never taken any action against sites that spread it and applevis has had this high handed stance, well done granddad applevis for finally getting with the times and waking up to reality.

#3 Regarding Rixon’s reservations

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Rixon,

I can reassure you with complete confidence that there is no need to have any reservations in regard to what Apple may think or do about our change of rules. Quite simply, this is not something that we would have done had we not been certain of that.

This should also ensure that there is no need for your other reservation.

#4 FAO Alex

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Alex, we get it that you have had long-standing issues with our previous position; and still appear to be focused on refusing to accept that things aren’t always as one dimensional as you would probably like or think them to be. So, lets just move forward and not use this as yet another opportunity for some personal axe grinding.

So, onwards and upwards for AppleVis … okay?

#5 well said, David!!!

I have read the 4 previous comments, and wholeheartedly agree with the postings from David Woodbridge!!! People: Stop being so dad blamed negative!! This is a step in the right direction!

#6 Awesome!

I'm excited about the new changes, glad to see this!!

#7 this is good

This is good. I won't post a whole lot about betas on here (it's a personal thing) but if i do post I'll keep those rules in mind.

#8 Requesst for Clarification

I am unclear as to what is now open for discussion. When time allows, perhaps an editorial staff member could write a post that clarifies the new rules.

So that I do not run afoul of the current rules, I would appreciate an example of previously unacceptable discussions that are now permitted.

The new rules sound like a reasonable approach, and i applaud the team's efforts behind the scenes.
Thanks.
dp

#9 thank you!

I have to be honest I've often thought that Applevis was being far far too careful about discussing betas when you can go on a social networking site like Twitter or any other publicly available site like Mac Rumors, or 9 to 5 mac and get heaps of information about betas. If that information is freely available on all those sites why shouldn't it also be available on Applevis in regards to accessibility? I fully understand that Applevis has a really good relationship with Apple and didn't want to do anything to ruin it. However, I actually do think that this relaxation could be very good for many reasons. Firstly, if someone runs a beta, and notices a *significant* accessibility problem, people could announce it here, with the understanding that it *is* in a beta, and that regular iOS users should not be experiencing that type of behavior. Secondly, think about how much more feedback Apple could receive in regards to accessibility. It's a tiny part of Apple but it's really important to folks with disabilities, so the more input they can get, the better things will be. The earlier they can squash bugs, the better. I'd really like to see an initial version of iOS like iOS 10 come out, and things could truly be stable enough for users, and we wouldn't have to find workarounds to fix something until the next version. The more bug reports they get, the better things could be. Why, Applevis could, if they wanted to, have a facility where people could submit beta bug reports. I know Apple has such an app, but I've heard some people have trouble using it. I am sooo glad the rules have been relaxed, this has been a long time coming! Congrats Applevis guys for doing the right thing!

#10 Clarification

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Hi all,

Below is a clarification on our rules for posting information about beta Apple software to the AppleVis website.

Basically, our understanding is that it's now okay to talk in general terms about features present in iOS betas--including accessibility features or changes not specifically mentioned by Apple.

As a good example of this, it would be okay for me to mention that Taptic Time is in watchOS 3, and how awesome this will be for VoiceOver users. What I couldn't do, however, is give specific details of how the feature is implemented, and I couldn't give step-by-step instructions on how to use it.

The other thing I couldn't do is discuss bugs present or fixed in beta releases of the software. The distinct impression I'm getting is that rather than discussing bugs with other end-users, Apple would rather people file them straight away. Don't worry if it ends up being a duplicate, or an as-expected behavior. If you think it's a bug, file it. If something isn't working the way you expect it to, file it. If you think a beta feature could be improved, file it. These are all things that Apple needs to know, and the best way to make sure your feedback gets into the right hands is to file bugs in the proper way for your particular beta.

Lastly, an important thing to remember about beta software as that features can and do change. How something is implemented in iOS 10 Beta 1 could be different from the implementation in the final release. This is why attempting to podcast or write reviews would not really work--things are still changing, and what you see in Beta 1 may not be the same as what you see in the shipping version.

#11 Some reasons for not permitting discussion of bugs

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Since announcing the changes to our posting rules, I have seen a few comments (primarily on Twitter) from people who don’t understand why we are still not permitting discussion of bugs introduced in beta releases.

So, I thought that it might be helpful to share some of our reasons. I am not asking or expecting you to necessarily accept and agree with them all, but I do hope that you will at least agree with enough of them to understand and appreciate our decision.

  • Providing technical support for people using beta software has never been a purpose of AppleVis and is never likely to be.

  • Public sharing and discussion of bugs which come and go as a natural part of the beta cycle can rarely offer anything of value to the beta testing process and is something that developers typically regard as actually being detrimental to it.

  • In the case of Apple, the release cycle typically sees a new version of beta software every 2 weeks. This means that new bugs come and go frequently throughout the beta cycle. This is the nature of beta testing. Hence, posts publicly sharing information about bugs which could be fixed within a few days have little value.

  • Developers are unlikely to encourage or endorse people openly discussing bugs in beta software.

  • If a developer does feel it appropriate and necessary to provide support to beta testers, they will have mechanisms in place to do so.

  • Public sharing and discussion of bugs introduced in beta releases can cause confusion and misinformation about what bugs actually exist in publicly released versions of the software. For example, there will be some who will see mention of a bug in a beta release and continue to believe that it exists in the final release of the software, even though it may actually only ever have been present for a small time during the beta cycle. This type of confusion can result in the spread of misinformation and potentially be harmful to both the developer and end users of the software.

  • If you encounter something that you believe to be a bug, Apple wants you to let it know. The reality is that public discussion of bugs introduced in a beta release actually reduces the number of bug reports that are filed with the developer. This is because there will invariably be some who will see a bug mentioned somewhere and assume that this means that somebody else will already have reported it, and that the developer will have all of the information they need to reproduce, isolate and fix the problem. In the case of Apple, it wants you to report problems as soon as you encounter them, not to spend time trying to first find out if others are encountering the same problem. At best this will delay bugs being reported and developers starting work to resolve them; at worst it may result in some bugs simply not being reported to Apple by anybody.

  • Considering the number of people who now have potential access to beta Apple software and the number of beta releases that Apple now typically issues, it’s not hard to imagine a scenario in which (if permitted) there could be a large number of posts on AppleVis about bugs in beta releases. This could crowd out content which is of far more interest, relevance and value to the mass majority of those in our community who will not be using beta software.

  • If you are looking for information about bugs to help you decide whether to install a particular beta release, then you have missed the fundamental purpose and value of beta testing. It may sound harsh, but if your main concern is finding out whether a beta release is ‘safe’ to install, you should probably stick to using stable final releases. Beta testing is not intended for the simply curious or those who do not want the problems which typically come with installing and using beta software. This is even more true in the case of beta operating systems and where you do not have a dedicated device to use for testing purposes.

#12 Question about reporting bugs.

Hey guys, those who are more experienced with beta testing can probably answer this easily:
This is my first time beta testing and I've noticed a few bugs that I've already submitted. However, my question is what about those bugs that you've only had happen to you once, or that you don't know how to reproduce them...should I just leave it alone and see if it comes up again? One of these bugs I'm thinking of resulted in me having to reset my device to restore full functionality.

#13 Change in beta discussion.

Yo Folks:

I guess I'm a bit confused: public betas are just that aren't they? Where's the problem?

#14 I don't get it

I still don't understand. You're allowing discussion of betas, but not details? How is this a change? It's as confusing as it's ever been, and prevents sharing of valuable information. If a third-party app someone relies on is going to fail, this is information they need to know, is it not? It helps people make intelligent decisions.
At this point, it would almost be better to go back to what it was--blanket no beta discussion. At least that was clear. This... this just makes no sense given the subject matter involved. Beta testers talk technical, else they'd not *be* beta testers in the first place.
Perhaps it would be better to set up another web page entirely separate for those who wish to discuss betas? At this point it's just too darned confusing otherwise and is going to prevent rather than assist with discussions.