It's time for AppleVis to change its policy on the discussion of beta software

hello all, for to many years now when public betas of IOS have come out, we don't get to hear about bugs that might impact us with voiceover. who like me thinks that sense the public betas are public and are out their for anyone to test, that we as customers of apple who use voiceover daily should be able to have warnings about what bugs might impact us in the upcoming releases? I think that excuse of apple won't let us talk about voiceover changes in the public betas is just lame, and frankly stupid. the knolage is out their and apple says people can talk about public betas, so why can't we have voiceover talked about sense it's public anyway.this policy about that on this site just needs to flat out be changed.

Forum: 

#1 Apple isn't the reason

If you read the rules page, they lay out a long list of reasons why they don't allow it. It has nothing to do with Apple not letting us.

#2 Apple's actual position on discussing beta software

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Brandon,

Unless you can point me to a source, your claim that “Apple says people can talk about public betas” is simply false.

This is what Apple actually says in its Beta Software Program FAQ:

... the public beta software is Apple confidential information. Don’t install the public beta software on any systems you don't directly control or that you share with others. Don’t blog, post screen shots, tweet, or publicly post information about the public beta software, and don't discuss the public beta software with or demonstrate it to others who are not in the Apple Beta Software Program. If Apple has publicly disclosed technical information about the public beta software, it is no longer considered confidential.

You can read the full terms of use here, which include:

6. Nonuse and Nondisclosure of Confidential Information.Except as expressly permitted in this Section 6, you agree that you will not disclose, publish, or otherwise disseminate any Confidential Information to anyone other than individuals who are enrolled in the same individual seed as you, or as otherwise expressly permitted or agreed to in writing by Apple.You further agree to take reasonable precautions to prevent any unauthorized use, disclosure, publication, or dissemination of Confidential Information, including preventing access to or display of the Apple Software to third parties.You agree to use the Confidential Information solely for the permitted uses as set forth in this Agreement.You agree not to use Confidential Information otherwise for your own or any third party’s benefit without the prior written approval of an authorized representative of Apple in each instance.You hereby acknowledge that unauthorized disclosure or use of Confidential Information could cause irreparable harm and significant injury to Apple that may be difficult to ascertain.Accordingly, you agree that Apple will have the right to seek immediate injunctive relief to enforce obligations under this Agreement in addition to any other rights and remedies it may have.

10. Discussion Forums.As part of the Beta Program, you may have the ability to participate in discussion forums provided by Apple about the Pre-Release Software and other Confidential Information that Apple may make available to you.For purposes of such discussion forums, Apple is providing a limited exception to Section 6 by allowing you to discuss certain Apple Confidential Information received by you in connection with a particular seed with other seed participants who are in the same seed as you in the Apple designated discussion forum for such seed, and only within this discussion forum.

Except for the limited purpose of discussions with other seed participants within such forums, you acknowledge and agree that this Agreement does not grant you the right to copy, reproduce, publish, blog, disclose, transmit, or otherwise disseminate any Apple Confidential Information.

It really couldn't be any clearer. Apple does not want beta testers talking publicly about its beta software.

Quite reasonably, you might direct me towards the myriad of websites, podcasts, and social media accounts which clearly disregard this.

I would look foolish if I tried to claim that Apple's beta software wasn't widely discussed elsewhere.

I would look foolish if I tried to claim that I didn't myself read and listen to some of that discussion.

I would look foolish if I tried to claim that AppleVis would be the one website out of thousands that Apple would choose to target for legal action if we were to post about even a single bug in its beta software.

However, what I will argue, is that the motives and priorities of the AppleVis community are quite different to those of commercial websites with staff salaries to pay; and also different to those of many individuals posting to their own website, blog, or social media account.

I am not saying that we are right and everybody else is wrong. What I am saying, is that any policy on Apple's non-disclosure agreement has to reflect and be to the benefit of the motives and priorities of the AppleVis community.

For me, right at the top of the list of our community's priorities are raising awareness of accessibility; asking software developers to listen to the needs of those who rely on software being accessible, wanting software developers to actively engage with our community; and encouraging software developers to make accessible design a priority.

I don't see how on one hand we can be asking this from developers, whilst at the same time showing a disregard for what developers reasonably ask of us when using their software.

Essentially, we can't have it both ways. We can't ask software developers to listen to our community, whilst at the same time refusing to listen to them.

In the case of Apple, I can state with complete certainty that it does indeed currently listen to and respect our community.. Things said on AppleVis can and do make a difference.

I see no benefit from potentially sacrificing this for being able to talk about a bug which may only ever exist for the lifetime of one release during the beta cycle.

If you are going to challenge me on what's the point of Apple listening and respecting our community if that doesn't turn in to something meaningful, such as actually fixing the bugs that exist in the publicly available releases of its software, it's most certainly not because they don't want to.

Nobody at Apple wants there to be bugs in its software. In the case of its accessibility features, there's a significant number of Apple's Accessibility Team who are themselves users of these features, so it's crazy to think that they wouldn't want to do everything possible to have the best experience.

And as long as Apple listens and respects our community, we have the capacity to make a positive difference.

I personally see no benefit from weakening our community's relationship with Apple and other developers by ignoring what they ask of us in regard to the use of their beta software, but do recognize that not everybody agrees, and that this is a topic that occasionally needs to be revisited.

I should mention that there are numerous other reasons for our policy being what it is, and that these can be found on the policy page.

#3 Other reasons

Other reasons as to why this isn't accepted is because there could be false leads. This would cause unnecessary excitement to the community who thinks that the next beta includes what was mentioned, but it actually doesnT.
Another caused issue would be false spreading (or non-evidential rumors). This would extend the excitement by several people.

#4 Waste of time

Club AppleVis Member

I don’t want to waste my time reading about anecdotal bug reports in beta versions of software that may already be addressed and will be resolved in the final version. It is totally reasonable for beta users to use the bug reporting mechanisms and discussion boards supplied by the beta software developers. This way, action can actually be taken to resolve the issues. Talking about potential future bugs in products on this site would so needless confusion and create negative drama, and degrade the value of the helpful information that we find here. I also agree with all of what David and Tumni said above.

#5 Here's the thing. If you can

Here's the thing. If you can't comply with the Non-disclosure agreement then don't install the beta software. I think it's good that we can't talk about the public beta's due to what Tunmi and others have said about spreading rumors and miss-information. For my benefit, I don't care about the betas, and wait till the final versions of software are released to everyone. Like I said, If you want to participate in apples beta program, then comply with the rules of the NDA. I've said my peace, and that's done.

#6 I agree with brandon on this

I agree with brandon on this topic as apple doesn't enforce what they say, about betas, yes I know what people are going to say we don't want to upset the amazing apple,
but mainstream sites discuss beta features post screenshots etc, and as I have said before if this was a true democratic community the members of the community would actually have a say in shaping rules which govern the site, maybe be given votes on these sorts of policies after all applevis wouldn't exist without its members. think about it logically, if apple didn't want things to be tested publicly, discussed publicly they wouldn't make betas publicly available. I am certainly not suggesting posting podcasts demonstrating features early especially if they are buggy, but we must be one of the only apple related sites that sticks to this ridiculous policy. I think its a case of all members of this community are equal but some are more equal than others and I do feel the way this place is run should be more accountable to the members and we should have more of a say over these wider policies, as applevis exists to help everyone and is for the benefit of us all. I have no problem with being governed by rules but only if they make sense and prevent actual illegality. lets be honest if apple is serious about enforcing its beta policies they would go after sites like idownload blog and others that cover a far wider audience. Besides we discuss wwdc which gives broad overviews of new features that are coming anyway so I would argue that these two policies are inconsistent. Mainstream sites don't cover VoiceOver but certainly cover everything else, so its not hard to find information that is out there. besides applevis did tell us a few years ago about a serious bug that existed in an ios update before public release so the policy can be suspended for the public good sometimes, and on that occasion the sky didn't fall in, apple didn't come after the site all guns blazing. plus applevis always says they have no official relationship with apple, so therefor there is no relationship or anything to jeopardize.
Its because of the way that silly policies like this exist and applevis is run that I don't donate to club applevis, I mean also look at the way applevis tried to stop member podcasts a few years ago in the name of better quality without consultation and eventually had to row back on this doesn't exactly sound like a community of equals.
now I am not advocating discussing of bug reports far from it, but it would be nice to hear for example about new VoiceOver features and positive things to do with betas that's what I think should be allowed I would be entirely in favour of not allowing discussing of bugs but discussing of positive new features and discoveries I think could be beneficial.
so for example we know about the new voice control feature, if this could be discussed now it might stop people speculating for example can VoiceOver users use it because of the attention aware features that it uses or can it be used to actually control apps, so its positive discussion like this I would advocate.
so I would be in favor of applevis maybe having some kind of constitution that could be approved by the members with rules and policies that would have to be readopted once a year or every few years where the community would get a say in setting rules and policies etc.

#7 In reply to Alex Wallis

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Alex,

You said:

now I am not advocating discussing of bug reports far from it, but it would be nice to hear for example about new VoiceOver features and positive things to do with betas that's what I think should be allowed I would be entirely in favour of not allowing discussing of bugs but discussing of positive new features and discoveries I think could be beneficial.

so for example we know about the new voice control feature, if this could be discussed now it might stop people speculating for example can VoiceOver users use it because of the attention aware features that it uses or can it be used to actually control apps, so its positive discussion like this I would advocate.

Which clearly indicates that you are complaining about our policy without actually having read it.

These are the three specific topics that we ask people not to post about:

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

And then the policy goes on to say:

..., new or changed features in a beta release can be freely shared and discussed on the AppleVis website - even if not originally made public by Apple itself- provided that any post satisfies the rules set out above on this page.

So, exactly where does this not fit with what you say that you want and don't want?

On the site we already have a blog post about the new accessibility features coming this Fall, including Voice Control. Not only are you and others free to comment on that post, we actively encourage you to share your thoughts.

We also have a podcast interview with people from Apple talking about new accessibility features, including discussion of Voice Control and whether it works with VoiceOver. Again, you and others are free to comment on what was said.

Essentially, nearly everything that you complain about doesn't actually exist outside of your head.

#8 I concede that certainly on

I concede that certainly on the face of it all the discussion I envisioned seems to be permitted, so on this occasion maybe I don't have a leg to stand on and my thinking was uninformed so I stand corrected. certainly you don't see mainstream sites discussing specific bugs with apple beta software.

#9 Thank you Alex

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Thank you Alex. Kudos for recognizing and acknowledging that things may not have been what you thought they were when writing your initial reply to this thread.

#11 This forum that has been posted in the previous reply clearly sh

I will adhere to the policies on this website because. I find it to be very useful. However I do suggest they be changed. If public access is already permitted to A beta forum then, this is publicly available information. Because this information is now publicly available then this website should be able to freely talk about it. If I understand the policies that are set forth here.

#12 apple

Applevis is not going to do so. Yes many news places and people at youtube discuss the beta and what new on iOS. You can find many articles just by typing iOS beta news. You have a better chanse to get hit by a jet, piano, asteroid,eating by a dinosaur, or scratch by Bella the cat. Beside applevis tens to invite people from apple to talk about accessibility and it will not look good for them to talk about what everybody is talking.

#13 I agree with David

After reading this forum, I totally agree with what David has stated. Well said David.

#14 Democracy?

I've never viewed Applevis to be a democracy! Most of us don't work to keep up the site. We don't vote in officers, and we don't pay a tax to be a member. The owners and admins of the site can run it how they want. If you want to start a site to talk about betas and accessibility, you're welcome to fund it. Personally, I think that rule is stupid, but I enjoy the site, so I'm not gonna break it. If somebody else opened a web site to discuss beta accessibility, I might join, but while I'm here, I can easily subject myself to the site owners' rules. They might not be my rules if I paid for and maintained the site, but I don't, and I appreciate those that do. I have received much help here over the years.

#15 Beta

I really love the new 'steve jobs' voice for voiceover in the latest beta ios... Also, no idea how they managed to get my iphone battery to run for 100 days without having to charge...

Yeah, I don't think it's needed to discuss the beta here. I guess we can talk about the announced features but this will just be speculation. Whatever, us talking about it wil not change the release in the autum. If you want to give input, go on the beta program and give your feedback.

#16 Round and round ... and round ... and round ... and ...

Club AppleVis Member

It seems that every time a new iOS version comes out we go through the same ridiculous discussion about this issue. Also, we have the same people complaining about it. Of course, from their other posts, these appear to me to be of the opinion that if they win a million dollar lottery, it should have been two million. Some people you just can't please no matter what.