33
   

I want our old forum back

 
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Feb, 2010 01:30 am
@Robert Gentel,
Robert, I said:

Quote:
It would have been polite, at very the least, for both the "androids" & regular A2Kers to have had some inkling of what was about to occur, before it actually happened.

I really wish that participants of online forums were treated with more respect. It sometimes feels as though we don't matter all that much.


Now, if there were "inklings", I missed completely them. Where were they? I follow this forum pretty closely. I didn't come across any forum announcements for members about this.

And it sounds, from the posts, that the "androids" were caught off-guard, too.

All I am arguing for is a bit of sensitivity & prior information for all concerned in such matters.

`
dadpad
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Feb, 2010 01:31 am
Quote:
the bastard child of the unholy union.


you rang?
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Thu 18 Feb, 2010 01:46 am
@msolga,
msolga wrote:
Now, if there were "inklings", I missed completely them. Where were they? I follow this forum pretty closely. I didn't come across any forum announcements for members about this.


I didn't say there were any inklings about this particular forum, but since then I've mentioned several times that we will be merging others (and yes, there will be angst).

I have owned this droid forum all of a few days msolga and found out right after buying it that my plans for it needed to change (as I already explained, it would cost us more money than we can invest on the forum to buy the license to keep it separate longer) and reacted as I could.

I'm sorry that you weren't notified in advance.

Quote:
All I am arguing for is a bit of sensitivity & prior information for all concerned in such matters.


And all I'm arguing for is understanding of the notion that you are asking me to spend more time and money and that I have no such obligation and am doing what I can.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Feb, 2010 01:50 am
@Robert Gentel,
Quote:
And all I'm arguing for is understanding of the notion that you are asking me to spend more time and money and that I have no such obligation and am doing what I can.


Fair enough, from your point of view, Robert. I understand where you are coming from.

But, you know, I consider members' sensitivities (from both groups) pretty important, too.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Feb, 2010 02:25 am
@msolga,
... & I doubt it would have cost all that much to have simply informed the members of both forums, via an official announcement, of what was about to occur, beforehand.

Perhaps a bit of angst could have been saved, too.
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Thu 18 Feb, 2010 02:28 am
@msolga,
msolga wrote:
But, you know, I consider members' sensitivities (from both groups) pretty important, too.


I do too, but in practice everything has limits. How much money and time is your need to be notified in advance about a 10 post per day increase in able2know posts from an imported forum worth? If I plan to post 10 tech posts tomorrow do you want me to run that by you as well?

How is not doing so even remotely disrespectful? Rolling Eyes

Honestly I'm sick of the customer service role because of this kind of sense of entitlement to my time and I'm going to resolve to just do it a lot less. I'm the only idiot in my company volunteering for this role and I'm not even any good at it (and then get to spend time being listening to criticism for how I do it).

I was up till 5 am working on the merger when I thought it would be done by 11. We ran into problem after problem after problem and by the time Nick had to crash I was still finishing up stuff that was broken (and I clearly didn't catch it all and managed to annoy the hell out them all for).

I had planned to email the droid forum users before they woke up to a different forum but I crashed at 5 am and got up at 8 to do it (once the angst already had set in).

I think communication and all is nice too, but I think you guys are going to have to volunteer someone else's time for it. I'm going to spend my time and energy on the things I like and the folks who appreciate it. This is a free service offered as-is. I've got to stop feeling obligated to defend it and explain it at every turn and will stick to the back end of it where I am happy. I still don't get paid by my company yet and I should focus on the stuff that matters to us changing that instead of herding grumpy cats.

So in this particular case, I'm going to reserve what little of my customer service I am willing to provide to the droid folk. Any a2k folk who feel disrespected because this tiny little forum is here with us can simply get over it by themselves. You guys won't get this kind of hand-holding out of billion dollar companies (try to find someone at Google, or Yahoo, or Facebook to complain to, see if you can even get to talk to a human at all) with hundreds of employees and I think a big reason why is that they set the expectation up front and stick with it.

So here's the deal. The free version of the site comes without customer support (or customer support offered as-is). The paid version comes with great support that you can complain all you want about but is also suspended indefinitely due to lack of willing personnel.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Feb, 2010 02:35 am
@Robert Gentel,
Quote:
So here's the deal. The free version of the site comes without customer support (or customer support offered as-is). The paid version comes with great support that you can complain all you want about but is also suspended indefinitely due.


I'm not sure what this actually means.

But I am certainly not complaining about existing customer service, Robert. It's excellent. Why would I have been a committed member for so long if it wasn't? (Apart from long-time online connections formed with other members, of course.)

All I have been trying to say is that this "transition" could have been done with more sensitivity towards the members of both groups, that's all.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Feb, 2010 02:53 am
@msolga,
Quote:
So here's the deal. The free version of the site comes without customer support (or customer support offered as-is). The paid version comes with great support that you can complain all you want about but is also suspended indefinitely due.


Could we have more details about this, please, Robert?
dlowan
 
  4  
Reply Thu 18 Feb, 2010 02:56 am
@Robert Gentel,
I hope you'll not be offended if I say anything, but I wish this kind of inevitable dynamic didn't cause you such distress, you know, and I wish we could say something helpful.

I don't mean YOU, as such, I think it is an inherently stressful situation, and one that ANYONE would find very extraordinarily complex and difficult.


Quote:
I've got to stop feeling obligated to defend it and explain it at every turn


I think you said a mouthful, but I know that is damned easy in theory, but not in practice....and I know a little of your desire to be perfect, and how hard it feels (for all of us) when there is no way that we can do ok in everyone's eyes.

The community dynamics and projections here are very powerful, (evidence of how well you and Jes and the mods and such have done!) and you know you CAN'T please everyone, right?

Well, of course, you KNOW!....(but, I don't know about you, but I know that in my head, but still get very stressed by the inevitable reality. But I am a registered, card-carrying wuss.)

The community is powerful enough for it to be very important to folk, and we are going to feel hurt and miffed and grumpy, reasonably or unreasonably, because of how well it has been crafted.


Please take care of yourself...this angst will pass like all the other angsts.

(Now...if I can just tell myself that every time I get angsty.)












Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Thu 18 Feb, 2010 03:07 am
@msolga,
msolga wrote:
... & I doubt it would have cost all that much to have simply informed the members of both forums, via an official announcement, of what was about to occur, beforehand.


Such planning and communication comes at a cost. It doesn't magically appear. I haven't slept much this week (which is why I'm flat out of patience right now) and won't sleep again tonight (have to be at the airport in a bit) and our company is legitimately taxed in terms of resources. We really can't afford to work on a2k except in our free time now. We need to work on the stuff that pays the bills first.

So right now, this site has no employees. It has volunteers. Sure it might not cost much but this site has little.

And announcing it can also be inherently problematic. The forum users will join the other forum to check it out, and then you have to manually handle all the duplicates. Those types of data collisions were what kept us awake late working on it. So yes, to announce it does generate cost. Each collision becomes manual data entry (with careful checking that makes each one laborious) instead of automated import.

Announcing it in advance also requires that the sites stay separate longer. We would have had to pay around $200 for the license to do so (they were running commercial software).

Quote:
Perhaps a bit of angst could have been saved, too.


Very true, but it's also a mixed bag. I announced the changes about a2k for years and still found many who felt blindsided by them. And often this just moved the angst to the time of the announcement and I got to deal with it during the transition together with the technical details. Sometimes there's just going to be unwavering disagreement angst and all you can do with communication is lessen the surprise angst.

In this particular case I was contractually obligated to move quickly and did. More time to give more advanced notice (I'd planned a little bit of advance notice but we ran into difficulty) would have cost us more than we can afford (and I'm not allowed to loan my company any more money because within the last few months I've sent over several thousand out of my savings account because of our cash flow problems and the other members aren't willing to take on more debt for this kind of thing).

So while I'm sure that is less than ideal, tough nuts. This is a free service offered as-is and our resources are less than ideal too.
Robert Gentel
 
  3  
Reply Thu 18 Feb, 2010 03:13 am
@msolga,
msolga wrote:
I'm not sure what this actually means.


It means that I'm realigning the expectations here.

http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/as+is

Quote:
A term used to describe a sales transaction in which the seller offers goods in their present, existing condition to prospective buyers.

The term as is gives notice to buyers that they are taking a risk on the quality of the goods. The buyer is free to inspect the goods before purchase; but if any hidden defects are discovered after purchase, the buyer has no recourse against the seller. Any implied or express warranties that usually accompany goods for sale are excluded in an "as is" sale.


This site is a free service offered as-is. It is going to be changing dramatically for a long time. It will merge with other forums. It may not have anyone doing customer service at times. And in this context, it is offered as a free service to those who want it. I'm not going to spend so much time dealing with complaints anymore. That is pretty much what this boils down to. I intend now to do a lot less communication and hand-holding not more and I think the only way for me to do so is to stay away and work behind the scenes on the stuff I enjoy.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Feb, 2010 03:17 am
@Robert Gentel,
Quote:
Such planning and communication comes at a cost. It doesn't magically appear. I haven't slept much this week (which is why I'm flat out of patience right now) and won't sleep again tonight (have to be at the airport in a bit) and our company is legitimately taxed in terms of resources. We really can't afford to work on a2k except in our free time now. We need to work on the stuff that pays the bills first.

So right now, this site has no employees. It has volunteers. Sure it might not cost much but this site has little.


Robert, you will probably feel I am being objectionable now. I honestly don't mean to be. But, you now, an announcement is a post at the two sites. Simply telling members of both sites of what is about to occur.

I'm really sorry you are so tired & stretched & I fully appreciate all the work you've personally put into this site over years, Robert. I think you know me well enough to know that I am sincere in saying this. I wouldn't say this to you if I didn't mean it.

Anyway, my thinking is that I should leave this alone, for the time being, anyway.



Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Thu 18 Feb, 2010 03:19 am
@msolga,
msolga wrote:
Could we have more details about this, please, Robert


There's no paid version if that is what you are asking about. So basically it just means the first part. This is a free service offered as-is.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Feb, 2010 03:25 am
@Robert Gentel,
I was responding to your (quoted) comment, Robert.

But, as I said in my last post, I think I'd prefer to leave any more comments or questions on hold for the time being.



0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Thu 18 Feb, 2010 03:41 am
@msolga,
msolga wrote:
Robert, you will probably feel I am being objectionable now. I honestly don't mean to be. But, you now, an announcement is a post at the two sites. Simply telling members of both sites of what is about to occur.


It's not that simple in practice. Announcements are passive so they also needs time to have members come to the announcement. The members of the Droid forum visited rarely and it would have needed to stand several days just for 10% of them to see it (and I already explained that leaving the forum running its old software meant paying for it). And as they saw it they'd start with the angst (the ones who object to it) and this would need to be responded to or ignored right when our technical work l0ad is greatest.

I had multiple (over 20) announcements posted on able2know for years about the software changes. In the week leading up to it I posted a series (I think I did at least five) of announcements about the changes. And still I got "why wasn't I informed" types of reactions.

So while it may seem so simple in theory, I know that in practice I needed much more time than I had for an announcement to be useful. And I know in practice that the utility is fairly limited and that there's going to be some angst anyway.

Quote:
I think you know me well enough to know that I am sincere in saying this. I wouldn't say this to you if I didn't mean it.


I do know that, and I also know that you are also sincere in how easy you think it this kind of thing is but this is a task that we probably spent over 30 man hours on altogether now, which probably already represents an investment that we'll never recoup in our lifetimes off the work we did. We have to draw the line somewhere, and that is what I am doing. I am not willing to provide more communication than I currently do. In fact, I think I owe it to my coworkers and my personal life to do a lot less.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Feb, 2010 03:42 am
I said I won't say anymore & I won't.

Please go & rest now, Robert.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Thu 18 Feb, 2010 03:57 am
@dlowan,
dlowan wrote:
Quote:
I've got to stop feeling obligated to defend it and explain it at every turn


I think you said a mouthful, but I know that is damned easy in theory, but not in practice....and I know a little of your desire to be perfect, and how hard it feels (for all of us) when there is no way that we can do ok in everyone's eyes.


There's more to it than that. This thread was started by a member whose initial angst went away with positive welcoming. For my objectives of building community that is a good thing. To come here and say that the change was done disrespectfully and all has the opposite effect and to my objectives of building community by reinforcing the notion that they do not belong here and are not going to be respected.

These are folk who felt like they aren't being treated like they matter and I spent hours here trying to convince them that they matter a lot to me. So when someone comes in and says that they are being treated as if they don't matter and being treated disrespectfully the motivation for me isn't just to defend myself against that accusation but to continue to make the case to the others that I do care and to counter the negativity being spread. I'm trying to sell a2k to the users on the fence to make a2k better as much as I am defending myself from criticism. I know I get too defensive about it though, but the solution is really to care less and let things slide more but that's a tough pill to swallow when the criticism is precisely that you don't care enough.

But on that note I actually want to thank a2k, for the most part today I was very surprised at how much help I got with the positivity and welcoming of the new folks and I'd expected many more nattering nabobs of negativity to have to counter. I was really touched to see people who have no interest in Droid take interest in welcoming them to the community and how positive the overall reception was.
panzade
 
  3  
Reply Thu 18 Feb, 2010 04:46 am
@Robert Gentel,
Robert, this is a remarkable site peopled by remarkable posters, created by a remarkable individual.
What endears me to you is how you wear your heart on your sleeve.
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Thu 18 Feb, 2010 05:31 am
@panzade,
panzade wrote:
What endears me to you is how you wear your heart on your sleeve.


Maybe I'm cynical but it strikes me right now more like having no ability to break from stress and letting it get to the point that I lack emotional restraint.

I'm very overwhelmed right now, but that's nobody's fault but my own for being the obsessive type that never vacations or rests and keeps biting off more to chew. I need to find a way to enjoy relaxing and doing nothing and I also need to find a way to be able to get away from a2k when I need to. I'm going to work on that and try to find others who can take over roles I need to let go of.

I'm off to the airport now, and going to go visit Nick in Omaha. I'm sure that easygoing bastard will chill me out a bit (as will the snow!) and I'm gonna try to just let this forum business play out how it will and have some fun.
panzade
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Feb, 2010 05:58 am
@Robert Gentel,
Yeah...you do that. And give Nick a french kiss for me....
 

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