Modernizing support and the forum

Post here if you are having a problem with or a question about forte that is not about a plugin or audio/MIDI hardware.

Moderator: MikeG

What should the future of this forum be?

Poll ended at Mon Dec 14, 2015 11:17 pm

leave it alone!
1
14%
remove it entirely and make the support portal better
1
14%
replace it with a modernized forum system that still emphasizes free conversation
4
57%
replace it with a Q&A focused forum
1
14%
 
Total votes: 7

MikeG
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Location: Houston, TX, USA
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Modernizing support and the forum

Postby MikeG » Mon Nov 30, 2015 11:17 pm

Hello Brainspawn Forum Users!

I am currently working on some improvements in the customer support options with the goal of improving your experience while also enabling greater efficiency for me. The easier it is for me to turn around questions, the more time I have to work on new Forte features and fixes. I'd love for Forte to be so smooth and intuitive it barely needs support or that the knowledge base be sufficient to answer most questions a customer may have. Today we use Uservoice for customer request ticketing (via our support page http://www.brainspawn.com/support) and it has proven to be a good system because incoming questions are so easy to triage and prioritize.

This forum is our oldest support option and by my estimate about 150 users have been active this year (including some that have been with us for a long time!) We started this in 2002 when forums where the most obvious, effective, and state-of-the-art customer interaction technology for Internet supported software. In 2015 forums (especially phpBB3 used here) look pretty old school. The UI is cluttered and each interaction causes an entire page refresh (slow) and the UI is not very mobile friendly. Additionally, we've found that its very difficult to triage questions on a forum because of the inability to quickly move around, isolate the questions for followup, and come back to them later. Things unfortunately get dropped. The forum forces me into a "respond now or never" mode unlike newer ticketing systems like Uservoice. Finally, self-hosting the forum also results in alot of maintenance like phpBB3 updates, database stuff, user account management, spam management, etc.

I'm seriously investigating alternate technologies. If you good folks value this community and these forums, I'd like to figure out how to make it better. If you mostly visit this forum because other support mechanisms aren't good enough, I'd like to figure out how to make them good enough. If we change forum software, there's a range of replacements to choose from. Some are more like this, allowing free form conversation but not making it any easier to triage or flag answers. At the other end are things more like Stack Exchange that focus only on the Q&A almost to the point of prohibiting other conversation. The nice thing about Stack Exchange like forums is the clarity of the question and the flagged answer (with up-voting, etc.) BTW, I don't consider Facebook a candidate for this kind of thing.

Please let me know what you think by voting above.
----------------
Mike (brainspawn)
www.brainspawn.com/support

PLEASE NOTE that the forum is not monitored as frequently as the support site above. This forum is intended primarily as a way for users to ask other users questions about the use of Forte.

evilantal
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Location: Arnhem, the Netherlands
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Re: Modernizing support and the forum

Postby evilantal » Tue Dec 01, 2015 3:12 am

I'd say do both but for different purposes:

The forum is a great way to keep in touch with other users and share tips and tricks. About forte, but also just about live setups and live playing in general. I wouldn't want to lose that.

That said, the support system could use an overhaul as well and especially the uservoice feature request system isn't working well, I think. There's no way to see what's being worked on and the list isn't cleaned up regularly o remove requests for features that are already implemented.

But all in all, I've been a happy forte user since 2006. So keep up the good work!
Lenovo Z500, quad core i7 3632QM, 16GB 1600MHz DDR3, RME BabyFace, Samsung EVO SSD x2, forte 4, Kawai ES100, Kurzweil PC2, VB3, Alchemy, Kontakt 5, Omnisphere 2, Diva, ZebraHZ, Bazille, Pianoteq 5 Standard, Falcon, various effects

MikeG
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Re: Modernizing support and the forum

Postby MikeG » Tue Dec 01, 2015 9:09 am

Let's separate features and bugs. The wish list voting system is about features only. I am hesitant to show more detail on what I'm working on at the moment because there will always be the cases of me not working on someone's pet thing, and sometimes I prefer to work on other stuff or fix bugs in other than just a "burn down the list" kind of way. I have visited the wish list a few times trying to mark anything implemented or declined, but I hate to say "never" to anything because it might be a popular idea.

Are you "out of votes" on the wish list? The only problem with not closing them out are that peoples votes are locked up.

I think I will go in and close out any ideas that have very few votes and that are very old at least to start.
----------------
Mike (brainspawn)
www.brainspawn.com/support

PLEASE NOTE that the forum is not monitored as frequently as the support site above. This forum is intended primarily as a way for users to ask other users questions about the use of Forte.

MikeG
Posts: 3936
Joined: Tue Nov 19, 2002 11:56 am
Location: Houston, TX, USA
Contact:

Re: Modernizing support and the forum

Postby MikeG » Tue Dec 01, 2015 9:29 am

If we replaced this forum with another that is not hosted (i.e. I add it to this site) I would want to avoid the user management involved with having to create and maintain an account here. I'd much prefer to leverage social login like Facebook, Google, etc.

Thoughts?
----------------
Mike (brainspawn)
www.brainspawn.com/support

PLEASE NOTE that the forum is not monitored as frequently as the support site above. This forum is intended primarily as a way for users to ask other users questions about the use of Forte.

evilantal
Posts: 389
Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2008 6:41 am
Location: Arnhem, the Netherlands
Contact:

Re: Modernizing support and the forum

Postby evilantal » Wed Dec 02, 2015 8:30 am

Lenovo Z500, quad core i7 3632QM, 16GB 1600MHz DDR3, RME BabyFace, Samsung EVO SSD x2, forte 4, Kawai ES100, Kurzweil PC2, VB3, Alchemy, Kontakt 5, Omnisphere 2, Diva, ZebraHZ, Bazille, Pianoteq 5 Standard, Falcon, various effects

yamus
Posts: 488
Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:36 am

Re: Modernizing support and the forum

Postby yamus » Thu Dec 03, 2015 10:49 pm

Mike,

I do not like tying my FB or Twitter logins to access other forums, support, etc. I like keeping things independent. Typically, if a site offers a FB or other social media login, I still use my email address. I would like to continue to do that.

In terms of getting help, the only real tool I've been using is the forum. I was not aware there were other options that are perhaps more effective. I also knew about Uservoice, but didn't know that was really still being used. So if there are other support options that are more effective, I'm fine with that. I do like the forum, as it provides the opportunity to see other problems folks are having, as it may be a similar problem I'm having. I would not want to lose that.

So, if there are more effective tools while still allowing visibility to others' problems and solutions, I'm up for whatever.

-Mike

ps - I would really like to keep the years and years of content here in this forum accessible, even if read-only. There's old stuff in here that's still useful occasionally!

evilantal
Posts: 389
Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2008 6:41 am
Location: Arnhem, the Netherlands
Contact:

Re: Modernizing support and the forum

Postby evilantal » Mon Dec 07, 2015 2:42 am

Lenovo Z500, quad core i7 3632QM, 16GB 1600MHz DDR3, RME BabyFace, Samsung EVO SSD x2, forte 4, Kawai ES100, Kurzweil PC2, VB3, Alchemy, Kontakt 5, Omnisphere 2, Diva, ZebraHZ, Bazille, Pianoteq 5 Standard, Falcon, various effects


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