November 20, 2012 at 5:48 pm #996TomboParticipant
I have to agree with apt513. The old forum system was so much better. Great, you want people to have direct access to you for support. I like that, but the old forums were so much better for community discussion and as apt513 pointed out ideas/fixes can be theme specific and should be in a theme specific forum.
One of the things I loved most about StudioPress was the community forums that you had. I could go to the forum for the theme I was researching, find ideas/fixes pertaining specifically to that theme and if I needed help or had a question the community was involved. On that same note, I would reply to others if I had an answer and the SP team had none. If I found something I thought was wrong, I'd post a fix without anyone asking such as the continued errors with the xml files on updated themes.
I dunno, simply put... I say leave the downloads in the portal, allow people direct access through the portal, leave the old forums with the disclaimer you have in the new... that you may or may not get an answer. What's there to manage if your people are doing tickets only?
I get a bad feeling that things just won't be the same nor as good from a community perspective.
Just my 2 cents worth.
I want the old forums back!!!November 20, 2012 at 6:37 pm #1006road2ruinMember
My thought is to ask the Studiopress crew what led to the changeover...I feel like if I understood the problems that needed fixing from their perspective it would go a long way to helping me "sign up". Having said that, my experience has been that I have gotten great help here in the past several days, not so very different than before. The studiopress outfit has done a pretty damn good job to date...I am willing to cut them some slack; I am inclined to go with the new situation for a bit and see how it plays. Just sayin' for what it's worth. 😉
Road2Ruin aka Michael LongRun Pictures
November 20, 2012 at 8:23 pm #1031Cleo3Participant
SoZo - thanks for the clarification on what to do where. I was kind of afraid that was the answer, but I appreciate your being upfront about it.
While I share the concern that the support system is now only for a much, much narrower set of issues and will exclude the vast majority of things I've asked about in the past, I'm certainly willing to hope for the best and give these forums a try. Frankly, I often thought the theme-specific forum structure was helpful some of the time but not always. For example, sometimes I am searching for a way to change a small thing on a specific theme. Other times, I know about what I want to accomplish and I'm trying to figure out which theme to start with or to copy from. While I can see that for experts, maybe all the themes are coded similarly - to me they are very much not!
For that reason, I can see having general forums (like Design Tips) and making use of categories or tags for the specific themes being really great after we all get the hang of them. After all, we are all WordPress people, so that seems like it would work. However, I have to admit to a question about that. It's an embarrassing one so it has taken me a couple of days to make myself ask it . . . . Where are the tags? I must be the only person that doesn't see them, but I don't. I'm looking for something like a tag cloud - but cooler, of course. How do I find tags to click on - say for Executive or Agency? I don't find tags displayed anywhere except on the top of a specific post. That doesn't really help much with searching or browsing - especially not if it's intended as the replacement mechanism for the individual forums. If there would be a way to expose those tags for people to see on some of the more "main" pages that would, I think, relieve some of the stress.
I know nothing about bbPress (that's what this is, right?) but can you make it really obvious that you should choose the tag for your theme(s) when we write up our questions? I would think that would really help some people that are searching and also people that might answer a question. I know I would only consider answering very basic questions on a couple of themes - even though I own the whole package I only use a couple.
And thanks to all the moderators for putting up with what's got to be an avalanche of questions and comments . . . .November 20, 2012 at 8:40 pm #1036nickthegeekMember
The change is actually based on many different problems with the previous system plus the desire to use our own product (Premise) to handle things. Also we are a WordPress company so it makes sense for us to use WordPress services (bbPress) over other services.
Some of the issues we had with the previous system include limitations on downloads and the inability to allow ProPlus members to get new themes without using the forums to deliver the downloads. A lot of users were very frustrated with this delivery system as were we. my.studiopress is about making a one page system that all users will have access to so purchases are available without going through hurdles.
We also had problems with users registering for support. The old system required a purchase, then a download link and support email were sent. Because of the way the system worked they had to register for a support account then upgrade that account. This system had so many "moving parts" that things broke regularly. You wouldn't believe the number of times users weren't able to get to support or even tutorials because of this system. The new system gives immediate access to tutorials and the technical and usage support in one step. For customization requests there is one more step. It is so much simpler and things break less often. When we find something broken we can fix it because it is our system. We developed it and the developers are on staff. It's a pretty good scenario for making sure things work and that is best for our customers.
Speaking of support, in the old forums users created a thread and then needed to wait till we could answer it. If they replied to a thread before we could or if someone innocently said "yeah, I've got this same problem" we would miss the thread. That is a messed up support model. It was fine when we fielded 50 or so threads a day. We could go and looks to see if things were missed pretty easily. Towards the end I fielded 75-100 myself each day, and I know the other moderators were fielding a ton too. We had so many threads that we just missed literally dozens every single day. Last January we went through and made a solid effort to find every single thread that was missed. It took a couple hours every day. We did this for a month and we had an average of 20 a day back then. Requests were only going up so missed threads only went up. That is a seriously bad support system. It makes us look bad and it makes our customers very frustrated. Users that learned the system didn't make this mistake so that means the ones who were getting the brunt of this are new customers, ones who don't know how much we really want to help everyone. That frustrated us the most.
Another big problem we had, there wasn't a good way in the old system to tag team. If I took a day off (heaven forbid) then anyone who I was helping had to wait till I got back. Sometimes I even like to take a whole week of vacation, and that means people had to wait a whole week for my to get back and answer them. That is not how you do support. Under the new system I can tag the other staff if I think they are better suited to answer the question or they can tag me in. If I take time off they can see all my waiting tickets and respond. It is much better for us because we can actually take some off and not think "man I can't enjoy my time off because I know there are people who think they have been abandoned." It is better for the customers because they don't feel abandoned when we take time off. It really is a win for both of us.
I could keep going on this. We had so many meetings before things got started where we listed every bad thing and every good thing about how the old system. The lists are long on both sides. Ultimately we knew we had to keep community forums because we have an AMAZING community. We also knew we needed a support system for technical and usage issues that didn't lose customers.
We know the system we have now isn't perfect, but it is a system we own, so we can continue to develop it to adapt to the needs of StudioPress and the needs of our customers.November 21, 2012 at 5:20 am #1086road2ruinMemberNovember 21, 2012 at 8:16 am #1108gpsmapperMember
Ditto. Thanks Nick, for taking the time to explain it. In the end, if there is still good support, I'll be happy.
I will say that early on (pre-Genesis) I received better support. Folks would walk me through just about any changes I needed to make. As time went on, I'd see more responses along the lines of, we can't create PHP code for you. I just hope there isn't going to be a further lessening of support with this latest change.
I am an end user, not a developer. The support here was the most important thing in getting me to go with StudioPress and then later to a Genesis theme. Strong support is what distinguishes SP from other premium theme vendors. Don't screw it up guys.November 21, 2012 at 3:22 pm #1182JeremyMember
As @cleo3 asked "Where are the tags?"
i realize the forums are only a few days old so there isn't much theme specific content here yet. But in the future if I'm looking for information specific to the streamline theme, what is the best wary to find that info?
Will there be a tag cloud? Or do I just type strealine into the search?
thanks for the detailed explanation Nock. I've got my fingers crossed and hopefully the excellent staff and community support remains.
November 21, 2012 at 3:39 pm #1187SoZoMemberNovember 26, 2012 at 8:14 pm #1800apt513Member
Thanks Nick for listing what was broke with the old system.
Like you said if you didn't know and you replied to your own thread or tried to help someone out the real help would never arrive. I was often upset when someone tried to help me and it wasn't quite enough. I knew it would never been seen by the real help.
That being said, I have noticed the switch from help to much-less help. What you guys consider customization, we consider the reason we purchased the theme.
I have been trying to do the same thing for a week now and it would have been answered within a day in the old system. All I hear now is "use firebug and figure it out". That isn't what was said, but that was that gist of it. For me, i'm sure it has to do with learning the new dynamic themes, but non the less, after a week and many replies, my issue still remains. All I want to do is center the slider! ha.
This is "after" submitting an actual support ticket.
I think wordpress is nowhere near as capable of hosting a message board / forum as phpbb. I applaud your desire to stay wordpress, but in my field i recognize when a product isn't the best solution, and I use what is. I have little allegiance to brands or platforms when it comes to serving my clients.
As I think about the shortcomings of the old system I can see why you wanted a better one. I just don't see this as being better. It is different but not better. You (could) have added ticketed support to the old system and just had us include the link to the post we wanted help with. Hell for true customization, I wouldn't have minded paying here and there. (Whats $15, standing in the way of a $3000 project?) Then you could keep track of threads that needed responses, tag-team, (increase revenue) and still keep the community support that we all miss.
I don't think you guys realized how much help the support forum gave. I would sometimes read for hours about a theme before I decided to buy. I wanted to see all of what was tried, what did work, (what didnt) and what i could actually do with it. Then i knew right away the amount of customization i could do. I wasn't trying to do anymore than the help you all provided. I have finished entire projects without asking a single question because all my questions were already answered.
I get angry just thinking about what i've lost, so i'll stop typing now.
-_-November 27, 2012 at 3:56 pm #1934IslanddogMember
@nickthegeek, I echo @road2ruin in saying that your explanation is very helpful in understanding why the change to the forums. I've been struggling to understand why (in my opinion and experience) such a great forum was changed.
My suggestion would be that Brian, you or someone create an email or post that explains the reasoning behind the change – perhaps going into even more detail than you did above. Most StudioPress customers are very supportive and trust that you guys are doing what is best for all concerned. Laying out the downsides of the old forums, which many of us (me included) weren't aware of, as well as the positives of the new approach moving forward would go a long way towards quelling the concern we see in so many posts in the new forums.
Again, Nick, thanks for your explanation.November 29, 2012 at 1:29 am #2234BeFoundMember
Love the site layout. But I would search through the theme specific forum and only post a question if I couldn't find it already solved. I really liked that and wish we still could see that information. I posted fewer questions and I could solve my problem in minutes rather than awaiting a reply.November 29, 2012 at 11:49 am #2327Andrea RennickMember
. I really liked that and wish we still could see that information.
You can. The old forums are closed to new posts and still readable if you have a login.
All the theme setup tutes are moved to the http://my.studiopress.com/ member's portal. All of the extra codey stuff will eventually be moved as well. There is a Tutorials and Code Snippets tab on the right side of the member's area with all kinds of useful info.
Custom questions is what this forum is for. 🙂
If you need technical support for your theme please file a ticket.
The forums are community based. Staff only monitors the forum for issues relating to the forum itself and to redirect users to where they need to go.November 29, 2012 at 10:32 pm #2463December 3, 2012 at 8:59 am #2990jeanboucherMember
I can't say that I am really trilled with this new Forum.
I have bought Optimal theme, I clicked on the How To link, I got catapulted to this URL: http://appfinite.com/forum/optimal-theme-support/
It took me about 20 minutes to figured out that I needed to register to the designer's Forum.
And he is granting access to the forum after you submit your StudioPress Transaction ID & a Proof of purchase!
I don't even know what is my StudioPress Transaction ID!!!
I have submitted what I though Wes needed, since then No news!!!
26 hours & counting...December 3, 2012 at 1:46 pm #3100nickthegeekMember
Sorry you are having difficulty there. If you continue to have problems please contact us in support and we will try to work with the developer to get this resolved.
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