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Posts on the IPS forum go unanswered


Stormlilly
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Hi guys,

Guess I will start off by saying I love your software.  It is aesthetically beautiful and ticks a lot of the boxes for forum software.  I've come from XF and before that VB and was pleasantly surprised by the ease of use and standard features built into the IPS core. Thank you.

One thing that I would really love to see, which to me would make all the difference to this amazing platform, is a better community experience right here at IPS.

Often (very often) I have an issue with the software, do a search of the community and find someone who is (or was) experiencing the exact same problem.  Thing is, most times no-one has bothered to respond to them.

I make posts on here and get the same lack of love.  I'm lucky if I get a response.  I've come to get used to the idea now that it's commonplace for posts to go unanswered here.  Not sure what the criteria is, maybe if you're a regular your content is more likely to get a bite.  Being that you sell community software it just would be nice if this was the pinnacle example of what a community can be.  

I don't want to speak blasphemy but this is the complete opposite experience to the Xenforo community.  If you have a question it is answered almost instantaneously and every single comment no matter who you are is regarded as important.  It makes you feel like your valued as a member.

I noticed the main forum topic here is titled "Peer to Peer Support" as in customer to customer.  Even though it could take a bit more work it might go a long way in promoting brand loyalty if you had IPS staff members (or even just IPS mods who are volunteers who love your brand) responding rapidly to forum posts so few are left inactive.  There have been so many times when I have gone to post something but thought, nah they don't really care about my feedback or question (past experience; posts almost always go unanswered) so I won't bother.

Thought I would take the time to offer this feedback.

Edited by Stormlilly
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I'm happy to hear you're enjoying the software Stormlily, and we appreciate you taking the time to share your feedback with us!

I believe this is a subject that has come up at least a few times over recent months. As you've noticed, the forums here have actually only recently been re-organized so that it's more clearly displayed that they provide "Peer to Peer" support.

Staff do not spend much time answering support topics here, so the support you get is indeed almost entirely community (i.e. peer) based. The reason being virtually all of our available resources are actively being consumed by support tickets and developmental issues (such as bug reports) at any given time. If you are ever experiencing a time sensitive issue and you need support from us, it would definitely be best to file a support ticket.

In general though, I do understand where you are coming from, and I do think you have some fair points. However, for support related issues, this really is what our tickets system is for. I think the Peer to Peer support forums should mostly be considered something for issues that may not quite fit within our standard scope of support, or for issues that are minor in nature.

One thing we are doing, however, is dedicating more resources to the community feedback forums (such as the one you're posting in right now), as these forums are especially important when it comes to company participation.

I think that maybe sometime in the future when IPS4 has had plenty of time to mature and things have settled down, dedicating more staff resources to the peer support forums may be something worth revisiting.

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Thanks Josh ^_^ it's nice to know.

One advantage of IPS offering support (to the best of their ability) via your community is that your knowledgeable answers become public and then your customers and members pay it forward.  How many times have you answered a ticket and thought, man this is asked all the time?

You could end up having a lot less tickets if users are better equipped to solve common issues themselves.  Plus, your customers can get that warm fuzzy feeling when they find a solution to their problem in 2.7 minutes flat.

BTW I have test run the ticket system and your support is excellent.

 

Edited by Stormlilly
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10 minutes ago, Stormlilly said:

One advantage of IPS offering support (to the best of their ability) via your community is that your knowledgeable answers become public and then your customers and members pay it forward.  How many times have you answered a ticket and thought, man this is asked all the time?

You could end up having a lot less tickets if users are better equipped to solve common issues themselves.  Plus, your customers can get that warm fuzzy feeling when they find a solution to their problem in 2.7 minutes flat.

Hm, this could possibly help but considering the variety of installations that are run it could actually just cause greater confusion. I would imagine streamlining the community forums, continuing to work on the Guides, and (hopefully) settling 4.x into more consistent state would all add up to much more than a significant forum-based presence, at least in the short term.

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  • Management

It's worth noting that we provide official guidance for "how do I" type things here: https://invisionpower.com/forums/forum/505-product-guidance/

We don't get into actual technical support here anymore as only a small fraction of our client base visits this community. When we did provide forum support several years ago, people complained they'd rather have those resources put into ticket support as many issues ended up there anyway. I know others are different, but our clients largely tend to not really want to "deal" with the nuts and bolts of the software. They use it, they enjoy it, if something is broken, they contact us.

The people on the community tend to be more of the self-help type of course, but we've found most issues presented in the support forum ultimately end in a ticket and due to the complexity of IPS4 compared to others, even IPB3, it's more efficient to say "please submit a ticket" than "try this", "try that", "how about this?", "could you show us the output of this?" "go ahead and submit a ticket." Many issues are environment related, caused by plugins or otherwise don't relate to the software itself and require "looking" at the installation for assessment. 

As mentioned, however, we do welcome feedback and other community engagement. ^_^ 

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On 4/11/2016 at 1:30 AM, Lindy said:

only a small fraction of our client base visits this community. 

Yet community is what you are all about.

Thanks for taking the time to respond Lindy, I do get what you are saying.  You have to go with what works.

Maybe then there is something else that could help address the issue of posts notoriously going unanswered.  It's not a nice feeling as a member and it made me feel less akin to your brand, even though I personally love your software.  

If it helps... what I've done on my board is implement a widget that shows all unanswered posts (topics with 1 post count), and we encourage members to respond to them = more engagement.

I had to get this custom-made because unfortunately the default setup  allows for a minimum but not a maximum post count.  It was a headpalm moment. lol sorry.

Edited by Stormlilly
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As well as the guides a faq might be good for short answers about frequently asked questions which seems to be the type of questions the OP is posting about. On my community we point to guides and the faq to answer people, and anyone can do this, members or staff. I'm not sure this alone would solve the issue of community spirit and helping one another but certainly for those of us not au fait with these aspects it's a good place for us to point to, that way at least more things get answered in peer to peer. I know I have looked at these threads and thought, "I wish I knew the answer, I'd really like to help." And I could help if I had the resources. Indeed this community could even have volunteers who stalk peer to peer, follow it, and get to these threads quickly.

 

For my own experience I've often had people like @Adriano Faria answer my questions, but these guys, the people who know the guts of this software, are too few and far between and are spread thinly. So people like me, fans of the software and free to comment but don't want to give wrong advice, should be given the tools to help people like @Stormlilly feel this is a move active and caring community. If these tools exist point me to them and I'll bookmark them for future reference. ;)

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14 hours ago, Stormlilly said:

Yet community is what you are all about.

It's a bit of a tough thing though when your customers are all people running active websites that require a fair bit of attention. 

This is obviously just my opinion, but in my view having spent time at the adminzone forums and on the xenforo forums, you can generally categorize forum admins into two camps - those who are enthusiasts about the actual software (and having a community using it is a bit of a bonus), and those who just want the software to function and devote much more of their energy to their actual community itself. I find there are far more of the former on those sites vs here - not to say IPS isn't used by very smart people who love good software, but moreso that the customer base tends to skew more towards - corporate customers? Not sure if that's the right way to put it. In any event, I absolutely think there are less active IPS enthusiasts here and on other community related websites out there vs those for xenforo or other competitors. People who like to tinker, who are trying every mod under the sun, who just love digging into the nuts and bolts of their software - those people don't gravitate to the IPS forums or IPS (they go to adminzone to extol the virtues of IPS). This software, for better or worse, seems to attract a different type of admin. From the sounds of it, targeting people of my ilk (who have active, stable communities that want first class software but are resistant to changes to their experience, such that I'm very rarely doing any tinkering) has been a great strategy for IPS. I'm glad there is choice because at least for my use case, IPS is a better overall experience for me vs those other options (I came from phpbb which probably biases me against the nuts and bolts crowd a bit). 

The downside is that these forums are a bit lower traffic than others, and it sometimes it does take longer to get an answer to a generic type question (or maybe not at all). However, look at the flipside of that - if your customer base changes to become overwhelmingly "software enthusiast" driven, it necessarily requires adjustments to development strategies, and I'm not convinced those changes that would result (and which tend to form the basis of 95% of the complaints about IPS over at the adminzone for not being implemented) would result in better software for me or customers like me. So I'll take the good with the bad. At least right now, IPS has unrivaled developer to customer support directly through the ticket system, and on top of that, the developers will generally spend some time on these community forums to just shoot the sh*t which often ends up with them answering stuff even in the peer to peer forums. 

(Edit: Changing Sh*t to faeces though? Really guys!? ^_^ )

Edited by Morgin
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To tell you the truth for me it's about community.  

Since this is a community software it would be a great selling point if the IPS community cranks and promotes engagement.  It would make me feel more confident that the software is the best there is.  Because that's what I want for my own community.

It would be nice to be able to expect a response (any response), even if it's not a solution to my problem but just some basic acknowledgment that someone is listening and cares.  Awww, is that my ego talking :shifty: 

But seriously, responding to posts is usually forum 101 in building a thriving community.

@Morgin I'm with you. Personally I don't like to mod my forum out too much.  Customizations on any platform almost always cause trouble, learned from experience.  IPS' support service is really good and for the most part the updates are so frequent that any issues I've had are usually resolved quickly.  The development speed is awesome.

Thanks for the feedback @Claire Field Appreciate it.

Edited by Stormlilly
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2 hours ago, Stormlilly said:

To tell you the truth for me it's about community.  

Since this is a community software it would be a great selling point if the IPS community cranks and promotes engagement.  It would make me feel more confident that the software is the best there is.  Because that's what I want for my own community.

I know what you are getting at, but spending as much time on my own forum as I do, I often don't want to spend a bunch more here. It's a bit of an uphill battle for IPS to develop a community of people when I'm sure there are people who are like myself who will poke their nose in once in awhile but mostly don't have the time. I'm not as passionate about forum software as some of the people who are regulars on places like adminzone or whatever. I suspect there are a lot of people who use IPS who are like me.

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22 hours ago, Morgin said:

People who like to tinker, who are trying every mod under the sun, who just love digging into the nuts and bolts of their software - those people don't gravitate to the IPS forums

I think they are also very busy tinkering, lol

 

22 hours ago, Morgin said:

At least right now, IPS has unrivaled developer to customer support directly through the ticket system, and on top of that, the developers will generally spend some time on these community forums to just shoot the sh*t which often ends up with them answering stuff even in the peer to peer forums. 

This, I suppose, is the point overall. IPS have said, in this very topic, that they pooled their resources into answering tickets. That is the more important thing as far as their input goes. The rest is up to us, but I do agree that any response is better than nothing, even if it was an IPS mod posting a pre-made template (like they do on bug reports etc) saying "Please submit a ticket". That as well as a FAQ/guides for novices like me to post links to would help muchly.

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Morgin has nailed it. Other software that cater more towards "forums" have a largely different demographic. The software is the interest and hobby and they seemingly spend a good portion of the day on the developer's forum or admin sites/forums about forums. Often, the enthusiasts will start a project, start another, etc. without maintaining a live long-term community. There's nothing wrong with that, of course, it's just different than what we do and what we're looking to do and that's why you won't find always find a lot of IPS love in that segment. If you want more relevant comparisons than forum enthusiast software, I'd suggest looking at something like Lithium. Their community is similar in that people just don't "hang around" and support is provided via non-public channels because it's most appropriate for what they're doing and the market they're serving. 

To be clear, we'd certainly welcome a more active and vibrant community and I can see how coming from elsewhere, it would seem odd that a community software developer doesn't have a giant, booming community themselves. Nonetheless, we've asked hundreds, if not thousands of clients over the past 14yrs why they don't participate in our community and the answer is essentially "I'm busy running my own community, why do I want to hang around yours?" Incidentally, the most active page on our site is the marketplace. People come, get what they need and go back to their own community. If they have a problem, they submit a ticket, we fix it or otherwise make a suggestion and they move on. 

The naysayers are going to say "IPS only caters to corporations" and that's not true. It is true that we don't generally cater to "tinkerers" as Morgin put it and don't have a lot of interest in capturing what we refer to as the "forum tourist" market as others already do a fine job at that. We do, however, aim to be the provider for anyone that is serious about building a complete community solution... personal and enterprise alike. 

We do have a number of guides already built out and more being added on a regular basis. If there's something in particular you'd like to see, please let us know! We also welcome feedback on better community engagement. 

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Well put everyone. I felt like I should throw my two cents in though. I'm one person that I frequent the forums here pretty regularly but I have my specific forums that I frequent more than others for any number of reasons, one of which is time.

I'm sure @Lindy Will likely disagree and probably believes I live somewhere on the forum itself digitally, I don't always have the time to go to every thread and post a solution. If I have a solution and I have the time to type it up, sure. I am also someone that if I can't figure out the solution then I'm also not going to post personally because I hate when people do it to me, it gives me a false sense of hope that maybe I might get that hint I need to fix my problem (so by all means I feel the opposite about being heard, I'd rather be unreplied to then have filler posts). I will say that you are normally heard despite being acknowledged for simply posting. I know how you feel about searching to find the answers before you submit a ticket but all you find is questions. Normally that's a good answer for you, that it may be time to submit a quick ticket.

 

I will put this out there. If you just need someone to acknowledge that they read your post tag me into the thread and I'll be happy to say so. 

Edited by Morrigan
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