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Behaviour of app and plugin devs and authors

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I’ve had experience in the past couple of months of at least 2 Marketplace app/plugin devs not responding to requests for support in their support topics or in PMs sent to them, even if I also tagged them. I don’t mean not replying within a matter of days (which can sometimes already be too long), but I mean weeks and months, even after repeated pleas for a reply. I’m referring here more to paid apps/plugins in particular, rather than to free ones and obviously not to unsupported ones, and to devs/authors who are otherwise recently active on the forum and not to those who haven’t been seen for ages.

This lack of response not only makes those devs and those apps/plugins look bad and puts you off buying any of their other apps/plugins, it doesn’t make the MP look that good either, I'm afraid. It also makes the buyer feel ignored, insignificant or disrespected.

If devs receive notifications of support topic posts and PMs, why don’t they reply? Do they wish to develop a good or a bad reputation?

If they don’t receive notifications of support topic posts and related PMs, shouldn’t they be required to, and to then act on them accordingly?

Also, if you bought an app and soon after, or even later, the dev admits it has bugs and claims they’re “looking into it”, how long is one supposed to wait until it’s been “looked into”? Days, weeks, months? As an example, I bought an app in mid-June and, 2 weeks later, it was found to have a problem; the dev said they’re looking into it and purchasing it was disabled, and that was the last one’s heard about it - that’s 4 months of waiting for it to be “looked into” and not being able to use it in the meantime.

I know one can go through the report system or open a ticket, but why should one have to just because an otherwise active dev doesn’t reply to a support topic or PM? What’s the point of going through the report system or opening a ticket if you’re told to post in the topic (eg, to ask again or for a refund) if the dev doesn’t respond and your ticket’s automatically been closed so you can’t reply to it to say the dev’s still not responding?

On the subject of devs, why do some (not the majority) feel they have to sound arrogant, patronising or curt in their support posts? It’s off-putting. Devs aren’t paying us to use their apps/plugins, nor are they our bosses. I can understand a dev feeling frustrated or even annoyed if somebody may not have fully read the description or asks some senseless question, but courtesy (and maybe even a bit of patience) costs nothing whilst pompousness or discourtesy might cost the dev a renewal fee or purchase of a different app/plugin of theirs.

That said, I’ve had excellent, helpful or friendly support from other devs, in particular @A Zayed (really nice, friendly and helpful!), @DawPi and @Adriano Faria. I’ve seen other devs in topics who seem equally helpful.

 

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I definitely sympathize with your viewpoints as someone who relies upon a large amount of apps and plugins to extend my suite.  Using the core Invision Community is like vanilla ice cream.  It tastes good, but ... vanilla.  

Keep in mind that Marketplace devs are .. coders and themers foremost.  To ask them to also be salespeople, graphic designers, support, and all around nice people all the time and to drop everything they're doing at all hours for what's essentially a side hobby is a lot to ask of anyone.  And for the exceptional modders who do go above and beyond, they're definitely appreciated.

Edited by Joel R

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7 minutes ago, Joel R said:

To ask them to also be salespeople, graphic designers, support, and all around nice people all the time and to drop everything they're doing at all hours for what's essentially a side hobby is a lot to ask of anyone.

I’m not, of course not :smile:. I’m just asking for the common courtesy of a reply in their support topic for a paid app/plugin, as I assume that’s what a support topic is for. It’s not only me who’s not had a reply in a couple of support topics for weeks or even months, I’ve seen other people asking when they might get a reply or when might a promised “fix” happen after several weeks of waiting.

I don’t expect immediate replies, but nor do I expect to not get any replies at all after a couple of months. I've recently upgraded from IPB v.3 to v.4, so I had a bit of an absence from the forum and support topics. In 14 years of using Invision forums (from v.1, when it was free) and the original "mods" as they were then called, this is the first time that this lack of response seems more apparent to me.

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Look at the number of downloads for any given plugin then at the price. Usually I'm at a loss how it is worth it for the author for any but the most popular items. Judging by all the abandonware here, it probably isn't 😕

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I think "worth" has many different components.  

There are some people who view communities in terms of cost / revenue.  Thats understandable if you're paying the bills but I think it entirely misses the full range of potential value.  Yes, you can use community to deflect support questions.  Yes, you can use community to increase potential leads and higher conversions. But if you're narrowly focusing on only those financial metrics, you miss all the other ways members and users feel engagement, connection, loyalty, and brand fandom with an organization.  You can't buy brand loyalty.  

I'm at a conference right now, and its one of the most tight knit, passionate, and loyal group of users.  They're all part of another larger organization, but they only come to this conference every year.  Humans feel connections in ways that aren't measured by simple cost and revenue.  A sense of camaraderie, appreciation, recognition .. all of those actually matter more to humans than cost and revenue.  

When it comes to the Marketplace, it's fundamentally flawed to only think developers are motivated by cost and revenue.  

Edited by Joel R

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Caveat emptor. All the financial kum-ba-ya in the land doesn't help when your plugin stops working or support is a ghost town 😕 . The smart money is on kitting out your site with minimal reliance on plugins or at least with an eye to how the experience could gracefully degrade without it.

Personally, if there's some functionality I really want that's not available or the existing solutions are sketch or the author isn't engaged, I'll happily commission something where the dev gets their hourly rate and there's a better future for the plugin.

That said, there's definitely some plugin superstars here and people who contribute small brilliant plugins that address those weird little blind spots. There's actually about 5 or 6 plugins on the marketplace that started as commissions I made and we sent them into the world. They are/were mostly things I expected to see in the core eventually (like lazy loading) so their shelf life is/was limited.

TL;DR: Be A Plugin Prepper

Edited by David T. Cole

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