Parallax: Seriously consider returning to old VB on a temporary basis

GordonMcCombGordonMcComb Posts: 3,146
I think the hue and cry from the user base is pretty clear, and that the *technical*, not just aesthetic, issues with the forum are both formidable and undesirable from a productive business standpoint.
I "vote" to return to the old VB forum on a temporary basis. I encourage management to then bring in a subject-matter expert on forums and SQL data migration. I firmly believe that with coding expertise, an expert could migrate the VB data to any other platform, including newer versions of VB. 
I understand the desire to keep development in-house. I might be wrong that you have not obtained an external expert. However, that's not clear from the outside. Hiring qualified help has got to be cheaper than how it's been done so far.
Ken has said they have invested more than 800 hoursover time in attempting to upgrade the forum. I'd hate to see that turn into 1600 hours, but that's where it seems to be headed.
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Comments

  • 70 Comments sorted by Date Added Votes
  • Yup, you're losing us, Parallax. 
    "When you make a thing, a thing that is new, it is so complicated making it that it is bound to be ugly. But those that make it after you, they don’t have to worry about making it. And they can make it pretty, and so everybody can like it when others make it after you."

    - Pablo Picasso
  • It was really a good idea to do it the day before the annual inventory/cleanup day. NOT! We are without the forum for most of Monday and then on Tuesday, get to sit around and grumble and speculate amongst ourselves while Parallax is visibly absent due to a planned activity.
    Frustration is mounting among the old hands...I can't imagine what a new customer/visitor is feeling about now.  
    MOV OUTA, PEACE <div>Rick </div><div>"I've stopped using programming languages with Garbage Collection, they keep deleting my source code!!"</div>
  • Oldbitcollector (Jeff)Oldbitcollector (Jeff) Posts: 8,083
    edited July 2015 Vote Up1Vote Down
    My message has raised concerns from Parallax.  My criticism is being
    seen as an attack on the company and not as constructive, so I'm retracting the entire message in addition to all of my recent
    posts.

    Maybe I'm having real trouble doing the math here. 
    800 hours == 4 months of work of 40 hour a week work?

    Please return to vBulletin and move this back to a development server.
    <br>
  • Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi) Posts: 21,350
    edited June 2015 Vote Up3Vote Down
    I'd definitely vote for a roll-back to the old forum. What we've got now is simply untenable and, IMO, unfixable. Until that can be done, this forum should be taken off-line pronto so as not to accumulate any more posts that would get lost in the roll-back.
    Going forward from the roll-back, any new forum should be beta-tested for all to see before making any permanent changes. As I stated in another post, there's no shame in retreat. Hubris and stubbornness are another matter.
    -Phil
    “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • I don't see a lot of new posts regarding tech issues, just new forum objections. 
    It could be frozen at this time, but could Parallax go back with no software work.?
    Infernal Machine
  • Ron CzapalaRon Czapala Posts: 2,393
    edited June 2015 Vote Up2Vote Down
    A roll-back sounds good to me. This really seems rather crippled compared to vBulletin.
    I don't remember what issues prompted the switch but archiving the old threads to read-only storage and starting fresh with the latest vBulletin version would be better than this IMHO.
  • Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi) Posts: 21,350
    edited June 2015 Vote Up2Vote Down
    I'm sure the old forum circa 28 June still exists on the server. If not, heads would roll for sure.
    -Phil
    “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • This forum change is scary, especially since I (have to) depend upon it for support for work-related projects. It's not clear what I'll do moving forward, but it makes me hesitate to use Parallax for new development (but with my tiny quantities, it won't affect them).

    Gary N8RDF
  • N8RDF,
    What you are saying there is disturbing. 
    In the scale of the world semiconductor market Parallax is tiny. You may also be tiny.
    That means, down here, you are significant !
    Any way, if the Propeller fits your needs I'm sure it will be around for a long time. Documentation is out there. People will still be here to answer questions. Despite the delays and set backs I'm sure there will be a PII.
    What I mean is, don't let this forum screw up put you off too soon. It will get fixed.
  • I just have to wonder what a rollback might do to search engines such a Google.

    It certainly seems like a good idea.
    But that is the devil of it.  This seemed like a good idea too to someone.

    Parallax will survive, even if it had to dump all the old stuff and start off anew.  I think too many of us are addicted to having reams of old data hanging about.  The core info will resurface again and again.
    Hwang Xian Shen, Puddleby-on-the-Marsh.
    All things considered, I can live and thrive without Microsoft products. LINUX is just fine.
  • Please go back to the old forum. It was much easier on the eyes and professional compared to this beast.

    To be blunt the old forum was a gem, there was a lot of good advice and tips sprinkled in it.

    Still I have to wonder if anyone even bothered to beta test this beast let alone get input from some of the senior posters like Potatohead, Gordon, Mike Green, etc.
  • I like the new forum and support Parallax 100% on the switch. I am looking forward to what's in store for the future once some config options are tweaked.
    I have been through many forum transitions in many different places since 1998. Some of those forums I've run myself (and one I even wrote the software for) and there were ALWAYS a handful of people who screamed bloody murder.
    Listen to Louis C.K.
    Propeller ASC- Use your Arduino shields with the Propeller.
    Propeller DNA- A Propeller Platform compatible proto board.
  • markmark Posts: 252
    edited June 2015 Vote Up1Vote Down
    If vB must be dumped (which a few of the other forums I frequent are also doing), then I'd like to once again toss in my suggestion for simplemachines.org OSS forum. It's got the overall classic look and functionality of vB. An example of a site that uses it forum.nasaspaceflight.com
  • I like the new forum and support Parallax 100% on the switch. I am looking forward to what's in store for the future once some config options are tweaked.Really? Even with a half dozen sections from the old forum lumped into a single one here? Even with links from Google as well as inside the forum broken? There are other technical problems beyond this, and none of them are "tweaks."
  • GordonMcCombGordonMcComb Posts: 3,146
    edited June 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    If vB must be dumped (which a few of the other forums I frequent are also doing), then I'd like to once again toss in my suggestion for simplemachines.org OSS forum. It's got the overall classic look and functionality of vB. An example of a site that uses it forum.nasaspaceflight.com

    This software, though not my favorite, probably could work given a better theme. I think they just applied the default theme and decided to worry about the details later. This isn't the best approach to take, as first impressions are important. 
    My biggest qualms are about technical issues they could have avoided. I have not heard any defense on why they lumped so many of the previous categories into a miscellaneous pile (Projects). I have not heard a defense on why they are using forum category names that bear no relation to the company's shopping cart categories ("Accessories" for what we call sensors and other devices).  They have too few categories for a company that sells a robust body of products. The forum is a poor salesman of their product, and that should have been a primary goal.
    I have not heard any defense why they couldn't have parsed the old links within the message body, nor why they don't have server code running that does link rewriting (and appropriate redirect codes for the search engines). These are things that should have been in place during the rollout, not down the road. 
    I see no reason to have rushed the new forum if the backend technical issues were not yet addressed.
  • Fixable? Perhaps. My biggest gripe is the look, feel and usability, which is such a significant departure from the previous forum. To me that's an unnecessary change when there are other options available that are far more familiar. So how much effort is worth fixing the layout to one that it at least more tolerable? It would seem to me that there's going to be a long road ahead of continuous tweaking which seems pointless considering that, as I said, better options are available right out the box.
  • Look and feel can be modified pretty heavily with CSS, stylesheets, and maybe some JavaScript here and there.  One thing I'd change is to get rid of the avatars on the discussion list page. Just adds to the eye litter.
    Usability takes some heavy-lifting JavaScript. The message editor here is buggy. It's hard to select what you want to quote without messing up formatting. I've found I have to go into Code view to get anything done. I don't understand the need or desire to have historical quoting in a threaded discussion. Who was the brainiac that thought that up?
    It appears Bump and others are working on link rewriting, and this was a feature that was intended to work. RegEx and server rewriting is something of a black art. But I want to keep applying pressure here. It's not something for sometime next week. It's something that needs to be done now.
    I am mostly upset with the limited and lumped-together categories. Huge step backwards, and IMO, harmful for the company's over-reaching purpose of having a forum, which is selling and supporting their product. I come here mostly for the robotics discussions, and I refuse to spend my valuable time wading through non-relevant threads. I don't even know what's been posted in "Projects" since the forum opened.
  • While we appreciate feedback and error reports as we navigate this new system, we have no intention of returning to vBulletin.

    Please, continue to log errors or weird behaviour as you see it, and we'll work in fixes and tweaks as quickly as Bump is able to make them happen.
  • Parallax........
    Please go back to old forum. Too hard to navigate and go to end of posts!
    Ken N8SYG
  • While we appreciate feedback and error reports as we navigate this new system, we have no intention of returning to vBulletin.

    Please, continue to log errors or weird behaviour as you see it, and we'll work in fixes and tweaks as quickly as Bump is able to make them happen.


    To Parallax:Good! Stick to it, the whining gray haired babies will quiet down soon enough or leave.
    To the whiners:Sorry, I got tired of staying quiet while the babies wailed over change.  Seriously, if you lack the patience to see this change through as Parallax fixes issues, and all you can do is scream for the old crap, then maybe we'll be better off without you.  If you hate me a little more now, oh well.  All I see is a bunch of 3 year olds having a tantrum.
  • While we appreciate feedback and error reports as we navigate this new system, we have no intention of returning to vBulletin.

    Please, continue to log errors or weird behaviour as you see it, and we'll work in fixes and tweaks as quickly as Bump is able to make them happen.


    To Parallax:Good! Stick to it, the whining gray haired babies will quiet down soon enough or leave.
    To the whiners:Sorry, I got tired of staying quiet while the babies wailed over change.  Seriously, if you lack the patience to see this change through as Parallax fixes issues, and all you can do is scream for the old crap, then maybe we'll be better off without you.  If you hate me a little more now, oh well.  All I see is a bunch of 3 year olds having a tantrum.

    I mostly agree but it seems like the broken links should probably be fixed. I'm already getting used to this new forum software. The big thing I miss is the list of currently online users.
  • While we appreciate feedback and error reports as we navigate this new system, we have no intention of returning to vBulletin.

    Please, continue to log errors or weird behaviour as you see it, and we'll work in fixes and tweaks as quickly as Bump is able to make them happen.


    To Parallax:Good! Stick to it, the whining gray haired babies will quiet down soon enough or leave.
    To the whiners:Sorry, I got tired of staying quiet while the babies wailed over change.  Seriously, if you lack the patience to see this change through as Parallax fixes issues, and all you can do is scream for the old crap, then maybe we'll be better off without you.  If you hate me a little more now, oh well.  All I see is a bunch of 3 year olds having a tantrum.

    I'm not one of the 'whiners' but I feel your post is a little harsh and if anything will only stir things up.In my experience people mostly moan/whine because they care and just want things to be better.
    There's nothing wrong with that is there?
  • Ron CzapalaRon Czapala Posts: 2,393
    edited July 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    While we appreciate feedback and error reports as we navigate this new system, we have no intention of returning to vBulletin.

    Please, continue to log errors or weird behaviour as you see it, and we'll work in fixes and tweaks as quickly as Bump is able to make them happen.


    To Parallax:Good! Stick to it, the whining gray haired babies will quiet down soon enough or leave.
    To the whiners:Sorry, I got tired of staying quiet while the babies wailed over change.  Seriously, if you lack the patience to see this change through as Parallax fixes issues, and all you can do is scream for the old crap, then maybe we'll be better off without you.  If you hate me a little more now, oh well.  All I see is a bunch of 3 year olds having a tantrum.

    I'm not one of the 'whiners' but I feel your post is a little harsh and if anything will only stir things up.In my experience people mostly moan/whine because they care and just want things to be better.
    There's nothing wrong with that is there?


    Calling whining or whatever you want but objectively comparing the features, options and flexibility of vBulletin to this software makes it pretty obvious which software is superior. 
    I seriously doubt any "tweaking" will be able to compensate for the lack of features (and bugs).
  • Roy,
    I think the concern is whether this new forum can be fixed to bring it to a useful state and one that reflects well on Parallax. Until that can be determined, returning -- at least temporarily -- to the previous forum seems prudent, as many of us have rightfully stated. I don't believe that anyone has implied returning to vBulletin permanently, as long as a suitable substitute can be found.
    Then a new forum -- this one or some other brand -- can be rolled out in beta form, next to the old one, for general review and to deal with any remaining quirks, before the roll-out at large. This is the way things should have been handled from the start, rather than subjecting Parallax's image and its customers to the inevitable teething pains that we're experiencing now.
    I know that Courtney has stated an intention to bulldoze ahead with what we've got. I don't agree with that approach, but I wish Bump & Co. the best of luck if they choose to persevere in that manner. I just hope it won't be a case of throwing good effort after bad.
    -Phil
    “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • Guys,

    i'm very surprised with some answers "...no way back", i can understand if it was the corporate/company or a new project but a forum is built with the community if don't hear the community ...
    Poor usability, did you guys run a focus/test group ?
    why not share with the community the ideas before going to a bold upgrade (almost a day), just before an annual break and a few days before a 4th July not a good timing.

    Changes:needs adaption: yes, people resist: yes are needed: yes
    but if you insist in a mistake, you'll need to find very patient clients to experience the pain while your're fixing, and you ll lose some clients too during the process.
    from a business perspective losing google hits is not good, people pay to get into the top ranks, if the links are not used, you will go down in the search preference. 
    google parallax links are useless, not a big deal if you have a good search engine in your forum (?)... 
    in the end is a Parallax choice, i'm nobody, until someones really fixes the "usability", i ll try to find answers in other places, i feel lost here, takes a lot of time to find whatever you're looking for.
    Cheers,
    Tiago

     
      
  • Ron CzapalaRon Czapala Posts: 2,393
    edited July 2015 Vote Up1Vote Down
    Roy,
    I think the concern is whether this new forum can be fixed to bring it to a useful state and one that reflects well on Parallax. Until that can be determined, returning -- at least temporarily -- to the previous forum seems prudent, as many of us have rightfully stated. I don't believe that anyone has implied returning to vBulletin permanently, as long as a suitable substitute can be found.
    Then a new forum -- this one or some other brand -- can be rolled out in beta form, next to the old one, for general review and to deal with any remaining quirks, before the roll-out at large. This is the way things should have been handled from the start, rather than subjecting Parallax's image and its customers to the inevitable teething pains that we're experiencing now.
    I know that Courtney has stated an intention to bulldoze ahead with what we've got. I don't agree with that approach, but I wish Bump & Co. the best of luck if they choose to persevere in that manner. I just hope it won't be a case of throwing good effort after bad.
    -Phil

    I agree Phil. After 29 years as Systems Analyst and programmer, I've seen many "damn the torpedoes - full speed ahead" approaches and they usually crash and burn.
    Pretty sure I will be spending much less time on the forum - the frustration trying to find threads may be too much...
  • Roy ElthamRoy Eltham Posts: 2,155
    edited July 2015 Vote Up-4Vote Down
    I think you people need to actually take a look at the seriously huge amount of whining and crap being slung around over this issue, and understand what it looks like from someone else's perspective.
    Even if your intentions were in the right direction, your actual posts really do look like a bunch of 3 year olds throwing a tantrum.
    I'm sorry if that <censored> you off, deal with it. You are supposed to be adults.
    Phil, if you or others doubt that Parallax can make this software work for their desired needs, then why are you even here at all?  Do you really think that little of Parallax, that you think they can't or won't?  I have no doubt at all that they can accomplish what they want here. I also have no doubt that it will be different than what some of you think is the "right way ", and you will <censored> about it. For some of you, any change at all is bad... and it's sad.
      Roy
  • Ron CzapalaRon Czapala Posts: 2,393
    edited July 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    I think you people need to actually take a look at the seriously huge amount of whining and crap being slung around over this issue, and understand what it looks like from someone else's perspective.
    Even if your intentions were in the right direction, your actual posts really do look like a bunch of 3 year olds throwing a tantrum.
    I'm sorry if that ****** you off, deal with it. You are supposed to be adults.
    Phil, if you or others doubt that Parallax can make this software work for their desired needs, then why are you even here at all?  Do you really think that little of Parallax, that you think they can't or won't?  I have no doubt at all that they can accomplish what they want here. I also have no doubt that it will be different than what some of you think is the "right way ", and you will ***** about it. For some of you, any change at all is bad... and it's sad.
      Roy

    Roy,  Parallax can really only accomplish so much by tweaking the software - they didn't write it and are pretty much limited by the configuration options provided (unless they want to go the open source route - which you can bet they don't have the resources to devote).
    There's no magic wand to fix poorly designed software.
  • I don't understand the stubborn approach. It seems Parallax has already destroyed an important part of their business. Is it really too late to go back and do it the right way? 

    After reading this page with recommendations on how to migrate forums to Vanilla (the new forum software), it seems that little if any of the guidelines were followed.

    http://vanillaforums.com/resources/migration-best-practices

    If these guidelines had been followed I don't think we would be seeing most of the issues that have arisen.

    It is surprising how the transition was actually implemented considering its importance to the company.
    - Rick
  • I think what's hilarious is that despite people "hating" this new forum, they sure are using its upvote/downvote capability already.  
    I looked back to see when these forums were changed over and it hasn't even been 3 days.  3 days. Christ took longer to resurrect than the amount of time people have given this forum changeover.   
    Some of the complaints are because people just haven't done enough exploration in how to use the new forums.  Bump is already fixing some of the issues that have been mentioned as DRASTIC PRIORITY #1 issues.  (Apparently there many DRASTIC PRIORITY #1 issues all at the same time).  I for one am happy for him to work on drastic priority #2 and #3.
    Maybe there's just not enough drama in the world.
    Whisker is a hardware and wetware hacker, and produces geeky content on a daily basis. Atdiy is a cardiovascular nurse by day and an electronics n00b at night. Together we're the Toymakers (Tymkrs) and we post videos/blogs on electronics, DIY projects, and whatever else we happen upon! Visit us at http://tymkrs.com, http://zombietech.tv, and http://firstspin.tv! Our projects are on https://www.reddit.com/r/Tymkrs/ and you can chat with us daily at #tymkrs!
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