Search Unity

Future of Unity Answers

Discussion in 'Meta-forum Discussion' started by Hellium, Apr 13, 2020.

?

What to do with Unity Answers

  1. Leave it as it

    4 vote(s)
    16.7%
  2. Get rid of it

    8 vote(s)
    33.3%
  3. Improve it

    11 vote(s)
    45.8%
  4. Other (please, detail)

    1 vote(s)
    4.2%
  1. Hellium

    Hellium

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2014
    Posts:
    40
    Hello,

    This message is addressed to Unity Technologies. (@UnityMaru)

    Unity Answers has existed for more than 10 years. More than 370 000 questions are currently accessible on the site (I guess we can add several thousands inaccessible questions to the list).

    EVERYDAY, 50 to 100 questions are asked (I don't have the exact statistics, sorry) and at least 30 new users are asking a question. How do I know this? Because @UnityMaru raised the minimum account life before posting about one year ago, so the questions of newcomers fall in the moderation queue which is growing at least by 30 every day. (by the way, this measure is useless without super moderators to suspend the accounts since the user just needs to wait for few minutes before posting again and its post is published)

    I've been a moderator on Unity Answers for more than four years, going on Unity Answers to do my "job" almost everyday, on my free time as well on my job time (hopefully my boss won't see this message).

    I've done my best to keep the quality of Unity Answers at a minimum level by guiding people asking questions answered a million times, asking "debug me this" or "code me this" questions before closing their questions. I've posted more than 20 000 messages, 75% of them are comments reminding the rules of Unity Answers, often along with a link to the documentation / a link to the identical question / or even the coded solution.


    Few days ago, I've decided to give up. Why wasting my time on this since people will never understand and put efforts into reading the (outdated?) FAQ? A lot of talented people gave up too (@Bunny83 , @Owen-Reynolds , @hexagonius , @Glurth , @fafase and many others). I believe @tormentoarmagedoom and I were the last active moderators of Unity Answers.

    At the time I write these lines, 140 questions are waiting in the moderation queue. The oldest one is about 3 days old (yes, it matches the day I've stopped moderate the queue)


    EDIT: 172 questions in 4 days

    For YEARS moderators have been asking for improvements of Unity Answers (tools, rewriting of the FAQ, see meta space of UA) but those needs have never been taken into account by Unity Technologies. I know Unity Answers is based on a third-party technology and it's hard to make changes but there is clearly a lack of sincerity. (Don't mention the Help Room, this space is a total nonsense IMO, advanced questions are asked in this space and NullReferenceException questions are asked in the default space. Without mentioning that the Help Room is also referenced by the search engine and by Google, so it makes even more difficult the search of the good piece of information)

    I believe it's time for Unity Technologies to take a clear and final decision about Unity Answers.
    1. Either Unity Answers dies, meaning the questions are moved to the forum and the website is closed. I guess there are tools on the Unity forum to moderate the threads
    2. Or Unity Answers is maintained, the underlying system is changed if needed, and tools are provided to moderators to do their "job" correctly
    If this complaint is not taken into account, then, I don't care, It's not my responsibility. However the forum may need to prepare itself to be flooded even more by questions about
    NullReferenceException
    , missing semi-colons or braces, other dumb compiler errors, duplicate questions, "code me this" requests and more.

    Ignoring this complaint will penalise the whole growing community of Unity Answers, not only the people who don't take the time to do a 5 minutes Google search, but also the people with interesting and important questions, simply because their questions will be lost in the moderation queue, maybe published 3 to 10 days after asking it.

    Thanks to the few people who managed to read this far.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2020
  2. Baste

    Baste

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2013
    Posts:
    5,577
    Hey, you held out for far longer than me:

    upload_2020-4-14_10-51-2.png

    I gave up in 2018. And, yeah, it's very obvious that the community team lacks the resources they need to do anything else than slow down the complete rot of all of Unity's community systems.

    Money's instead being put into bad ideas, like Live Help and that garbage LinkedIn clone that everyone hates and I can't remember the name of.
     
    Olmi, eses, DaDonik and 2 others like this.
  3. Murgilod

    Murgilod

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2013
    Posts:
    7,759
    Archive it, keep existing content, and direct people to the forums. Answers is too much of a mess as it stands.
     
  4. Owen-Reynolds

    Owen-Reynolds

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2012
    Posts:
    1,549
    Four years -- that's interesting since I consider the "good" version of UA to have died 5 years ago. After a year, say 2014, of things getting worse with no action from Unity Co, most of the old mods finally quit.

    "job" is for real. It used to be you could look at the front page, which was full of good, interesting, fun Q's. You'd occasionally do moderator stuff, like convert an Answer to a Comment, delete the occasional junk answer, and handle 1 or 2 things in the Mod queue. It was just as big, but there were plenty of moderators. If you asked a Q in the moderators' area, several other mods would generally agree that you were doing it mostly right. The old unity rep, "Sara Cecelia", would pop in on most threads there.

    2015 was when most people joked about moderation turning into a job, then, a few weeks later, realizing that was no joke, and leaving. It sounds as if you never saw UA when it was actually working. My point is, from my perspective, UA has been an unmanageable chat room for 5 years, and the sky hasn't fallen in. And while it's hilarious that the new Unity rep (who I've seen only once) added the moderation queue back without realizing it was removed for good reason, that happened for like all of 2016.

    To sum up, congratulations. As game designers we know you make something fun, give a few rewards, then make it suck more and more over time. People will keep playing it, even spending money, way past the point they're having fun. It's cool seeing how that works with all sorts of things, like moderating UA.
     
    Joe-Censored likes this.
  5. UnityMaru

    UnityMaru

    Community Engagement Manager Unity Technologies

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2016
    Posts:
    1,180
    Hi folks,

    So sorry that it's taken me a while to get back to you all. I can't stress enough how valuable the feedback is that you've provided. I'm currently discussing with the team about the concerns raised here so I will return with a comprehensive response that should address the issues raised.

    Sorry again for letting you folks down with the timing on my behalf.
     
  6. DetroitBrian

    DetroitBrian

    Can't spell "Community" without "Unity"! Unity Technologies

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2019
    Posts:
    15
    Hi everybody. My name is Brian and I head up community here at Unity. I wanted to extend, first and foremost, my appreciation for the thoughtful and insightful discussion, as it has led to some much-needed introspection on the current state of Answers.

    Your concerns are all valid, and I want to make sure you know that you are not shouting into a void here. As you mentioned, our Answers site is run on a third-party platform with several limitations, which makes it difficult to be agile about fixing some of the many problems we are experiencing.

    There has been some re-organization within Unity to help address various pain points, and this is one of the pain points that will be fixed now that we have a structure in place—and perhaps more importantly—people who are empowered to make necessary changes.

    We'll have a plan in place to address Answers woes soon. We're actively working on a long-term solution. As soon as we have updates, I'll be sure to check in and let you all know.

    Thank you!

    Brian Ambrozy
    Lead, Community
     
  7. Hellium

    Hellium

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2014
    Posts:
    40
    Thank you Maru and Brian for your responses. I appreciate my post has been read and taken into account by Unity Technologies.

    If I can be of any help (chat, survey, ...) let me know.

    I am looking forward to knowing the actions Unity Technologies will take.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2020
    AskCarol, UnityMaru and DetroitBrian like this.
  8. Hellium

    Hellium

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2014
    Posts:
    40
    After three months of waiting without any news (please, correct me if I'm wrong), not a single change regarding UA, I believe I am actually "shouting into a void" (or at least against a wall, the message has been received and just bounced back like echo).

    Please, be sincere and just admit you don't care about Unity Answers, I will survive you know.
     
  9. Owen-Reynolds

    Owen-Reynolds

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2012
    Posts:
    1,549
    A thing to do might be posting in the Moderators section of UA. Over the last few years (unpaid, volunteer) moderators have been posting "what direction do we want?" with almost no response, but coming from a Unity employee the response may be better.

    A minor issue is the formatting falling off (you have to work extra hard to add space between paragraphs -- old posts are now difficult to read). The FAQ is old and contradictory. You've got Mods deleting "help fix my code" by those rules, while others trying to move them into the Help Room.

    But the main issue is moderation. How to separate the hand-holding Q's from ones from working Unity-users. Whether duplicate "how to change color" should even be allowed, if and how to use the Moderation queue (it was "turned off" but Q's still pop into it and some mods use it).
     
  10. AskCarol

    AskCarol

    Unity Technologies

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2019
    Posts:
    238
    As you have undoubtedly noticed, we are making a concerted effort this year to improve our relationship with the community by tackling all of the ongoing issues you have been facing. We look forward to sharing our plans for all the community spaces with you in the coming weeks and hope you will be part of the changes we will be implementing.

    Thank you for continually bringing to light the issues and being constructive in your criticism.
     
    optimise likes this.
  11. BilalGuvenc

    BilalGuvenc

    Joined:
    May 5, 2020
    Posts:
    15
    I feel that it is like a Unity Questions without Answer so I did not ask anything in there. by the way I joined a few minutes ago by mistaken :)

    20200817_unity2.PNG
     
  12. vertexx

    vertexx

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2014
    Posts:
    179
    As a low down utterly hopeless but very keen beginner/ user...may I say how much I have appreciated the "Answers" Forum. Hope it stays and might I say thanks to those who have answered and to those who have asked vital questions, simple and over-the-top.
     
  13. Owen-Reynolds

    Owen-Reynolds

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2012
    Posts:
    1,549
    That's a little confusing. This area is called "Forum" or sometimes "Unity Forum". The other area (the one where posts are labelled Question, Answer, and Comment) is called "Unity Answers", often abbreviated UA. "Answers Forum" sounds like 1/2 of each.

    A funny thing, Forums allows chat like this, but UA doesn't. A moderator would delete it. If someone in UA thought Forums should be shut down, they'd have to come over here to write it. There are also different ways to compare them. Answers has more answers than Forum, but has a higher percentage of ignored questions since there are more questions. Answers also require you answer the question. Forums allows a thread to completely ignore the Q. You often get Forum questions with replies, but no answers.
     
    Joe-Censored likes this.
  14. vertexx

    vertexx

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2014
    Posts:
    179
    Interesting post there..
    I'm slightly amused or concerned that answers to problems are hardly ever acknowledged or even appreciated.
    There are marvellous posters here that go well out of their way to address and answer problems but hardly ever get feedback at all.
    Maybe these folk are getting a bit pissed off at this lack of recognition? It's not that difficult to say thanks is it?
     
  15. Owen-Reynolds

    Owen-Reynolds

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2012
    Posts:
    1,549
    No, it's what Helium wrote. Someone at Unity would be needed to help fix issues with Unity Answers, but no help seems to be forthcoming. That's the frustration. I've never seen a thread like "How do we get more new users to say thank you?"

    You haven't said which area you mean by "'Answers' Forum". But now you wrote "here", so you mean the Forums?
     
  16. vertexx

    vertexx

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2014
    Posts:
    179
    Every Forum and sub-forums..or is that fora.. has it's devotees ! Some disciples are wizards of information and gladly give advice but seldom get thanks. That was to be my main point. Sorry for the confusion, Owen.
     
  17. Owen-Reynolds

    Owen-Reynolds

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2012
    Posts:
    1,549
    I think I see the problem. This whole site, forums and sub-forums, is called "Forums". There's a different site also run by Unity who's official name is "Unity Answers". One way to see this is from the tabs at the top of this page that say "Forum" and "Answers". If you go to Answers, it will be very obvious that you're in a different place, and all the little gadgets will say UnityAnswers on them.
     
  18. vertexx

    vertexx

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2014
    Posts:
    179
    And there I was thinking NavMesh was difficult!
    Oh well..I'll stick to simple path making :)
    Thanks for the guide and your words of wisdom, Owen-Reynolds.

    Hopefully I haven't wrecked this..umm..thread(?).
    Just finally.As (still) a beginner to Unity I do at times wonder which Forum to post questions into.
    It can be confusing. Maybe a simple "Post your question here" Forum?
    And if one wants some professionalism...have a ticket option for those actually posting the query... with a time limit?
    That's my tiny input to the "Future of Unity Answers."
    Now back to work.
     
  19. Hellium

    Hellium

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2014
    Posts:
    40
    Almost 300 days, and not.a.single.change on the horizon @DetroitBrian.

    @AskCarol what did you mean by "coming weeks"? 23 have passed since your message and I didn't see anything on Unity Answers, nothing on the blog, nothing on the Announcement forum or the Meta forum, nothing on Twitter. Which medium have you used (or will you use, most likely, if Unity Technologies ever decides to handle this case) to announce your "plans" for the community spaces?


    I initially wanted to wait for the "anniversary" of this post. But I recently received an email from Unity Technologies indicating Unity Connect was closing down on February 4, 2021 and that people were invited to use the other services like Unity Answers. UA is also in the list of the Community tab in Unity hub.

    It means that you acknowledge the importance of Unity Answers, but still, you don't put ANY effort into improving it after all these years.
     
    Joe-Censored, Antypodish and JoNax97 like this.
  20. Reshima

    Reshima

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2012
    Posts:
    51
    I came to this forum to complain about Unity answers and I found this topic.

    What's Unity doing about Unity Answers anyway?

    It looks very dated. The simple fact that selecting code to copy/paste also selects the line numbers shows how bad it is.

    Can't Unity just convert Unity Answers to StackOverflow so they don't have to support a dated system? Low effort high rewards. If so, please transfer all existing answers and users to the new system.

    Thanks,
    Renato.
     
  21. Owen-Reynolds

    Owen-Reynolds

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2012
    Posts:
    1,549
    StackOverflow has a Unity3D section. It's a tag in the C# area, or maybe the GameDesign area. Seems weird, but they have a process for making areas and that's how it worked out. It's not very good. Lots of poorly researched Q's with no answers.
     
  22. Hellium

    Hellium

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2014
    Posts:
    40
    Here we are, one year, twelve months, three hundreds and sixty five days and as I would have guessed, not the slightest change has been made, not plans have been shared, just hot air has been blown.

    I slightly doubted what you were saying several months ago @AskCarol , but since I am not very active in the other community platforms, I gave you the benefit of the doubt, but clearly today, I confidently think this was a lie, Unity Technologies never had the tiniest intention to sort this out (I am not even talking about improving Unity Answers, just taking a decision and initiate changes)

    @DetroitBrian Unless you've only hired one intern to run this "long-term" solution, I don't see how come you haven't made enough progress to share the smallest update yet

    I haven't been informed of any survey about this solution, so you are developing something without consulting the community (i.e the final users)? Will this solution die like Unity connect did? I am devastated to see that you (and @AskCarol and @UnityMaru ) are failing as "community managers" on this aspect.
     
  23. undevable

    undevable

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2020
    Posts:
    140
    Yeah it happens a lot. Though, your question still gets posted. UA is quite a mess. Either improve it or abandon it.
     
  24. DetroitBrian

    DetroitBrian

    Can't spell "Community" without "Unity"! Unity Technologies

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2019
    Posts:
    15
    I would ask you to exercise some empathy with the unprecedented changes the entire globe has experienced with Covid-19 and the impact it has had on everything, including the pace of business.

    I would ask that you please be kinder and more professional when addressing Unity employees; rather than accuse, I would suggest being polite, and asking for updates.

    As I mentioned above: when we have updates, we will share them. These types of projects bring many complexities; technical, legal, contractual, and otherwise. I appreciate your continued patience, and when we have something to announce about Answers, we will share it with the entire community.
     
  25. Hellium

    Hellium

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2014
    Posts:
    40
    I am working for a company of ≈4000 persons (so, bigger than Unity Technologies), and while the Covid-19 had an impact on the business, I receive weekly updates of what teams are working on, so I don't think that asking for an external roadmap, or even a broad date of when we could expect something to change within 12 months is too much to ask. (Not mentioning that closing Unity Answers and redirecting people to the forum would have taken you.... Two weeks, one month maybe?)

    In my opinion, asking people using Unity Answers to be patient is quite inappropriate since they have been waiting for several years for some consideration from Unity Technologies. The past complaints have been completely ignored, and I am quite confident this thread would have sunk into the void like the others. Ranting seems now the only way to catch your attention, that's regrettable. Unity Answers is part of your team's remit until proven otherwise as a place where the community interact with eachother.

    My accusations come from an observation. I don't know any other word but "lie" when someone assures something to somebody (here "We look forward to sharing our plans [...] in the coming weeks") but clearly don't honor their commitment. I don't think the Covid-19 would delay by 50+ weeks such announcement, and if so, a message indicating you can't share it for now would have been welcome. Here, you take people for short-memory idiots.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2021
    Joe-Censored likes this.
  26. Hellium

    Hellium

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2014
    Posts:
    40
    We are in an ambiguous situation here.

    Either Unity Technologies decided to get rid of Unity Answers, but in this case, having some notice or announcement would have been very welcome, or Unity Technologies does not care so much about Answers that they forgot about renewing the licence. I won't lie, I already have my thoughts on the topic.


    upload_2021-7-15_10-2-24.png

    (Oh, and 15 months without any information on a decision Unity Technologies decided to make . I believe it's a running gag)

    EDIT: Unity Answers is back, which means that Unity Technologies seems to care a little bit???
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2021
  27. Owen-Reynolds

    Owen-Reynolds

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2012
    Posts:
    1,549
    My take on UnityAnswers is it would a sustained effort to try to get it back to where it was, and doing so would be of limited use.

    UA was created early on to be a user-created extension to the manual. And it worked great. I knew people who used Torque who complained about the manual and torque-Forums, and loved how easy to get useful results with UA was and how active people were on it. But over the years Unity has gotten a better manual, more and more Unity courses; they are trying to move people into free+paid UnityLearn; and more people just know Unity. Having a site which fills in the holes in the manual, for free, would still be nice, but not nearly as useful as 10ish years ago.

    On the other side, it's tough to bring back UA. A minor issue is it always took a while for UnityCo to request changes from the 3rd-party site. The big issue is it's a moderated site, which means you need moderators on the same page. Right now the UA mods don't talk and don't agree. and anyone with 1K+ rep is a mod. A Unity person ideally would ask the volunteer moderators what they wanted. That can't happen now since no mods read that area (many, many threads over the years have gotten 2 or 3 contradictory replies, at best). This UnityCo person would need to establish a presence, get a feel for who's doing what and how, and hope after months(?) a years(?) to get a kernal of a dozen volunteer moderators back on board and chatting about how things should work. Meanwhile the FAQs are completely messed-up. They'd need to rewrite them to make the site look like someone cared, but they can't rewrite them until enough mods agree what they should say. Then they'd need to stick around and fix problems with the new rules and be somewhat available in perpetuity.

    Seems it would take maybe a 1/2-time person a year to maybe have a shot at making UA just slightly more valuable. I wouldn't bother.
     
  28. AcidArrow

    AcidArrow

    Joined:
    May 20, 2010
    Posts:
    8,220
    As I’m hoping you can see, this thread has instead gone in the opposite direction. In the community microcosm of this thread, the relationship has gotten worse. Yes, the community has noticed you are making an effort (mostly because you keep telling us you do), but because practically not much has changed (“yet?” he added naively), it makes repeated statements of effort feel like theatre and then the relationship gets worse.

    Furthermore hyping the smallest of small positive changes in social media and blogs and trying to present them as some huge achievement… it ends up feeling patronizing and, well -to borrow a term from a coworker of yours in this thread- unprofessional.

    Anyway, just thought I’d offer some observations and some feedback. I’m a lost cause, I would need a decade of positive changes to regain any respect for the company, but for the less jaded in our community it may not be too late. But you need to make more significant positive changes, like, today, but failing that, tomorrow and every day after that might do as well.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2021
    Hellium likes this.
unityunity