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The forums have been rolled back -- now what?

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by aliceingameland, Jul 11, 2016.

  1. aliceingameland

    aliceingameland

    Unity Technologies

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    We have rolled back the forum (you can read the rollback announcement thread here). Unfortunately, this means that the past week's worth of content will not be accessible here. For any important content from last week, you can still access it on the read-only new-forum.

    Outstanding items that we still need to work out for the rollback:
    • forum-old.unity3d.com URL is still displaying. This shouldn't affect your usage, and links should work just fine. Let us know if this is not the case! We will be fixing this tomorrow CEST time.
    • Permissions weirdness - if anyone is getting strange permissions errors, or if you are unable to complete an action you were able to in the past, please let us know so we can look into this.
    Now what?
    With some amazing help from @BlainePascu, we are in the process of going through the new forum feedback thread et al and documenting everything so we can start prioritizing and all that good stuff.

    Rest assured, we will not be making any changes w/o ample warning and feedback/testing from the community -- we plan to reach out to many of you who have contributed feedback last week once we have something to test. Given the summer holiday period and all that we need to take on board, I do not expect any visible movement on a future upgrade in the immediate future.
     
  2. CaptainMurphy

    CaptainMurphy

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    Here is my suggestion, and this is coming from having to do this in my day job of migration and user feedback for new features:

    1. Build a 'steering committee' of users that represent the target groups of Unity forums users. Get a couple of long time users, a couple of fairly new ones, several asset developers, and a couple of us middle of the road types. If they are also experienced in web development and understand servers to some extent, even better.
    2. Build a list of features that are required for the 'new' forums and evaluate that the next architecture can even handle it. The amount of basic features missing or broken on Lithium was a complete disaster from the first post (without spellcheck).
    3. Plan the migration and TEST TEST TEST TEST it over and over.
    4. Communicate to everyone what is coming. I literally woke up to seeing a new forum without ever having seen it. Put a giant sticky modal popup on the old forum, send a newsletter, send a mailer to pro clients that you have the address of. Just get the word out.

    Another item should be to take all of the info gleaned from the disaster rollout and make it an internal case study for how not to do things.
     
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  3. Thrawn75

    Thrawn75

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    Thank you.

    Count on us for exquisite testing the new forum system.

    Cheers!
     
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  4. orb

    orb

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    Yes, and get a real bastard on the team. I'm fairly dickish, so I can up the productivity anywhere if they're looking for serious criticism. So hire me today and up yours!
     
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  5. Voodoo_ZA

    Voodoo_ZA

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    Hahahahahahhaha!
     
  6. Kurt-Dekker

    Kurt-Dekker

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    I'm gonna disagree with this. This forum is a web-hosted app. Unity has on their servers reams of user data from the past decade as to how people actually use this forum every day.

    That data enables Unity QA to instantly tell if the new forum works.

    Before Unity even contemplates changing anything, make sure the top dozen or so use and UI flow cases and patterns are supported precisely the same way in the new forum. This rollout basically broke every single use pattern I used, and there was no clear replacement how to do anything that I used to do.

    I applaud Unity for pulling down the disastrous forum rollout.
     
    Alverik, Seneral, MV10 and 2 others like this.
  7. Deozaan

    Deozaan

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    Thank you! The forum "upgrade" was a disaster. Not just the process, but the new forum software itself was just awful.

    If you're going to change to different forum software in the future, may I suggest the free/open http://discourse.org/ instead of whatever it was we just got rid of?
     
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  8. Ryiah

    Ryiah

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    Most of the motivation is likely the technical support Lithium would have supposedly provided to Unity. Switching to a free and/or open source platform would be a step in the opposite direction for them. Lithium may have been a good alternative if they had taken the time to properly prepare it.
     
  9. Thrawn75

    Thrawn75

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    Yeah, that sounds great, although that's only theory. As with any idea, most important is execution and the people behind it. You simply can't craft a "big testing plan" if you simply can't afford it because you're not realistic in terms of people required to execute that plan or even detail that plan. Of course, what has happened with the new forum deployment is still embarrassing and completely disastrous from every perspective - will we just simply see a 100% turn around about what occurred and just expect everything will just work on the next try? Unity does not work that way sorry.

    As publishers, we're concerned about the usability and look of the forum, as it drives lot of traffic to the Asset Store. We don't mind to participate or contribute to additional testing if necessary and for what we know, the future of Unity is built around this kind of collaboration (the open beta of future Unity versions for example). Obviously we expect a minimum review pass for the new forum system before pushing the new version out for public review of course, but honestly I don't expect the new beta forum to be even a beta quality soon honestly, due to the amount of pending issues.
     
  10. Iron-Warrior

    Iron-Warrior

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    Just out of curiosity, is it written anywhere what the primary motivation for making a new forum is? The current one is actually pretty darn good, so I was wondering why you guys were looking at overhauling it in the first place.
     
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  11. Thrawn75

    Thrawn75

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    Main motivation seemed to do with strategic long term needs, in which internal systems would be better connected and better analytics / data quality could be obtained across systems. It also was expected that the new platform itself provided better functionality than XenForo, but for what we have seen so far, it has resulted in the opposite direction.
     
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  12. orb

    orb

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    No.

    The developer seems to use Stormfront as an example of a fair and balanced forum using Discourse.
     
  13. Deozaan

    Deozaan

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    Thanks for telling me what I may or may not suggest.

    I have no idea what Stormfront is, and after looking around on discourse.org for a while, I see no mention of it. Furthermore, I don't see how other people/sites/companies using the Discourse software in a way you don't approve of has any bearing on how Unity would/could use it.

    If they were going to pay Lithium for support, they can also choose to pay Discourse for support. But I don't know all the details and intentions behind the forum upgrade.

    I was just trying to suggest some software that seems like it would be much more user friendly than whatever it was we just got rid of. Which, based on your response was called Lithium?

    In summary: From a software perspective, Discourse seems pretty good to me, and much better than the train-wreck software (Lithium?) we are still recovering from. I know next-to-nothing about the people/companies behind the software.
     
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  14. KnightsHouseGames

    KnightsHouseGames

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    I'd say just take the Lithium forum out back and put it down, then try and find a way to keep the Xenforo forum while also getting what you want out of it.
     
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  15. IsaiahKelly

    IsaiahKelly

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    It might be too late to consider any alternatives, but I don't know why Unity didn't go with something more flexible and open source like Drupal. I even seem to remember a job offer at Unity that mentioned Drupal experience, so it seems like they're familiar with it? Heck, you could probably take the Drupal Commons or OpenLucius distribution and build something to replace most of the existing systems (blog, forums, answers, feedback, wiki, etc.) in just a few months. Something that could go far beyond a mere "community forum".

    For example, you could add a system that would give asset developers more control over their own asset threads. Allowing them to even create their own sub-forums, to help keep content more manageable and easier to organize for bigger assets. Connect forum discussions to the Asset Store, Made With Unity site, blogs, user profiles, etc. Of course it sounds like this is exactly what Unity is planning to do, but Lithium just doesn't seem nearly as capable or flexible to me for the job. Also building all of these features out of a single system, seems much easier than trying to hookup multiple, yet perhaps similar, systems.
     
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  16. AlanMattano

    AlanMattano

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    Thanks for been flexible, understand the mistake and rolled back! Thanks a lot!

    Yes, it was much worse than my timid blue font style. :eek:
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2016
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  17. Teila

    Teila

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    Get some people over 45 to test, people with eye issues, migraines, RSI (there are several different ones), color blindness, and whatever else I didn't think about.

    Get people on iphones, androids, netbooks, laptops with small screens, laptops with bigger screens, large monitors, small monitors, older and newer machines.

    Get people who like to chat, like to post code, use the forums for business, use PM's, and other things I didn't think about.

    Get people who want ignore buttons, ones who want less white space, ones who can make styles, ones who can't....etc.

    Make sure you fill your testing ranks with a lot of different people. I guess you can add this to BoredMormon's list.
     
  18. Zeblote

    Zeblote

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    What's wrong with this forum?
     
  19. LaneFox

    LaneFox

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    They want to integrate everything, Lithium supports their goals better.
     
  20. orb

    orb

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    You're lucky! It's an infamous neo-nazi forum. If the devs have ties to that sort of community I don't want UT using it. I think we'll manage with XenForo, since it's been the smoothest experience through the many software changes UT have made.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2016
  21. BrUnO-XaVIeR

    BrUnO-XaVIeR

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    Look how clean this layout is... Compare to that... "thing" urgh
     
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  22. Zeblote

    Zeblote

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    What? How?

    This forum takes up like half of the vertical space the "new" one did for the same content.
     
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  23. Teila

    Teila

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    I can't find the members list. Is that gone? Do we need it? Not sure, but I know it isn't here anymore and you asked. :)
     
  24. KnightsHouseGames

    KnightsHouseGames

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    Yeah, I just noticed thats gone too

    I liked being able to check who was online and stuff sometimes.
     
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  25. Onsterion

    Onsterion

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    Thanks for give a resurrection scroll to the old forum, the new forum burn my eyes like a dragon ball solar flare
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2016
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  26. inventor2010

    inventor2010

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    More I think about this, more I'd like to see such a thing external! - That might be a bigger step to for UT to swallow that :p, but seriously: While at the end of the day everyone is certainly entitled to their own opinions and preferences, if we are all developers here of one form or another: We must *ALL* be able to recognize the problems here!

    I would encourage anyone who didn't see the issues with the 'new' forum to read the reviews thread (completely)! It's a lot of reading I know, and if at the end of the day *you* are still fine with the new forum, that is wonderful! - But as a developer, you *MUST* be able to recognize these problems in your customers and respond to them!!!

    Kudos to UT for having that ability! - And thank you! :D
     
  27. AlanMattano

    AlanMattano

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    This forum takes too much vertical space and that can be improve.
    Just a fast draft example made on fly in few min.
    AMattano Prop2 for Unity Forum.jpg

    If there is less vertical space for each answer then you can add more answers in the same page and you do not need to change page often.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2016
  28. Murgilod

    Murgilod

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    Ew, no. Not all reduction of vertical space is good. This makes everything read really awkwardly.
     
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  29. radimoto

    radimoto

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    Anyone able to use the old forum in landscape mode? I used to be able to rotate on my iPhone 6S but now it's always locked to portrait.

    Can't access the "New posts" link unless I can get to landscape mode o_O
     
  30. orb

    orb

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    Have you swiped up and checked that it isn't actually locked? Works on my iPhone 6, latest stable iOS 9.
     
  31. arkon

    arkon

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    Is it me but on this old forum I never seem to see titles capped with 3 periods so you can't read the whole title?
    I am also not sure exactly what this forum can't do that they think the new one could have. Remember guys most of us are life long programmers, some even ex hackers, and Software can be made to do ANYTHING!

    Whatever you wanted this forum to do that you think it can't, change the bloody code to make it suit your needs better rather than throwing the baby out with the bath water and changing the underlying forum software.

    To say that changing to Lithium or other platform better suits Unity's internal needs or goal is madness, This one will be able to be changed to do anything if they actually put a programmer worth his salt on it.
     
  32. arkon

    arkon

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    Oh that was so much better to make a post with!
     
  33. adamt

    adamt

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    I think it's important to note that Lithium is a white-box community platform. That means that although it has a default set of functionality and styling out of the box, it's up to the customer to theme it and add/remove components as appropriate for their use case. You've probably used Lithium-based communities in the past without even knowing it. I agree that the styling that Unity chose to implement (or had implemented on its behalf) wasn't great, but it did seem to fit its branding better than the existing forums (personally, I don't like the current forum look-and-feel either).

    Like LaneFox and others have mentioned, the reason to go with a larger provider like Lithium is usually integration with other applications (e.g., knowledge base, ideas, blogs, etc.). I'm glad Unity chose to take a step back and address the issues everyone has brought up, but I'd be sad if that means it will ultimately cause it to refuse an upgrade to the forums in the future. I think that generally, tighter integration is A Good Thing -- there are a lot of different pieces to the Unity puzzle right now, and it doesn't feel very cohesive.
     
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  34. Teila

    Teila

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    I think it is all matter of how much you use the forums. If you barely use them, then they probably are fine. But if you use them a lot, whether it is for help, to sell assets, get to know other developers...and post on a daily basis, the functionality of the forums are more important than the "style".

    I think this forum suits Unity's objectives very well. It is clean, efficient, much healthier than the other ones, and seems to have supported a large thriving company for a long time. Some of us have massed huge numbers of posts and I have not heard anyone majorly complain. lol

    Until a few moments ago, I never heard anything bad other than the inability to search threads, which is actually available through the forum company for these forums.

    If Unity loses the community then what good is tighter integration? I actually think a lot of that big new world techy talk is just code for "mining our user's data" and "monetizing the forums"...and gamefication of the forums which I am sorry, I am an adult. I don't need badges to post...in fact, it is rather insulting to me.
     
  35. adamt

    adamt

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    I agree that my use case (getting general support for Unity and a couple of Asset Store plugins) is probably different than yours, but I still think that style/theming and functionality go hand-in-hand. Some of the things people were upset about are just a consequence of moving to an unfamiliar system; the core functionality was most likely pretty similar, but exposed in a different way.

    I think Unity would do well to include a tutorial on how things are different, but also how things have stayed he same, but are just presented differently (a migration guide, if you will). Most forums these days are commodities that accomplish very similar things, ultimately.

    As others have mentioned, a steering committee/private beta of highly active users during the transition period also sounds like a great idea. It'd make people feel invested, rather than like they're having something forced upon them.

    As for monetizing and data mining users, I can't imagine Unity trying to monetize the forums. Was there an indication they were going to? I can't even think how they'd do that (let alone the backlash they'd get after the recent pricing tier changes). Data mining your own data (i.e., forum/community content) almost always serves to improve the customer support experience for the community team. They're no doubt overwhelmed by questions and support requests, and anything they can do to identify, highlight, and reward (some people like achievements and badges!) people who are contributing quality support on their behalf seems like a win to me.

    As for the integration, I find jumping between the bug voting system, the forums, the new AssetBundle and UI tutorials (which are fantastic, by the way, and are hopefully just the tip of the iceberg), and the "answers" app pretty disjointed. Anything to bring them all closer together is a win in my eyes.
     
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  36. Teila

    Teila

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    Depends on what is lost. The Lithium forums, unless they are drastically changed, were unusable for me in the long term. After seeing what the Unity team thought would be acceptable to us, I have lost a lot of confidence in what we will see in the future.

    Possibly I will be pleasantly surprised. I guess what really got me is that so much of that could be been foreseen. Unity knows from the many polls that this is not a young community and that a large number of us are older, over 45. They know that many of us enjoy discussions and they they included tons of white space, lots of clicks to post, bad quoting (which makes for confusing discussions), etc. They knew that some had to be able to write code. They know that many access from mobile phones or tablets.

    They don't even use the reward systems already built into the current forums. How do they know that the majority wants badges?

    And what do we lose for badges? :)

    I understand about the Answers....those are in a bad place. Is there hope we will be more apt to participate if they were all together? Maybe..I don't know. I rarely go there. My son goes there and helps out quite often.

    Sadly, if done poorly, the most experienced and most able to help will leave and witnessed this time. ZombieGorilla, Hippo, Elbows, and many others were gone or leaving.
     
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  37. radimoto

    radimoto

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    Yeah this is my fault, somehow I had locked iOS into portrait mode. Can't say I ever use that feature must have enabled it by accident o_O
     
  38. bocs

    bocs

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    I can't seem to edit my profile

     
  39. mgear

    mgear

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    Yay! Back home again - happy!


    Although the root problem is still there,
    feels like people making decisions in unity are totally out of sync with community,
    and then its just a matter of time then something like this happens again.. (what if someone gets idea to "upgrade" unity UI, since its been the same (but good) for so long..cannot imagine that going too well if its not ready)

    Also this tweet from David was quite telling,
    Other requests??? at that point there was probably tens of pages with complaints already..:(

    But lets hope for the best..
     
  40. Eric5h5

    Eric5h5

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    No. If that was the case, there wouldn't have been such a huge outcry. Did a major backlash like this happen the last time the forum software was changed? No, and it wasn't actually that long ago. That transition wasn't entirely trouble-free, but things settled down pretty quickly. That actually was a case of core functionality being pretty similar. It was more or less analogous to going from, say, Unity 2.1 to Unity 4.6.

    In this case, it was like if you had been trucking along with Unity 5.3.5, then suddenly they deleted it from your computer, said "Hey, we got an exciting new upgrade for you, here's Unity 6, it's great!"...but what they actually gave you was Torque Game Engine, circa 2007.

    --Eric
     
  41. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    I only ask that Unity develop the new forum with user-led democratisation. I want the new forum to be beta tested by the community. I want the community to design where it will live (within reason). And Unity wants that too, or it will be taking risks it does not need to.

    If the community says no to the beta test, then you should wait. Just like you do with 2D tools and everything else in Unity. This crowd isn't against change (development is change) but it's definitely a community that does know what it wants. And it's a big community.

    Honestly consider keeping these forums and adding bespoke technology to it so that it can be used with the rest of the systems you have. Really, these forums should stay and be developed on.

    It's not like you don't do just that with mono and everything else. Sometimes you do get the odd one out in a system. Ask any developer. Sometimes that oddball is worth developing around.
     
  42. arkon

    arkon

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    They could easily add badges or ranks etc to this existing forum if they really wanted to. All it would take is a decent web coder to change this forum and it's database slightly. The fact they chose to completely change the forum software used to achieve this amongst other things would seem to suggest that the Unity Community staff lack the skills necessary to do this so went for an out of the box solution instead.

    If it's really true that unity now has over a thousand staff, you would have thought they could have had at least 1 web/html/php/sql type person on the outward facing side of UT.
     
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  43. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    1400! I was so amazed at that sum. And 0 web developers. It would IMHO just be too much loss that gains can't offset. Why not just develop these existing forums?
     
  44. arkon

    arkon

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    1400! thats a mental number. Someone is clearly on a power trip. i used to have a software company that had 50 coders and 6 artists and put out way more content faster and of a higher quality than Unity manage, it was also of a mission critical nature too. We couldn't hide behind any EULA's that said things like "Not responsible for any loss or damage"!
     
  45. Eric5h5

    Eric5h5

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    It already has trophy points and stuff, they're just not using them.

    --Eric
     
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  46. AwDogsGo2Heaven

    AwDogsGo2Heaven

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    I can't view anyone's profile without getting a permission error.
     
  47. ArcticHorse

    ArcticHorse

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    My primary problem with the "new" forum was the eyestrain. I still have a painful right eye from reading pages and pages of text on a bright background that was really straining. I could have used the Dark Side css but I really didn't have the time to work with that considering I'm trying to make a new game in Unity.

    And all the asset store links were broken. And all the functionality of this forum was gone.

    And it seemed like it was just dumped on us with no consideration for the fact that this forum actually has features that we use as developers and depend on. Notifications were broken--I got notified that I was a higher level.

    I'd be happy to betatest any new forum you want to come up with but would appreciate letting us know what you want it to do that this forum can't so we have some idea what we are betatesting for. I guess betatesters would want to keep what we find useful and make sure what you at UT want new is useful and works.

    I agree with Hippocoder--why not just develop this forum and make sure it works for what you want UT and what we want.

    If you need Lithium for some auto moderating--just ask any of us if we can help moderate. Many of us would be happy to do so. I have a forum that I take care of---it has no spammers---many of us must be forum caretakers too.

    Not that Hippocoder needs us--he's done a good job. But anything to save this forum.

    Thank you for the rollback. My vision is less painful.
     
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  48. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    Well I just think the right direction is a community that self governs, is passionate about Unity and it's kind of organic. I mean you don't need to control it. The users tell you what they want. Same with the product.

    I think there are other options for getting better data out of the forums than just "lets plug in lithium".
     
  49. Ryiah

    Ryiah

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    Installing custom themes is very easy and takes at most half a minute. You simply install Stylish for your browser, restart your browser, go to the page for the theme and click the button on the page to install it. That's all there is to it.
     
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  50. TwiiK

    TwiiK

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    Nobody really answered me, but are the things we post now permanent?

    And is it safe to link to http://forum-old.unity3d.com/ or will that break when you fix the urls and we should instead stick to using http://forum.unity3d.com/ to be safe?

    Also, if you have a cookie saved for the old (new) forum (this one: https://community.unity.com/t5/Forum/ct-p/Forum) you'll be redirected there instead of to http://forum-old.unity3d.com when you go to http://forum.unity3d.com/. Happened for me both at home and at work in browsers I had used to access the new forum with, but not in new browsers or incognito sessions. You may have to delete your cookies to be able to get to this forum. I guess that should be written somewhere.
     
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