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Official Unity Answers shutdown - canceled

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by LeonhardP, Jun 9, 2022.

  1. LeonhardP

    LeonhardP

    Unity Technologies

    Joined:
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    Posts:
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    Edit from June 15
    Original post from June 10
    On June 23rd, Unity Answers will be shut down permanently and will be redirected to the Unity Forums. Before shutting down, Unity Answers will enter read-only mode on Monday the 13th.

    The content that was hosted on Unity Answers will no longer be publicly available after the shutdown on the 23rd of June. This includes discussions and user profile information. We will evaluate migration options after the shutdown but can’t currently commit to any migration work at this stage.

    The Forums are the primary community platform for asynchronous support, insightful discussions, and information about Unity. For those looking for realtime conversations and fast responses, you can also find help from the community in our Official Discord.

    Activity on Unity Answers has been declining for a long time, and while the Forums do not currently offer Unity Answers’ functionality of highlighting accepted answers, they already serve the same purpose of finding answers to questions more effectively due to their increased response rate. Closing Answers will allow us to focus our resources and improve the user experience of our community platforms in the long run.

    We are working on adjustments in the Forums to help with this transition and will share our plans in the following weeks to open them up to your feedback.

    We recognize that Unity Answers didn’t receive the support from our side that would have been required to help it scale with Unity’s growth, and we apologize for taking so long to act in this matter, especially to the community members and moderators who supported Answers until now. Thank you for your engagement and effort.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2022
    Ruchir, Occuros and BradZoob like this.
  2. tiMo1oos

    tiMo1oos

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    Will The All Unity Answer questions will be automatically moved/redirect to Unity Forum?
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2022
    Ony, Marc-Saubion, Novack and 4 others like this.
  3. RealMTG

    RealMTG

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    Jul 27, 2013
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    Hiding the content seems a bit excessive. There is plenty of useful information on Unity answers for beginners. When you search for a Unity-related issue, there's usually a Unity answer result high up with the solution. It would be a shame if all of that went away!
     
  4. CodeSmile

    CodeSmile

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    Apr 10, 2014
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    1,639
    OTOH a lot of the answers on Unity answers are outdated, more so than answers on the forum. In particular within the past 3-4 years. Still, the occasional gem exists. Would be great to save the top 100 most frequented answer threads, even if it were a plain copy & paste into gist or forum threads.
     
    dimmduh1, DragonCoder, Ony and 4 others like this.
  5. tiMo1oos

    tiMo1oos

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    Aug 15, 2021
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    Most Of Answers I find is mainly 2013 questions that were answered in a lot of varieties and clean explanations, its just shame all that will go away
     
  6. Qleenie

    Qleenie

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    Jan 27, 2019
    Posts:
    526
    Sounds like a bad idea to completely take it offline. Make it read only with a warning about outdated content would IMO a better solution. I found many valuable information there, which all would be gone all of the sudden. Having that much content is one of the biggest strength of Unity compared to competition.
     
  7. kogi_rc

    kogi_rc

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2019
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    Unity Answers may contain a lot of low quality advice that is often outdated but such short notice without clear alternative or migration plan seems very impulsive and short sighted. The transition period is effectively one bussiness day which seems to be extremely short time span from "we're sunsetting a service announcement" to "it's locked now".

    Google is full of links that will become dead in 2 weeks which will be terrible for new users because there are some good responses and useful code snippsets there that will be wiped out without trace. This will lead to a lot of frustration if you don't leave read-only copy beyond those 2 weeks.
     
  8. HerbertSherbert

    HerbertSherbert

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2022
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    1
    Please don't delete the entire content – it's a database of hundreds of thousands of posts, and sounds like the plan is for it to just disappear forever. I'm sure the Internet Archive would be interested in helping preserve the content in one way or another if you reached out to them.
     
  9. Alec-Slayden

    Alec-Slayden

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2008
    Posts:
    99
    It's true that some of the content is old, but it has still been a very valuable resource to me almost *every day* since its inception. Is it so costly that you really must shut it down? I feel like this is a real hit to community resources. Forums are not set up for finding answers the same way-- I hate trying to find what I'm looking for on forums, and for all the valuable content to disappear, it shakes my trust in Unity's commitment to providing resources. Please provide reassurance that the valuable time and energy the community put into helping each other will not be destroyed.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2022
    Olmi, rootCBR, Ony and 5 others like this.
  10. Jes28

    Jes28

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    Sep 3, 2012
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    950
    Please just create a way to make in message on thread to be Question ans second message to be accepted answer and even compilation of all useful answer pieces from entire thread so newcomers can just read first 2 messages and get short compilation of entire thread.
    Additionally allow for voting for good candidates to second Answers message
     
    Marc-Saubion, Vederant and tiMo1oos like this.
  11. Jes28

    Jes28

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    Just wonder how it can be helpful for threads where users disscuss something and Unity answer just once per Month
    so having short QnA in second message will be super helpful
     
  12. Jes28

    Jes28

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    Sep 3, 2012
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    Additionally make those first 2 messages to be first on every page
    and results of polls automatically added to second message
     
  13. ShawnFeatherly

    ShawnFeatherly

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    Feb 22, 2013
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    55
    I'd think a complete shutdown would hurt investors views more than the cost of running the service. When I go to Unity Answers I see activity every 10 minutes.
    It'd be nice to know what steps were attempted to trim the costs of running Unity Answers before it was decided to be shutdown.

    EDIT: Some detail on steps taken https://forum.unity.com/threads/future-of-unity-answers.866893/
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2022
    Marc-Saubion, Vederant and tiMo1oos like this.
  14. Huacanacha

    Huacanacha

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    Aug 16, 2013
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    Well this is unfortunate, but perhaps understandable given the state of the platform. Unity documentation has improved, but I still find the clearest (and sometimes only) answers on Answers fairly regularly. I will miss being able to find my own responses there, as I occasionally stumble upon my own previously gleaned knowledge () that's more usable and concise than Unity docs, and much more discoverable than forums. One example I looked up just today is https://answers.unity.com/questions/300467/how-to-limit-frame-rate-in-unity-editor.html... goodbye old friend!

    It's a shame there can't be some sort of migration to Stack Overflow or similar. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
     
    Ony, Vederant and elenzil like this.
  15. instruct9r

    instruct9r

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    Unity Answers hold a lot of valuable information for the developers and there are a lot of answers that are code related which doesn't get outdated.

    Please remove all questions without any answers and leave the rest as read only. This way we'll be able to continue using that source of information since a lot of the answers cannot be found anywhere else.
     
    NotaNaN, pahe, Ony and 6 others like this.
  16. elenzil

    elenzil

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    Jan 23, 2014
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    Sad to see.
    For me, answers was always more productive than forums, but even more than that I wanted a single place to go, so I'm in favor of consolidation. Keeping the content public would be huge win, imo.
     
  17. mgear

    mgear

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    Aug 3, 2010
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    so, can we copy existing script snippets from the site and archive them into github?

    also,
    since its going to break thousands of good answer links inside the forum posts,
    why not just make it read-only, and keep it running for at least few years more?

    then at least the knowledge would be still available when googled,
    and in the forums could start copying the answers into posts itself, whenever find solution from answers site, during the read-only period..
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2022
    Olmi, mgruv and Ony like this.
  18. Murgilod

    Murgilod

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    Nov 12, 2013
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    How are you so bad at this? We've literally said to make it read only and archive it.
     
    NotaNaN, rootCBR, Ony and 3 others like this.
  19. TrentSterling

    TrentSterling

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    Jan 4, 2013
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    Time to scrape all the answers? This is terrible news. I've been finding decent answers on obscure questions on UA all the time!
     
    Gua and Ony like this.
  20. StuwuStudio

    StuwuStudio

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    Feb 4, 2015
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    If discord is going to be a solution have faster help, shouldn't it be a little more active? A lot of questions I post just get ignored on there.
     
    Marc-Saubion and JorgeGameDev like this.
  21. MarcusWatson

    MarcusWatson

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    Dec 9, 2014
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    Rather than the content vanishing, migrating it somewhere under Archived Forums or have Archived Answers?
     
    Gua and Ony like this.
  22. radiatoryang

    radiatoryang

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    Jul 7, 2014
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    Even if you have some secret stats / analytics that shows Unity Answers are less visited than the forums or something, the psychological damage of deleting the community's knowledge base without any migration or archival plan is just breathtaking. Morale is already flatlining among Unity devs, and now you're doing this, with two weeks notice and zero plan? Talk to your users lol what's wrong with you
     
    Vincent13122, NotaNaN, _geo__ and 9 others like this.
  23. sSuite

    sSuite

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    Sep 28, 2014
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    This decision makes absolutely no sense. I've used Unity for almost a decade and I still reference Unity Answers multiple times daily. at least archive it, my god
     
  24. DaltonButton

    DaltonButton

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    Jul 1, 2014
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    This decision makes no sense. Please keep it read-only with a warning that the content may be outdated. All the top search results for Unity questions will lead to broken links if you kill Answers. It will be very frustrating specially for newcomers, not to mention how sad it is to see all that knowledge that people gave freely to each other just be erased forever. This is not the way to treat your community. Please listen: all the comments under this announcement are negative. May be the last push I needed to give Godot a try :(
     
  25. Mochie_

    Mochie_

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    Mar 5, 2018
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    This makes zero sense to me, what do you gain from hiding years of answered questions? Just make them read-only.
     
  26. x753

    x753

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    Dec 26, 2017
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    If your analytics are showing low activity, perhaps that means people found their answers and left satisfied? That should be a good thing. Unity Answers has been much more helpful to me than the forums have over the years, at the very least.
     
  27. Mauri

    Mauri

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    Dec 9, 2010
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    Shutting down Answers and redirecting the URL to the forum will - inevitably - bring a surge of new beginners asking beginner questions. And we all know all too well how newbies here are usually frowned upon by regular users. With Answers going away completely, they will have a way less to "just google it".

    Not sure if that's a good idea.
    .
     
    Olmi, Ony, Huacanacha and 1 other person like this.
  28. JorgeGameDev

    JorgeGameDev

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    Apr 10, 2014
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    One look at social media and you can immediately see how many developers think this is not a great step to take. There are still many answers on Unity Answers that continue being useful to this day that barely have any coverage or mention on the documentation.

    While I understand the appeal of moving the functionality to the forums, there's a lot less SEO and easy-to-find answers that you can get in the forums when you're just sticking whatever you need into Google. And while I love Discord for community building, it's in no way a good platform to get support or find answers without massive overlap.

    Disable the functionality and put Unity Answers in read-mode alright, but keep it as an accessible website rather than burning down a decade-long library of answers that continue being very accessible and friendly to new and veteran devs alike.
     
    Ony and Marc-Saubion like this.
  29. DarioScarpa

    DarioScarpa

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    Jul 28, 2015
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    This!
     
    Olmi, Ony, Marc-Saubion and 1 other person like this.
  30. AlexStrook

    AlexStrook

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    Oct 19, 2013
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    I wish I could upvote this multiple times
     
    Ony likes this.
  31. JacobK

    JacobK

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    Jun 18, 2013
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    This is a wildy bad idea. I've been a unity developer for more than 10 years, and unity answers has been invaluable throughout that - there are so many bizarre edge cases in the unity API that the documentation doesn't even begin to cover that are incredibly well covered in unity answers.

    It's a format that's not been beaten - there's a reason StackOverflow has become so popular... because it's the best format for this kind of questions.

    The forums have even more outdated information than unity answers. If you delete unity answers, everyone's google searches are going to lead them to painfully out of date answers instead.

    Out of date answers on unity answers could be flagged, or newer more accurate answers can be edited in, or upvoted to become the top answers

    Even if people bumped ancient forum threads, people aren't going to dig through pages of answers to find the most recent one

    What problem does this solve? How does this improve anything? Why on earth are you doing this?
     
    NotaNaN, Alec-Slayden, Olmi and 5 others like this.
  32. hippocoder

    hippocoder

    Digital Ape Moderator

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    At least make all the answers by @Bunny83 available. Learned a lot from such high quality answers!

    Is there no way forward in regards to an archive? I think it is worth some thought. It's a minor amount of work for an engineer and Unity can outsource this work cheap.

    You know... I used a bit of https://www.flipcode.com/ the other day. Makes you think.
     
  33. S4UC1SS0N

    S4UC1SS0N

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    This is a VERY bad idea, you are shooting your own foot.
    At least make it a read-only archive but hiding what is a big part of what makes unity easy to use is a crazy move.
     
    Olmi and Ony like this.
  34. yewnyx

    yewnyx

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    Apr 19, 2021
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    Unity Answers was invaluable for me to learn the ropes in Unity quickly, much more so than the Unity Forums (and don't get me wrong, the forums are useful!).

    Unity isn't a social network. How could one possibly justify hiding and deleting customer value like this? Whoever thought decreasing activity is an indicator of decreasing value needs to sit down and seriously reconsider their definition of success, and the damage caused by not committing to - at a minimum - preserving a useful repository of knowledge as an archive.

    I would prefer to think of deleting useful things with inadequate warning - despite significant utility - as a misstep and mistake, rather than a bad habit of Unity, or rather than a sign it intends to pivot towards moving fast and breaking things.

    Please don't disappoint us. Please keep the answers site available, as an archive at least.
     
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  35. DeinolDani

    DeinolDani

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    I don't know about this one, chief.
    Vanishing an archive like that sounds like a kick in the gut to the community to be fair.
    If the goal trying to avoid missleading caused by how old the threads are, just display a big warning message on top of every thread informing about it, but I think removing Unity Answers would be a huge mistake...
     
  36. GhulamJewel

    GhulamJewel

    Joined:
    May 23, 2014
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    Wow terrible decision. At least leave it read only and archived. Tonnes of valuable information will be lost especially for beginners.

    Unity Answers has been invaluable to me learnt so much from it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2022
    Ony likes this.
  37. andrew-lukasik

    andrew-lukasik

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    Jan 31, 2013
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    Before you do that, I hope you do realize that answers.unity.com > docs.unity3d.com . For something like a decade Answers + Forum were the only **useful** documentation we had.

    Programmers write code and google search - remove top 20% of useful google search results (which often means Answers) and you will cut productivity by considerable margin for many in this cohort.

    Forums offers no equivalent as it has, structurally by design, very different purpose. Multi-page
    List<Comment>
    facilitate long conversations/monologues where as
    Tree<Comment>
    are easier to sort and organize.

    Discord is a "closed garden"-type chat room where search is pointless and an answer's lifespan is counted in minutes to hours, not years.

    Stackoverflow is an actively hostile place toward newcomers.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2022
  38. ShyRec

    ShyRec

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    Jun 30, 2013
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    At least make it read-only until you find a better solution. And to be completely honest, i have not much faith in this "better solution", sorry. Anyone remember Unity Connect? I had to google it to remember the name or if this even happened. Job boards work, UA works, don't break it for no reason.
     
    Ony likes this.
  39. ignaciom01

    ignaciom01

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    Jan 2, 2021
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    I'm really shocked, I'm studying to be a game developer, and the unity answers have been not just only useful, but essential.
    I tried to read the documentation, but the most useful has always been the forums.

    I cannot believe there isn't going to be a migration of the data or just a warning saying be careful it may be out of date. I've visited many answers from years ago, that even though they weren't very up to date they pointed me into the right direction, gave me a good explanation of small and concrete concepts.

    A complete reset It's not a bad decision, but a stupid one.

    Many people are going to have problems because of this. Specially beginners, but also seniors that just don't remember a specific thing, or it's not their field of expertise.
     
    Bloodberet, Ony, Marc-Saubion and 3 others like this.
  40. Clonkex

    Clonkex

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    Jul 31, 2012
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    This is a terrible execution of a poorly thought-out plan.

    Random programmer: "So what are we doing about UA?"
    Manager: *Leans back in chair and thinks for five seconds*
    Manager: "Can we make it so people can't post any more?"
    Programmer: "Read-only? We don't have that functionality currently. We could add it but it might take a couple of weeks."
    Manager: "Hmm. Can we just trash it instead?"

    That's actually what I think must have happened. No more than five minutes' thought. Otherwise there's no way they could have come to the conclusion that the best plan is to throw it all in the garbage.

    It sounds like they looked at the number of posts as the only statistic for whether Answers should remain. By all means make it read-only if interactions are low, but ditching the entire site with no plan for migration? Wtf? Answers does what Stack Overflow does, which is provide answers to FAQs. The forum is horrible for that (which is precisely why Q&A sites exist). I don't interact on Answers much, but I frequently find answers there.

    I even have a personal stake in Answers. I'm horrified that Unity would just decide to trash all my work and the discussions we had to improve that answer. I have no problem with making it read-only, but it cannot possibly cost that much to keep it online. In fact I work for a company that runs multiple websites. I know how much it costs, and there's no way in hell that cost isn't a drop in the ocean to a company the size of Unity.
     
    Vincent13122, Ony and Marc-Saubion like this.
  41. PutridEx

    PutridEx

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    Feb 3, 2021
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    971
    You're burying thousands (M's) of answers easily found by googling, just for unity. That's worth a lot you know, many engines would kill for this treasure of freely available answers contributed mostly by the community over many years.

    I've lost count of all the issues that I googled, then this beautiful site is sitting there, some legend posted an answer to my exact issue years ago.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2022
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  42. PutridEx

    PutridEx

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    Feb 3, 2021
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    I have to say, as a person that has actively helped people in that discord over many months -- most people ask but don't help.

    Everyone wants help, very few want to help. That's the issue. Maybe I'll sound selfish, but if you want help so often, maybe try and help others as well. I've seen countless people ask for help, but I never see them trying to help others.

    You aren't required to do it and this isn't directed at you in particular, I don't even know your @ on there -- just an fyi for everyone.

    - late edit: Discord can't really be compared to google. Answers are hard to search for in there, so many answers are just a one-time thing for the one person that posted his issue.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2022
    DragonCoder likes this.
  43. Bunny83

    Bunny83

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    Oct 18, 2010
    Posts:
    2,446
    A long time ago I had started "Scraping" a part of UA into my mysql database. However since the page had several changes over the years it broke several times. Also my crawler wasn't that fast (partly intentional) so it took a quite long time to just crawl the first 300k posts (I crawled them by post id. So questions, answers and comments mixed). Since it was quite slow (I didn't want to overload the server) and due to the changes of the site I stopped long ago ^^. I just took a look into my database and the last time something was added was 2013 :) I actually have more user infos crawled than posts. Though overall the majority is still missing.

    Unfortunately I don't think I have enough time to actually blow the dust off my crawler and get it back up and running. Also it only grabbed the rendered html and not the markdown and no revisions and no file uploads, so it wasn't ideal anyways. My original goal was to have better search support since google and other search engines tend to "forget" that certain things even exist when they haven't been hit frequently. I often can remember that there was a question about a certain topic but it's quite difficult to find them again. That's why I also started copying the Unity release notes into a DB as well :) I have all release notes up to 2022.1.0A. I have used that quite often to pinpoint when and in which version certain things appeared first.

    Would be great if the actual database would be preserved somewhere, somehow. Of course "sanitized" so only public information remains. Though I doubt that would actually happen. So we may have to rely on the wayback machine ( archive.org ).

    Another painful loss was the wiki. It started as a community project (unifycommunity wiki) and was taken over by Unity directly (wiki.unity3d.com) though it also just got dropped the other day. I generally like the media wiki markdown and structure. It was a huge collection of all sorts of scripts, code snippets and articles. See the archive.

    While I still answer some questions on UA, the recent years I usually just ban spammers -.-. Yes, there are not many "new" good questions being asked and some of the old ones are outdated (UnityScript, Raknet, MonoDevelop, Boo, you name it), however as others have said it would be quite a loss if its gone for good. Even to this day when I search something about Unity I regularily come across UA posts which are pretty spot on. My 20k posts only make up about 1% of all posts. It contains huge amounts of practical information.
     
  44. Threepwood

    Threepwood

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2009
    Posts:
    95
    Deleting the old content is a terrible idea. I virtually never search the forums for help. I google like most people and most of the time you get old Unity Answers threads that are very helpful. For that information to go away - is just a terrible idea and hurts the overall usability of Unity as it was one of Unity's strengths.

    Content should stay online. Over time it will be supplanted by newer threads and information as it should be and it will wither away. That's fine.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2022
    Olmi, mgear and Ony like this.
  45. Hellium

    Hellium

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    Sep 25, 2014
    Posts:
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    This comment suggests that Unity Technologies put some effort into Unity Answers in the past years which is an hilarious joke. Proof with this thread which is already two years old and no action had been taken until today. @DetroitBrian was talking about a "long-term solution". If this is still a thing, then why closing Unity Answers before this new solution is available?

    Maybe if Unity Answers had the attention it deserved, it wouldn't be in the state it is today? How is looking for an answer among the multitude of messages posted in a single forum thread more effective than looking at the accepted answer of a Unity Answers question?

    Again, why closing Unity before those adjustments are done? Are those "weeks" the same as @AskCarol's (which is never)?

    As already mentioned multiple time in this discussion, you're putting into garbage YEARS of (hard) work. A lot of content not available on the forum will disappear, and questions previously asked on Unity Answers may be asked on the forum for no valid reason. It's like you're burning a physical library, and people will have to study things again to come up with the same knowledge level as before that library burned.

    If your concerns are economic, please, Unity Technologies has spent billions in the acquisition of studios whose technology will be used by a ridiculously small amount of users. Don't tell me that keeping the Unity Answers servers used by that amount of people is a problem. As pointed out by @x753, less activity (less questions asked / answers provided) does not mean it's less used. What are the number of visits per month? How often do people find their answer on Unity Answers compared to the forums?
     
    Bunny83, Olmi, Ony and 4 others like this.
  46. BasicallyGames

    BasicallyGames

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    Aug 31, 2018
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    This would be a huge blow to the community and the accessibility of the engine, what on earth are y'all thinking?! How could anyone at Unity even consider doing this, there's not a single positive to it. One of the main reasons I see people recommend Unity over other engines is due to the wealth of information out there. You take that away and it will be a lot harder for newcomers to learn the engine, and for long-time users to learn new parts of the engine. That hurts everyone involved. It hurts the developers, it hurts Unity, it hurts the players who will end up with games that might have been better had the devs been able to find the info they needed to solve certain problems (This may seem ridiculous but the quality of games from smaller, more inexperienced teams could definitely suffer in this way).

    In my experience, when I'm struggling with something in Unity, and I start Googling for help, Unity Answers often has the answer I'm looking for or at the very least it had good information that nudges me in the right direction.

    Archive the site and put a disclaimer on it informing users to check the dates of the posts to determine how relevant it is to the current version of Unity, but good grief don't just wipe it all!
     
    Olmi, Ony and andrew-lukasik like this.
  47. Cicaeda

    Cicaeda

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2017
    Posts:
    27
    I'm sick of this company constantly shooting itself in the foot. Does the CEO blindfold himself and throw darts at post-it notes to make these decisions? Who approves something like this?

    So many people rely on these answers being available on Google.

    Wake the F*** up.
     
    Vincent13122, Clonkex, Ony and 2 others like this.
  48. Welby2

    Welby2

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    Feb 5, 2014
    Posts:
    30
    I completely agree Unity Answers should be readable and not be hided. Can't understand what would be the benefit of that
     
    PutridEx likes this.
  49. CarmenXero96

    CarmenXero96

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2013
    Posts:
    11
    >Google unity question
    >Find old Unity answers thread
    >Has useful info and while outdated provides me with knowledge to figure it out

    Versus

    >Make a forum thread
    >Wait and wait for the right person
    >Gets ignored and buried by everyone else asking questions
    >Bump it
    >Get told not to bump

    This'll be really awesome and cause no problems.
     
  50. BlinksTale

    BlinksTale

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2013
    Posts:
    11
    How can you publicly support such an destructive plan? First you wipe a huge source of knowledge off the internet, then you claim “we hope to reupload that information eventually”?

    How can you possibly justify this? Do you know how this will affect productivity for obscure issues with Unity devs until that knowledge is migrated, if ever? Please, please stop this plan. Leaving the archive up for years (clearly labeled as defunct) is not a bad thing.

    EDIT: I deeply appreciate how quick Unity was to respond to this - thank you all for taking seriously the concerns that quickly arose here. This is a deeply concerning piece of news to appear with 2wks notice, but I am glad the brakes are being put on this.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2022