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Discussion in 'Announcements' started by LeonhardP, Jun 9, 2022.
PLEASE I'm begging y'all to just make it read only with a warning about it being outdated. PLEASEEEE
Adding my comment in here just to reaffirm what others have said. Closing down Unity Answers should not even be an option while Unity is still an actively developed engine.
What made you think deleting half your knowledge base could possibly be a good idea? Who decided this, and what measures are you taking to stop making decisions like this in the future?
We're going to need answers Unity. Many livelihoods depend on this engine. Start taking some responsibility.
While I appreciate the rationale provided in the original post (more insight here), as others have said this feels like burning down a library.
The 'whys' of how this is such a wild idea have already been well communicated by others. Based on the official response so far it seems whichever team or individual is responsible has at least superficially taken this to heart.
One thing I'd add is to please continue to do so by actively engaging your community and considering more dogfooding -> having internal teams which rely on the functionality of the engine, editor, documentation, and community tools will provide you with extremely valuable insight that is difficult or impossible to collect by other means. That you were planning a complete shutdown of UA (with two weeks notice!?) shows how badly this needs to improve, and across the broader Unity ecosystem.
'cause I can already smell the bots scraping all the content, only to mirror it with some SEO sprinkled on top to make a quick buck with ads.
Also, suggesting discord as an alternative? Let me check real quick how good google is at indexing discord content. Oh ... wait. Feels like you are deliberately trying to make it harder for anyone to find anything.
I really don't think it should be shut down, I use Unity Answers daily.
Stages of grief come to mind.
Maybe they are right? Maybe it's really time to just move on...
It is time to stop doing this thankless community work for nothing.
It is time to end with low expectations.
Let them raze Answers to the ground, gents.
Unity will be fine, the Company will move on and grow, do this work themselves better Im sure.
If not, that's ok too, we will move on somewhere else, do the other things.
Great idea! Thanks
I'm still reeling at simply having read the OP. Thanks guys for not going through with this, it would have been a travesty on a scale that renders words insufficient to express.
Yes, UA contains outdated information. But I am certain it has saved the actual real life lives of many a developer in their time of need.
The company will be fine, they make most of their money from ads anyway, and it’s not like their stock price can go much lower than the current price.
The community though will be worse off.
Community can impose itself upon company representatives only for so long, I am afraid. There is a point where this stops being viable option for both parties.
Will the community be worse off? Yes. But it's not like this situations was sustainable in the long-term anyway. Answers stands today only because countless good ppl sunk **a lot** of free, invisible & thankless labor into maintaining it themselves over the years. I've read/wrote plenty of baffled rants about sad technical state of Answers to be under no illusion about human costs of this scheme.
And I can imagine that the Company sees no financial value in this as well. Is it because of ramping service cost, their inability to make good decisions in this space or execute web projects - **I have no idea**. But there are times when good intentions are not enough and the only options left - are the bad ones.
No, if "Activity on Unity Answers has been declining for a long time" then cost goes down. If they want to save on storage cost remove questions without any answers. Huge database of answers (may be outdated but always something) and free voluntary helpers seems like a huge value to the Company.
Removing all of it without making proper replacement and migrating is obviously terrible decision.
Then I have a great idea: remove all kinds of support including forums and see what happens...
I think Unity got the memo: they need to start listening for real, not thinking they're listening.
I'm not going to believe this until I see actual effects of it because, as I've mentioned before in this thread and others, they have a tendency to not listen and instead react to specifically loud outcry.
I'm supporting others in this thread. I believe that the Unity Answers archive should be maintained. There've been dozens of times when I found hidden gems in the deeps of Answers.
Hey guess what I was doing JUST this moment, then thought "well... best post on forum and let them know" -- that's RIGHT, I was googling about Unity's terrain stuff and got an answer... from answers.
I bet you all pretty much hit up answers weekly, at least.
Idk, I don't want them/Company to listen to us. It's not like they're 5-years old startup anymore. We do our best to be helpful and competent at what we do - and we have the right to expect competency in this area as well.
It's their/Company job to know what kind of knowledge base best suits their users/community. If they don't know that or that knowledge base is subpar/underdeveloped - it means sb is not doing their job or this job doesn't even exist. Both cases suggest that the company structure is not parallel with our own interests in this particular case.
And since it is the company structure that reflects what incentives are in place internally (growth & sales prbly) - Answers must fit neither of those. So let's not convince ourselves needlessly that this will change, because only $ signals from the broader market can correct incentive of a company that big.
Meanwhile, in Unreal land:
Epic asked the community on what they should do with their AnswerHub site before committing to anything: https://forums.unrealengine.com/t/e...n-the-direction-to-take-with-answerhub/240447
Then based on that feedback they implemented a solid migration plan: https://forums.unrealengine.com/t/answerhub-migrating-to-the-unreal-engine-forums/264688
No clue how successful they were, but it's far better than this deprecate and forget Unity seem to have adapted as policy in recent years.
deleting a really large database of answers is very ingenious, but let's not do it please
Not much. I think you overestimating how much their bottom line is affected by keeping the people who use the editor happy.
This one is pretty clear.
I mean their stock price has dropped like a brick (although it was because of them messing up their ad data, because they are an ad company that can’t give a flying F*** about game developers)
Answers was useful to me exactly zero times during the years I'm using Unity. I found zero answer and zero useful bit on it. So I agree with the nuking, wholeheartedly.
The forums are better tools to educate people about problems and answer technical questions anyway.
90% of the answers I've needed were found here.. maybe 5% from Answers and the other 5% elsewhere. Archived, read-only and searchable would be ideal - as others have mentioned, there are some exquisite gems at stake, but who's going to spend the time it would take to curate whatever 100s of thousands of posts there are.. IMHO, if it's lost it's lost, life goes on, and it's a loss we can live with, as anything that only has a solution on Answers at this time will eventually end up being asked about again on this forum (and likely be answered).
The forums are a better tool, but there is a lot of knowledge on Answers that is not on the Forums. Stopping new activity on Answers so that the Forums are used instead is good. Deleting existing knowledge is not.
While Answers might not be the main go to source of knowledge, I've come across some niche, in-depth information that I've only found on Answers and nowhere else. Even if it's just 5%, if some of that is a major blocker, then having that information is still incredibly valuable.
This is a fantastically awful idea, and the fact that the community was not even consulted prior to this decision being made is an indictment on how little respect Unity has for its customers & users.
you don't even know
I agree with so many of the people here.
Some kind of tangible plan should be made first, so the community isn't left with a gaping hole of near-instantaneous knowledge loss.
--- --- ---
Here are some ideas that could help the situation:
1. As most others already said, would keeping the content publicly-accessible but archived/read-only pull too much on your teams' resources?
2. Is there a way you would be able to migrate the data, into the Unity forums, or even into a Unity-oriented StackOverflow site (if that's possible?), or some other format users can still use? Would this help at all?
3. Can you add the ability for the OP (original poster) of a Unity forums thread to highlight their favorite answer in green, like Unity Answers/StackOverflow does?
4. Is there any way our contributions to the Unity docs (leaving written feedback) could be more visible/tracked? I often write there and don't notice much of a difference (or maybe I forget where I left feedback, since it's not tracked as well as, say a bug report, where you have an email conversation / follow-up + case number).
There's often basic usability information missing from the Unity docs that could help commonly-asked questions when using the API for the first time (or getting back into it after a while).
--- --- ---
The problem is that it does produce growth and sales but that's not obvious to everyone. This is a classic example of someone removing a part because they don't understand what it does or don't understand the metric associated with it.
In this instance, someone probably saw that Answers have a high bounce rating and a low participation. They likely interpreted it as a failure while this is the result of an efficient website doing it's job.
What's really concerning is that this is not an isolated incident and I don't think Unity realizes how much this is hurting their business as they don't see the money they indirectly lose. There is no way to measure that but I know it's a thing because I see how these affect my business.
More than once, I've lost credibility or job opportunities because Unity oversold a feature, deprecated one before a replacement was ready or made arbitrary changes that I discovered in front of people, giving them reasons to question my qualifications.
@Unity, you need to understand that we're professionals. We're paying you with the money we're making. Every time you make these poor decisions, we spend less on your services.
Want more $$$ ? It's easy, make the tool we need and we'll be happy to pay for it because we'll make more than we spent. Everybody wins.
Stop poking around like a headless chicken and listen to the people who are literally telling you what they want to pay for.
We had a call with some people from unity regarding other uses of the editor, at some point the onboarding/help came up. During this we discussed how discord is not suited for this kind of broad stuff as with no practical way to search it's bound to have the same questions and answers on repeat. Sad to see discord still seems to be considered a valid way to convey any form of knowledge.
I'm glad you're taking a step back, but share the alarm from others that such a plan was validated with a ridiculously short window for sunsetting (heck I still am wary of removing commented old bits of code even on versioned code for longer than that).
lol i literally just googled 'when will unity answers shut down' out of hope that this was happening. Love you team for reducing the number of knowledge silos <3
Forums are great for discussions, but not really great for Googling an error and wading through umpteen replies.
Q&A style with upvotes is helpful.
There's at least Stack Overflow and Game Dev Stack Exchange...
Unity Answers suffered from horrible formatting:
Can't post proper code blocks
New lines / paragraph breaks are shoddy
Comments are badly formatted
Generally atrocious to read, with poor white spacing; bad interface design
These are things that could've been helped by, you know, engineering Answers' code a bit better? Some slight CSS tweaks? But nah, it's been garbage for years.
Why improve it when you can just kill it off...
I've made an archive of all Unity Answers threads, which is available at https://koobas.hobune.stream/#unityanswers for browsing online and https://archive.org/details/unityanswers for downloading (34GB).
You can visit a specific question by prefixing it with https://koobas.hobune.stream/wayback/0/
For example: https://koobas.hobune.stream/wayback/0/https://answers.unity.com/questions/8715/how-do-i-use-layermasks.html
I guess that's a typo? Seems to be 3.4G
The Internet Archive upload is still in progress, the total file size is indeed around 34GB.
Ohh, ok that's quite a bit. Though I guess it makes sense, especially when pictures are saved as well.
Thank you, that is great, but I do hope Unity Answers is kept online so that the answer still show up in search results. Unity Answers often provides a good answer that isn't available elsewhere, but I probably wouldn't find it if it wasn't in search results.
As previously stated, we have canceled the plan to sunset Unity Answers by June 23 and will keep it operational.
Your feedback made it clear that many of you find Unity Answers helpful. We will continue to work on improving our tools for our community and knowledge-sharing experience and make sure that we preserve and maintain existing relevant knowledge and its discoverability.
We are sorry for the disturbance that our messaging has caused. We will ensure to communicate future plans in this matter well in advance and work closely with the community to validate that we are taking the right steps to strengthen the Unity community experience. Once we have more information to share, we will start a new discussion here in the forum to invite your feedback.
Fantastic, long live UA!
Fortunately, the Unity team made the right decision.
Thank you very much!
Wasn't it the plan you had two years ago? ↓
How long will it take for you to take a decision to "improve your tools for the community and knowledge-sharing experience"? As long it took you to take this decision further to my post? What is your "short" term action plan? Leave Unity Answers as is for the next two years again?
As far as I am aware, this is not the first time UnityTechnology 's communication about their "big plans" leaves a lot to be desired. It's not like the community itself didn't ask you to be consulted. A lot of trust issues against Unity Technologies has been pilling up in the past few years. This case could be the last straw that breaks the camel's back for many of your users.
Unity Answer is my main reference beyond the documentation, I don't use the forum because I find it inconvenient compared to the back and forth questions I find on UA, it's like a backpack that you always carry around and if you need something you can find it immediately over there thanks to the wonderful collaboration of all users who are happy to give you their support by dedicating time and nerves.
I find this a scandal. What is the problem why take these initiatives. For the sake of clarification it is by no means obsolete. I see questions every day that are fully answered. I create questions every day and people answer me in the time it takes but the next day I definitely get an answer at least. The presence of thousands of posts allows new ones to try their hand at finding their own needs and finding them. Please don't touch Unity Answer I stop developing
How on earth was this even a consideration. I'm very thankful it was walked back, and I don't want to seem ungrateful but good lord I'm a bit livid at the sheer concept.
Googleability is legitimately how I solve so many weird Unity errors/programming issues, especially when it feels like as developers in the last 6 years we are being treated as free QA.
Every newbee use Unity Answers when google anything about Unity.
This forum is unreadable when you need to find quick answer.
I mean isn't it obvious at this point that no one at Unity has a vision for anything?
From the asinine community related "decisions" (I mean, what decisions really? In this case, they sat on it for many years and then just went "let's just close it IDK WHATVR"), from every tool / feature stopping evolving just as it hits proof of concept stage "It sorta kinda works sometimes, for some cases, JOB COMPLETE EVERYONE!".
It is clear to me Unity is ran by a bunch of headless chickens.
Which is why, even if DOTS is amazing (and somehow I doubt it) and solves all the CPU problems, we will still have a piece of software that is horrible to use, with terrible tools, and terrible features, just with less CPU usage now.
I've lost count of how many times I've heard Unity people say they'll work more closely, communicate better, work better, etc etc. I hope Unity Technologies' internal culture & management processes can be fixed before I end up jumping ship.
There was a post a year or so back when a moderator quit on Unity answers because of how frustrating it was to use. Cue the same lines from Unity staffers about keeping in touch with the community. This lead to silence, which lead to this debacle. Groundhog day.
Please. Do something to give us faith in the company our businesses depend on.
Why not make Unity Answsers better and usable. Just like Stack Overflow. Or maybe... why not just start using the Unity Stack Exchange directly? (an idea)
- Needs moderation <--
- Needs clean up of dirty or notified messages that add nothing (negative votes) or wrong solutions
- Make sure the solution is marked as solved <--
- Merge repeated questions
- Be able to format the posts. (Better text editor). Format is VERY ugly.
Moderation can directly be the users. That's why I say maybe to push Stack Exchange which is more standard and has all those things already implemented.
Those changes and I'm happy with it. An up to date answer / solution place. Forum is slow, for bigger discussions. It's the old style.
You may not remember, but Unity Answers originally used the StackExchange engine. However due to licencing issues it was not possible anymore so they switched to qato over 10 years ago. I think the hoster has changed a couple of times, but I don't know for sure.
Am I really the only one whose google lands at least in 70% of the questions here in the forum or on stack overflow and at most 30% on QnA?
Remember google prioritizes the sites you have clicked before! If you are a user of QnA, you'll be redirected there more often.
Would personally prefer if this forum would get the option to post question in QnA style and then have UI to vote and sort by votes on answers. I know a hardware forum that solved a similar problem (having two places to ask and share knowledge) that way.
Then the original QnA can be sunsetted in peace.
I definitely do. The fact you say this means you don't know how to research your problem correctly. Maybe you just aren't a problem solver.
Sure there are a lot of sites that are equal to or better than answers for unity, but answers holds a major amount of solved question that a lot of people refer to... If it was gone there would be a flood of question that were answered years ago... it would be both taxing for the website and the person because they again have to wait for an answer