Issues with the suggestions website

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  • I think the discussion is starting to go in circles. For example people are asking again why we can't comment on every suggestion - I've already explained how much work that is and how often we're simply wrong about our guesses.

    If everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. So I don't think unlimited votes is a good idea, since you don't actually have to choose what's most important to you, you can just throw votes to everything that might be even slightly useful. I know it might feel like an impossible choice, but I want to make people choose their top requests, so we really focus on what is the absolutely most wanted things. Remember that the votes will be accumulated across hundreds or thousands of users, so one person's votes probably aren't going to influence a decision alone anyway. It's also a measure to prevent inundating us with work. If you can only submit at most 10 ideas, then you can't post a mountain of work that's impossible for us to do.

    We'll have a clear notice on the suggestion tracker in the couple of weeks before the reset so everyone knows it's coming. If an idea is lost or submitted late or not voted on much, there's always the next phase.

    I'm sceptical about stating a specific vote count at which we guarantee a response. Ballot stuffing already happens to some extent on the voting platform, and I think if we said "we will respond to all suggestions with 20 votes", people will regularly ballot-stuff their ideas to force us to respond. I think a better way would be to say we will try to respond to the top 20 ideas or so. Although as I've said before, it's very hard to give a better response than "maybe easy" or "maybe hard".

    I believe "Minor suggestions" category was misunderstood from the start. It's not about ideas which are easy for you to implement (we can't possibly know that), it should be for ideas which are minor for us.

    Users don't know what will be quick to do. What I've kept saying in this thread, is neither do we, even though we're experienced programmers looking at our own codebase. Since nobody can tell in advance whether something will take 15 minutes, or descend in to a weeks-long nightmare of breakage and problems, then I don't think it's worth pretending that we know what is or isn't a major or minor idea.

    I almost regret starting this thread. If as a result of it you cut the votes limit from 25 to 10 and remove "minor suggestions", this will be a huge step back to what we had 3-4 years ago.

    Please try to see things from our point of view. Sitting here, the problem is that people have absolutely inundated us with an impossible mountain of work. If we are to prevent that happening again, we need some kind of restrictions or limitations. If we don't have any such restrictions, I would fully expect things to end in exactly the same way - with an impossible mountain of work.

  • Ashley

    If everything is a priority, nothing is a priority.

    And I keep telling you that with the unlimited number of votes you will still be able to see priority ideas. The ones that receive more votes are priority, it's that simple! It shouldn't matter to you if the top post has 20 votes or 20000 votes, if it's on top. But it matters to us! And it gives smaller ideas a chance to get some votes.

    Users don't know what will be quick to do.

    I am not talking about the ease of implementation. I mean that "minor suggestions" category should be for small things that make our experience with C3 easier. Like a small improvement to the animation editor, a new keyboard shortcut, a new expression. Then it's up to you to decide if this suggestion will be easy to implement. If it requires more than several hours of work - just decline it.

    .

    What do you think about this system? - for 1-2 months people can post ideas but voting is disabled. After 2 months you quickly review the ideas (maybe just the titles) to discard those that already exist or not possible. Then you open voting for one week.

    Then you review most upvoted ideas from each category. A few from Editor, a few from Runtime, a few from Scripting, a few from Minor Suggestions etc. This way the voting will be more fair, and we'll get a diversity of ideas.

  • It shouldn't matter to you if the top post has 20 votes or 20000 votes, if it's on top. But it matters to us!

    I think it's better to force people to choose. It gives us a smaller set of things to focus on, which is what we need to do to prevent the problem of being inundated with suggestions.

    I mean that "minor suggestions" category should be for small things that make our experience with C3 easier.

    I don't know what you expected, but in my mind the category was originally created for things that were meant to be quick for us to implement. But as I said, this is not really possible to tell in practice.

    After 2 months you quickly review the ideas (maybe just the titles) to discard those that already exist or not possible. Then you open voting for one week.

    I think we're going in circles again... reviewing a whole set of ideas is a lot of admin work, and we often can't actually usefully comment on them without at least partially implementing them. This kind of thing significantly increases the workload on us, and the goal here is to reduce the workload on us. So I'd rather come up with a system that we weren't required to comment on everything. Maybe just the top few ideas or something.

    I'm not sure a limited voting period is that useful either - I suspect lots of users come and go, and having just say one or two weeks to accept votes means a lot of passer-by type users won't be counted. I'd rather leave the voting open for the whole period, so people have plenty of time to consider their choices and make votes when it suits them.

  • I think we're going in circles again... reviewing a whole set of ideas is a lot of admin work

    I meant really quickly browse through the titles and mark suggestions which already exist, this should take like 5 minutes. But ok, forget about the initial review.

    I'm not sure a limited voting period is that useful either - I suspect lots of users come and go, and having just say one or two weeks to accept votes means a lot of passer-by type users won't be counted.

    With limited amount of votes people will run out of votes long before the end of the period! Ideas posted in the first week will receive tons of votes, ideas posted in the last week will receive none. A limited voting period will ensure that all ideas receive equal attention.

    And what do you think about picking N top ideas from each category??

  • There was a suggestion for a suggestions sub Reddit. I think that's brilliant.

    It should be made no matter what decisions are made about the suggestions site.

    It would more than likely get better discussions about ideas due to the nature of Reddit.

  • Ashley

    I think we're going in circles again...

    The main issue with Construct is, that there are:

    - No News

    - No Roadmap

    - Not a single glimpse into the future

    We only have changelogs to the latest patches, and that's it.

    But other than that, the entire community keeps on waiting for their own miracle, simply because there's no official information on anything future-related.

    The suggestion page is the closest the community ever got to future considerations.

    But we don't get any feedback there either.

    As such, your community is frustrated.

    Which is most likely an understatement.

    If so many people tell you something is wrong. Maybe consider it against your own will. That would be great for a change. I can only shake my head when i read your answers.

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  • So... Potentially a Trello from the dev side for a roadmap, and a subreddit for the community side for suggestions.

    The reddit can be set up by anyone, so if anyone is inclined to take the effort to do so it can be done. There will be similar problems though, as it won't be reasonable for the devs to be able to respond or address every suggestion, popularity doesn't garuntee feasibility, and duplicates dilute popularity because people can't be bothered to search, while further dilution happens because everyone has their own image of how a bigger idea can be implemented. Reddit is great for discussion... But so are these forums.

    I'm curious though. Where does the sense of entitlement that every suggestion should get a reply or feedback come from? Scirra has the most direct interaction and responsiveness between devs and community that I've literally ever experienced from any company, big or small. Does the expectation stem from the fact that Ashley communicates directly with the community at all? Usually quite verbosely for that matter.

  • Where does the sense of entitlement that every suggestion should get a reply or feedback come from?

    Seems like common courtesy. They did make the suggestions site after all.

    That being said a simple yes, or no thanks will do.

  • I think reddit or Trello will meet the same fate of being inundated with an impossible amount of work, if there's no limit on the number of suggestions you can post. To avoid the same fate there has to be some kind of restriction on how many posts people can make or how long they remain for.

    We don't really do any formal long-term planning ourselves, so I don't want to share a roadmap that either doesn't specify anything in particular, or commit to ideas that we later delay or cancel and then have to deal with all the backlash from users who were expecting it. As it is we have a lot of flexibility which is good for us as a team, especially since we can easily respond to changing circumstances, and it avoids risking broken promises to our community.

    I just went through a bunch of suggestions on the existing platform. I really struggle to know what to respond to some suggestions. A lot fall in to a kind of "I guess we could do that, I don't really know how hard it'd really be, and there's a lot of other ideas with a similar number of votes and I'm not sure what the rationale for picking this over all the others would be". I don't think it would be useful to say that. A lot of responses are also not simply a statement but a question clarifying some aspect or asking for more details, and often become fairly long and involved discussions with complicated trade-offs that need careful consideration. It also took ages and I got through only a fraction of the total number of ideas on there, and I'd need to repeat much of that, going over the same ideas, to examine answers to questions and continue discussions. I really think we should make it clear that we can't be expected to provide a response to every idea. I think we have to let the votes speak for themselves and leave the responsibility of making clear and detailed proposals up to the user who submits it. All too often it takes a lot of questioning and clarification to be able to conclude anything.

    Also I wish there was some way we could encourage people to vote on small and quick ideas first, since it would be much easier to get those done and more rewarding for people to see their votes turn in to action. But as I said, it's hard for anyone to know what the easy ideas really are, and I suspect most votes are going in to the major features anyway - I guess they're more exciting.

  • Seems like common courtesy. They did make the suggestions site after all.

    I mean... that's the kind of thing that would make me regret putting up a suggestions site in the first place as a developer. I stand by my stance that this level of community interaction is rather uncommon, rare even, though of course each person's own experiences may perhaps differ elsewhere.

    Seems to me they made the suggestions site because did care about the community suggestions, so that suggestions wouldn't be lost in the forums. Not to mention the amount of suggestions actually implemented from the suggestion site. The unfortunate result of showing that they care, and having had some history of responses, seems to have resulted in these expectations.

    If I had to make a comparison, would you expect a restaurant to send you a reply when you drop off a suggestion in the suggestion box? Microsoft, Google, or EA? The government? These entities have way more personnel and resources at their disposal. Maybe they would give you a canned response back, since they might have a dedicated PR or CM or other marketing person to return a pleasant non-answer.

    Anyways, looks like this thread did result in action being taken regarding responses at the suggestions site so there's that. Someone should try setting up a suggestions subreddit. I suspect it won't gain enough traction to be superior than the current system though.

    My 2c regarding the vote count - the whole point is to have users curate their own priorities, because the devs do not have the means to. If you've got 35 ideas and 25 votes, yes you have to remove votes from some of your own ideas, since the devs would never get around to 25 ideas from each idea filled person, much less 35. So the voting system supposedly encourages users to determine what is most important to them. If anything maybe it would be nice to add a some sort of policy where they reply to any idea with over a certain amount of votes, say 100. But the most likely response still isn't yes or no, it would be "Possibly, at an undetermined time in the future, should resources permit." Which is basically what the default response to every unanswered suggestion is anyway, and "Yes" wouldn't be an answer until it was ready to be pushed to beta anyway. Especially for big ideas like the scene graph that might take months of development. I would never say I'm working on it even if I decided to START working on it, because I don't know if I'd finish or how long it might take. Having an automated canned response of "Maybe" would likely do little to resolve the current frustration though.

    They definitely used to read every suggestion on that site at least, regardless of response. I know some ideas with just a single person's votes had been implanted. There's probably fatigue over time with low quality suggestions, repeats, and sheer volume though, so eventually it would be taken less and less seriously or lower priority. That's why the occasional reset might not be such a bad idea after all, maybe annually with the top (5? 10? How many are reasonably expected to get implemented in a year?) ideas archived or carried over. Or maybe an idea expiration system, that culls ideas with less than x votes after y amount of time, but I doubt the platform supports that.

  • If everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. So I don't think unlimited votes is a good idea, since you don't actually have to choose what's most important to you, you can just throw votes to everything that might be even slightly useful. I know it might feel like an impossible choice, but I want to make people choose their top requests, so we really focus on what is the absolutely most wanted things. Remember that the votes will be accumulated across hundreds or thousands of users, so one person's votes probably aren't going to influence a decision alone anyway. It's also a measure to prevent inundating us with work. If you can only submit at most 10 ideas, then you can't post a mountain of work that's impossible for us to do.

    Seems like there is a bit of conflation here between limiting the number of ideas that can be created and the number of ideas that can be voted on. Right now it's possible to create ideas and reduce the number of votes on it to zero, which I have done because I'm already out of votes, so I've been confused as to why you seemed to be arguing that limiting votes would somehow limit the number of ideas. Now it makes more sense. I actually don't object much to limiting the number of ideas that each user can create in a six month span, if that's what it takes to keep the volume of ideas manageable.

    That said, I can't see why it would be bad to let everyone cast a single vote towards every idea they like. To your point, we're talking about the weighting generated by hundreds or thousands of users. No one goes through reddit upvoting every single comment, even though they do have that power. In practice, people mostly just vote for the things they find most compelling, and the system works. There is no need to limit the number of votes because the users self-moderate. By limiting the number of votes, you're limiting the ability to determine what the group finds consensus on and making the platform more frustrating to use, which also suppresses engagement (speaking from my own experience, at least.) I agree with the common view that one's personal "pet" ideas consume their votes and therefore their ability to express positive opinions about other, equally useful ideas, and because of that we're likely missing out on points of consensus.

  • So a reddit type voting system would be only up to one vote per suggestion, but unlimited suggestions. Would definitely need to be combined with a way to cull low quality/popularity suggestions. It's easy for anyone to make hundreds of suggestions, but no one really wants to read and respond to all of them, much less actually implement or try to convince or explain why it isn't feasible (which doesn't necessarily have a straight answer to begin with).

    The main disadvantage of that would be that small, easy to implement features (the ones most are actually likely to be implemented within a short timeframe) would often get lost if they are not of universal interest. And then the response to big huge features, most likely to be the most popular and usually not well definitely in scope, would simply be that they don't have enough time or resources to implement it in the near future. Those ideas would just sit on the back burner and lead to more potential frustration.

    Then there is the problem of gaming the system with multiple accounts or bots, which I like to believe isn't actually a problem... But then things like spam still happen on even these forums which is kinda mind boggling to me.

  • So a reddit type voting system would be only up to one vote per suggestion, but unlimited suggestions. Would definitely need to be combined with a way to cull low quality/popularity suggestions.

    Right, I don't think literally using reddit would work. But limiting the number of suggestions per user (while allowing one vote per issue per user, ideally) and using popularity as the culling metric seems like it would. Obviously there would necessarily be subjective culling by Scirra's team as well - a wildly popular but impossible to implement idea would still have to be considered "low quality" and rejected at the end of the cycle. But yeah, if sheer volume of ideas is the issue that's preventing the platform from being useful to anyone, forcing users to be more picky about what they suggest seems like a reasonable thing to try. 10 ideas per user might even be too many, but I don't know what the rate for new idea creation actually is over a six month period.

  • > Seems like common courtesy. They did make the suggestions site after all.

    I mean... that's the kind of thing that would make me regret putting up a suggestions site in the first place as a developer. I stand by my stance that this level of community interaction is rather uncommon, rare even, though of course each person's own experiences may perhaps differ elsewhere.

    Totally agree. It's clear they care what the users think and have made strong efforts to engage with us. We aren't being blown off just because they don't reply to every single idea we put on the platform. They obviously want to get a system in place that makes the users feel involved and contribute without overwhelming themselves. It's just a difficult challenge.

    I've worked on a similarly small team that needed to develop software while constantly fielding user feedback, and responding to users while developing a product is an incredible amount of work even when dealing with trivial issues (and we were making simple mobile games, not a game engine and toolset).

  • Also I wish there was some way we could encourage people to vote on small and quick ideas first, since it would be much easier to get those done and more rewarding for people to see their votes turn in to action.

    Yes!!! It's exactly what I have been trying to tell in all my previous comments! As someone who works 8+ hours in C3 every day, I'm all for small improvements that will make my life easier. People will see more ideas implemented, everyone will be happy! I'll reiterate:

    • Keep the "Minor suggestions" category, or create a similar one.
    • Give people more votes so that they have spare votes for minor suggestions, not just for "big and flashy" ideas. (Or, if the platform allows this, allocate certain number of votes for each category)
    • Periodically review N top suggestions from this category, pick among them the ones you definitely know are easy and implement them. If any suggestion appears to be not so minor, you can always move it to another category and let people decide with votes if they want it or not.
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