Suggestion Platform - How to gain attention to a suggestion?

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  • Hello!

    My apologies if this is a wasted read, as I am unsure about the internal process of the Suggestions platform (Maybe you guys already have a system in place for when and how often to check out the suggestions platform).

    I popped up a suggestion about the Event Sheet View a couple of weeks ago.

    My suggestion, in my opinion, may not be the most overwhelmingly huge feature to add ([*]PLEASE SEE NOTE), but I think it could be very useful for all users when using the Event Sheet View, beginners or advanced users. However, the suggestion only gained a small bit of attention, and may end up buried within a few more weeks. In the few weeks since posting, I find that I wish I had this suggestion implemented on a few occassions, but there's not much else I can do to attract attention to see if it can ever be added. I wonder if this is the case for other suggestions too.

    [*] Note: I completely respect and understand that you are a small team, and that I do not know how C3 is programmed, therefore I could be very wrong about how easy a suggestion is to add. I understand suggestions may or may not be added, I would imagine it is depending on how long it would take to develop, how useful for general users, if it's even feasible for C3 to include, etc.

    I remember years back before I subscribed to C3, the features suggestion platform was added, which was a great idea! But I understand that the current system is possibly biased towards older suggestions that have amassed votes from users over the years, so maybe this has an effect now due to a few years passing? (The "biased" bit being mentioned here, just to clarify).

    One reason why I think the smaller quality-of-life suggestions can end up buried: Voters may not want to spend their votes on small suggestions as they may see more benefit in casting their votes to those larger "Unable to do this in C3 unless you use a third-party plugin" or "impossible to do unless Scirra develops this" type of suggestions.

    Another reason smaller suggestions could end up buried: I imagine most visitors on the Suggestion platform would come across suggestions to vote on by using Trending, Recent, and Popular; I wouldn't have thought that many users would browse each sub-category too often, especially with high number of suggestions such as the Event Sheet View sub-category. Don't get me wrong though, it's great it is categorised like this! And without sub-categories, it would be worse off as everything would be in one big list.

    I was wondering, would there be any way to gain further attention to a suggestion? Maybe a sort of curation system to lessen the burden for Scirra to have to cycle through every suggestion?

    I have no idea how as I've never handled a suggestions plaform before, but I'm thinking when creating suggestions:

    Users could vote out of 5 on some questions such as "Would this be useful for beginners" (1 being no, 5 being definitely useful for beginners), and "Does this seem like a substantial change to C3?" (1 being a seemingly small change to C3, 5 being a massive project in itself to implement).

    (With the above, perhaps not all users, maybe only a hand-picked few users such as forum mods? Or all users with a subscription to C3? And to clarify: this would only be the users opinions; where we would rely on the more technically-minded people that may have a reasonable guess as to whether it would be a tricky feature to implement into Construct 3 or not.)

    With a system like this, perhaps smaller easier-to-implement suggestions, yet beneficial to a lot of users, could end up being seen by the programmers at Scirra, and have more of a chance to end up in the beta's of Construct 3 maybe, which would benefit a lot of users, beginners and advanced users alike.

    If not, is there any other way we could gain more attention to a suggestion? (Without just posting on the General Discussion here on the Forum, otherwise everyone would do this and cause pollution to General Discussion!)

    I will continue to post suggestions, as small as they may be, when I find they could be utilised on multiple occasions for myself, but it would be nice to know that after posting a (hopefully easy-to-implement) suggestion, that it may have a chance to be seen and acknowledged.

    Many thanks for reading!

  • It's difficult to manage the suggestions platform - I estimate there's already about 10 years of work on there and people are still adding more regularly. As a small team with limited resources, even administrating it could be a huge amount of work. For example even just commenting on every suggestion would be a massive job and probably take a week or two at the expense of everything else we have to do, especially since in many cases even a brief comment covering the feasibility could involve reviewing lots of source code, architecture, and thinking about how it could fit in with existing systems. Similarly adjusting the processes could be tricky, and we also have to work within the confines of what Aha's system supports. I think picking a subset of users to review or curate suggestions could also prove unpopular as it essentially creates an elite few who get more control over the product, which kind of defeats the purpose of the system as trying to identify what most people want. There's also occasional cases of ballot-stuffing too so I'm pretty sure whatever we set up, people will try to game it.

    It would indeed work a lot better if people shift most of their votes to small/quick/easy things, which ideally would get done quickly, and allow the votes to be shifted to the next easiest thing. I have suggested people do that several times, but naturally a lot of votes go for big and potentially exciting projects, which are the very hardest and most time consuming to do.

    I'm not sure there's any good answers here. Periodically we take a look and do anything that looks particularly quick and easy. However given our limited resources and the amount of time that we have to spend on things like support, reviewing bug reports, maintenance, administration and so on, we don't have a huge amount of time to spend on new stuff to begin with. And every new feature, even small ones, tend to require several weeks to go through implementation, adjustments and bug fixes through a few beta releases, and then long-term on-going maintenance as the long tail of bug reports rolls in, and even later down the line when rewriting or upgrading existing code.

  • I see that several ideas get buried, including some with a good amount of votes and more than a year of creation that don't even get a status. I know that Scirra resources are limited, but giving at least a status for every idea would avoid the impression that the idea has been ignored.

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  • As I mentioned, that would potentially be a very large amount of work, and we just can't afford the time to do loads of administration on this.

  • It would indeed work a lot better if people shift most of their votes to small/quick/easy things

    Many ideas with a large number of votes were posted a long time ago and may not be relevant any more. And most of the people who voted for them will never return there to change their votes.

    So while this voting system was working fine at the beginning, it's definitely not working now. Maybe you should reset all votes. Let people to decide and choose which of 700+ ideas they want to see implemented.

  • I'd point out on the upside, we have shipped over 160 ideas so far, including many highly voted ones. Many of these ideas were indeed valuable and the suggestion platform probably did a lot to help bring them to our attention. But to give you an idea of the amount of work involved, that's 160 or so ideas over about 3 years since the suggestion platform was set up. There's over 700 more ideas on there. That's probably another ~5 years to cover, during which time we could easily have another 1000 ideas filed. And the ones we've covered already are probably focused on the small/quick/easy ones, and there are many remaining suggestions that look like at least they need a dedicated 6 month project to get them done, with major implications for on-going maintenance too. So we'd only need to pick 10 or so of those and it's another 5 year's work.

  • Many thanks for the replies Ashley, I really appreciate the work that has gone into implementing so many suggestions.

    I'm more and more active on C3 as of recently subscribing and I have questions that might turn into suggestions (Similar to my post today about debugger), but they're so trivial. It's making me unsure whether to post on Suggestions or ask on the forum. I have 2 more suggestions, one about bookmarks and one about the search, hopefully small but really would make my C3 experience even better.

    I really want to be part of making C3 grow, as I had done with C2 in the past (I remember making passing comments on the forum and you had added them in so quick; perhaps I'm spoilt! But I do understand Scirra has grown substantially).

    I've thought of an idea for suggestion platform:

    What about adding a new category called "Minor Adjustments"?

    This would be a category where people can post what they personally feel is a minor 5 to 10 minute "change" or "fix".

    With the above category existing, maybe someone at Scirra could spend a short amount of time to check out a couple of "Minor Adjustment" suggestions and mark their status. (Even if it's only 5 mins, but more regularly, maybe weekly, or more if it's doable. I mean no disrespect in suggesting how you use your time.)

    The idea being that you could be very strict with rejecting suggestions in this category. If users are posting very huge requests, or if users post something that genuinely seems trivial, but Scirra reads the suggestion and knows it will be a huge amount of work, then this can be rejected too.

    The user can then add their suggestion again in a different category as they now know it is more of a bigger request than they thought, and if they amass many votes, then Scirra will know it is a popular request.

    The benefits

    • A higher rate of acknowledging suggestions may make users more encouraged to suggest more (Makes us happy too!).
    • Very frequent users of C3 will have a great understanding of minor annoyances as they develop their projects, therefore they may suggest very useful ideas that others or even Scirra may not have thought of.
    • Encourages people that wouldn't have otherwise posted their suggestion, due to thinking it would be a waste of time and won't be seen
    • Less posts may appear on the General Discussion forum for those tiny passing suggestions.
    • Will not spend too much of Scirra's time due to strict process of rejection.
    • Many little changes really do add up.

    Hopefully this is a usable idea.

    Many thanks for reading!

  • Jase00 Good idea! Minor adjustments like this one I posted yesterday are rarely getting more than a few votes. It would really help if there was a special category for them.

  • I think a "minor suggestions" category might help, so I created it.

    I do think there could still be some problems though:

    - not everyone can estimate how easy their idea really is, e.g. "just add a checkbox that says 'Enable 3D'. It's just a checkbox!"

    - some people may firmly believe their idea is really easy and get offended if a developer disagrees

    - it can actually be quite a lot of code review work to identify if something really can be done easily

    - sometimes it's not until you actually develop something that you realise it's tougher than you thought - you might end up having to restructure things to do it, and the restructuring might end up breaking or affecting something else, causing the job to rapidly escalate. So even our own estimations can be off.

    Still, let's see how it works out. Hopefully people are generally OK with ideas they thought were minor being moved to another category if it's discovered they are in fact more complicated.

  • Ashley Thank you! Will you review and implement easy ideas from this category regardless of how few votes they have? (If you think the idea is useful of course)

  • I think you should aim to ship 1 new plugin or behaviour with each stable release.

    It would be a good way to add new features to c3.

    We tend to just get editor updates, and i think javascript was actually a bad thing to add as it seems to take up more of your very limited time and not that many users seem to use it.

    Just my perspective.

  • Oh, amazing! Much appreciated, Ashley . Very motivating! I don't expect myself to always correctly estimate the workload behind a suggestion, but it'll educate me too if you do reject/move the suggestion. Lets see how this goes!

    dop2000 Thanks! I'm glad there's someone else that feels similarly!

    mOOnpunk, perhaps it depends on each individuals usage of C3.

    Personally for me, I like seeing editor improvements (especially for the Event Sheet View) and performance improvements.

    Plugins can be very case-by-case for me, like if a Facebook plugin was focused on for a stable build, this would probably never be used by myself as I simply don't care for FB games, but then for someone else using C3, it may be their main focus! But there will be times where I'd require something that is simply not possible unless a new plugin is made.

    With Javascript scripting: This feature is something you'd definitely want! Without scripting, we rely on Scirra (and third-party plugins) to fulfil requests, which may not be top priority with the many other requests. For third-party plugin creators, this could take a lot of time to create for them, rather than simply suggesting "Hey just paste this javascript code into your events and voila, done".

    But now, having scripting, some requests may arrive quicker if someone with Javascript knowledge sees your request.

    Also, if for whatever reason you have a request but it's too niche, you now have the ability to use Javascript yourself (teach yourself, or googling the thing you would like in Javascript). This gives us the option to try at least!

  • Those are some good points but generally for me if i was going to take the time to learn to script then i probably wouldn't be using construct, i'd just use something else, there are better engines designed for scripting like godot, unity etc. Constructs whole thing is the event system, the more they move away from it the less time they have to spend on it. Now every time they add a new feature they also have to make it work with the javascript editor.

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