A Small Clarification

I would like to issue a small clarification regarding my article titled “Some Constructive Criticism“. Some reader’s seem to be getting the idea that I am asking Autodesk to provide free support at their discussion groups. That is not what I had in mind.

Autodesk sells support, so you cannot possibly expect it to offer free support on their discussion groups. Thats their business model and they are entitled to it. I was referring to questions like “Will AutoCAD be available for the Mac?”, something general and which does not warrant the purchase of a support subscription. I say this because Autodesk alone can answer these questions, not users. Since Autodesk does not bother to respond, users pitch in with their theories, which more than often leads to Autodesk bashing. If you follow these newsgroups, you will notice that there are certain individuals who take part in these discussions with the sole intention to crucify Autodesk.

What is the point in spending large sums of money on large PR campaigns when you allow people to spread wrong information about your company on your own web site?

By the way, nobody from Autodesk has responded to the question yet. It’s about 10 days old now, so I guess this goes into the pile of unanswered questions.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve always wondered this also. Why not hire a handful of people to monitor and answer simple questions.

    Some of the ng’s are monitored by Autodesk employees, why not all of them?

  • Anonymous

    I’ve always wondered this also. Why not hire a handful of people to monitor and answer simple questions. Some of the ng’s are monitored by Autodesk employees, why not all of them?

  • Melanie (Stone) Perry

    I had guessed what you were implying in the previous post and understand you wanting to clarify, but, where do you draw the line… you say you’re not suggesting that Autodesk provide support, but, you’re saying that Autodesk should answer questions that come up in a support forum?

    So, should people be hired to answer questions about interoperability but not licensing or command issues? I don’t think there’s a practical way to differentiate between what *should* be answered and what shouldn’t because you can get the support elsewhere through official channels.

    I would expect to find that sort of answer in the Autodesk knowledgebase, not on a peer to peer forum.

  • Melanie (Stone) Perry

    I had guessed what you were implying in the previous post and understand you wanting to clarify, but, where do you draw the line… you say you’re not suggesting that Autodesk provide support, but, you’re saying that Autodesk should answer questions that come up in a support forum?So, should people be hired to answer questions about interoperability but not licensing or command issues? I don’t think there’s a practical way to differentiate between what *should* be answered and what shouldn’t because you can get the support elsewhere through official channels.I would expect to find that sort of answer in the Autodesk knowledgebase, not on a peer to peer forum.

  • Deelip Menezes

    Melanie, I thought I was quite clear when I said that Autodesk should respond to only general policy questions because such questions can only be answered by Autodesk, not other people.

    I am not suggesting that Autodesk should employ any one for this job. This is how I would do it. The discussion groups are already monitored by moderators who read each and every post for spam. Whenever such a question pops up the moderator can forward it to a designated person in Autodesk PR for a comment. This person can then directly reply to the newsgroup. Sweet and simple.

    Moreover, if an question is repeated at a later date, the moderator already knows how to reply and need not contact PR.

    By the way, good old Scott Sheppard finally got fed up with my bickering and replied to the post.

  • Deelip Menezes

    Melanie, I thought I was quite clear when I said that Autodesk should respond to only general policy questions because such questions can only be answered by Autodesk, not other people.I am not suggesting that Autodesk should employ any one for this job. This is how I would do it. The discussion groups are already monitored by moderators who read each and every post for spam. Whenever such a question pops up the moderator can forward it to a designated person in Autodesk PR for a comment. This person can then directly reply to the newsgroup. Sweet and simple.Moreover, if an question is repeated at a later date, the moderator already knows how to reply and need not contact PR.By the way, good old Scott Sheppard finally got fed up with my bickering and replied to the post.

  • Melanie (Stone) Perry

    Deelip… fair enough… you think ‘policy’ questions would be answered. What constitues ‘policy’ to you might not to someone else though. Licensing issues could be autodesk’s policy or they could be network or cad management problems. Interoperability could be policy, or it could be services pack/OS/driver, etc problems.
    I don’t think it would be practical to differentiate and offer special consideration for certain types of questions on a peer to peer forum.

    So, the answer to THAT particular questions… http://discussion.autodesk.com/thread.jspa?messageID=5467676
    When will Autodesk release a AutoCAD version that will run on Mac? Just asking’ could either be, ‘never and here’s why…’ so you’d be expecting autodesk to explain their business thinking to someone who doesn’t do marketing or technology investment and development themselves and probably won’t understand and might argue with them about it or they could answer ‘sometime in the future’ which would be giving away their technology plan for the world (including their competitors) to read… why would they reveal future plans to someone who isn’t under NDA? why should we expect them to?

    The moderator’s read each and every post? Wow. I don’t envy that job. So, one person would read every post, report to PR and keep a log of all of their answers to reply back with the next time the answer comes up… well, I guess they’d need a central repository because one person could read and remember every single post… so, the moderator would read a question that might relate to policy, search the ‘answered by pr’ log and proceed from there. ~shrug~ it sounds like a lot of work for a peer to peer resource that autodesk makes no money from, is all I’m saying.

    I’m not saying that people aren’t curious about future plans. I am still continuing to say, though, that this constructive criticism isn’t as straightforward as your posts make it out to be.

    And, to your reply in that thread… there are plenty at Autodesk like Scott… but, I doubt their paid to sit around on peer to peer newsgroups all day, they answer what they can but can’t spoonfeed every person who logs on there.

  • Melanie (Stone) Perry

    Deelip… fair enough… you think ‘policy’ questions would be answered. What constitues ‘policy’ to you might not to someone else though. Licensing issues could be autodesk’s policy or they could be network or cad management problems. Interoperability could be policy, or it could be services pack/OS/driver, etc problems.I don’t think it would be practical to differentiate and offer special consideration for certain types of questions on a peer to peer forum.So, the answer to THAT particular questions… http://discussion.autodesk.com/thread.jspa?messageID=5467676When will Autodesk release a AutoCAD version that will run on Mac? Just asking’ could either be, ‘never and here’s why…’ so you’d be expecting autodesk to explain their business thinking to someone who doesn’t do marketing or technology investment and development themselves and probably won’t understand and might argue with them about it or they could answer ‘sometime in the future’ which would be giving away their technology plan for the world (including their competitors) to read… why would they reveal future plans to someone who isn’t under NDA? why should we expect them to?The moderator’s read each and every post? Wow. I don’t envy that job. So, one person would read every post, report to PR and keep a log of all of their answers to reply back with the next time the answer comes up… well, I guess they’d need a central repository because one person could read and remember every single post… so, the moderator would read a question that might relate to policy, search the ‘answered by pr’ log and proceed from there. ~shrug~ it sounds like a lot of work for a peer to peer resource that autodesk makes no money from, is all I’m saying.I’m not saying that people aren’t curious about future plans. I am still continuing to say, though, that this constructive criticism isn’t as straightforward as your posts make it out to be. And, to your reply in that thread… there are plenty at Autodesk like Scott… but, I doubt their paid to sit around on peer to peer newsgroups all day, they answer what they can but can’t spoonfeed every person who logs on there.

  • Deelip Menezes

    Melanie, you have made a good point, in fact, several of them. Actually I didn’t want to compare vendors, but anyways, here goes. I keep a watch on the Rhino newsgroups as well. I am amazed to see the level of interest that McNeel has in their newsgroups. McNeel employees are so active that users address them by their names and direct specific questions to them. It’s a great community.

    I am sure Autodesk has far more resources than McNeel, but McNeel understands the importance of giving users right information. It’s not that McNeel discloses their business plans to the public in these newgroups. In fact, people were literally yelling for the release date for Rhino 4.0. All McNeel employees replied was “soon”.

    I can guarantee that if someone posts a incorrect comment regarding McNeel or its products on their newgroups, a McNeel employee (if not Bob McNeel himself) will be the first to post a reply to clarify things.

    I guess, finally it boils down to how a company treats its users.

  • Deelip Menezes

    Melanie, you have made a good point, in fact, several of them. Actually I didn’t want to compare vendors, but anyways, here goes. I keep a watch on the Rhino newsgroups as well. I am amazed to see the level of interest that McNeel has in their newsgroups. McNeel employees are so active that users address them by their names and direct specific questions to them. It’s a great community.I am sure Autodesk has far more resources than McNeel, but McNeel understands the importance of giving users right information. It’s not that McNeel discloses their business plans to the public in these newgroups. In fact, people were literally yelling for the release date for Rhino 4.0. All McNeel employees replied was “soon”.I can guarantee that if someone posts a incorrect comment regarding McNeel or its products on their newgroups, a McNeel employee (if not Bob McNeel himself) will be the first to post a reply to clarify things.I guess, finally it boils down to how a company treats its users.

  • Melanie (Stone) Perry

    Deelip, Thank you.

    Sounds like a somewhat different type of community over there, and a nice to be a part of.

    I understand from where your comment stems. I can only say for me, as an end-user, I see it as more of a practicality issue than a care/treatment issue… but! I do have to acknowledge that not every user is aware of every avenue open to them.

    😉 slightly off-topic… as a person who moderates forums, I wish everyone would realize their first, and usually best, avenue is the ‘search’ tool.

    Cheers!

  • Melanie (Stone) Perry

    Deelip, Thank you.

    Sounds like a somewhat different type of community over there, and a nice to be a part of.

    I understand from where your comment stems. I can only say for me, as an end-user, I see it as more of a practicality issue than a care/treatment issue… but! I do have to acknowledge that not every user is aware of every avenue open to them.

    😉 slightly off-topic… as a person who moderates forums, I wish everyone would realize their first, and usually best, avenue is the 'search' tool.

    Cheers!