What it takes to move forward

I have spent the last couple of days reflecting on the results of the “referendum”.

A majority of our members have expressed their interest to continue to participate in this space. 18 voters have expressed their willingness to contribute, in average $ 5,67, to the operating fees.
14 voters have expressed they would need this pilot project run for at least 2 months (6 votes), 3 or 6 months (8 votes) to get a clear sense of what this space can do for them and reevaluate then. Regarding the hosting, the preferred scenario would be to Self Manage on Digital Ocean [errata in the poll it was written Dream Cloud].

Since Malcolm has volunteered to take charge of the technical aspects of self hosting, I am willing to continue to oversee the channels.

Since the beginning, I have tried to be as transparent as possible, so that people could follow the progress of the proof of concept and my lobbying FMI for a Discourse platform. Although FMI has not agreed to switch to this platform, it has taken insights from our implementation to cue into their improvement work on Community’s platform.

Considering that this site was intended as a proof of concept and that as such, its purpose has now been fulfilled, any move forward implies that we are choosing to give it a new purpose.

It also implies that we accept to close the “lobbying” chapter. That means we will leave our frustrations behind. That we will grieve if need be, and stop looking back. Keeping complaining about FMI’s decision - just because we “can” do it in this forum - doesn’t mean it is healthy for this forum as it keeps us in a victim state of mind and prevent us from moving forward and growing, as individuals and as a community.

Therefore, I have taken the decision to close and move all threads relating to the proof of concept phase into a locked archive. They hold no value for future members because, as from now, this site must have its own independent purpose. Not one in opposition or rebelling against something but one focused on bringing value to its members.

I am very surprised, positively so, that FMI did not shut me off or delete my participation to ibrahim’s thread on Community. To me, that is a sign that they are changing and trying to do better. I had decided long ago that should the right opportunity presents itself, I would speak of MFSC once, and only once, in community. I had done so in another thread but, I am not proud to say, my tone was not appropriate, I fell in the trap of polarising an issue by doing the good/bad comparison that I often warn against. I was asked to edit my post because I had also included a sentence that was against the community rules. I started editing it and then decided that my post was confrontational and not bringing value. I deleted it completely.

When Ibrahim posted his thread, I felt it was important to help people understand that after the serious lobbying effort that we have made it is now absolutely clear that any conversation around finding another platform is sterile and will only prevent people on community from moving forward over there, as well. That any such thread about what features the community platform should have must be seen in the context of SF: which features would make the current platform more pleasant to use.

Yes, I admit, I also - without any subtlety - used the opportunity to plug MFSC. It is the one and only thread where I have and will ever post about MFSC on Community. It seemed to me that it would achieve 3 objectives:

  • force people to come to terms with the misguided belief that FMI did not find better platforms or has any ability to rescind the committment to the SF platform;
  • give an additional hang out spot to add to their resources toolbox to people that are really struggling, who have reached their patience and tolerance limits and feel somehow distressed
  • plug MFSC

You may have noticed that I never refer to our community here as Community but as MFSC. I do it intentionally. Community is the official forum’s community name. As we enter a new chapter, I invite you to volunteer your ideas or wishes regarding this community purpose, name, branding, colour, etc.

Also… remember, this is not my forum, it’s OURS.

[mission impossible flashback] This message will self-destruct once we move to our new hosting.


Have you considered, instead spending time trying to build up a separate hang out spot, instead supporting an already established and purposeful forum. Here specifically talking about FMForums.com. The person running that forum is both reasonable, respected in the community of developers as a whole, and already is the target spot for many new users and developers, but also a large contingent of veteran developers. He also has been organizing the Visionary Bar at DevCon for the last few years. Just a thought, adding into Wim’s thoughts in the other thread.

As weird and unreal as it sounds, I am not “looking” for work on a forum. Not even here! From the very beginning, I explained that I would be very content in doing my own little thing and remain my little unknown self. I am only doing this because I saw a need and decided to see if I could help (the proof of concept). got caught in the aftermath of my initiative!

As Community sees improvement, MFSC might slowly loose its interest and die slowly. But as long as people need it and it doesn’t require me to baby sit the thing 24/7, I accept the responsibility. I am not opposed to your suggestion: I did think this would be a good way to add content to this site here if they wanted to refresh their platform. But moving into an established community means an established culture, which in this case I am not familiar with, that is a lot more work and require a lot more involvement than accompanying a nacent one.

FMForums has lots of very very useful information for all levels of developers. It still feels more like 3rd party software support forum (where the active discussion is).

Also when we talk about forums, we should talk about communities. There’s always room for new communities. They fly high for some time, then die eventually. It’s also sometimes difficult to enter in to an established community as a newcomer.

I’ve known about and used FMfourms every once in awhile for many years. Nothing against what they have done and continue to do, but those forums are not ‘fun’ in the way that this is. And I say that almost entirely from the standpoint of the platform. I just LOVE the Discourse platform. In my view, it is by far the best community/forum platform I’ve ever come across. It does everything right, right out of the box. I fell in love with it in the Asana Community and will gravitate to any community/forum that uses it because it is just such a joy to work with. For me, its kind of like the difference between chiseling your message into rock vs picking up that favorite, fluid ball point and a sturdy piece of paper with great feel and texture and letting your thoughts just… flow… The method just disappears because it feels so… natural.

A bit much? If so, sorry about that. I just really love Discourse. :slight_smile:

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My thought is, if you accept donations or charge for access to the site, or even use your own money on it, it implies an obligation to not waste that money.

If you don’t feel it’s a waste, and the people you accept funds from don’t think it’s a waste, then it is what it is. Being the driving force behind the initiative, you now have a great responsibility to wisely use the resources being provided. Be that financial or time. Anything short of that and you risk becoming the very thing you were running away from. A community that you have suggested is wasting resources of the developer community.

These are not accusations or meant to push you to turn off this site. They are intended to provoke thoughts around what you have started and respect for the people that are following you. On purpose or not, you have become the responsible lead here on this site.

I have participated in another venue that did similar, they just kind of floated on the wind, saying “whatever happens is ok”, that group slowly devolved into constant ranting, and an atmosphere that resulted in the entire group becoming inactive. Not a single post has been made in that group in over a year. Many of the developers felt somewhat betrayed and disappointed that the organizers let the group flounder so badly.

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This forum being fun, is an artifact of the more modern software engine that runs the forum. What you are missing, is decades of searchable intellectual property that exists in places like the Community and FMForums. The community may not be willing to head down a new path - for a wide variety of valid business reasons - but maybe, just maybe, with some of the expertise here to assist, FMForums would change their forum software? Not sure that this would be palatable with the person that runs it, as it is a big endeavor, but if the objection to the wealth of knowledge in FMForums is the UX, then at least reaching out to him might have value and gain the best of both worlds.

I typically find that most people don’t care about the tech. It’s about the UX. For a forum, if it provides the info they need, and the search works, it will be successful. So sure, Discourse is a newer-ish technology, but it provides a list of posts. That’s really it.

The venue may change over time, but the reality is, as long as the technology behind it supports the needs of the group, it will flourish. That has been the key behind FMForums success, not really the tech behind it. The platform FMForum uses has tons of features also. There is nearly 100% overlap between Invision Community and Discourse.

Indeed, I saw the new platform. Their new platform seems excellent and will most likely serve their members well. I should have specified that I was thinking of the old one. or the old FMSource? My brain is failing me.

I am not much of a forum user in general so I have no strong ties to any of them and being “fun” is of no importance to me. That being said I think starting another FileMaker forum is a huge undertaking this far into the FileMaker product life cycle. As others have said when you start a new one you have no content on which people reply to find the answers they are looking for so while people make “like” this forum a lot in the end they will stick with the ones they find the most useful.

By now I think there needs to be some minimum number of signed up users to decide if this is worth continuing or not. 38 signed up people is not a number I would base moving forward with. I think it would need to be at least twice that by now to show a real trend towards interest and growth. I do admire and appreciate all the effort you have put in thus far!!

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The “fun” comment was both a reflection of a prior post using the term, as well as the antithesis of what is perceived as “painful” in the usage of any number of other products, The experience should be enjoyable and intuitive UX; the thing that makes SLACK the king of that crowded category of software.

I agree with you about forums needing to be fun and intuitive which the new FM community certainly is not but on top of that it’s still broken in many areas two months later. If the new platform had worked just fine with ALL the old content I’m not sure this forum would have been created despite the new UI/UX being so poor.

I am happy to do the tech support at the moment and the hosting costs are low so there isn’t a barrier to entry. I agree on the numbers. They aren’t big. They come from a few posts and invitations over at the old community, so I’m not surprised at them. In my view, what we need to proceed is a small team of people who are committed to a shared purpose and who can focus on generating the community. That is a time-consuming task and needs a commitment. Cècile has had that role here so far. Without some people who are driven to expand the community I don’t think that it will to go forward

I’ve posted at FMForums and they are fine. I’ve never really hung out there because the UI gets in my way. So I understand why the interaction is so important. I’m still popping into FileMaker community but the UX is so terrible. It’s like FMI constantly saying, “too busy to send you web page,” I know that I’ll learn that lesson soon and stop trying to go back. There is also FileMakerToday (is it still going?). That has never appealed to me. It has such strong cultural bias in its presentation that I’m turned away.


FileMakerToday now requires a subscription. A little while ago moved to the Invision Community also.

I’m curious, what about the UI of the Invision Community gets in your way?

I think it is that there is no place to watch across all the different subject areas. Perhaps there is the means to do that, I haven’t investigated much. I’m not interesting in having to drill into a very specific topic area, then hop back to the home page and drill into another area, and so on, just to have a look at what is happening .

Yes, if the platform had been fit for purpose when it was unveiled this community would not be here. We can all expect a change to be a little bit wobbly at the outset but, as Josh pointed out, they are still working on delivery of basics.

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On the “home” page of the community, where they have the trending list, there is also a “Following” tab that shows you everything in the topics you are following. You can just follow the top line topics and it should show you everything in the sub-topics also.

Also, they are experimenting with the built in feeds, with a long term goal to possibly build a custom one.

I do not “need” MFSC. My need for it was to offer an alternative to FMI, when I did not have, like most people on community, an understanding of the reasons why we were suffering through that platform. Showing FMI a solution to the community’s aches was its original purpose. Which has been fulfilled.

I enjoy very much the interesting conversations we have had here and should it continue to exist, it will remain my favorite hang out place in the FM ecosystem.

That alone however is not sufficent to make me want to spend energy, on top of doing the “interior design of our lounge”, to break my brain trying to figure out how to make the place known, and to continue having all FMI anger focalised at me and affecting, despite being my solo initiative, those I associate with, jeopardizing my very reduced only source of income for the summer.

Unless there is a core of committed (not interested, it is easy to be interested) people who enjoy and want to keep this hang out lounge, knowing its limitations but finding value in it nonetheless, I will not ask of myself or Malcolm such effort.

Unless I hear a loud and clear yes I do from those who have fallen in love with the place, who realize that there will be honeymoon phases and most likely very quiet times, I will not continue further.

I am very generous person, I love people and I love to help whenever I can. I also need to take care of myself and protect myself from potential consequences as some people consider this place my straying from community, my rebellion, or my selfish or narcissist creation. I want it to be clear that, if we don’t shut down, now that the proof of concept phase is over, it is not my choosing but that of the core of people who want and are committed to this place.

In other words, it should not matter whether I remain a member or not. This place exists only if my presence or absence is not the reason it continues.

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Malcolm, thank you for kindly offering technical support here. That’s great!
Agree that it takes a group of people for starting a community.

Cécile’s mission was creating a proof of concept as an escape path from a catastrophic situation.
Nota bene: she succeeded without wasting silly amounts of money.

Cécile has done a brilliant job! Now we are talking about something totally different that implies a long term involvement.

If no one feels the need for a community where members, their work and contributions matter to a careful and respectful custodian, this will end here and everyone will go about his/her live.

it still is not a recent list - and it works for the first page only due to the fact that the browser’s back button goes always to the very first thread of the very first page. And no, opening a new tab is no the solution when on iPad…