We're going to replace our forum, blog and main site
Ok, so, you may or may not have noticed our forum is a bit creaky and sometimes feels lonely. Some of that is on us, it takes a lot of effort to moderate and maintain a forum, something that has not been at the top of our priority list. Then there are other factors like the no-code platform we chose to launch our website on back in 2017.
Some no-code tools are good, in fact we thought Wix, the tool that powers our main landing page, static web pages, blog and forum was a pretty good alternative to Wordpress. However, as time wore on, its seemed that Wix was not doing much new feature development in the forum and blog. To this day, we still do not get notifications about new posts, despite raising the issue.
Wix also isn't friendly to allowing us to combine its ability to host a blog, static pages and a forum, with our own web apps/services. It is quite difficult for us to display a consistent experience across the Wix part of our site, and our own pages. Its hard to impossible to provide a personalised experience on Wix, certainly impossible if we want to link data from one system to another. Wix, it seems, wants us to build all our services on its ecosystem. But that ecosystem is old, not innovating anymore and quite frankly, sucks.
To cap it off, Wix turned on a security feature that ironically made it easier for bots to create accounts in our forum and the cleanup of the spammy accounts and their posts cost us time. So we decided we're going to remove Wix from our tech stack, and replace it with something new and that lets us have better connection to all the wonderful folk who use our software.
The first step we're going to take is to stop using the current forum. But, we needed to replace that with something, so we asked all of you who have a cloud account (https://discovery.crowd-render.com) what platforms you'd prefer us to use so we can talk.
Here's how you, the community, responded to our question of which platform we should use;
So, as you can see, the community clearly voted in favour of using a discord server, so, we're in the process of setting one up. Our approach is to see how the discord server is used and how easy it is to do things we might want to do. I'll explain.
Say for example we want to discuss issues you've reported, we might want to be able to link to issues in a software management system, for example. This would give the community visibility about a particular bug in a way that is superior to what we have now. Or, you might want to vote on the most important issues to your use case, this is not possible with the current forum in a way that links to our software management tools. Everything is manual and cumbersome.
What we'd like to have, is a space where we can discuss issues important to the development of our software, and link in important data, like blend files, screen shots, videos, or issues that have been reported to us as bugs. We also want a friendly and welcoming space for newcomers to ask questions and share tips with each other, a place to host documentation as well. Ideally this will be a system of different software tools, connected by your cloud account, so you don't require different login credentials for these systems, which is what we have now where you need to create an account on the forum and on our discovery.crowd-render.com subdomain.
Some of this we'll be figuring out as we go, but for now, we're setting up a discord server to replace the forum. You can expect an announcement on our email newsletter (subscribe by signing up @ https://discovery.crowd-render.com), when this will be ready and the current forum archived.
Thanks for being awesome :)