Why is the forum locked

Why is the forum locked

Lately we have locked down some of the forums to users with a valid subscription and it seems like it has raised some questions amongst our users.

The primary reason for doing this is to protect customers with a valid subscription and to ensure that customers with a valid subscription get's the best out of our priority support. Apart from that, it has to be done to avoid any misunderstanding in the future where users with an expired subscription is asking us to perform minor customizations for them (We don't really like to say No all the time).

What if you think that you encountered a bug and you definitely wouldn't want to pay for these bug fixes. I probably think I would feel the same too. However, based on our experience almost 95% of the time, these issues are user or server configuration issues and it has never been a bug or an issue with the extension. Our exceptional support team would have to spend hours of time just to wade through your servers / files / cpanel / site just to realize that it's a misconfiguration and it would be unfair to us if this was just your server setup issues. We wouldn't want to just send a bill you because it wasn't an issue with the software and it's also definitely unfair to you.

Therefore we have taken this stance to prevent any of these confusions being raised and hope that you would understand that this is done entirely to ensure you get for what you paid for. We are being transparent here and if there's any suggestion / feedback that you think could help improve the situation, let me know and as always, we do listen :)

Unlike open source non for profit organizations, to my awareness, there is not a single software company that actually offers lifetime support for free as that is just plain suicidal and it's business model will only ensure that you get crappy support at the end of the day simply because they can't afford to get the best support team or developers.

 

Thank you for understanding and let's build a better ecosystem together!


 

 

 

Comments (28)

Cheers. This positive change to your support policy aligns with industry best practices and is the right decision for your paying customers and partners.

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  1.    Randall McCallum

Agree!

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Thanks Randall

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Para mi opinión, ofrecen el mejor soporte técnico y el mejor producto, espero que sigan mejorando y trabajando en la misma línea. Gracias

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Hello Jason, english maybe?

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  1.    Mark

To translate what Jason said, he basically said that in his opinion you guys offer the best technical support and the best product. He hopes that you guys keep improving and continue the great work.

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Hi All

I understand and agree with pretty much everything Mark says. Sure we want amazing support and it is only reasonable that we pay for it. That is what I would call a win, win situation. And yes I did bring this up in the forum. My basic point was that having once being an Easy Blog guy only, I became a Easy Social guy as well and hey what the hell I might just become an Easy Discuss guy some day. Sometimes I see a thread and want to read it only to discover that I can not because I do...

Hi All

I understand and agree with pretty much everything Mark says. Sure we want amazing support and it is only reasonable that we pay for it. That is what I would call a win, win situation. And yes I did bring this up in the forum. My basic point was that having once being an Easy Blog guy only, I became a Easy Social guy as well and hey what the hell I might just become an Easy Discuss guy some day. Sometimes I see a thread and want to read it only to discover that I can not because I do not have a valid subscription. I find this frustrating and I think it slows down my probable inevitable adoption of Easy Discuss.

Just for the sake of argument. Lets twist this the other way. Imagine my subscription for Easy Blog runs out and I do not want to renew. Can not for the life of me imagine why this would happen but anyway… And then I want to go and find the solution that was offered 14 months ago which just meant adding a line of custom css to a custom css file. But I can not because I am locked out. There is some kind of tagging system for posts in the forum. I have not looked at it but it would probably good for tagging stuff in the log run…

My suggestion. Have a read only mode for the forums.

- I can read posts for other products where I do not have (not yet have?) a subscription.
- Ditto for old posts/solutions. I can read only (out of date subscriptions) with out a subscription…

I understand that it is a game of give and take. And frankly I do not know if I would want to be in Marks shoes managing these forums. I can only speak for myself. But I for one function better in an environment where things are a little bit flexible where people go the extra mile before throwing up barriers. Likewise if support asks me to do some kind of mySQL thing... I can run with that too...

Just my 2 cents

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  Comment was last edited about 3 years ago by Paul Murray

I agree with Randall - Good move!

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Hello I am agree with you in order to support only current suscriptions, however is a big error to censored post in the forums for expired suscriptions users. There are many topics interesting for only read mode, opinions, or coments, and it is an error block this. Besides, a open forums for comunity is positive for yours products. And this has nothing to do with the professional support for current subscriptions only. This are different things. Sorry for my english, my native language is...

Hello I am agree with you in order to support only current suscriptions, however is a big error to censored post in the forums for expired suscriptions users. There are many topics interesting for only read mode, opinions, or coments, and it is an error block this. Besides, a open forums for comunity is positive for yours products. And this has nothing to do with the professional support for current subscriptions only. This are different things. Sorry for my english, my native language is spanish.

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  1.    Emilio Iglesias

Hello Emilio,

Thanks for the heads up on this. Perhaps reading access should be given to users with any valid subscription but they will not be able to reply. Would this make more sense?

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  1.    Mark

Mark, that sounds like a good idea. Read access could only do good.

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  1.    Mark

Hi Mark,

I think you should give read only access to ALL users and enable reply / new topic access to valid subscription. That is more fair. For instance, right now I havent purchased your EasySocial yet and I might be purchasing it soon. Before I purchase any extension (even free ones), I always research it a lot and try to get a good understanding on it before I try and install it on my test site. I have so many questions which have been asked in your forums already and its soooo...

Hi Mark,

I think you should give read only access to ALL users and enable reply / new topic access to valid subscription. That is more fair. For instance, right now I havent purchased your EasySocial yet and I might be purchasing it soon. Before I purchase any extension (even free ones), I always research it a lot and try to get a good understanding on it before I try and install it on my test site. I have so many questions which have been asked in your forums already and its soooo frustrating that I cannot read any of those if I dont have a valid subscription. I understand that support cant be taken for granted by users with no subscription but you should atleast give read-only access to these forums. If I do purchase a subscription, I dont like that I will be completely locked out of forums as soon as the subscription expires. I am not too happy with that since $99/- for 6 months aint cheap and I would like to have atleast a read only access even if I dont have a valid subcription or if I am unable to renew my subscription straight away. Hope you can understand where I am coming from..

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I wrote my comment above in a hurry and maybe it was not so clear. Yes reading access all round but one should only be allowed to reply to the threads for products for which one has a valid/current subscription. Does that make sense?

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There are many valid good points above. Finding the right balance comes from collaborative discussions as exampled here. As loyal customers and supporters this type of discussion helps to serve as a way to find a solution to make sure StackIdeas gets paid for all their efforts to support paying customers.

However, when you open up the forums there is a slippery slope. It invites those who don't pay to visit the forums to get support and or answers for extensions they don't want to pay for.

...

There are many valid good points above. Finding the right balance comes from collaborative discussions as exampled here. As loyal customers and supporters this type of discussion helps to serve as a way to find a solution to make sure StackIdeas gets paid for all their efforts to support paying customers.

However, when you open up the forums there is a slippery slope. It invites those who don't pay to visit the forums to get support and or answers for extensions they don't want to pay for.

Two days ago I received an email from TechJoomla. Perhaps some of you received it too? It reads:
--------
Beware of joomlacheap ! 
Are you sure the extensions you have on your site are original ?
Its been brought to our attention recently that several popular extension providers have had their extensions put up on a site called JoomlaCheap. They have now taken to illegally acquiring SPAM lists & Mass Mailing Joomla users. If you receive an email from them, make sure you mark it as SPAM. 

Its been reported in the past that files on such 'Warez' sites are spiked with malicious scripts and users have got hacked due to these. Make sure you download updates & extensions only from techjoomla.com ! Stay Secure !
------

Let's face it. This type of above stuff is the achillies heal of small developers and how do we support our hard working developers to combat this from happening. Some people (a small amount of people) download commercial extensions from Warez sites and wont ever pay for the extension but want to ise them. And when they install them and run into issues with the extension they show up on the developer forums to get answers. These are the type of people that can show up in a read only forum and get answers. Some have the odacitity to ask for support. How can they be spotted or weeded out of the forums?

Most people are honest and appreciate good tech support and are more than willing to pay and subscribe for it. Those of us ( the vast majority) most certainky want to see this sort of cheating stopped. The problem to be solved is: How can you deferentiate between paid subscribers, regular customers who may not have renewed their subscription, and the cheaters who never pay that try to cheat the hard working developer into giving extension support? Is there a way to block the never been a customer ever from viewing the forums?

Perhaps there is something that can be added to our member profiles to make it obvious to StackIdeas and loyal customers?

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  Comment was last edited about 3 years ago by Randall McCallum
  1.    Randall McCallum

I personally think openness and generosity goes a long way, even if some people cheat the system.

Not to mention in the Joomla world which is riddled by greedy developers that overcharge and underdevelop, I honestly do not have anything against Joomla pirates. They allow people to test components before buying them... something that I used to do, and I regret I haven't done more... why? Because I am subscribed to 100s if not 1000s of dollars worth of components I don't use because they are...

I personally think openness and generosity goes a long way, even if some people cheat the system.

Not to mention in the Joomla world which is riddled by greedy developers that overcharge and underdevelop, I honestly do not have anything against Joomla pirates. They allow people to test components before buying them... something that I used to do, and I regret I haven't done more... why? Because I am subscribed to 100s if not 1000s of dollars worth of components I don't use because they are bug riddled and have terrible UIs and UXs.

Stackideas is one of the few developers who I actively use my subscription from, because they have consistent quality and service... Aside from Stackideas, Offlajn, JFBConnect I cannot say I am happy with any of my other subscriptions... and I have MANY. There are some I use, but still are a headache such as YooRecipe...

If it weren't for Stackideas I would have left the Joomla world long ago, because developers get more and more lazy every day and release stuff without proper testing... and bully their customers. So don't blame the pirates, blame the developers.

Good developers will naturally attract sales through word of mouth. I have recommended MANY people to Stackideas, Offlajn and JFBConnect... and that is why instead of fighting to keep pirates out, fight to make your customers so happy that they attract more subscribers... Word of mouth and referrals goes muuuch further than imposing limitations in fear of pirates.

P.S. I cringed when I saw TechJoomlas e-mail, because I am subscribed to several of their products, and I don't use them because of their terrible UI/UX and implementation. I was so excited for InviteX and jLike and I have been thoroughly disappointed... and I honestly regret paying for them, as I literally do not use them.

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  Comment was last edited about 3 years ago by Jannik L.

That's why I read the extension reviews. I also have paid for extensions to find out that the developer doesnt support them as I would expect. It would be great to be able to try before you buy, but this has it problems too. Some will never pay no matter what.

iJoomla will not get my business again until they change their ways. I wasted so much money on their extensions and they don't make their extensions work with all other extensions, and they expect paying customers to support their...

That's why I read the extension reviews. I also have paid for extensions to find out that the developer doesnt support them as I would expect. It would be great to be able to try before you buy, but this has it problems too. Some will never pay no matter what.

iJoomla will not get my business again until they change their ways. I wasted so much money on their extensions and they don't make their extensions work with all other extensions, and they expect paying customers to support their sloppy support ways. It is a live and learn when buying products BUT...

This is not a thread about a generalized stance I am taking. I'm talking about why it is important to see paid customers only for StackIdeas extensions. How do we help the SI Team to differentiate?

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  Comment was last edited about 3 years ago by Randall McCallum

Well, the problem with reviews is they are often rigged or biased. Many of the products I have subscribed to which I consider useless get 5 stars.

Anyway, I will stay out of the only seeing paid customers discussion, as I always favour the open approach. I do not believe in removing access to forum for non subscribers. I will go as far as to agree to a read only... but removing them entirely goes against everything I believe in about good business.

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Yeah maybe I am still a little Naive with my 40 years plus ;-) Usually it would not even occur to me to look for cracked versions of a product ABC. For me it is simple common sense. Like what is my time worth and how many hours/days/weeks/months do I have to sift through weird sites and try to puzzle stuff together. And then something breaks and you are caught with your pants down. Hell it is hard enough to do this even with (paid for) kick ass products and amazing support.

I used to be...

Yeah maybe I am still a little Naive with my 40 years plus ;-) Usually it would not even occur to me to look for cracked versions of a product ABC. For me it is simple common sense. Like what is my time worth and how many hours/days/weeks/months do I have to sift through weird sites and try to puzzle stuff together. And then something breaks and you are caught with your pants down. Hell it is hard enough to do this even with (paid for) kick ass products and amazing support.

I used to be over at Community Builder. And I am pretty sure that they have an open forum policy. I have threads in there that cost me more energy than it did support. Let me take an extreme example. Lets say it takes me 3 weeks to beg and cajole support into helping me connect Easy Blog avatars with CB. Even if I am in over my head, I post screen shots all the way and ask again and again until things fall into place and maybe not just for me but also for others who read the thread… In a sense I too am providing support!

Again I am just thinking aloud here. Yeah it is really difficult to know what product to buy. And I can imagine that the rating system is often rigged… A couple of months ago I was looking for a template and checking out a lot of different sites. Something that really impressed me was one template site where they had an open forum. You could go in there and look at pretty much anything. So you could potentialy get a cracked version of template ABC and use the forum to read things… Whatever. But what really impressed me was the tone of the support. There was very obviously a mutual respect thing going on and I for one dig that kind of stuff. I nearly went for it but as we know the template landscape has changed recently :-)

I know that I can be a bit radical and am still maybe too naive but I am going to have one more go at this.

This is my bottom line. I would regard the forum as an asset. As a marketing tool. (Cue Ahmed ;-) You can find out how to fix stuff. You can get a feeling for how the people who make the product tick! And you can make a more informed decision and are less likely to be disappointed…

Maybe you like grumpy support and want to be told to read the 400 page manual every second week. Thats OK. Maybe you want to make a quantum leap with out a manual but with people who will in some weird kind of way be there for you not only for the day to day stuff but in that critical moment when the shit hits the fan! I managed to have a backup over load recently which broke my Site. And posted in the Stackideas forum. Technically I should have done more research before posting but panicked.

Anyway the response that I got really helped me. “I think you should contact your hoster first.” I am going to go out on a limb here. But if I had posted pretty much any where else the answer would have been more like this “It is a hoster issue our hands are tied.” Both are essentially the same but the first one implies assuming that your hoster can help you and if you still have problems we are there for you…

You have an amazing product. You have amazing support of which you can be rightly proud. Open up the forums as read read for every one. Sure if you have a valid subscription you can participate in a dialogue/support etc…

My guess is that you will win more customers this way than lose customers who want to go down the cracked route…

There is a saying you can lead a horse to water but you can not make him drink. My thinking is to let people learn as much about you amazing products AND amazing support as possible and if they want to wander off into the desert and take their chances good luck to them. End of speech.

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  Comment was last edited about 3 years ago by Paul Murray

I do not know this for sure but I suspect that making the forums open to read only mode for everybody will probably help sell more product! One thing that happens more at Stack-Ideas than just about any other place is that people get very good solutions to their problems in a timely manner. I believe that shows just by reading through tickets.

It seems fair that a person cannot create a reply or send a message about a product for which they are not subscribed except for a sales inquiry. ...

I do not know this for sure but I suspect that making the forums open to read only mode for everybody will probably help sell more product! One thing that happens more at Stack-Ideas than just about any other place is that people get very good solutions to their problems in a timely manner. I believe that shows just by reading through tickets.

It seems fair that a person cannot create a reply or send a message about a product for which they are not subscribed except for a sales inquiry. On this note: I had a personal experience where in the 1980's I ran a vegetarian restaurant in Downtown Los Angeles, California. We decided that getting people in and getting them to eat right away (we were an all you care to eat buffet) was our highest priority since people were in a rush. So, what we did was make it so that customers could just walk into the restaurant, grab a tray and a plate and help themselves. Then when they were DONE eating we funneled the people through a line to the cash registers to pay for their meal. In this system it was possible for some people to sneak past and not pay and we were sure some people did exactly that. We considered that the cost of doing business. The majority of people were just thrilled and amazed that we would let them eat before they paid. And, on top of that, the cashiers had to ask EVERY customer if they enjoyed their meal. If somebody said something like "the meal was great but the soup was really bland" the cashiers were trained to say "I am very sorry you did not enjoy your soup. Today your entire meal is on the house". At that point the customers would WANT to pay but the cashiers were not allowed to accept their payment. This did wonders for our business, it did not hurt us. I do not know if that applies here or not. i would not want to tell Stack-Ideas how to run their business. Especially since Stack-Ideas is THE BEST joomla software company I have ever encountered! That said, appearing too stingy might not be good. I think your main goal, besides selling more product, needs to be to NOT allow your staff to become over worked doing tasks for people who are not paying you. It seems like you could still do that with an open forum that did not allow replies unless a valid subscription is in place.

BTW, I do not know if any of the rest of you have experienced companies that provide exemplary support like Stack-Ideas but I do subscribe to one other company with an amazing support mentality which is JoomlaBamboo.com who are a template and extensions company! :-)

Anyhow, this is just my 2 cents worth. I want Stack-Ideas to thrive! :-)

Sean

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  Comment was last edited about 3 years ago by Sean Carney

Sean, you bring up some very good points which confirm my argument that openness pays off. There is a saying in the web marketing world that says, give your best stuff away for free, charge for a more personal or elaborate experience. This refers to getting people hooked by showing people the quality of your work. That is why it is in Stackideas interest to keep the forum accessible, because with one look at this forum, people will instantly realize that Stackideas support is far superior...

Sean, you bring up some very good points which confirm my argument that openness pays off. There is a saying in the web marketing world that says, give your best stuff away for free, charge for a more personal or elaborate experience. This refers to getting people hooked by showing people the quality of your work. That is why it is in Stackideas interest to keep the forum accessible, because with one look at this forum, people will instantly realize that Stackideas support is far superior than the competition. Thus resulting in more sales.

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Expired subscriber - Read only
Active subscriber - Full forum access

Just and right,

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Great idea, users need to understand that this change is for them. If you pay subscription you will have better support, bc. it will be concentrate for subscribers more.
If someone dont pay and want to come back after one year ... probably its not so huge problem or important if he did not update his extension for one year ... its logic.

This is really fair to all subscribers and fair to developer.

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I like this post.

Not getting access to forums stopped me from buying new products from StackIdeas before as I had an issue with Easy Blog and access denied is a bit of a Kick in the nuts when the solution was probably in the forum. Although I have had a very fast response from Mark and the team regarding my pre-sales questions and I will be buying this week ,

So here is a solution.

1. Forum is locked to Non customers - they only ever see questions.

2. Customers with expired...

I like this post.

Not getting access to forums stopped me from buying new products from StackIdeas before as I had an issue with Easy Blog and access denied is a bit of a Kick in the nuts when the solution was probably in the forum. Although I have had a very fast response from Mark and the team regarding my pre-sales questions and I will be buying this week ,

So here is a solution.

1. Forum is locked to Non customers - they only ever see questions.

2. Customers with expired subscriptions can access forum and browse answers - as there may be situation when you need a quick fix that is in the forum. BUT as mentioned in other posts, they have read only access.

I think this is the best way.

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Hello Trevorl,

Thanks for the heads up on this. We are actually already running the forums this way The forum question will be visible to non subscribers

However, what we plan to do next is to allow read access to everyone with a license regardless if it is expired or not. If it has already expired, they will not have write access

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  1.    Mark

I am glad you are going to allow read access to users with expired license as well. Thats more fair...

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  1.    Neel

Thank you Neel

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Yep Mark, that is good way

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Thanks Cralen

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