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Moving forward with Composr

ocPortal has been relaunched as Composr CMS, which is now in beta. ocPortal 9 will be superseded by Composr 10.

Head over to compo.sr for our new site, and to our migration roadmap. Existing ocPortal member accounts have been mirrored.


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Posted
Item has a rating of 5 (Liked by Brian HayLiked by DuckLiked by sholzyLiked by BobSLiked by JeanLiked by Harry-SLiked by SahsLiked by kennoLiked by Rishi Saravanan)  
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#84498 (In Topic #17449)
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This is going to come across rather grumpy, so I apologise in advance. But I need to get it off my chest.

One thing many people do is to see ocPortal as a way of achieving the impossible for free. Whenever there are roadblocks to that, people end up trying to lean on me to get closer to it. This drives me absolutely insane, because I'm already probably as squeezed for time as anyone around. Building and maintaining ocPortal is a huge effort, and then when many individual users actually take more resources from me than they provide, it really makes it unsustainable. I never scream at people, because I know a lot of people don't realise that they are consuming my very limited resources, and don't know enough to stop themselves getting into difficult situations. But I find it incredibly frustrating because I can't save people from themselves and because I am so often at the receiving end of people's frustration (I do get insulted quite a lot unfortunately).

To give some sense of how busy I am, here's my typical day:
  • Get up at around 10:30am (I work kind of in a quasi-US time zone most of the time)
  • All the usual human morning stuff, go through email, RSS, Twitter, get some sense for what is on the forums (finish at 1pm)
  • Address all of the above (finish at 6pm)
  • Work on client projects (12am)
  • Address more stuff on the forum (1am)
That is typically 6 days a week, with 1 day a week being more of a half day. Of course, there is time in there for eating, chores, etc, but generally it's 80 hours of work per week (i.e. double a normal person's work week).

I have a rolling to-do list (I'm not talking about anything on the tracker) that has had some stuff stuck on there for years, despite the constant long hours. Ultimately I have an intention to reduce my hours to that of a normal person, and have something more of a life. To get out of the house/office, to spend more time with friend's, and so on ;).

So when I get people asking me to do that little bit more, but when they're not making investments to allow me to (by employing more people, or simply covering my own costs), you can see it just can't work out. The barrier of expectations moves as fast as ocPortal improves anyway, because people's ambitions are unbounded – so as fast as I can knock out things to make people happy, they or others will find more things that I "need to do" for the project.

To try and manage expectations we created the What ocPortal is not page on our site. It tries to hammer-home the point that ocPortal provides a saving, but that if you're doing something complex, you'll need a strong budget for it. It's pretty common to see ocPortal users trying to do something for $100 that would normally cost $100,000, and I'm not even exaggerating one bit with those figures.

Of course, ocPortal is the cheapest way to get things done. In the Drupal community, people would actually be paying that $100,000, or $3,000,000 or whatever the project cost. But what people expect to be easy is still way out of whack.

If not just creating a simple home site or blog, I would really encourage people to think about the business model for what they're doing. Do SWOT diagrams, talk to investors, look at sustainability and ROI. All the kinds of things you'd expect for any complex project.

People with good budgets don't try and save money so much so don't so come into the community as much as I'd want. People with no budgets however do. I'm not sure there is a middle ground for us to target. So:
  • the people with no budgets need to think a bit about "minimum viable product" (viable in terms of what can work for them, and what they can build).
  • and, the people with good budgets need bringing in to the community. That's a group effort, as can be seen from my schedule, I am locked up most of the time, so I don't spend much of it going to fancy dinner parties ;).

To give some illustration of the kind of things I need to deal with, here's the top 10 (ah- 11) ways to annoy me:
  1. Expect me to work on a weekend, or evenings or in the middle of the night
  2. Expect free one-on-one support
  3. When I say I can't do something for free, try and twist definitions (e.g. if something specific you want to do is not easy, call it a usability problem and call all usability problems bugs)
  4. If I give out my email address for dealing with some issue, keep coming to me personally with support questions. Or, send me support questions outside the ocPortal community, e.g. on Facebook, to try and circumvent the support system (in the process, completely failing to involve yourself in the ocPortal community)
  5. Jump into over-complex and risky projects without having experience or doing proper planning, then come to me to prop you up when you find you over-reached
  6. Argue with me and insult me when I don't work as a personal slave
  7. Call me an idiot for not doing your work for free, as it'll bring in lots of paying customers
  8. Put through emergency support tickets when you find a bug (ignoring everything it says about that being a commercial tool), waking me up with a text message, then don't pay for the ticket
  9. Don't take backups, then blame bugs if anything happens to stop your site working, expecting instant free intercession to fix it, anytime night or day
  10. Offer to give donations, then try and take 10 times more resources than the donations were worth
  11. Expect me to work for the salary of someone in India, or a student, or a design graduate, or someone unqualified, or someone just starting out (truth is, the market salary for my skill-set is way above cross-profession average, but people want me to work for way below cross-profession average – I am here because I love what we are building, and I love to empower people)

I wish I could work out some way to respond to some of the problematic situations I face without having to drop some of my principles. Responding to people (even if it's saying I can't help) is something I consider important, as is engaging with people. I'd hate to become rude and dismissive of people, as a way of insulating myself from the toxic self-inflicted problems people often have. I could write the best template responses in the world, but with experience I know people so often expect free hand-holding through their projects and get defensive and angry if that's not provided.

Any suggestions people might have to solve some of these problems would be very welcome. I've really tried, and truth is I just might have to keep developing a thicker and thicker skin, and ignoring groups of people more, but it's just not something I like to do.

(rant over, lol)

(To be clear, none of this is a response to the people I regularly correspond with, or anything particularly recent on the forum. It is more of a continuous thing that really rubs me up the wrong way)

(Also to be clear, what I really want is everyone on average to give more than they take in a market-sound way, to make business-minded decisions, and to bring larger organisations and investments into the community – I definitely do not want to persuade individuals to invest their limited personal funds into ocPortal in an unsustainable way out of some feeling of guilt)


Last edit: by Chris Graham


Become a fan of ocPortal on Facebook or add me as a friend. Add me on on Twitter.
Was I helpful?
  • If not, please let us know how we can do better (please try and propose any bigger ideas in such a way that they are fundable and scalable).
  • If so, please let others know about ocPortal whenever you see the opportunity.
  • If my reply is too Vulcan or expressed too much in business-strategy terms, and not particularly personal, I apologise. As a company & project maintainer, time is very limited to me, so usually when I write a reply I try and make it generic advice to all readers. I'm also naturally a joined-up thinker, so I always express my thoughts in combined business and technical terms. I recognise not everyone likes that, don't let my Vulcan-thinking stop you enjoying ocPortal on fun personal projects.
  • If my response can inspire a community tutorial, that's a great way of giving back to the project as a user.
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Posted
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Just to be clear, if you're reading this you are probably a member of the choir. The cheekiest people usually aren't regulars on the forum.


Become a fan of ocPortal on Facebook or add me as a friend. Add me on on Twitter.
Was I helpful?
  • If not, please let us know how we can do better (please try and propose any bigger ideas in such a way that they are fundable and scalable).
  • If so, please let others know about ocPortal whenever you see the opportunity.
  • If my reply is too Vulcan or expressed too much in business-strategy terms, and not particularly personal, I apologise. As a company & project maintainer, time is very limited to me, so usually when I write a reply I try and make it generic advice to all readers. I'm also naturally a joined-up thinker, so I always express my thoughts in combined business and technical terms. I recognise not everyone likes that, don't let my Vulcan-thinking stop you enjoying ocPortal on fun personal projects.
  • If my response can inspire a community tutorial, that's a great way of giving back to the project as a user.
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Posted
Item has a rating of 5 (Liked by BobSLiked by Rishi Saravanan)  
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#84505
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Community saint

Chris Graham said

The cheekiest people usually aren't regulars on the forum.
That is something that has already been noted by the 'choir'. I think, despite my age (and Bob's), that I've learned much from your responses, and tend not to 'bite' when it appears that the poster is being unreasonable.

After all, it is your forum (and business), and if you wish to react to some nasty piece of work, or writing, I leave it entirely in your remit, and don't 'poison' the atmosphere if I can help it.

Keep on truckin'. I'm sure there is much support in here even if it isn't expressed openly, or often enough!

 :thumbs:

Take my advice. I'm not using it!

View my working ocPortal site (version 9.x.x) at Anglo-Indian Portal
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Posted
Item has a rating of 5 (Liked by Rishi Saravanan)  
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#84506
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Community saint

Well said. I have always been EXTREMELY IMPRESSED with the patience of the ocPortal Team. Even we of the Choir can overburden you from time to time but I like that most of the Choir find their own ways to give something back.

I have seen some nasty things written from time to time but I have never seen an official ocPortal Team Member give even the slightest bitter reactionary response. (Though I am sure they must be feeling ample amounts of bitterness sometimes). Sometimes their response is not what the user was hoping for but it is always honest and curtious and as delicate while matter of fact as it can be. I applaud the team and it is something that attracts me to ocPortal as much as the quality of the product itself.

With such Quality people behind it how can you not expect a quality product?

Though I know you have pointed out that is not directed at anyone and such but I just wanted to apologize in advance that I am sure at some point you will be helping me again as you have in the past (and I know that doesn't bother you too much) but I really want you to know I have appreciated it and will always do so.

Thanks to the WHOLE ocPortal team for the efforts you have all done to make this a great product and giving more than should be expected of anyone!

Of course I will do what I can when I can to help too.
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Posted
Item has a rating of 5 (Liked by Chris GrahamLiked by Rishi Saravanan)  
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Community saint

So well said.

I came to ocPortal almost a year ago with some of the same unrealistic expectations. Chris provided reasoned explanations while I lamented I had no budget. Then I looked at it another way – where would I be without ocPortal? And the answer to that question was "not as far along as I was." This has made it easy for me to becomes a sponsor and try to help out in other ways. I know not everyone can afford to sponsor items and this is the reason I suggested to Chris that he allow purchase of smaller credits to make it easier for more to participate in sponsorship. But, even if you can't do that, there are countless other ways to chip in.

I have probably been one of the most vocal community cheerleaders – perhaps to the annoyance of some. But that is simply because I believe in ocPortal and am amazed with its potential.

I often joke about Chris getting no sleep but this is really not a funny thing. I, myself, require psychiatric drugs just to be able to get a good night's sleep. Not sleeping is exhausting and puts terrible demands on the body and Chris shows a work ethic that is beyond all expectations. Let's make sure that he and his team are compensated in some way by sponsorship, helping out here or, best of all, referring new clients who have real budgets to work with.

Thank you Chris and Robbie and the whole ocPortal/ocProducts staff for the amazing work that you have done and continue to do.

Bob

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Posted
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#84520
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Community saint

I've seen my name in there. I tend to push when trying to understand why something is like it is (a good example is hidden catalog fields) when it doesn't make sense to me. Sometimes I'm a little dense.  :lol:

Steve
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Posted
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#84522
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Community saint

Sholzy-

I don't think Chris expects us to not ask follow-up questions when we are striving to understand his decision and those follow-up answers often make the point much clearer. I think he is simply asking that we ultimately show some respect for his considered opinion.

What struck me most about Chris's post (and I know this does not apply to you) is that he has had to endure insult. I suspect those are the hard-core open-source people who seem to believe that everything should be free except their time.

Bob
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Posted
Item has a rating of 5 (Liked by BobSLiked by JeanLiked by sholzyLiked by Brian HayLiked by FletchLiked by Rishi Saravanan)  
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#84524
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I really encourage discussion and so on, even robust discussion. It is the insults and the arguing from freeloaders who never intend to contribute a thing – often they actually think they are contributing by just using the software ;). So I wouldn't use the term "hard-core open-source people", I'd use the term "freeloaders" ;).

I am fairly hard-core open-source, in that I think it is a good way to drive progress and unlock value. There aren't many pieces of software that I think should be closed source. But Open Source only means existing software is free to use and modify, it doesn't mean the whole ecosystem is.


Become a fan of ocPortal on Facebook or add me as a friend. Add me on on Twitter.
Was I helpful?
  • If not, please let us know how we can do better (please try and propose any bigger ideas in such a way that they are fundable and scalable).
  • If so, please let others know about ocPortal whenever you see the opportunity.
  • If my reply is too Vulcan or expressed too much in business-strategy terms, and not particularly personal, I apologise. As a company & project maintainer, time is very limited to me, so usually when I write a reply I try and make it generic advice to all readers. I'm also naturally a joined-up thinker, so I always express my thoughts in combined business and technical terms. I recognise not everyone likes that, don't let my Vulcan-thinking stop you enjoying ocPortal on fun personal projects.
  • If my response can inspire a community tutorial, that's a great way of giving back to the project as a user.
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Posted
Item has a rating of 5 (Liked by sholzy)  
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#84528
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Community saint

Chris Graham said

I really encourage discussion and so on, even robust discussion. It is the insults and the arguing from freeloaders who never intend to contribute a thing – often they actually think they are contributing by just using the software ;). So I wouldn't use the term "hard-core open-source people", I'd use the term "freeloaders" ;).

I am fairly hard-core open-source, in that I think it is a good way to drive progress and unlock value. There aren't many pieces of software that I think should be closed source. But Open Source only means existing software is free to use and modify, it doesn't mean the whole ecosystem is.
Excellent points. I was considering using freeloaders but thought it got to close to a pejorative. I've been trying to maintain a more upbeat attitude, but it is what it is – takers who never give back. If they believe their use of the software and then the subsequent demands amounts to "giving", they have much growing up to do.

Anyway, I am glad that you posted this because I think it helps remind all of us how fortunate we are to have ocPortal and its committed developers and support staff.

Bob


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Posted
Item has a rating of 5 (Liked by BobSLiked by JeanLiked by Rishi Saravanan)  
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Community saint

Chris you are 100% right. Its most a really small group of people who come every day on the forum, to help other members.  

You and your team are one of the few developers who almost daily on the forum and despite his lack of time, many problems. Where to pay tribute!
 :thumbs:  :thumbs:
Harry


http://digiflash.nl Photo community  (dutch)
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Posted
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#84534
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Community saint

BobS said

Sholzy-

I don't think Chris expects us to not ask follow-up questions when we are striving to understand his decision and those follow-up answers often make the point much clearer. I think he is simply asking that we ultimately show some respect for his considered opinion.

What struck me most about Chris's post (and I know this does not apply to you) is that he has had to endure insult. I suspect those are the hard-core open-source people who seem to believe that everything should be free except their time.

Bob

Thanks, Bob. I'm not saying I'm one of those poachers who take and take, and only leave a bloody mess. I'm more of a passive pusher, trying to work the sides of the peanut butter jar to to get that tiny little extra.  :lol:

Steve
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Posted
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Community saint

Sholzy-

That made me laugh.

You have contributed in many ways to the community and I am sure when the situation is right, you might even sponsor something.

My real point (as Chris responded) is that discussion is also a valuable form of community involvement. Most often Chris holds his ground but I have seen him swayed by subsequent discussion – another tribute to his leadership is his flexibility and willingness to hear other out (without abuse).

Bob
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Posted
Item has a rating of 5 (Liked by Chris GrahamLiked by kenno)  
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#84548
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Fan in action

Pretty much standard… the are the givers and the takers, and then the ones in the middle that give a bit, take a bit which is a nice balance. :|

:thumbs: Myself I have only been using ocPortal for a few months now, and like it a lot. It has it's quarks (But all software does.)  When I learn how fully to drive this beast I will give back to the growing community what I have learnt to do, but that will take time.

I am willing to help where I can, but I am not a coder (Just know the basics and not really any php at that), I am just a graphic artist that loves to ride motorcycles and started a free motorcyling community for my area. So I don't know where I can help yet… !!!  

My members at first were struggling with the new site and switch, complaining and getting bitter at me that things didn't work (when they did)… I did offer them a refund of there money (Did I mention a free community lol) usually shuts them quick smart. Most problems my members have had is with their popup blockers blocking the popup user winders for uploading images etc… I sorted that out and all is fine…

I have never understood the insults or getting angry over it all sort of defeats the purpose of it all. :|O_o

The major down fall of ocPortal at present is it's smaller community and smaller userbase. That needs to grow if you want the open source side of the project to grow, that will just take time and some clever pushing of the name. The product will sell it self. :thumbs:

What you will find is as the community and the user base grows there will be more of both, more takers, but there will be more helpers in the forum too, more people willing to put a bit of time here and there into the project, and maybe the odd new coder willing to put in some time in the project as well.  This will leave you (hopefully) more time to concentrate on the business model side of it all to keep the over all business running.

I have been suggesting to a few other people here and there that they should consider ocPortal as their CMS we will see how it goes. :thumbs:

As I said I am willing to help as soon as I fully learn my way around the site and software, learn its in's and out's, what it can do, what it can't do… Don't know what I can offer to the project really other than, maybe help put a downlaoadable manual together, or just help in the forums the best I can… See what happens. O_oO_o


Last edit: by Nighthawk
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Posted
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Nighthawk-

If you have suggested ocPortal to others, you have already helped. As you said, the community needs more growth (Chris mentioned this too) and then we can have more givers even if the takers are a larger proportion.

Bob
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Posted
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Community saint

@nighthawk Actually when you do leaarn the ins and outs of ocPortal I am sure it will be valuable to many just helping answer questions to the newbies. I still don't know the ins and outs yet so it's hard to help newcommers but over time it will become easier and this will lessen the burden onthe major players to not have to help everyone all the time. Cause as much as Chris says he doesn't have the time he still ends up being too generous answering questions when people need help. I hope you grow to love ocPortal more each day you learn more.
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Posted
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Community saint

If I see that there are over more than 3000 members of this site. Where are all these members. I see only a base group of members every day here.


http://digiflash.nl Photo community  (dutch)
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Posted
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Community saint

Harry-

I would say this is typical. Many of these "members" are people who decided to take ocPortal for a test drive but then decided to use an alternative solution. In same cases, this was probably warranted because ocPortal is so much more than their simple WordPress needs.

Also, they are many former ocPortal users who, for whatever reason, decided to move to a different solution. I suspect some of this occurred when the decision was made to open-source the software and perhaps in periods where ocPortal was lacking some significant feature the user needed. I think most of this is behind us and there are only a few features offered by competitors in their base package which ocPortal lacks.

Also, some users just choose not to participate here (e.g., the guest known as "O" seemed to sign up only so he could sponsor an item); it would be nice if all the users were somehow represented here but this is not something you could (or should) mandate.

Looking forward, it is good to see that we get new member sign-ups every week. We just need to continue working on building this community – it benefits ocPortal and it benefits us as community members. I am very confident that this is something that is happening even as we speak (type).

Bob
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Community saint

Bob I know. I was here three years and decided to choose for Dolphin. Yes its a nice cms  but the devs there had only one vsion, to sell mods they made for this. Not more. yes there is a great community, but it lacks many things, so you also say, whats build in ocPortal. Thats why I was come back to ocportal.

lets hope that we can make ocportal better and better.

Harry


http://digiflash.nl Photo community  (dutch)
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Posted
Item has a rating of 5 (Liked by Chris Graham)  
Rating:
#84605
O

Non-joined user

BobS said

Also, some users just choose not to participate here (e.g., the guest known as "O" seemed to sign up only so he could sponsor an item); it would be nice if all the users were somehow represented here but this is not something you could (or should) mandate.

So all my posts don't count as participation?

 ;)
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Posted
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Community saint

O said

BobS said

Also, some users just choose not to participate here (e.g., the guest known as "O" seemed to sign up only so he could sponsor an item); it would be nice if all the users were somehow represented here but this is not something you could (or should) mandate.

So all my posts don't count as participation?

 ;)
Sadly, not unless you are logged in. I was going to put in a feature request to have ocPortal claim posts from guests when they joined but I am not sure that is easily doable – maybe based in IP address but that can be imperfect or maybe just using the guest name you posted under.

So start logging in because you are already a valuable addition to the community  with a number of great questions and ideas and, of course, your sponsorship.

Besides, I like "Viewfindr" better; "O" always made me wonder if you were Oprah Winfrey.  ;)

Thanks for what you have already brought to the community.

Bob
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