I find that Jibz makes a good point, but Target does to.
Yes, I too, sometimes
, feel annoyed when some critical suggestions or bug reports are received with workarounds as if those would replace true solutions. Or when someone feeds me with a long justification for a problem that should rather be fixed
. But do these really hinder software's development? Maybe in a few situations, but it's very contextual and one needs to be aware of the broader picture (not just the individuals' perspective) to really know whether it's the case (a hindrance, or not) or if, on the contrary, the offered explanation/solution is more of a balm that won't have any "negative impact" (i.e. : no evolution) on the software in the long term, etc.
Is the "super user" just dismissing problems ? Is he giving a workaround plus
suggesting something to the developer ? Is he also encouraging the user to express his views ? Is he also sending a PM to the developer to urge him to do something about it ? Etc. etc. IMO, it's not easy at all to know what's truly a hindrance and what impact posts and threads have on a developer’s work and perspective.
By dismissing that kind of “help/forum participation”, framing it and making generalizations (whether accurate or not), I think one simply runs the risk of discouraging participation in general and actually slowing things down even more. Who wants to feel like a jerk, spending time to help others but being laughed at in return?
So, yes, I did say I sometimes feel annoyed when getting workarounds and justifications instead of true solutions, but… usually
, I actually feel grateful for any feedback, even if someone is offering something a bit different than what I wanted or expected. I mean, really, unless I explicitly said what I wanted/didn't want (e.g. : "Please, no workarounds. This is a criticism/suggestion/issue that isn't calling for any "dirty quick fix"), how would/should the person offering help guess that I'm not
interested in what she has to offer, and, more importantly, why would she even assume that, especially if she’s participating in… a forum? And, even more importantly, why would that person assume that her workaround/solution would influence the developper to not go further and dismiss the problem... instead of the contrary : inspire the developer to find a better
Now, as Target says, I find that when someone isn't satisfied with a workaround, it's really up to the person having a problem to clearly explain to all and especially to the developer what happens and what is expected
(e.g. : a dumb workaround is okay for the next few weeks, but it won't do next month ; this fix should be implemented, etc.), in the forum, AND using the other provided vehicles. The more explicit, the better. And if it's important, post more than once. And all others who feel the same, post too (send, PMs, emails, etc.) .
And, really, in general, those who help aren't guilty of helping or hindering the software's progression, unless (maybe) they've been told not to and still do. But how often does that happen ?
(Yes, I’m a “super user” in the IQ forum. Fortunately, I don’t have a long signature at the bottom of my posts, so I think I’m okay...
P.S. : And, from what I observed and witnessed, user forums are extremely helpful to developers... But some close them once software reached V1 for marketing reasons. I can certainly understand that, but I'm not sure if it's the best alternative.