Re: Issues for BDC
posted at 7/7/2014 12:26 PM EDT
Good (semi)Morning to everyone!
I'm Adrienne, the new Product Manager for our forums and comments (among other things). As you might have guessed, I'm "the new guy" here (on the forums and b.com generally), and trying to acclimate to all the duties and commitments of my predecessors (I have actually taken on the job of two people).
I know this has been a tough time for all of you, and I can relate. The transition from old to new Boston.com has been...bumpy to say the least. As you noticed, many small things (and some large ones) are funky, things can break without warning, and we're all left to wonder what the hell is going on. I'm so impressed and delighted with the resilience of this community and I hope we can work together to get your space back to normal. Maybe we can even make some improvements along the way!
There are a couple issues I wanted to touch on while I had a moment. First, to apologize for taking so long to read through this board and listen to your concerns. Even with everything going on, you the users are our most important priority, and I unfortunately got lost in the machine of this company for a little too long. So I promise you that I (or at the very least someone from my team) will be here to create the two-way conversation you deserve.
Second, I saw some conversation about this "survey" (which was not a survey at all, but I'll get to that in a minute) that we were conducting and I wanted to shed some light on it. Most importantly, we were actually testing a prototype of a new product we were considering working on. It was in no way meant to be shared with the public. As you know, boston.com could use new ways of engaging our users, and it would be poor form not to experiment with and think about the how we might do that. Part of that experimenting process needs to be asking users to use these experiments and give us feedback along the way. This means, if we reach out to you (like we did with the mods) you're going to see stuff that's a little rough around the edges. But this also means that you'll be able to help us refine the product before it makes it to a full release. Hopefully, this will ensure that we're only releasing things that are awesome and valuable to you, our community of users.
So when we started thinking about this new product, we asked several people to participate in preliminary (and confidential) user test of a very early version. And the testing was very helpful! Both of our moderators participated and gave us lots of valuable feedback and we've been able to shape our vision moving forward as a result. I'd like to do more of these tests with different users as we begin to think about other products we might introduce. It's my hope that we begin to build things you would like to use, because you had a hand in creating them. But, it's important that everyone understand these tests aren't products set in stone or even set in wet sand. In all likelihood, many of them will never become public facing tools because you, our users, tell us that they're not useful or that they're not solving the problem we think they are.
Finally I wanted to address this issue of the time it is taking to get current bugs moving through our development cycle. As you saw from my email to one of the mods, it's a tricky situation and we are severely understaffed. I'm not sure if anyone noticed, but we are currently hiring for 20 new developers. No, that's not a typo. We are at least 20 people short of a full development team. Crazy right? (If you're a web developer looking to help work on these issues, feel free to DM me) We're lucky to have a new owner that understands the amount of work it takes to make a fully functional and bug-free website, but there will definitely be some growing pains in the process. So this is why it takes 6 months to find a "loose screw" (to use my own analogy). Again, I know this is no excuse, and part of the problem has been our radio silence but I'm hoping to change that starting now. I can't promise that I'll be here every day, but I can commit to checking on this thread at least several times a week to answer questions and file new issues with our developers.
Thanks again for being a member of this vibrant and awesome community. And thank you for your feedback, patience and empathy while we get through this growth spurt together.