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#21 MVS

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 04:36 AM

I find alansogd reply the most candid I have ever seen on these forums. But I find it frightening to think of myself as a "Power User". If I am a Power User then most of the customer base must be amoeba.! (as in the old joke about "If you had one more brain cell you would be an amoeba").

I dont use nine tenths of the RM facilities (eg research logs, internet connectivity, custom reporting, and so on) and from my reading of the Forum entries from other "Power Users" they are to a degree a bit like me; ie they have specific areas of interest and just want to see these work as originally promised, or work a bit better.

I dont think you need to be a Power User to say - "could this application remember the size and position of where I left this dialog so that next time I use it it will be in the same place on the screen and the same size". This is a basic, essential windows programming requirement.

Nor do you have to be a power user to say "I want to select and link more than one piece of multimedia at the same time", like I can do in every other windows program I run from a thousand other software vendors.

And if someone says to me "dont worry I have a better idea than an event copy and paste function called Shared Events" then I think it is reasonable that the new feature should do what a copy and paste function would have achieved OR carry a big warning notice telling me it is only a part solution so I could decide whether to use it or not.

MVS.

#22 alansogd

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 09:17 AM

I haven't been in the forums for a long time, so I don't know who to consider a power user or not, but if you have more than a few hundred posts, you're definitely more than a casual user.

I appreciate the generally positive response. Now I fear I may have mischaracterized the "poison level" of these forums :)

I'm sure that everyone at RootsMagic would love for it to be the easiest experience for casual users, and still the most powerful program for advanced users as well. However, I don't blame them for focusing on more easy-to-use features like online publishing or the timeline, because these features are interesting to a casual userbase. Like I've said before, I doubt there is any malicious intent on the part of RootsMagic to ignore your requests, but more likely that small features or bugs that are interesting to a smaller number of people get pushed down the tracking queue in the interest of more critical bugs or features that are interesting to the most users (which, as it turns out, are the casual users).

A feature like saving window position may not be a 'power user' feature, but I think the point still stands. Tom's original comment is probably the most effective solution -- the more aware RootsMagic can be made of how many people are interested in a given feature, the more likely it is to be prioritized highly. I'm not sure the best way to organize this, but I'm sure that the reason some features or bugs never get addressed is because one person asked on the forum a long time ago, a couple other people agreed, and that was it ... so it doesn't feel like a priority. In some cases it may be true that only the one person ever wanted it, but in other cases, maybe not.

I definitely think communication is the biggest problem here. Ludlow Bay calls the tracking system the "in-but-never-out" tracking system. I think that in reality a lot of bugs and features go into the tracking system and are handled appropriately, but some never are and it is the lack of communication that makes it frustrating. RootsMagic doesn't necessarily owe its users an explanation on how it chooses to deal with a given request, but I think that it would be nice to at least get back a "this is considered a low priority but we will try to handle it before the next major version", or a "we have chosen not to add or fix this for such-and-such reasons". Even a negative response or a long waiting period is better than testing after every update to see if your request made it or not, and it gives forum members an opportunity to defend the importance of their request.

I can try to influence open practices here but once again have to remind everyone that I'm no manager so I don't have significant power to effect major changes. I am open to any suggestions or ideas on how communication might be improved and your voices may be better heard.

#23 Renee Zamora

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 01:31 PM

I have a concern that this thread might influence people to bombard our support system with emails and tickets. Let me just tell you if you form such a plan it will be to the demise of the RootsMagic forums. We are totally over-whelmed right now with tickets and emails because everyone is telling us old issues that have not been resolved in RM6. We already know about them, you don't need to tell us again. Such miss use of the support system causes truly important new bugs to get buried and users really needing help to have long response times.

None of you understand the RootsMagicians long-term plans for the software. He doesn't just work on just "the next build or version". He has a development plan reaching many years into the future of RootsMagic. For example, we have a need to develop the Mac version of our software. This requires many features to be totally ripped apart and rebuilt from scratch but appear seamless to the user. If you know in the future you have to rebuild something from scratch you don't invest development time in fixing "little" bugs that may have other work arounds for now. This is why your time line of when things get fixed are not on our time schedule.

No complaining, campaigns, or demonstrations will change the development course. Just because something appears popular here in the forums does not mean the majority of users feel so. Please stay on track report issues, bugs and enhancements. RootsMagic will decide when they are implemented.
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#24 Miranda

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 02:29 PM

I definitely think communication is the biggest problem here. Ludlow Bay calls the tracking system the "in-but-never-out" tracking system. I think that in reality a lot of bugs and features go into the tracking system and are handled appropriately, but some never are and it is the lack of communication that makes it frustrating. RootsMagic doesn't necessarily owe its users an explanation on how it chooses to deal with a given request, but I think that it would be nice to at least get back a "this is considered a low priority but we will try to handle it before the next major version", or a "we have chosen not to add or fix this for such-and-such reasons". Even a negative response or a long waiting period is better than testing after every update to see if your request made it or not, and it gives forum members an opportunity to defend the importance of their request.


I myself am a software developer, but I am also a "customer" of many many software libraries and applications that we use in our work product. Most all of them have publicly available bug tracking systems, usually in JIRA/Google Code/etc, so that people can see what's been reported, what specific issues might still be open but that people have commented on it providing helpful info on how to work around it or how to reproduce it, etc.

Perhaps RootsMagic would consider opening up a more public issue tracker. I think something like that would be great for the "power users" in the forums or people who are used to dealing with such things in their day-to-day lives. I often find it extremely helpful to be able to view this information for the software products that I am a user of. There is a lot of information in the forums, but it is scattered about, and quite frankly, the search functionality on the forums is not that good. I often have to do my queries on Google with "site:forums.rootsmagic.com" to get good results, rather than search within the forum itself.

#25 TomH

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 02:44 PM

I wondered about starting such a tracking system independently of RootsMagic because I lose track of what I have reported, let alone what others have, and what has been fixed. If RootsMagic would do so, there would be no need for an outside one. If it was used conscientiously by users, if it provided an indication of how important an item was, possibly it would become a touchstone for development efforts.

Tom user of RM7550 FTM2017 Ancestry.ca FamilySearch.org FindMyPast.com
SQLite_Tools_For_Roots_Magic_in_PR_Celti wiki, exploiting the database in special ways >>> RMtrix-tiny.png app, a bundle of RootsMagic utilities.


#26 Ludlow Bay

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 03:39 PM

I have a concern that this thread might influence people to bombard our support system with emails and tickets. Let me just tell you if you form such a plan it will be to the demise of the RootsMagic forums. We are totally over-whelmed right now with tickets and emails because everyone is telling us old issues that have not been resolved in RM6. We already know about them, you don't need to tell us again. Such miss use of the support system causes truly important new bugs to get buried and users really needing help to have long response times.

None of you understand the RootsMagicians long-term plans for the software. He doesn't just work on just "the next build or version". He has a development plan reaching many years into the future of RootsMagic. For example, we have a need to develop the Mac version of our software. This requires many features to be totally ripped apart and rebuilt from scratch but appear seamless to the user. If you know in the future you have to rebuild something from scratch you don't invest development time in fixing "little" bugs that may have other work arounds for now. This is why your time line of when things get fixed are not on our time schedule.

No complaining, campaigns, or demonstrations will change the development course. Just because something appears popular here in the forums does not mean the majority of users feel so. Please stay on track report issues, bugs and enhancements. RootsMagic will decide when they are implemented.


In one post, you've un-done all of the goodwill that we were feeling from alansogd's comments.

Thanks, Renee, for telling us all to go to hell.

#27 alansogd

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 07:19 PM

I don't disagree with Renee. Bombarding the support system would be counterproductive, and any "complaining, campaigns, or demonstrations" that make themselves a nuisance to RootsMagic would be as well. I'm sure she's just trying to discourage anybody from such behavior. I have talked to her privately and she doesn't take issue to any of my statements.

I think a public bug tracker would be a good idea, but I don't think it would be easy to get RootsMagic on board. Migrating from our current system would be painful and not something worth even considering this soon after a major release. I think Tom's idea is a good one, to have a publicly maintained list of known issues.

I have talked to the RootsMagician and have clearance to set up an official RootsMagic wiki, which I think would be an ideal place to document known issues and perhaps workarounds. Obviously we'd like it to be much more than that, and I hope there are forum members here that use the program more than I do who are willing to help establish the content. I think a wiki could be a step in the right direction toward including the community more.

I've got other commitments this week, but hope to have the bare bones up next week. I may post a separate thread later (or somebody else can) for any discussion regarding the wiki, as it isn't really related to this thread's original message.

#28 TomH

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 07:45 PM

Alan and Renee, you both are bringing some much needed attention to user concerns. Go go!

Tom user of RM7550 FTM2017 Ancestry.ca FamilySearch.org FindMyPast.com
SQLite_Tools_For_Roots_Magic_in_PR_Celti wiki, exploiting the database in special ways >>> RMtrix-tiny.png app, a bundle of RootsMagic utilities.


#29 Paul Harris

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 11:04 PM

I have a concern that this thread might influence people to bombard our support system with emails and tickets. Let me just tell you if you form such a plan it will be to the demise of the RootsMagic forums. We are totally over-whelmed right now with tickets and emails because everyone is telling us old issues that have not been resolved in RM6. We already know about them, you don't need to tell us again. Such miss use of the support system causes truly important new bugs to get buried and users really needing help to have long response times.

None of you understand the RootsMagicians long-term plans for the software. He doesn't just work on just "the next build or version". He has a development plan reaching many years into the future of RootsMagic. For example, we have a need to develop the Mac version of our software. This requires many features to be totally ripped apart and rebuilt from scratch but appear seamless to the user. If you know in the future you have to rebuild something from scratch you don't invest development time in fixing "little" bugs that may have other work arounds for now. This is why your time line of when things get fixed are not on our time schedule.

No complaining, campaigns, or demonstrations will change the development course. Just because something appears popular here in the forums does not mean the majority of users feel so. Please stay on track report issues, bugs and enhancements. RootsMagic will decide when they are implemented.


Confirming issue noted in MY tracking system.

#30 Mike M. 77

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 12:41 AM

I understand that RootsMagic is not Adobe or Apple or Microsoft and that there is a small development staff. But many companies, foundations and governments with small technology development budgets are learning to reach out to the outside world and tap into the collective intelligence of the user base. I’m referring to the many forms of “crowd sourcing.”

I can’t program or troubleshoot code, but it’s clear that some people using these forums can. Others out there may not even be RootsMagic users but people who want to move genealogy research forward, or just help fix worthy software. It is now common to see “Hackathons” and “App Contests” that bring together coders and others to fix problems and and develop improvements in a much faster time frame that would normally be possible.

In a few months, New York City will launch an all-new version of its massive nyc.gov site, and a lot of it is based on work done at the Reinvent NYC.gov hackathon. Congress used a hackathon to fix up its Facebook presence last year. There are many examples out there.

Another related option is to open things up for third parties to produce plug-ins that offer enhancements not in the basic code, a strategy that has made WordPress, Photoshop and other programs dominant in their fields. But that also involves some degree of opening up access, interacting with stakeholders more and trusting the collective wisdom of the user base. No software can really succeed in the long run anymore in a closed system. It isn’t the 20th century anymore, and these boards and all social media is expected to be a two-way street, or users can become frustrated and make other choices.

People become attached to their genealogy software maybe more than any other kind, partly because it can be a giant, frustrating project to switch programs. I’m attached to RootsMagic and I want it to succeed. I want it to become the standard genealogy tool. I’d have been willing to pay $19.95 just to get the Find Everywhere feature. I’d be willing to pay $19.95 to finally be able to cut and paste facts and sources, or to create custom yes/no flags, or to do many other things that have appeared numerous times on these boards, and which are available in some other programs.

I’m sorry to have to take issue with Renee above, who says, “No complaining, campaigns, or demonstrations will change the development course.” On another threat (http://forums.rootsm...e-to-be-broken/), Laura stated that “RootsMagic spoils its users” by releasing bug fixes in between upgrades.

In 2012, companies that strive to make constant improvements and involve their users tend to succeed, and those that don’t tend not to.

I want RootsMagic to pull ahead and to succeed, and I don’t want to see users get frustrated. Especially me.

#31 Ludlow Bay

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 01:42 AM


All great thoughts ..... but there is far too much paranoia and insecurity within RMHQ for any meaningful collaboration with users.

#32 Vyger

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 03:21 AM

Perhaps RootsMagic would consider opening up a more public issue tracker. I think something like that would be great for the "power users" in the forums or people who are used to dealing with such things in their day-to-day lives. I often find it extremely helpful to be able to view this information for the software products that I am a user of. There is a lot of information in the forums, but it is scattered about, and quite frankly, the search functionality on the forums is not that good. I often have to do my queries on Google with "site:forums.rootsmagic.com" to get good results, rather than search within the forum itself.


I am familiar with such systems and advocated such several years ago so I agree completely with your post. The fragmentation in the forum and valuable discussions that break out within threads where the topic is unrepresentitive is frustrating. There was a "pinning" and consolidation of hot feature discussions practiced some time ago which did help in my opinion but we can only hope the tracking system has these all logged by feature.

I wondered about starting such a tracking system independently of RootsMagic because I lose track of what I have reported, let alone what others have, and what has been fixed. If RootsMagic would do so, there would be no need for an outside one. If it was used conscientiously by users, if it provided an indication of how important an item was, possibly it would become a touchstone for development efforts.


I did do this with RM4 especially and time permitting would do so again. I believe it was useful but my problem was that it was essentially self authored so issues I had not noticed in program areas I would not be expert did not get included. It would be nice to have an "unofficial" problem list that these "power users" could submit concisely authored problem descriptions and publish them on a "by feature" listing. Again I would be happy to facilitate this on my own hosting but I would, this time, like to have some submissions from other users rather than trying to pick issues up from the forum.

In 2012, companies that strive to make constant improvements and involve their users tend to succeed, and those that don’t tend not to.

I want RootsMagic to pull ahead and to succeed, and I don’t want to see users get frustrated. Especially me.


Agree completely.

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” -Bill Gates

It's now time for discretion, trust, patience and support

 

User of Rootsmagic 7.5.9, Family Historian 6.2.7, Family Tree Maker 2014 & Legacy 7.5

 

Excel to Gedcom conversion - simple getting started tutorials here

 

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#33 MVS

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 03:40 AM

Renee says "For example, we have a need to develop the Mac version of our software".

Why? Especially if, despite the "Rootsmagicians 5 year plan", it "requires many features to be totally ripped apart and rebuilt from scratch". !!

Doesn't sound like a five year plan to me - otherwise the RM4 "total rewrite" would have planned for this and ensured appropriate coding techniques and technologies were used to minimise this cross-platform development effort.

Can we expect the same disruption when the "five year plan" encompasses Android?

MVS.

#34 alansogd

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 07:49 AM

Mike, loved the post. This is the community culture of openness that interests me, and everything you mentioned is something I'd like to see someday. I can say that RootsMagic is not interested in being that open at this point, but that doesn't mean things can never change.

I actually already had it in my mind to try to pitch a plugin system for RootsMagic, but wanted to wait for the dust to settle from the RM6 release to do so.

#35 MVS

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 08:37 AM

Plug in options would be great... also see this thread....

http://forums.rootsm...__+third +party

( and there have been other suggestions elsewhere too).

MVS

#36 Romer

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 01:12 PM

TomH has done a fine job in spearheading the SQLLite Tools for RootsMagic wiki, as well as a set of utilities known as RMtrix, both to supplement RM functionality. See his signature for the appropriate links. Some of this information might be referenced by or incorporated into any RM wiki. Others here on the forum have also created some standalone applications.

#37 Michael Jones

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 02:30 PM

I find alansogd reply the most candid I have ever seen on these forums. But I find it frightening to think of myself as a "Power User". If I am a Power User then most of the customer base must be amoeba.! (as in the old joke about "If you had one more brain cell you would be an amoeba").

I dont use nine tenths of the RM facilities (eg research logs, internet connectivity, custom reporting, and so on) and from my reading of the Forum entries from other "Power Users" they are to a degree a bit like me; ie they have specific areas of interest and just want to see these work as originally promised, or work a bit better.

I dont think you need to be a Power User to say - "could this application remember the size and position of where I left this dialog so that next time I use it it will be in the same place on the screen and the same size". This is a basic, essential windows programming requirement.

Nor do you have to be a power user to say "I want to select and link more than one piece of multimedia at the same time", like I can do in every other windows program I run from a thousand other software vendors.

And if someone says to me "dont worry I have a better idea than an event copy and paste function called Shared Events" then I think it is reasonable that the new feature should do what a copy and paste function would have achieved OR carry a big warning notice telling me it is only a part solution so I could decide whether to use it or not.

MVS.


I agree. I was once an avid supporter of Rootsmagic, but find myself still waiting for what we really want. The copy and paste fact function has been requested since the beginning of time. Genealogy becomes a time-consuming data-entry project. The focus should be on making things more efficient, not adding new features. Wake me up when all the fixes and real requests we've made over the years have been satisfied, instead of adding Internet publishing. I have TNG for that!

#38 Vyger

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 03:12 PM

Genealogy becomes a time-consuming data-entry project. The focus should be on making things more efficient,


AMEN to that.

Plug in options would be great...


And AMEN to that...

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” -Bill Gates

It's now time for discretion, trust, patience and support

 

User of Rootsmagic 7.5.9, Family Historian 6.2.7, Family Tree Maker 2014 & Legacy 7.5

 

Excel to Gedcom conversion - simple getting started tutorials here

 

Root


#39 APerson

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 01:54 AM

Genealogy becomes a time-consuming data-entry project. The focus should be on making things more efficient, not adding new features.


I couldn't agree more!

#40 Vyger

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 09:14 AM

Again, I whole heartedly agree to the point where I concentrate more of building gedcoms of data sets from spreadsheets rather than using RM.

Copy and pasting of events has been mentioned many times on the board and would be a great time saver.

Better functionality around helping users reconcile Places would be a great help. I do acknowledge and applaud the Rootsmagician for making more information visible and accessible at the top level.

More help in managing media, finding and adding unlinked media and more sort options in the LIST view would be a great help and time save, see http://forums.rootsm...ed-media-again/

Live reports were always a big wish for me and whilst the Find Everywhere has moved some way towards fulfilling this and I would hope the same reporting engine can be employed in the Search for Information reporting.

I could go on and on but I would doubt the Rootsmagician would ever wish for RM to become some convoluted and over complicated platform for the majority of users. Still in my opinion there are many things that could be achieved to make data entry quicker.

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” -Bill Gates

It's now time for discretion, trust, patience and support

 

User of Rootsmagic 7.5.9, Family Historian 6.2.7, Family Tree Maker 2014 & Legacy 7.5

 

Excel to Gedcom conversion - simple getting started tutorials here

 

Root