Lotus forums

I love the Lotus forums – you know, the product support forums for each of the products, Quickr, Connections, Notes/Domino, Sametime etc.  The community support on them is excellent, better than most other vendor support forums I’ve come across.  A lot of folks outside and inside IBM give up many many hours to answer queries and to follow up on issues posted on there.

However (you knew that was coming didn’t you), I am becoming concerned that there is a trend toward less and less involvement from those in the development teams.  There are (thankfully) a number of very active product evangelists and tech-sales folks (e.g. Luis Benitez for Connections, Michael Urspringer for Quickr) who keep the forums ticking over, but I cannot recall the last time I saw a response from a product developer who really had the insight on how the product was written.  This often leaves folks guessing at answers or reasons why something might be written in a certain way, and also gives the impression that feedback does not often make it back to those that can influence the products themselves.    

That of course is just my perception, and maybe I’m completely wrong on this?  I hope I am really.  But I’d be interested in your viewpoint, and also whether the forums are still as valuable to you as they used to be?

Stuart McIntyre is a Senior Strategist at Fostering Community Limited. He curates a number of product-focused news sites, is a lapsed podcaster, founded the Social Connections user group and regularly speaks at conferences and events. This blog represents his own slightly-eccentric and usually-controversial opinions!