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This morning I tweeted:

If as many devs contributed to SE as commented on EL’s changes we would have no worries about #eecms support.

Why don't we have a considered conversation on Stack Exchange and turn around the situation by contributing to the beta?

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Stack Exchange is a great community option regardless of what Ellislab does. The format works well as the Ellislab forums seem to have been increasingly declining in usage and sidelined by the staff (staff forum support options removed and the forums no longer accessible from the main page and the link located under the partner section.) Forums in general are horrible, but StackExchange implements the medium as well as any I have seen.

As a developer, my support has always come from the following sources in order of importance: my team, my extended team (developers tapped specifically to handle certain issues,) searching resources, add-on support from third party developers (in some cases this would be #1) and code analysis. I almost never contacted Ellislab support as most of the issues I had problems with either weren't supported or required the same legwork that the Ellislab support would have needed to do but at the cost of a slower resolution. As a developer, my own resources for support were sufficient and I extended those resources to my clients.

The users which will be left in the cold is the low-end "do it yourself" segment with no development support and budgets which barely cover purchasing a license. However, this segment may shrink due to increased prices. I don't think most developers will be much affected either way.

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    I generally agree with this, but the centralised peer support at stack exchange will be of benefit to everyone. – CreateSean Nov 27 '12 at 14:47
  • I generally agree too, once I'd gotten past the initial learning curve. Though looking back it took longer than 3 months for me to become proficient with EE, by which time my free support under the new regime would have expired! – Jonathan Schofield Nov 27 '12 at 16:13
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With respect, I don't think that your tweet actually makes a helpful comparison.

Throwaway remarks/bitching on Twitter (guilty as charged) are always going to be easier than making a sustained contribution of time to build a community of peers around a common interest. Groups of people who are passionate about what they do and the tools they use to do it are always going to need to let off steam, and far better on Twitter than in a meta thread. But a considered conversation? Yes please...

I think a lot of good, generous people already are engaged and contributing to this nascent community, and when the beta opens to the public, I hope to see that group grow very considerably.

It's also worth bearing in mind that we are still(!) in private beta - so the total pool of people who can contribute to the site is still pretty small. According to the Users tab, right now there are ~380 users signed up to the beta, of whom ~60 or so have contributed a question or an answer in the ~13 days the beta has been running.

Having been involved with facilitating/managing online communities in a past life, that sort of engagement level is actually fairly decent. IMO our Area 51 stats also look pretty healthy for a site thats in private beta, heck they beat those of quite a few SX sites in public beta.

It's a hackneyed saying, but the community (along with the brilliant addon ecosystem - not that you can really separate the two) is what has made EE so great in the past, and I'm personally still hopeful it will be strong enough to carry us into the future as well.

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