Current state of XF and the participation of the XF Team

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sbj

Well-known member
Hello,

I am concerned about the current state of XenForo and I am starting this topic to see if I am overreacting or if my concern has some merit to it.

I always try to be helpful, supportive and positive on here. So the last thing I want to do is to start a drama. On other sites I have a more direct and sharp tongue, but on here I want to be a part of a warm-welcoming family. I feel like I owe it to XF and all forum owners. One day I help someone out, another day someone else will help me out. Give and take. We are on the same boat, this way everyone benefits. But lately I am struggling to be supportive on here because I feel like "why should I care when the XF team doesn't care anymore?".

Of course right now this sounds like there is no basis for such a claim. So I will try to present my view. I am following this forum pretty closely since 2013 (active daily). Before that I was watching it from the outside. Over the years with the decline of all forums unfortunately this forum has also declined. That would be okay because nobody can control that really. But for quite some time there is pretty much no interaction by the XF team with the community anymore, or much less (like 90% decrease). They may be more active in nodes where we have no access, but I can only judge what I can see. So I took the time to collect some data from public records.

*Brogan is too active to count his numbers manually. In all these last 12 years he is pretty much always online, always active.

Table made in Sep 21, 2022
KierMikeChris DBrogan*Jake BunceSlavikJeremy PNixFifty
Last Seen//Today/Aug 8, 2021TodayToday/
Registered (months)146146130146146144146113
Total Posts644527104331346625516339674024371370
Last Post DateJul 21, 2022Jul 15, 2021Sep 16, 2022Sep 21, 2022Sep 7, 2020Sep 9, 2022Aug 16, 2022Sep 20, 2022
Total Posts per Year avg.5292227301254451343561200145
In 2022 Total Posts38039302918264
In 2021 Total Posts1283921424034206121
All Years Posts per Month avg.44185254453111461612
2022 Posts per Month avg.404303207
2021 Posts per Month avg.1032118021710
September '22 Posts00601011
August '220050514
July '22120240255
June '2240120065
May '2270508247
April '222020052110
March '22405707682
February '228016900358
January '221095012212
December '21 Posts106604473
November '2100162032915
October '212016403208
September '211026301219
August '211099013715
July '21193710802135
June '2121561130344
May '214696890463
April '212645701334
March '21182911700103
February '21161910600333
January '2119180001319


Let's take Mike as example. He hasn't posted over a year now. Someone with 27104 posts, who averages 2227 posts a year, hasn't written a single post in 2022. Leading dev and owner of XF, who used to be a machine in 1.X days, hasn't been "seen" since 2.0 came out pretty much. If I would go further back in time, I could prove that, but it takes too much time to do that.

Kier (I love you), but since July '21 there is pretty much almost no interaction from you. Also the previous years (1.X years) you were not seen. But I love the video series you started, thank you for that. This is the kind of activity I wish we had all the time.

Chris, who was always extremely active since he joined the team, has also cut interaction this year drastically. 90% decrease from his normal numbers.

Brogan is an alien.

Jake Bunce hasn't written a single post for 2 years now.

Slavik wrote 561 posts per year on average. It means in the 12 years he is registered on here, he was very active normally. But in 2022 he wrote in total 29 posts and in 2021 34 posts. Where is the man who wrote 500 posts a year and where did the man with 30 posts a year come from?

Jeremy P is the only one maintaining his activity constant throughout the years although he is very new in the team. So it doesn't say much.

NixFifty has had almost no interaction with XF customers from what I could see since he joined the team. Only with his own 3rd-party addons' customers.


This is concerning to me because I feel like the last 4-5 years the devs of this forum doesn't communicate with us anymore. I just went back to 2021, so my numbers show only the time in the last 2 years. But if I went back further, one could easily see the decline in the last 4-5 years, too.

In addition to the "participation of the devs", it was said that XF 2.0 will make development faster. And 2 new devs were added to the team. Yet XF 2.3 is yet to be seen. 2 years no new version. Communication/participation/interaction is at the lowest it has been from all 3 main devs. I have never seen the bug reports forum this abandoned. It looks like the last 1 year the bugs hasn't been resolved as quickly as it was used to be. So it accumulated to ~300 reports now. I remember a time where that forum node has had 8 active reports. Usually 2 pages at most, right now 15 pages.

The progress of XF was in my opinion too slow, but right now it is beyond slow. Okay, maybe I am expecting too much. But at least having the devs being active in the community could spark joy, motivation, activity or make us feel supported. But not only are they not talking to/with us anymore, the 3rd-party devs are also not participating anymore. The biggest one Audentio left XF. And checking every day XF, addons are not released anymore almost and the support threads of addons are not popping off anymore. Like everyone has left this place it feels like. I see the same 30-40 names in every thread. 167000 members and 50 active users? Where is everyone? Am I being paranoid here?

What do you think @all? Am I exaggerating? Am I trying to be dramatic? Maybe I am too biased somehow? What do these numbers say to you?

Thank you.

PS: I hope this thread is taken postively like as a feedback and criticism from a concerned supporter of XF. Even with all the shortcomings (if there are any), I still am here and will be here.
 
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Starbucks

Active member
Well Done Clapping GIF by MOODMAN

This. Post.

Well done!! More and more people speak up. I've shut my mouth for quite some time as well, but I am happy to see that many people speak up and share their honest opinion about this.

Edit: To me, these number say a lot. It really shows that the XF team should be way more communicative to us, the customers.
It bothers me a lot that they're keeping their mouth shut about any... further development. The seemed indeed to be incredibly active a long time ago, but now they're prob just working"back-end" and less interaction with the customers.

I've already mentioned some time ago that the lack of communication and their coldish communication style bothers me. That's not the kind of customer support experience you expect, at any company.

I'm not sure about the amount of registered and active license holders, but they should really have someone that can setup a better communication style and customer support experience. To me, the XF Staff team has no marketing background, nor any communication background. Just developers. Maybe they an hire someone, either freelance or part-time, that can work on this.

I really love how powerful XF is, and the team truly did an amazing job with this, but they also seem to ignore a lot of great feature requests. To me, XF is more or less maintained by the amazing Add-on Developers.

When you see someone posting a question, it is usually an add-on developer resolving the issue, because the XF team quickly decides that any kind of feature-related question is "out of scope". Seems a bit lazy to me, feels kind of like; Oh... the add-on developers will do the customer support for us.
 
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Starbucks

Active member
With my previous reply, I also want to thank all the Add-on developers for filling the gap of missing features. Not only are they making XenForo complete, but they also help out a lot of XenForo customers with their questions, without being paid at all.

Cheers, to all of them.
fetty wap cocaine GIF
 

sbj

Well-known member
@Starbucks

It is not like I am trying to start a riot or anarchy or something :D, but thanks for your opinion. I also agree more or less with you (although I would frame it with other words), particularly the last part is an interesting point.

When you see someone posting a question, it is usually an add-on developer resolving the issue, because the XF team quickly decides that any kind of feature-related question is "out of scope". Seems a bit lazy to me, feels kind of like; Oh... the add-on developers will do the customer support for us.
This is a bit sad. The XF 1.0 to 1.2 days were the opposite of it. Actively the devs were participating with the customers and were adding new features "on-the-fly" like by listening to the feature requests gathered through feedback. I believe the template modification system was a results of that (came with 1.2 I think?). But since then they changed that style and we got this style you describe which bothers me too to be honest.
 

nicodak

Well-known member
If you transpose the way XF staff communicate to a physical store it would be a store where you see employees working in the back of the store but if you call them they almost never answer. Delivery men are waiting with their package but no one receives them... And from time to time a regular customer comes by and helps you... However, on the front door there is a sign marked OPEN.
 

sbj

Well-known member
If you transpose the way XF staff communicate to a physical store it would be a store where you see employees working in the back of the store but if you call them they almost never answer. Delivery men are waiting with their package but no one receives them... And from time to time a regular customer comes by and helps you... However, on the front door there is a sign marked OPEN.
That is not true I think, because you forgot Brogan.
The whole support system is carried by him alone for a pretty long time now. In the past in technical questions you got pretty much instant answers from Mike and Chris. After Mike disappeared, Chris carried it a lot but lately he is also not to be seen. Right now Brogan is the only one but in more technical stuff the field is empty right now. At least this is my impression.
 

sbj

Well-known member
It's almost like the developers are busy developing while the community managers are managing the community. The crazy fools.
So the 27k posts by Mike were made inbetween development and tea time or the 33k one by Chris?

I knew someone would jump to this false-conclusion because if what you say were true, then they wouldn't have had time to post thousands of messages yearly since they are pretty much always busy developing.
 

RobParker

Well-known member
So the 27k posts by Mike were made inbetween the development and tea time or the 33k one by Chris?

I knew someone would jump to this false-conclusion because if what you say were true, then they wouldn't have had time to post thousands of messages yearly since they are pretty much always busy developing.

There's a bigger team now with more well-defined roles? It's no longer a 2-man show where Mike had to also handle the community. That growth is a good thing. Nevermind we've been through a pandemic and maybe people just needed a bit of a break.
 

Brad P

Well-known member
I believe we have a moderator called Gemma, she hasn't posted since she started back in 2019 last active in May 2022,

I'd agree it's all gone a bit quiet, but agree Brogan just bosses the forums with 100% commitment each day.
 

sbj

Well-known member
There's a bigger team now with more well-defined roles? It's no longer a 2-man show where Mike had to also handle the community. That growth is a good thing. Nevermind we've been through a pandemic and maybe people just needed a bit of a break.
This is an illusion because I only had the time to post the numbers of last 2 years. If we had the numbers for all years, you would see that the development of XF 2.3 is not related to this and starts much much before than that.

So, say Mike doesn't have to handle the community anymore, who does? Brogan and? Who replaced him in that role? Actually Brogan's workload increased 3x because of it.

How do you explain Jake Bunce having not posted for 2 years now? I guess he has had no electricity and internet access because of the pandemic till this day?
 

RobParker

Well-known member
On other sites I have a more direct and sharp tongue, but on here I want to be a part of a warm-welcoming family.

Well, that's going well for you... ;-)

Is this drama-causing faux concern or is there an actual problem? I barely post on here right now as XF is great as it is. What's actually wrong?
 

sbj

Well-known member
I believe we have a moderator called Gemma, she hasn't posted since she started back in 2019 last active in May 2022,

We have also had some staffing changes. Those of you who have recently used the ticket system to contact us may have spoken with @Gemma Eastwood, who joined us this year to help with various administrative and financial work and has been keeping us very much in-check by also doubling up as our new Project Manager, drawing on her experience working at Burberry, RealNetworks and Pragmatic.

I pretty much never used the ticket system in all my years (once or twice). Maybe she is active on there? I don't know, can't say something about her, so left her out. It looks like she is not meant to be in communication with us but on the other hand the ticket system is mentioned. I don't know.
 

sbj

Well-known member
Well, that's going well for you... ;-)

Is this drama-causing faux concern or is there an actual problem? I barely post on here right now as XF is great as it is. What's actually wrong?
If I started such topics say every year, month or week, I could get behind your accusation. But check my posts on here. Go back as far as you can. Have you EVER seen me causing drama on here? I am supporting this community as best I can, just check my history. But I am also a human being and I feel like they don't care about us anymore. That is my actual problem. I wrote it, too but you think you are cheeky and smart by trying to "expose my faux concern".
 

sbj

Well-known member
I am following other development related things (games especially but also some other stuff on reddit). In any case, pretty much it is always expected from the devs to have communication with the userbase. It has nothing to do with attention seeking like you accuse me of it. Sure, I may overreact hence why I opened this thread to see if that is the case. Nevertheless, I feel like for a long time there is a problem with communication, support and development of XF.
 

FTL

Well-known member
@sbj excellent post. Articulates and clarifies really well what I've been noticing and posting about and got attacked for by apologists the other day, alas.

I think something has happened at the company and all is not well, unfortunately. This total lack of communication is terrible and doesn't bode well for the medium and long term. It's certainly not the way to treat your paying customers. This is commercial software after all, not free.

It wouldn't surprise me if XF revenue has tanked, perhaps, as quietness can be one of the signs until big news breaks our, like a company going into administration, perhaps. Pure speculation by me, but most things are driven by money, so not totally unreasonable.

If the worst should happen and I can no longer use XF for whatever reason, then I have an Invision license that I can renew (expensive and no post numbers, alas) or maybe - shock - go to vBulletin if I really had to and finally get that half decent article system I've been talking about here. I get the impression that the latest version is probably not as terrible as people think it is. I don't have a vB license btw.

But for now, my site works fine, so I sit tight and on tenterhooks for an update - any update - like everybody else.
 
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