Reflections on the "tenor" of the Forum

Please pardon the following reflection. If you are not interested in a random stranger’s musings, please skip this post. :laughing: It is my sincere hope that it will prove to be constructive and thought-provoking for some; not to add to any negativity on the forum. If anyone feels so inclined as to accuse me of wasting their time reading this post, no one forced you to read it. You have been warned, lol.

I’ve noticed a higher than usual number of disgruntled posts in the recent past; these stand in stark contrast to the forum’s earliest days. There have also been many references to the tone or tenor of the forum (increasingly negative). In my humble opinion, I think that part of the issue that surfaces on this forum is not simply the fact that there are happy and unhappy users who disagree; I have seen plenty of perfectly polite disagreements and corrections (almost shockingly polite considering this is the internet after all…) :wink: To echo the chorus of voices who have stated the same in the past: disagreement, as such, on the forum is perfectly acceptable and I make no effort to prevent or quash it. (Perhaps the real issue is that many people do not like being challenged and take it personally rather than accepting the consequences of voicing an opinion in a public forum! —I am fully cognizant that this post may generate heated responses.)

To me the issue is more that those who are disgruntled (to repeat: I am not targeting anyone in particular!) is the borderline outrage of disgruntled users when they aren’t told that they will get exactly what they want tomorrow. To my amazement, there are those who, even when they are told that their suggestions are going to be incorporated soon, continue to bemoan that they don’t already have the features they want, rather than simply saying “thanks!” and looking forward to what I affectionately refer to as “Dorico Day!” (whenever there is a new release). Other users get very upset when they are told that, while the feature they are requesting may be worked into a future version, it will not be imminent.

On the one hand, I get it. I have personally requested a few things; a few of which have come to pass, however a few of which have not. Our requests—by their very nature—have real-world consequences for us. I am a “professional” user who is in Dorico for up to 8 hours some days as I serve as a liturgical music director full-time. That said, I think it perfectly reasonable for me to not get my wishlist immediately. It’s too easy to forget that while one feature may be a big deal to any one of us as individuals, it may not be a big deal in the grander scheme of things when you factor in the thousands of users whose needs are different from our own (many of whom also use the program professionally every day). If I am the only person requesting feature X, and there are 200 people requesting feature Y, it is perfectly reasonable for the development team to implement feature Y instead. Similarly, even if my idea is simply stellar, but it would require unreasonable development overhead to achieve it at this time, Y may still make more sent to implement.

Let us also remember that the development team is not done implementing their full vision for Dorico yet. Some things are undoubtedly on hold until they can be implemented with the proper verve and utility envisioned by the team. This is something for which we should undoubtedly be grateful. If they half-baked something, then users would turn around and complain that the feature doesn’t work how they wish it did; at which point we were no better off to begin with. In this sense, the development team is in a lose-lose situation; a wee bit of a porridge too hot—porridge too cold. I think it would do us well to remember that. I have absolutely no doubt that they wish this was not the case. (It is a great irony that some people petition to have half-baked features to then “bodge” their way through a score in Dorico (a great British expression!) while others simultaneously bemoan that they must use workarounds to get things done. :unamused: )

We also need to be careful to remember—as Daniel recently reminded us in one thread—that updating the program and writing in new features isn’t as easy as snapping your fingers and snap it ‘just works’ now. If that were the case, all of the features being requested would have already been worked into the program! Only the developers are in an appropriate place to determine what features should appear when—weighing both user feedback and intimate knowledge of their development capabilities and cycles. I daresay that almost every single one of us, excepting perhaps the youngest users, migrated from other programs that we know/knew well. Those are typically still open to us for special projects that cannot be accommodated in Dorico at this moment.

To summarize:

  • This is perhaps the most important thing to remember: The development team is not done implementing their full vision for Dorico yet. Every. Single. Time. they release a new version it is always better than anyone anticipated.

  • [You] are not the only one with requests and almost all of us “have skin in the game.”

  • The development team is keenly aware that the feature-set available to us has real-world consequences for us day in and day out.

  • We do NOT know the true leg-work involved in properly implementing ANY feature when we request it.

  • Our desires for the program and the developers’ desires are not necessarily at odds: they often want to see the same improvements we do! It just doesn’t happen overnight.

  • Half-baked features are rarely worth having; you won’t be happy using them even if they are available to you.

  • No one is forced to use Dorico and everyone had the chance to demo the program for a month before taking the plunge.

  • Disagreement on the forum is not spurned; typically tone has more to do with any given thread than anything else. If you are going to post, you need a thick skin. Welcome to the internet.

In conclusion, in an ironic way I think we can read some posts as tacit complements to the developers even when they seem most upset: some people like Dorico so much that they can’t bear the thought of migrating back to their old programs! That is undoubtedly why they want everything to go smoothly now!

Hopefully, that puts a slightly positive twist on my post. I find it loathsome to go back to my old program and for that I thank the Dorico team!

I am a little surprised that you feel there is an increased number of negative posts recently, compared to the early days. I have the exact opposite impression. Around the six month mark in the history of Dorico, there were quite a few extremely negative posts, as I recall. Some of them were absolutely ‘over the line,’ in terms of politeness. I remember in particular one poster who was quite snide and who wouldn’t listen to anyone who disagreed with him; he simply repeated his arrogant assertions over and over and seemed to think his opinions were facts. Most people ended up ignoring him, and eventually he stopped posting.

Perhaps I’ve somehow managed to miss the more recent negative postings you refer to, but I must say my overall impression is that the forum’s average tone is LESS negative now than it was early on. It seems to me that the posters I’ve read lately who complain about missing features are quite willing to wait for them. Voicing some particular frustration is not quite the same as being totally disgruntled. And the notes expressing frustration I’ve seen seem to me to be quite polite and reasonable, compared to some from a year or two ago.

I agree with L3B on this, actually. Were you around for the DAW vs Notation software discussions? Or the days before v2, when Play mode got a good refreshing?

I am the same way, but I only read about 4% of the threads – the ones where I think I can learn something or maybe contribute something. From what I see, it is not a big problem. We all have our own wish lists for features, but I think most forum participants have been able to maintain perspective.

Also remember that some participants here do not have English as their first language. I have seen a few cases where a person tries to express a position and it comes out a little awkwardly in English. We should all make an effort to bridge those gaps rather than assume some insult was intended.

Outrage is easy. Collegiality takes some work.

Stupid tenor of the forum. :imp:

I think this forum is about the most polite I’ve ever been on… certainly compared to ProAud…

Agreed. And let’s keep it that way!

What’s the problem with the tenor of the forum? You wanna mess with me or what?
(Ok, now I recall Daniel Spreadbury is a tenor too…)

:laughing: :laughing: :laughing:

Isn’t Daniel a baritone?

I am pretty sure that Daniel is a tenor ! But he’ll probably confirm that himself :wink:

I am indeed a tenor, though vocally I’ve been ravaged by colds for the last several weeks so I’m not my usual mellifluous self at the moment…

I most certainly do believe, in general, this to be a very polite forum. That is why I even made the joke about how polite most of the “disagreements” are. I suppose my post was really intended for a few of the disgruntled souls who are tempted to take it out on the forum or more specifically, Daniel & company.

Yes, I was here in the early days. I bought v1.0 the day it was released. I had forgotten about many of those discussions. Personally, I am very happy on the forum and I check it every day, including a lot of the threads that don’t pertain to me just so I can learn and catch those wonderful glimpses into the future that Daniel peppers about here and there. There were just a few particular posts that I’d read recently that got me thinking.

I didn’t intend to give the impression that I was bemoaning the general state of affairs as a whole. I’d simply noticed a few surprisingly negative posts.

If anything, I’m grateful that most of you disagree with me in this case. That means something right is happening. :slight_smile:

I do find it a bit disconcerting when people buy the program, then complain bitterly about why it doesn’t do XYZ, when the description and a cursory search of the forum clearly states that it doesn’t do XYZ YET… but eventually it will. They can even try the program fully before they buy, and know that it doesn’t do XYZ - yet they still complain. Have patience, everyone. I think Dorico is amazingly far along for being released just two years ago. Imagine what the next two years will bring - or five. It will be awesome!

Well, statistically, 50% of the population are below average intelligence. And you don’t have to pass an IQ test before you are allowed to buy stuff.

There’s not much point getting “disconcerted” about things you have no control over, IMO!

I guess people’s ire was a little more understandable when Dorico couldn’t do first and second time bars, or chord symbols, or percussion kits, or fingering. Certainly first time bars and chord symbols are within the realm of stuff that one could reasonably expect from any self-respecting piece of “pro” notation software in 2018 (or 2016, for that matter). Not that the development team advertised features that didn’t exist - they didn’t.

Now it strikes me that there’s a group of users who are approaching Dorico more from sequencers rather than from notation software, who perhaps expect Dorico to be constructed around the innards of Cubase or Nuendo, which of course it’s not. These users might one day be happy, but it won’t be immediately.

As to those users that troll about Dorico not being “Pro”, that’s clearly nonsense. Romanos is far from the only person that uses Dorico for 8 hours a day. It may not be a replacement for Cubase/Logic/Nuendo/Notion/Whatever, so it may not be fit for certain types of media work or guitar music or plainchant (or many other things I can’t instantly think of), but the various people that use it in place of Sibelius/Finale/MuseScore have switched because it handles their stuff better than Sibelius/Finale/MuseScore.

It’s probably incredibly obvious from my (frequently impatient) tone, but the one thing I’d love to see on this forum is better search facilities (or better use of the ones we’ve got) and less hassling of the development team. We users don’t have to answer threads on here if we don’t want to or don’t have time; the development team basically do have to answer, or they risk appearing negligent. I don’t honestly know how they get any work done :wink:

Edit: on reflection I seem to have just taken this thread as an invitation to muse, while I should be cleaning the kitchen. Apologies to you all, and to my neighbours (who are going to have to put up with my practising late after I’ve cleaned the kitchen!)

Well said, Romanos. While we’re on it - let’s cheer for the community, and especially for the senior members which a few of them have contributed with 2000+ posts!! Although I’m too occupied with work to contribute much myself these days, I read every post, and I learn something new everyday that makes my daily work. We should all be most thankful to those who patiently helps out, and answers to questions that are answered so many times before, and even well explained in the documentation. The way I see it, this volunteer work contribute to make the developers focus on making an amazing tool.

Thanks, all!

8 hours? That’s on a good, light, breezy day. This has been an exceptionally busy period for me, and I’m very grateful to have had Dorico already to work with. I handed in my first bit of work done with Dorico in December 2016, I think, and published my first piece of engraving in February; Dorico was released in October, if I recall correctly. I’m pretty sure the Dorico page forces you to go through the features before reaching the store, if nothing else, so I’m equally mystified by some of the more basic complaints…

I think part of what may be going on is that Dorico has been out in the world for a while now and there are more and more people, myself included, who have invested their own accumulating chunks of hours using and learning Dorico. When you start putting 100s and then eventually 1000s of hours in front of a program the things that you run into that may be flaws or features-to-come-later or other perceived shortcomings (justified or not) start to become more and more frustrating because you start to feel that the payoff of your investment in personal time will ultimately be delayed.

I can say from my own personal experience that the more I use Dorico (I’m probably 100+ hours in so far) the more I see it’s potential and the more and more I want to start setting up my own templates, and start using it for more and more of what I do. But there are still a handful of things that are holding me back from diving in fully, and they’re such seemingly small things in the grand scheme of things, (they may not be), but the truth is that the hours I have personally put in won’t fully pay off until those small things that I need get implemented. I’m sure there are a lot of other people in exactly my position and I would imagine that with every update those small implementations and changes and improvements will get more and more people over that hump.

As much as it’s important for us the users to stay patient and keep perspective that programming Dorico is a complicated proposition that can’t be rushed and what not, it’s also helpful if the development team cuts us some slack and realizes that our own hours in front of Dorico are valuable to us as well (occasionally to the demise of our own decorum) and hopefully they won’t take anything we say/complain about personally.

F#$%le is 26 versions in, it’s a mature program, I can yell/scream/complain until I’m blue in the face about all the bugs that don’t get fixed and all the archaic functionalities, but… it ain’t gonna change. Dorico is on version 2, if there’s a time for users to yell and scream and complain, it’s right now because you guys are still listening. :wink: This is a good reminder for us to stay patient, but hopefully the Dorico team doesn’t take anything too personally on here.

For what it’s worth, I bought Dorico on Day 2 or 3 when it was fully acknowledged that there were many “things-to-come-later”. At that time I put in a bunch of hours and thought it might be version 3 or 4 before I could really start utilizing it fully. 2.1 (although still a handful of things shy of what I ultimately need) is way closer to that then what I expected so… keep it coming!

By all means, please list the small improvements that you personally would require to fully make the switch. While it is very likely we have them on our roadmap already, it’s always good to get feedback, specifically on the seemingly minor items.

I’m doing everything that I have a choice in in Dorico now. Most of the workarounds that annoy me are things that have always been workarounds in Finale. I’ve requested bugs fixing in Finale for a decade that still exist. I can’t imagine the same happening with Dorico. I have a large job next year that has to be done in Finale and I’m not at all looking forward to it. Pro work is being done nicely in Dorico. If a gig needs something that Dorico can’t do, I reluctantly use the option I had before Dorico made my work easier and quicker.