Please pardon the following reflection. If you are not interested in a random stranger’s musings, please skip this post. 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…) 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. )
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.
- 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!