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Sharp decline in Official Responses from Epic throughout the community.

So, this is definitely 100% my opinion. I have no facts sadly to base this upon, just a gut feeling and just looking at the overall responses that I see (or don’t) over at Answerhub.

Obviously if you all have a way to look at the overall number of Bug Reports that have been reported and comparing that to how many official responses there were, I bet you’d see something similar.

I have a Facebook post/poll going on as well as a Twitter tweet. There’s been a lot discussion about this over on the Unreal Slackers discord chat as well lately. The community is awesome, and luckily we have a lot of intelligent folks out there that can help (I have helped many myself), but there are some things that the community can’t do, and Epic needs to step up their game. Especially when it come to logging Bug Reports (even more so when they have reproducible steps)

IF the lack of communication (i.e. blatantly ignoring posts) is indeed that reproducible steps are not up to standards for Epic, then perhaps creating a template for Bug Reporting is in order.

Regardless, there needs to be a way to ensure that all bug reports are being looked at. Even if it’s like, “Yo, I can’t do anything without Repro Steps, but I’ll keep an eye on this”

Now, for the forums and “Feedback for Epic”, if Epic is not going to respond to anything written here, what is the point of this section then?

Thank you for your time!

11/02/2017 Summary:

Not much has changed in regards to the forums activity, although we did receive some valuable feedback from an Epic engineer (DanielW) down below, which is much appreciated. I have noticed a slight increase in Answerhub presence. A few new faces (new contractors?). Hopefully we will see more of an increased presence throughout the community as time goes on. We’re hitting MegaJam, so after the holidays, we’ll see if we’re back to square one or not.

If you have issues with Documentation, use my thread on there or just start your own thread under Documentation Feedback please. Thanks!

P.S. Give the community monthly #ue4jam again :slight_smile:

[USER=“843085”][/USER]
[USER=“843085”][/USER]

What if…

*meanwhile at Epic

I’m pretty sure Epic Games’ employees are obligated by contract to answer only issues reported in UDN network… this forum right here is merely casual convenience where all non-paying companies/users can exchange experiences.
When some staff reply to a topic in here is pretty much out of their own personal will, not because they have to reply anything in here or any other channels besides the paid support network for paid engine licensees.

  • the fact some few people in near past were very aggressive towards Epic Games’ staff on these casual communication channels also didn’t help to keep them around either *

Roam through Paragon and Fortnite forums…you may lose faith in humanity.

It’s different; very different.
We all know gamers in teenage years can be irrational and overly aggressive for no reason, I know I was a raging teenager not long ago; game developers should not take things personal tho.

In many occasions for example, people criticize my work: I try to learn from what they are providing as feedback even if insults attached, I just filter out the “attacks” and move on… But I’ve worked with people who would take personal any critique to their code or art, acting like children and then distributing gratuitous verbal attacks in exchange (people above their 30s already and doing that).
That also happened here in the forums a few times, and time after time, even the most helpful engine staff faded away from the forums whilst before they’d participate daily sharing a lot of knowledge.

I can agree with you on some points. But, the Bug Report section on Answerhub is very important as it’s the only way for non-UDN devs to post Bug Reports. And a lot of issues that UDN folks have, can be prevented before becoming a problem for them. That seems like a win-win in my book.

On that note. I would gladly pay for official support. Even at a monthly fee. Something like a Priority Support. Between non-UDN and UDN.

Well, regarding Answerhub, by now 90% of questions are either regarding things already covered elsewhere, or duplicates of existing questions or just obvious misuse of a feature. Bug Report section is not an exception. I don’t think that the section gets less attention than it deserves, though there were occasional cases, where efforts to review the bug report were incomparably lower, than efforts, invested into reporting one, but overall, I don’t see major issues with that.

Not sure if it is viable, even if a sole person is dedicated full time to this. There gotta be some filter to make sure only the relevant posts are reviewed. I’d say here that one thing, that is not used properly on answerhub, is voting system. Sadly, number of votes on the question are not indicative of relevance and quality of a bug report.

For some reason, I don’t have any doubts, that overriding majority of threads are looked at, just no responses are given. I’d guess a simple logic, that no response is better than wrong response applies.

I also think that decline of post numbers shares same roots, as reduction of all forum users activity: forum update.

My opinion has been for some time, that Answerhub just isn’t suitable for this kind of application; it’s design encourages duplicate questions and buries existing answers - and with a large and mostly inexperienced userbase, you get an awful lot of questions filling up the front pages that have already been answered ad-infinatum, or are so vague as to be reasonably unanswerable. The genuinely difficult questions get pushed down and never answered, which in turn filters out the more experienced users who tend to have those questions.

I suspect the decline in forum users is unrelated to Answerhub and vice-versa.

I almost never use AH :o I don’t get the color-coding / find it hard to follow-the-flow through the different sections.
I have to read AH posts very slowly to follow if anyone posted the actual-right-answer and to check ‘who’ posted…
In an era of big-data etc, why don’t Epic include related-links / suggested-links to interconnect the Forums + AH?

Instead I lobbied before for General Forums, AH, Bugs to be regular forum posts with different coded headings.
So [General-Question: Solved / Outstanding] … [AH: Solved / Outstanding]… [Bugfix: Solved / Outstanding] etc.
As it is you must use outside search engines to find anything, but then you can’t filter-out ‘unanswered’ threads…

I saw a fall-off on the forums this year even before the forum changes. Anyone have a good stats site to verify?
Doesn’t seem like anyone will fill Alex P’s shoes either… Was he uber-social or have priorities changed @Epic

Why care? Because a trail-off in quality-posts / lack-of-improvement-in-the-docs makes Unreal harder to use!
Having active forums brings interest too in Landscape-Architect, Eden, Runtime-Terrain and Large-Worlds etc…

Overall, hope this isn’t a time that will be looked back on as a slow-death-of-the-forums (or like how UDK went)!:eek:

@franktech - can you please edit your posts instead of deleting them and creating them over and over again? When you do this, some users like myself will see entire pages filled with posts that just say “This topic by franktech has been deleted by franktech”.

Quite a few forums threads now look like this:

Of course, sorry I’d no idea before. Its just that the edit-post-timer is far too short!
Is this a change with the new forums or ‘mod/admin view’ that was always there?

It’s always been there - but the new forum layout does make it a lot worse!

As an engineer, providing support on these forums is not in any way required by Epic, and I handle a lot of support from other sources that is part of my job (UDN, internal projects). I’m only here because I care about improving the engine, and doing my best to help out users so we can make great things together, but I don’t have much time.

That said, here are some things that will cause me to skip a bug report:

  • Frequently asked question that could have been googled. These are not a good use of my time.
  • Insufficient detail (lack of information on setup, lack of screenshots, contradicting terminology). It will take too many back-and-forths to deduce the problem.
  • Not my area of expertise (I work on lighting and shadowing)
  • Inflammatory or insulting. Yes, I could filter some useful information out of the angry post, but life’s too short.

Now Feature Requests. I do read ‘Feedback for Epic’ frequently, I just don’t reply very often for these reasons:

  • If I know we won’t get to it anytime soon, I feel guilty so don’t reply. Having to say ‘no, sorry’ a lot will wear you down.
  • If I do think we should work on it soon, I don’t want to say anything that will be taken as a promise (this happens a lot) or cause disappointment later if plans change, so I don’t reply.
  • If we just implemented it and it’s in the pipe for the next build then I’ll probably reply. This is definitely the minority case =)

Things that will increase your chance of a response:

  • Take advantage of the Preview builds to test your project and report issues. These are probably the most viewed threads by Epic employees. I scour for any severe rendering issues and even if they are not my feature, I forward to the relevant engineer. Similar level of coverage on the comments when the build has actually been released.
  • Use the user mention feature when you know an Epic employee user who it is relevant to. I pretty much always reply to these (even if the answer is sorry, no plans) if they are relevant to my area. Not sure how this works with the new forum.
  • I have trouble keeping up with Answerhub, issues fly by too fast. Link your Answerhub in relevant spots on the forums.

Hope that is helpful.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts @DanielW… Lots of really useful insight there.
Honest / blunt clarifications like this from time to time are actually pretty helpful imo.
Perhaps Alex P etc spoiled us a little too much before, with all the forum attention? :stuck_out_tongue:

In Epic they are casual humans too not some quantum computers to process everyone so it is understandable.

I don’t know. I’m fairly convinced Zak is Highlander or something. That dude doesn’t age.

It does kind of feel like a lottery when you report bugs and you’re waiting for a response. Because of this I have stopped reporting minor bugs, because someone might take a look at that minor bug report instead of a major bug report. An example of a minor bug like this is in Persona playing back an animation with morph target animation, if you pan around with the middle mouse button the morph target will snap back when the middle mouse button is released for one frame.

If my bug report was skipped because of a lack of information or whatever, why not just say that? Then I can edit the post and add more information, better reproduction steps and so on. Right now it’s either “We added this to the issues tracker” or you get ignored basically, which can’t be good.

@DanielW
Feedback, no matter what kind, is better than no feedback.

Sure there are reports or requests that were posted earlier and it surely is sometimes the user’s fault for not googling/searching.

take this thread from @VictorBurgos for example:

This is something that basically breaks every game (if the execution order is taken granted from PIE instead of taking the order from Standalone into account) and yet there’s no feedback from a dev at all.

Yeah. I rarerly read AnswerHub, not even thinking about answering questions on it. Most them are on level, where you can easily find answer on google.
I also don’t post much of forums lately, mainly because… there is nothing much to post about. I just spend my time on Discord and here ask/answer questions.

But I would like to have some paid support forums/Q&A site. With heavier moderation. It cloud be read by anyone, but only paying people cloud post on it. I guess the 50$/mo cloud do wonder to filter out all the basic questions (as well as deleting them).