Aug 19 2009

Drobo Censorship

Category: Moan,TechnologyRobert McGovern @ 10:10 am

This is a quick post from a forum post I just made. Mostly so it lives on, incase Data Robotics once again censors its new forum.

The context here is that Data Robotics (makers of Drobo) has taken over handling of the forum. Previously it was handled Capable Networks but was suddenly stopped. The first a number of us knew about this was this email from the 17th of August

Dear DroboSpace Member,

Earlier this month, the DroboSpace Community and Forum went offline as Data Robotics, the primary sponsor of the site, ended its long-time community partnership with Capable Networks (our company). DRI has since launched a closed, company-managed support forum on its own corporate site under the DroboSpace name.

We here at Capable are exploring our options for continuing to support an open, independently-owned and operated Drobo online community like those we run at SlingCommunity.com, TiVoCommunity.com, and MyOpenRouter.com.

That’s where you come in. Over the past two years, you helped us create a thriving Drobo community built around valuable content that became the most popular destination for lively discussions around Drobo-related products. It would be a shame to see all the information and conversations vanish, but that depends on your involvement and support.

If you would or would not like to see an independent and open community return, please send us an e-mail with your thoughts or feedback to drobospace@capablenet.com. We look forward to hearing from you and will certainly respond to the community when we have finalized our decision.

Thank you for all your help and support.

So something happened and apparently they fell out, thats fair enough, it happens in business all the time (*cough* Apple / Microsoft … well Microsoft / the world).

Going to the url, I found the new forums and in the General discussion forum there was a discussion by a few Drobo users who were a little upset at the handling of the transition (myself included) and questions regarding the old forum data that was apparently lost in the transition. The next day that 8 post thread was deleted.

In its place was a post by a rep for Data Robotics rep stating the new goals of the forum

About the New and Improved DroboSpace
Hello all,

Thank you all for participating in the new and improved DroboSpace! Now that we’ve got the site re-launched, we thought this might be a good time to share with you some of the thinking behind the decision to make the changes to the site.

Considering the myriad of social media conversations occurring online daily and the numerous sources of peer-based feedback available on the web, we found ourselves in need of a way to quickly and directly share information with our customers — and to let them share their thoughts and concerns with us (and each other). The prior incarnation of DroboSpace was run by a 3rd party, and this made it difficult to provide direct information in a timely fashion. DroboSpace is now operated by the Drobo experts in the Data Robotics Support organization, with the new goal of responding to questions, providing useful feedback, and otherwise supporting the Drobo user base.

Some of the advantages of the new and improved DroboSpace include:
• Quickly respond to hot topics with our in-house response team
• Provide direct information to our community without third-party lag time
• Create and customize as many membership groups as needed
• Provide an ad-free zone dedicated to Drobo user support and developer discussions
• Cross-link information from our social media network of followers at Twitter and the Drobo blog

These new and more useful self-help and support-based forums will eventually be expanded internationally, providing all of our customers foreign and domestic the ability to exchange information with each other.

We’re looking forward to connecting with you on the new DroboSpace, and will be working diligently to maintain, update, and improve the site in the days, months, and years to come.

Best regards,

The Data Robotics Support Team

That was great (though slightly late), but a few of us took issue with a few of the points in that post. Particularly the mention “Provide direct information to our community without third-party lag time” which as it was an open forum (well you had to have a Drobo serial number to signup but thats a separate issue) and had no moderation queue was a little strange. So we questioned that and found this morning that our posts have been removed and the topic closed. (yes I suggested closing the topic but only after they post a followup, didn’t suggest they closedelete it)

So now there is a new post titled Censorship, questioning what is allowed on the forum. Time will tell if that too will be removed, sadly I think the answer is probably.

This last little bit is my addition to that thread. I hope they listen, I really do.

Indeed particularly as this is supposed to be a general discussion forum.

Please Data Robotics, building a community by removing posts you don’t like is not the way to go. You will always get praise & complaints and, as I said on Twitter, our complaints here are about how this transition was handled. They are not technical issues, hence not posted in the more Technical forums, but they are still valid issues.

Some complaints can be silly (I’d want my HD lights to be Indigo for instance) and some will be real. Good customer service & relations is to take it all, ignore those that you feel are invalid (or post to them & lock them BUT don’t delete them) and respond and encourage those that are valid (like complaints about connectivity options, like lack of Firewire connection on the DroboShare) with discussion.

We like / love our Drobo’s, thats why we are here. Personally I hope that Data Robotics continues to do well, yes I’ve had a few problems with my Drobo & slowness of support at times but in the end the issues where sorted out satisfactorily. I simply have issues with how this transition was handled and what seems like apparent misrepresentation of the facts (3rd party lag time)

I honestly hope you will take the time to read this and not simply delete it. I see from email Jennifer that you did reply yesterday to the other thread but all the messages are now gone

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