As the admin, you have full control over your member's permissions. If you want user-level control to allow end-users to recreate a mini-Facebook within a community suite via "friends" - that's not currently possible. If there's compelling feedback, we'll certainly revisit options -- but it's a niche request at present. Most do seem to consider a community... a community, with the admin creating division as necessary (such as we have sections for contributors.) You should recognize that just because not ALL admins run their communities the same way does not mean we can, or should, accommodate all the various ways people could run their community. I'm sorry you feel we should expend the development effort to create features and functionality that, in reality, only a relative handful may use. What one considers critical to their community is a waste of resources to another. That is, however, the purpose of feedback. You have some that prefer followers. A few that prefer friends. Another suggestion to create a bond between mutual followers. If there's overwhelming feedback that leads us to believe a good amount of users want to have a community in which users can essentially create their own private social network within your suite, we can certainly explore that further -- it would be foolish to ignore demand and opportunities. Conversely, we don't do things just because or based on a few rants and raves. Believe it or not, we do have a pretty good idea how our customers from all walks of life generally use our software (recognizing that not all sites are equal.) We don't always get everything perfect and we do prefer to start with a base that we can build upon and fine tune based on feedback, but we develop for the masses and rely on the third party marketplace for niche features.
I'm not aware of a significant loss of sales due to the fact we don't bear the site owner's burden of responsibility for ensuring compliance with laws of all varying jurisdictions. Whether we'd gain enough EU marketshare to justify the immense ongoing expenditure of retaining counsel in the EU for ongoing consulting with compliance and the extra development effort, is impossible to substantiate. At this juncture, we maintain that it's the responsibility of the site owner to comply with local laws. If you have feedback regarding features that aren't specific to compliance, but could make your life easier, please feel free to let us know.
Personally, I don't mind the idea and wouldn't think it would be woefully difficult in the overall scheme of things. I've brought this to our internal discussion tracker for the follower feature. I'd be tempted to call mutual followers "Super Followers" vs "friends" just to annoy @Woodsman . (I kid, I kid.)
EU customers historically tend to pay more than those of us in the US to companies like Adobe, Microsoft, etc. -- this is a large reason why. There's simply a higher cost of doing business with EU customers. If you wouldn't mind paying more as an IPS customer in the EU, we likely wouldn't mind entertaining the notion of retaining ongoing EU counsel, researching and maintaining the software for seemingly ever-changing EU regulations. Otherwise, as a US company we can't guess and offer our own interpretations of EU law for our customers -- it would be irresponsible to do so. From a sheer business standpoint, eating the costs of retaining ongoing EU counsel to maintain ongoing EU compliance across the suite would not be a fruitful venture for whatever slight gain in marketshare.
Point taken and thank you again for the feedback. More proactive interaction with the community from a support standpoint is something we're aiming for. I think you'll also find if a technician happens to know an answer that falls outside of the scope of support, they'll typically do their best to point you in the right direction -- even if it's followed with a disclaimer. As mentioned, technicians are not necessarily developers/engineers and their experiences outside of product support (as in, within-scope) varies. If you have examples of incidents where you were deferred to the community for basic support items, I would ask that you take a little more of your time and e-mail or PM me those request numbers . Absent modifications, server assistance, etc. you should never be referred outside of the support system and that's something I'd definitely like to address if it's an issue. I realize your time is valuable and appreciate your assistance with this. You will find documentation for IPS4 an infinite and ever-evolving improvement over previous products and versions. We've brought Charlie on, in large part, to maintain our documentation and knowledgebase, so if there's something you feel is missing - please do let him/us know.
What docs are you specifically looking for? Maybe we can help. Again, we don't provide documentation on how to dismantle every aspect of the software -- but there are developer documents available as linked to earlier in the topic and resources available to marketplace authors. I'm sorry you have found those insufficient or difficult to understand - once again, you are welcome to provide feedback on something specific you are looking for. Our goal is to provide information on how to extend the capabilities of the suite via theming, hooks and applications. Changing behavior and core code modifications are not supported by IPS and something that's done at your own risk. This is fairly standard practice outside of the open source arena. You're welcome to peruse the marketplace and support forums to get assistance with dissecting a specific area of the software. If you feel there's an area that could benefit from additional configuration options, please feel free to open a new topic to share that feedback. Thanks for your understanding.
I certainly appreciate your concerns as well as your time in sharing your feedback. There is a large difference between technical support and customization support. I think you'll find we're unsurpassed in the industry for technical support. We are, unfortunately, limited in terms of what we can do for you in terms of customization support. Hiring developers as support technicians that can help you customize the product would certainly yield a higher license renewal than $25. It's not dissimilar to any other consumer product. We provide software with "stock" operation, parameters and functionality. We certainly recognize some wish to change certain behaviors and that is where our extremely talented third party authors such as Adriano come in. If they become stumped, they have a line to other contributors and our developers for limited assistance. Using an automotive analogy, you cannot reasonably expect the manufacturer to help you change the shift pattern of the transmission or even provide you, the end user, with a service manual on how to dismantle your own vehicle. That's not within the scope of your purchase, but it is definitely within the realm and in fact the very purpose of the aftermarket community, as I'm sure you can agree. It's not that we want to be unhelpful or not give you options, but it's not possible to account for every scenario a customer could encounter nor is it feasible to provide development/customization assistance within the standard support scope. We are, however, always open to feedback if there's something specific you'd like to see more easily customizable - we can't add options and toggles for every possible function the software performs, but there are many occasions where a customer will say "it would be nice if..." and we're able to accommodate. Thanks again for your feedback.
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I've seen you mention this several times, so I'd really like to take the time to highlight that while there's constant room for performance improvements (and in fact, this is done on a regular basis throughout the development cycle) - IPS4 is far from a "performance hog" that's going to bring your server to its knees. Based on what's been presented to us, I feel this is a case of a typical VPS with an overloaded parent host. Given the MySQL server specific errors and performance issues, I might suggest reviewing our own cloud offerings - it's likely you'd save money and experience much better performance -- we will transfer the site for free. For what it's worth, this particular community is running on a single EC2 instance and RDS -- no memcache, CDN, sphinx or otherwise. I think you'd find performance quite adequate.