Interesting twist of irony there, Esq. As a software developer, we can't always make everyone happy. Everyone thinks they have the most significant and consequential must-have feature ever to face the Internet - it's perfectly natural as to them, that feature or functionality request is significant. As the software owner, we have to listen and absorb feedback, then make decisions -- some you won't agree with them but we're not going to change our minds just because a relatively minor vocal minority don't like it... likewise, if the product doesn't meet your needs, you have the choice of whether or not to find another that does.
I've said before, our client base is primarily comprised, from individual and enterprise alike, of those that want a streamlined experience where we've done the legwork, research, compiled all of the feedback and built software that's modern and provides a quality and largely consistent experience. I know some detest my Apple comparisons and to be clear, I'm certainly not saying IPS is Apple, however, the philosophies are the same. Mac provides an arguably more positive and stable experience because Apple largely controls the experience out of box. If you're a hardcore tinkerer that wants to control every aspect of the OS and environment with "maximum flexibility" (which also often equates to maximum confusion) and you don't want to use non-stock modifications - no, you're not going to be happy with Apple and the same applies to our software. I don't want to lead anyone on, so if you're waiting for IPS to randomly pile on infinite settings and toggles for every aspect of the software - it's not going to happen, I'll be frank.
Part of what attracts most to us is what actually puts a relative few such as yourself off. I know it can seem inconceivable to the enthusiasts that are in deep, have been around forums for years and run successful sites in the past, but most these days don't like too many options - that's not mere opinion, it's fact... the more options you give people, the less likely they are to buy/use the product and make good decisions. Years ago, things like power brakes, power steering and power windows were individual options... you could choose power windows, but not have to do power locks. As automotive technology progressed, they found people detested all of those choices and options, so they introduced option packages and made the decisions for the consumer based on the majority interests. I think we're all largely happier not having a 10 page order sheet when we order a car and it's more streamlined for the manufacturer as well. Yes, some old school purists were and are irritated over the fact that they can no longer get things like manual transmissions anymore... but most don't want it, so it's silly for the manufacturer to put effort into provisioning it to appease a handful of people that don't fit their demographic anyway (like putting a 6 speed manual in a minivan.)
We'd much rather do things that benefit the masses -- our Pages improvements. A full-on QA application. New content discovery features. New social features like groups, etc. vs turning back the hands of time, regressing and adding/changing things that go against the grain just because "it was there for years" yet served limited or unintended purpose.
@ChurchGeek - I really appreciate the honest and constructive feedback, as well as your kind words. I most certainly understand where you are coming from, but would note that the confusion caused by this change is short-term and actually provides more long-term clarity (though I agree, we need to make the terminology more consistent and I'll add this to our to-do.) While many still prefer just a forum, since we've allowed the option to not even have a forum, our IPS4 sales for Core + non-forum apps have really exceeded expectations. With that, what we've done here is actually correct an oversight that should have been addressed sooner as we evolved more into community solutions vs forum only.
As for vision, I hope the above better explains our goal and purpose. Not all will agree, especially those that have grown grossly accustomed to doing things a certain way and want to upgrade, but not change anything. In this particular case, let's step back and look at the challenge -- a few admins want to manipulate a global counter for the purpose of essentially determining rewards and reputation. That's not at all the purpose of that number to begin with and an unintended previous use-case shouldn't dictate future functionality. Instead, we can provide independent numbers and introduce rewards and enhanced reputation features that works out better for everyone and with far less confusion than changing a global number that the admin wants to determine isn't exactly global. That's our job - to evaluate what you're asking, why you're asking it, saying no when necessary, but offering alternatives when available. Your job is to decide whether that's acceptable and if not, whether it's significant enough that you need to evaluate alternate products.
Finally, in regards to frustrations shining through - I'm sorry for that perception. I think we've established that feedback is a large part of what we do. I think our current challenge is the same group of people who constantly insist that things should be now like they were then... because they were. It does indeed get frustrating trying to explain the shift in tide for community solutions to the relative limited few that don't like the direction. I know if I'm that unhappy with a product, I just stop using it - I don't incessantly try to get the company to change to conform to my specific needs. Nonetheless, I apologize if that frustration is spilling over into interaction.
Thanks for the overall thoughts. With that, feedback has been provided (and thank you for the apologetic follow-up, Andrew - much appreciated) - noted and we will introduce individual counts (and included in profiles) in a near-future release for you to do as you wish. Reputation and rewards enhancements will also come in a future release (no ETA.)
That concludes my lengthy dissertation and this topic.