I don't agree with censoring the forum to make Roon look better

I don’t mean this to apply to moderating to keep topics organized or to enforce rules against personal flame wars. I’ll bet this will fire some people up:

It bothers me when Roon management reorganizes or closes threads in some circumstances. Sure, some threads go off the rails into random discussions, and maybe it is fine to close threads once they become dumping grounds for comments about nothing in particular (even then, there seems to be little harm in leaving them open).

What I am specifically referring to are the closing or reorganizing of threads that are in any way critical of Roon. I cannot speak for others (but I suspect some will agree), but I have posted a fair amount of both useful feedback for Roon’s product development and also many helpful pointers, workarounds, and other assistance to Roon users. I have posted plenty of positive comments about Roon. I expect that we also be allowed to post negative commentary - otherwise our positive commentary remains, our negative commentary gets closed out, and we look like shills.

What set me off today was Danny’s closing of the thread relating to folder access. I don’t really even care about whether Roon has folder access - my ability to use that type of feature to Tag my collection so that Roon’s interface actually better accesses it according to its own display methods is a horse that left the barn for me years ago…I couldn’t even use it anymore. However, closing out that thread is a means to silence people who would like to express a desire or need for that feature or otherwise discuss Roon’s decision. I’m sure someone will say “but there was just nothing more to say” but I deeply don’t agree with that, and in reality, we will never really know, because the thread is closed.

I have noticed this happen a number of times on the forum. It seems mostly Danny does this - he got into a spat with another user about a year ago and I think realized it didn’t make Roon look good, deleted (or moved, I have no idea) a bunch of the content in that thread, and then closed it. Any new reader would have no idea what was really said or meant in real-time.

I’m sure Danny is a great guy and brilliant technically. But this manipulation of the forum that affects the balance of commentary is to me a substantial frustration. As above, at least to me, the ability to post comments of any sort (as long as within the rules) is part of the necessary balance of the forum and the truthful presentation of users’ actual experiences with the product. I don’t expect to be turned into a shill by being prevented from posting on a given topic or having threads manipulated so that their apparent meaning is shifted.

You might say that Roon hosts and pays for the forum and it’s their right to have it read as they would like. Fine, but they do not pay users to post here, and a manipulated forum, not matter how subtly or gently done, does not present the Truth or the Whole Story. Moderate for clarity. Moderate to prevent personal flaming. Please do not manipulate or foreclose balanced or negative commentary so that we’re all just participating in some Roon informercial.

16 Likes

I get what you are driving at but I don’t personally think that closing one 500+ post thread constitutes an attempt to manipulate apparent meaning. The thread is till there for all to see. And in that specific case Roon have been totally clear and unambiguous.

You should probably @danny as well to ensure he has right of reply.

Edit: correction the thread wasn’t that long (500+) but there are several others as well.

1 Like

Unfortunately, part of this comes with the culture and functionality of Discourse’s forum software where other users can effectively downvote posts into oblivion so they get deleted. Result: you get pile-ons from the usual suspects who don’t like their world view to come under any sort of challenge.

Bad posts are bad posts, but I really hate that feature of the board software despite being a forum admin running the same software elsewhere!

1 Like

This is probably going to be an unpopular take on this, but:

  • roon pays for this forum.
  • They pay for volume of usage (though it’s by tiered quantities, so small increments are not relevant).
  • Censorship is for public forums. roon’s forums are part of an appropriately profit seeking enterprise.
  • roon gets to choose what’s appropriate and productive on their forum.
  • If they choose to terminate a line of discussion that they feel is harmful to roon (or it’s customers), it’s their right to do so. Full stop.
  • If they feel that browsing by directory is antithetical to the architecture of the product and how people should use it, they have the right to terminate that line of discussion. Every company has to choose to reject feature sets even though they would be popular with substantial sub-sets of their customer bases. Why would those companies want to pay for endless discussions of things they feel are not in the best interests of their customers? (they might even be wrong on this or other topics, but it’s a decision they have every right to make)

That said, there’s always a critical balance between letting a forum be too free, which leads to fringe participants taking over with the loudest, least productive voices, and being too closed, and:

  • seeming to be customer unfriendly
    &
  • missing out on genuinely useful discussions and feedback
9 Likes

Thanks all for your thoughts. To be clear, I am not some fan of Roon-bashing or want to encourage it, but I do think there are two sides to the Roon user experience and feel that both sides should be freely expressed.

True it wouldn’t be that. But it does foreclose an avenue of discussion on a topic where there is a substantial degree of opinion that disagrees with Roon’s stance. And it also isn’t the first time I’ve seen this done. In the other case I recall specifically, the end result really did not represent the meanings intended at the time and would be deceptive to a new reader. (And there have been other instances but I do not have a specific enough recollection of the topic or content to relay that here now.)

Why would Roon’s clarity on the topic matter? There is still simply the discussion that their stance is not pro-user. I don’t mean to get back into the folder discussion specifically, but Roon’s clear stance on it doesn’t make it a dead issue to discuss. Yes it means it will never be in Roon. But those who adopt Roon and don’t immediately notice the lack of this function might benefit from being pre-warned that this isn’t there and it ain’t happening, and now that the thread is locked it will get more and more buried. Plus there is one less place to discuss workarounds.

There is also that. However honestly I don’t mind people gushing about Roon, but sometimes it is very clear it’s because they haven’t pushed Roon very hard and have, on the spectrum of things, a more simplistic Roon usage pattern. That’;s not intended to be critical - I am not a power user of many pieces of software that I do use regularly - but often those folks have not experienced challenges because they don’t have the usage pattern that does so. When it comes to being reported so that your post is hidden, now that is another form of censorship I don’t appreciate…unless the post violates the forum rules against flaming.

I don’t want to come off as a Roon basher. I feel that I have stated pretty strong opinions on both sides. I don’t feel that even though Roon hosts this forum, that it should be manipulated in any way. There are plenty of long or meandering threads that mostly gush about Roon that have never been locked. This is my point. Other than support threads that are done, where closing is for administrative purposes, Roon seems to selectively only lock threads that have a strong critical streak.

3 Likes

I respect your point. But then I think it is inescapable that we are aiding Roon in a marketing effort rather than simply participating in a free exchange. I just do not feel comfortable with that. Or maybe I do once it is out in the light. I will have to put on some intellectual jazz and think about that…

2 Likes

I for one appreciate the moderators. I am not saying I appreciate censorship which I believe is part of some of the comments.

We all should focus on suggestions, gaps in features and questions regarding the service quality, feature choices and criticisms that are constructive. When I see things go like this I learn more and on occasion see Roon respond in threads. I would like to see Roon respond more.

Even more I appreciate threads than include how different folks take advantage of different features.

1 Like

Just to be clear, I have not seen, or do not recall, a situation where it was a moderator who reorganized or closed a thread in a way that manipulated meaning, other than in impossible cases having nothing to do with the quality of Roon, like where 5 topics are intertwined and it is impossible to create clear threads. Definitely not what I am talking about here.

I just have not seen a lot of “this thread has run its course so I am closing it” done with regard to threads that only gushed about Roon. Locking seems to be selective.

1 Like

3 posts were split to a new topic: Why is there no online searchable user manual?

Thanks James!

1 Like

That thread wasn’t critical of Roon (or at least I didn’t feel it was)… it was, however, a waste of everyone’s time, especially the moderators. There are 2 topics we are firm on: UPnP and file browsing will never happen.

I think it’s like the 3rd or 4th one we’ve closed out on the topic. That said, I’m sure another file browsing topic will pop up soon enough, and it’ll bring false hope to many. Everyone will get another ~500 posts to chime in on folder browsing before I close it down again.

@Akimo nails our position on this:

Come on, that’s ridiculous. It’s not buried. A quick search found me this still-open thread, and the others are still searchable.

If that topic stayed all about workarounds, I wouldn’t have closed it out. It’s only when it becomes a repeat cycle of the previous hundreds of posts on the topic that it’s time to move on.

The rest of your comment is your opinion on what happens, but for every topic you think I’ve “censored”, there are hundreds of others that I would have shut down had I actually been censoring. I’m a huge proponent of editing/cleaning/keeping-things-moving.

There are a ton of negative comments here on Roon and on our team that I don’t shut down. I, and the rest of the team, welcome negative criticism. But do it constructively, or you may end up feeling censored.

This topic is a good one, and you’ve done a good job of being reasonable in your position… but I know the moderators will be moving/removing a good chunk of posts because many will just go off-topic or just become noise. Hell, I already see 3 posts were moved for being off-topic and @Speed_Racer already self-censored himself for writing provoking messages!

Thanks @Tim_Rhodes – While I don’t read every post here, I read quite a few, and every single one in some of the categories!

It’s because I don’t really pay attention to the gushers :joy: My guess is they run out of steam on their own.

I do close out threads and delete posts when the gushers pile on. It’s a topic that we discuss with the moderators far more often that I would like. The pile-on’s are horrible.

7 Likes

I self-censored because I don’t feel like I am allowed to post anything that disagrees with your position…

I agree that the censorship is wrong, and leaves a bad taste in the mouth. I have no interest in, or need for, folder browsing whatsoever. But how is it, after all these posts, that Roon can’t recognise and understand the reasons behind why people think they need it, and how is it that these people can’t have better solutions explained to them, if those solutions exist? Otherwise closing down the thread is little different from a certain president smacking down a reporter for asking uncomfortable questions.

6 Likes

Agreed…I am not American & my concept of free speech - nee a discussion (naturally within reason), may differ from others.

@danny

As a newer member of the Roon community (& I will add a fair contributor I think), I do not believe in this concept of never. I’m not even especially referring to those 2 stated topics (UPnP & folder browsing), just the concept of never.

Whilst you may have remained firm on those two concepts since Roon’s inception, we all know that technology changes & rather than saying never, it may be more apt to say highly unlikely. Never demonstrates a resolute unwillingness to change, even in the face of overwhelming evidence that one should (whatever the topic maybe).

I am not going to write a diatribe, nor rant. I will finish by saying, I believe that the use of the word angers some & hence lengthy discussions persist.

2 Likes

Uh, the post you self-censored flat out violated our community guidelines. I pasted the relevant section below. If you hadn’t removed the post, I would have because of the violation.

You may wish to respond to something by disagreeing with it. That’s fine. But, remember to criticize ideas, not people .

Read the post at the top of this topic… there is a big difference between how he wrote out his position and how you’ve done it. His post is not about me, but with the act. You’ve been warned multiple times by moderators and myself because you continue to violate this idea.

Would you also be offended if Tesla said they “they will never make a gasoline-powered car.” ? If so, then we disagree on business in general. Roon’s “never” on those 2 topics is a result of core fundamentals, not an “opinion”.

I’ll use my Tesla example again: How is it that Tesla can’t recognize and understand the reasons by why people think they need to use the existing gasoline distribution infrastructure and just make a gas powered car.

They do and they have and that thread would have stayed open if that’s where the topic ran its course.

These are not uncomfortable questions, they are the antithesis of the core values of Roon Labs, and we’ve made that clear numerous times, even in that thread. Unfortunately, not everyone can be bothered to read through 500+ posts.

3 Likes

Hi Danny I absolutely appreciate the personal and direct response. And I agree that I have also seen you shut down or edit threads that become flame wars or piling on. The piling on is probably the thing that bothers me most about any forum, and this one seems to suffer from it a fair amount because of the passion people have for music and how Roon enhances it. I appreciate the passion. I’m not sure why some people struggle to differentiate between debate and insult.

This sounds like you’re determining for other people what to spend their time on. If I viewed it as a waste of my time I wouldn’t read or post to a thread. I think the mere fact of a thread being active (again, short of flame wars or piling on) indicates that users do not feel it is a waste of their time.

With due respect, I think the moderators part is a straw man argument. Don’t moderate it unless it breaks the forum rules then. When you close a thread that people are actively posting in, I think it is important that you understand that this feels literally like you are silencing someone - it is literally almost a physical feeling of restraint. As you have editorial control over the forum, maybe you just haven’t had that experience.

Consider that maybe the best way to keep the forum clean is not to close topics that people are currently posting in. Wait a month or two, it’s already buried, no one is trying to say something about it now, then close it. That way it doesn’t feel like you’re stifling discussion.

But why? If it were a material expense to Roon, I’d understand.

OK let’s look at how the forum works. Topics people are discussing rise to the top of the list and thus are visible when you open the forum. So either (1) perpetually popular, or (2) current, topics are visible immediately. If a topic is important to enough posters and it is at the top, to me it seems logical that if a potential Roon subscriber were to look at the community as a way to determine whether Roon might be for them, that they see a balanced presentation of what the community is saying, and that means not only that a topic is findable by search (but then you have to know what you are looking for) but also that it appears visibly as a current topic. By closing a thread, it will naturally fall below that line.

Specifically regarding folder browsing since that was the topic at hand, a new user may or may not immediately notice that omission. Roon is a lot of fun, for sure, and at the evaluation stage the user is probably clicking around, looking at what pops, playing with various features, etc. It is only when the user decides to integrate the whole collection into Roon and access something specific rather than happenstance that one might go to a folder access type of feature and then realize, nope, there is nothing you can do to access that way. Whatever your product design philosophy, the lack of folder access is a pretty big deal, given a users’ natural assumption it is there and they just haven’t needed to use it yet. So I believe that a topic like this shouldn’t be deliberately buried.

Me too. You should see how deeply I edit contracts my associates write for me. But it can be overdone - so I wanted to post this to just raise awareness that there can be side effects to housecleaning others’ communications.

Well, I hope you do at least to the point that we all want you to know that we appreciate Roon as a product and your efforts to design and build it. Desire for things like folder access (whatever, again my point is broader and not focused on that as a feature) is really a compliment, because we love Roon but see a gap that keeps us from being able to entirely use it for everything we’d like to, and we want our delicious Roon cake but also to eat it too. Passion can turn into frustration which turns into overly negative posts, but the emotion behind it is trying to hold onto using Roon because it’s great, but just some things we just, dammit, cannot yet do with it.

Anyway, thanks for your time and thoughtful response. I hope everyone here is well and safe in this scary time.

2 Likes

My support team and the moderators are time and money costs. For me personally, the time I spend on those topics is time I don’t spend working on Roon. The Roon Team all look at most posts and have to deal with issues no matter what. What happens when a pile-on happens? Should they ignore it in these “waste-of-time topics”? This isn’t a strawman because it’s actually how we look at the problem. We tried to “ignore” the MQA threads in the beginning… but they get so toxic. I’m glad we fight the toxicity now, even if that means “censoring”.

4 Likes

I’m not even sure what these two things are, but even as a casual reader of the forum I know they ain’t ever happening :wink:

All in all I do consider this a sensible forum, HUG is properly slightly better.

James

1 Like

Danny,
Please, please continue moderating the forums towards productive discussions. It seems like most audio forums end up with more energy down rabbit holes than on useful, discussions.

Thank you

7 Likes

To be clear, this has nothing to do with “productive discussions.” This is about closing or manipulating threads that are critical of Roon.

2 Likes