I've fallen a little out of love with the Roon forum 💔

I’m posting on here less and less having being quite prolific in the past and attaining many discourse “badges”. Apparently I’m a model of generosity and mutual appreciation.

I came across this on another hi-fi forum in a reply about the Harbeth forum. So a forum post on the Naim forum referencing the Harbeth forum that mentions the Roon forum. (As people in Ireland might understand a classic case of " Dúirt bean liom go ndúirt bean léi").

Now God only knows what the original post here might have been and it might well have been incendiary and I could have piled on as a said fanboy myself… BUT

  • Is there a kernel of truth in this post?
  • Is the forum working as both a “community” and “support” forum?
  • Have we become unwelcoming of any questioning of Roon’s capability?
  • Should Roon management/staff explain more on their community forum about what direction they are going and what they are doing to about things like classical music and box sets which have bedevilled Roon since inception?
  • Is it acceptable for Roon users to wait up to 15 or 30 days for a support response?
  • Or is Roon a lively and vibrant forum and I’m just a dinosaur who remembers the days back in 2015/16 when there were few of us and we all “knew” each other and Roon staff were frequent posters?

I’m beginning to look on Roon the company (I, generally, love the software, use it every day and it has had a huge positive impact on my enjoyment of music) in a similar vein that I would microsoft or apple. A big company that I’m a ridiculously small cog in and effectively of no importance. Perhaps this is the way it has to be … … … … … … but perhaps not?

.sjb

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I dunno. I totally get it and have no answers. I frequent here less and less as well. It just seems like doomscrolling with all of the support issues and the same few moderators or posters that seem to respond to EVERY post. I don’t feel part of the community. I don’t feel it is an encouraging place (nothing different than other music forums), and I don’t think my opinion or presence is necessarily valued. And that’s cool. The Qobuz forum that started up recently has a Roon tab, but that seemed to QUICKY become the same old issues and the same old doomscrolling. I haven’t been back to the Qobuz forum site since that, but I should pop back over there again and just ignore the Roon section.

I will just work through my own tech issues and reach out to support when I need to, but I think that’s it. Cheers.

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It is what it is. Running a forum alongside a product is a significant burden. Effort that could be used to assist people seeking help is instead used in moderating discussion about things not directly related to the use of Roon. It is probably worth splitting support away from the public forum. The community shouldn’t be offering support to users now. It should be people trained and paid to do the job. As for the rest of the forum, give it to a professional forum owner to run. That’s what Linn chose to do. Audiophile Style would be a natural home.

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Erm, we moderators are (in the main) volunteers from the Community, and not Roon Labs staff. The Support Team is small, and don’t involve themselves in moderating duties.

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I can see where people would definitely get lost in this forum… seems a lot overlook/do not understand everyone can see support posts and anyone can answer. This definitely has pros and cons…

Perhaps there should be closed off “official” Roon support for people to go to, with it clearly indicating wait times may be lengthy…

But… I’m really not sure it would really solve the support issues though.

Being a lifetime license holder, the lengthy delays in certain areas that are upcoming or being worked on do not bother me much, but if I had to pay monthly or yearly I think I would have a different feeling towards the slow moving progress and support wait times.

There is no good answer.

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The support stuff is a bit of a cleft stick and I think Roon has it about right.

There’s the stuff that the community can sort out - networking issues, migrating to new hardware, struggling because of not reading the guides to stuff etc.

And then there’s the properly broken stuff that needs logs and input from Roon’s team and investigation as to whether a software change is needed.

A bigger support team costs more to run - inevitably this pushes up the cost to the user, or results in less time devoted to new features etc. Roon ARC for me has been a game changer for in-car and holiday listening. Heck, I’d pony up another lifetime subscription cost for it.

Maybe Roon should consider a two-tier pricing structure - with and without ARC?

Some of the off-topic discussions are great, after all you need to offer other reasons to come here than just fixing problems.

I find the audio voodoo discussions tiring (ethernet switches and filters lifting veils, LPS on a Nucleus etc.) but then every audio forum is full of them.

The mods do a great job of walking a tightrope between censorship and anarchy.

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I feel it’s a bit unfair to be unhappy about mods and users who spend a lot of their free time to help other users. Would it be better not to do that? If it’s always the same people, then everyone is welcome to help with this task and I am sure your contributions would be valued if they are helpful - it’s up to every forum member if they want to do that. It would be better if Roon support had more staff to do the job, but fact is they don’t, so IMHO the community helping out (quite successfully in most cases) is better than users waiting for 2 weeks to get an answer, no?

As for the doomscrolling, I agree that it can feel depressing, but it’s worth remembering that people tend to post when they have a problem, not when everything is fine. I haven’t done a weekly post saying that things are generally fine (other than the issues I report in EA) for the past 2 years, either :slight_smile:

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That is why mods are not always right, but we do appreciate their time and hard work.

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Yes, absolutely. Everyone can see bullying differently. Some can be “heavy handed” with their advise when all someone wanted was a response from staff. Is that “bullying”? Some may think so.

All these questions are interrelated. Is the forum working as both support and community? No, not really. Roon is a brand. Part of maintaining that brand is controlling the narrative and that is critical when you’ve got trial users just trying to understand what it is they installed. Does Roon really want an ever evolving public, some who no longer use Roon, to define the Roon brand? Certainly I can’t image they do.

Unwelcoming, really depends. We’ve all got different backgrounds and that will influence both how we give advise and how we receive that advise. Having 20 people jump into all recommending something different or the same, but in a different tone, certainly has a low chance of being received as welcoming.

Roon staff staying engaged here is as, if not more, important than any other marketing they do. Otherwise it looks like abandoned software which is only talked about by loud audiophiles who have run the course of existing features and now have an overwhelming amount of criticism for what Roon should be. No thanks.

No, certainly not. And its made worse by the 100’s of random posts which accumulate before Roon can step-in and help drive the narrative.

This is just part of any growing community. I don’t post much anymore because normally, by the time I get to a new thread, everything that needs to be said has been. So, I sit quiet and engage less and ultimately visit less. There used to be a shared sense of “new” and “discovery”. I don’t find that anymore but I’d still like to help and chat where I can. I think Roon and, a substantial part, of the community are amazing.

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I first jumped into the Community Forums back in Sept 2015 and bought into a lifetime subscription not that long after that. In the early days there were far fewer users, far fewer posts, and a far more responsive community - both from other users and from Roon staff. It seemed the perfect combo of a support and interest forum and a great place to “meet” some of the Roon staff. Ah, young love… :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

Unfortunately, if I were a new customer today I’m pretty sure I’d find the Forums overwhelming, confusing and a bit confrontational (despite the extraordinary efforts by the moderators here). I’d be hesitant to post questions and struggle to get a sense what makes Roon so uniquely special.

So yeah, falling a bit out of love seems right. But hey, even after 8 years I still come here routinely, look for interesting threads, and jump in when I have something to share. The value may well still be here but the signal to noise ratio has definitely gotten worse. Perhaps just the price of success, but I also want to believe Roon can and should evolve the Forums much as they have done with Roon itself. Time will tell…

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Honestly I find the Room forum about the same as all of the other audio forums I’m on. I tend to follow each of them less and less as times goes by.

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I find myself gravitating more and more towards Pink Fish.
It’s a good community with a wide range of equipment, tastes and opinions and there is a level of cut and thrust allowed and a good sense of humour amongst most members. Probably a slightly older demographic than the Roon forum.

.sjb

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Are you saying then that the problem with the Roon forum is that it has been flooded with slightly younger members…?

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Quite the opposite, I was highlighting PFMs older demographic.
My comment was a reply to all audio fora being much the same that Bryan posted above.

.sjb

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It would be interesting to see a sentiment analysis of forum postings over time.

I think my own sentiment towards the product and forum have dropped over time. Here are some thoughts on why that’s the case:

  • I have no sense that the company is interested in my opinion, experience, feedback, or suggestions. I’m not surveyed, there is no avenue for recommendations, I have no sense that Roon’s areas of investment are aligned to either my interests or the interests of the community. The community at large has a tendency to explain, justify, debate with passion in a manner that results in me feeling that I’m arguing my case with the community instead of expressing an opinion to a company of which I am a paying customer (though I paid one large sum a while back).

  • ARC does not work well for me. I appreciate that it’s life changing for some but I have nothing but issues with using CarPlay, on my Android-based digital audio player, and just using it on my phone. Even the feature set - no DSP, downloads only from my library, no bit-perfect on my primary device (where the the major music players do offer bit perfect or at least bit awareness) - make it a questionable offering versus just using the alternatives. Meanwhile, it has been an absolute time sink for Roon potentially because they massively underestimated the complexity and varieties of network issues and topologies. For someone like me, it feels like they are spinning their wheels on a niche feature while the fundamentals are left untended.

  • There is no actual support-at-scale program. I don’t agree with the “that’s ok because I don’t want prices increased” way of thinking. Frankly, neither should Roon if they want to scale. Roon is so very, very complex in terms of its own capabilities, deployment options, supported platforms, supported music devices, etc. ARC is so very complicated. The fundamental issue is that they have developed a maximally complicated product (or two) deployed to a maximally complicated set of hardware options supporting a maximally complicated set of playback devices. Complexity is multiplicative. How do you have a growth story if this is your product and you are dead set on not funding support? I don’t think you can. You either have to make hard choices and simplify the product deployment and support options or you have to find a way to increase the likelihood that your customers are going to be successful, and consequently, delighted.

  • The community forum is a tremendous asset with an unbelievably positive, mature, helpful, reasonable set of volunteer admins supported by a pretty amazing collection of passionate users. My sentiment towards it has dropped because of what I believe are the consequences of the points I’ve already made above. The volume of issues seems cacophonous right now. While the community tries to help, Roon’s tiny support staff seems is deeply underwater. If and when Roon gets to a post, it feels like a round robin with a period of weeks and months between. There’s almost no point. I do not, in any way, mean to denigrate the competency or intent of the Roon support team - they are exceptionally knowledgable and helpful. They are set up to fail, though. The measure of success can’t be “how many issues did you resolve?” it needs to be something like “95% of issues should be resolved in 3 days” and then measured against that.

Perhaps this came across as a rant - that’s not intended. Roon is generally a fantastic product and has so much potential to be an even greater product. The issue isn’t this forum. If I were to be asked to advise Roon, which of course I haven’t been :slight_smile: , I would advise:

  1. Measure customer sentiment. Work to improve it. Help your customers feel valued, loved, and make sure they continue to be your best sales people. If your customers don’t feel positively about the quality of your product, they won’t take accountability for it by recommending it. Don’t let this happen.

  2. Raise the perception of quality of your product through some combination of product improvements, product simplification, increased support infrastructure.

  3. Make smart choices that are growth and scale oriented. If you’re going to add another multiplicative factor to your complexity equation, then recognize that you have to scale everything up to accomodate it. Try to reduce complexity, even if that means hard choices.

  4. Share your roadmap. Or parts of it. I don’t know what it is. Even if you’re stuck in some existential-feeling battle with ARC and IPv6 or something like that, pulse your roadmap so that we don’t just feel like we’re going to be watching this play out indefinitely.

Anyhow…was fun to write this down. Interested to see if anyone has additional thoughts and if this resonates with or just triggers people.

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Personally, I think Roon is a great product but a little complex for some people. Roon is not Spotify and not for everyone.

Roon ARC is sometimes problematic for me and often too slow, especially when using CarPlay. I really hope Roon can improve it because, conceptionally, I think it could be great also.

Roon Support does the best they can with the resources they have. It’s up to Roon management to decide how best to manage their company to achieve their objectives. We are customers, not shareholders. The current scheme of “customer assisted support” seems to work, albeit a little slow, while holding down cost (for Roon and their customers).

This forum is getting a little tiresome for me and I am attempting to lower my profile here. Some others might consider doing the same.

I love Roon and consider myself a very loyal customer. I’ve been a Roon customer for four years with never any significant problems. I run three cores and am a lifetime subscriber.

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Having volunteers do first line support is not at all good with a product as successful as Roon. In the early days it may well have been beneficial but Roon isn’t a tiny formative company with a niche product anymore.

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As a percentage of the user base the numbers on the forum are tiny so I’m not sure that the model isn’t working. Roon has come up with a support model that works for them, user numbers, manufacturers coming on board, positive reviews all point to successful growing business. Why would they change it?
Everyone will have ideas as to how to improve things but they are outside and looking in through a glass darkly. Roon have stated time and again that the forum gives a distorted view of the product and it’s reliability and ease of adoption.
As for product simplification, what exactly do you mean by that? Add automatic set up abilities, remove features? If it’s the latter, which features are going to be dropped and who is going to be explaining that to the users who came onboard just for that?
As a product manager at Microsoft said to me, yes everyone only uses three percent of Word features but everyone uses a different three percent.
The Roon team certainly have an attitude, naming no individuals, and that pervades their customer relationship skills, ahem, it can be very odd at times. I think one either accepts that they are going their own sweet way and then look at product and support with that in mind or you go crazy :slightly_smiling_face:

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Do you have any data to back that up?

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As a Basic member of this community, one of the things that I find less attractive or interesting is the lack of good [black] humour, and endless discussions on something trivial like ethernet cables, and so on, even power supply on the nucleus.

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