At 07:46 PM 5/31/2004, Jim Monroe wrote:
At 03:16 PM 5/31/2004, Ian wrote:

The amount of traffic on this list that discusses DXP/P2004 in detail and has the suggestions and problems
is small compared to that on other forums.

Ian - You didn't get specific, but judging by many of your prior postings, I assume you are referring to Altium's DXP forums. I am not too surprised that DXP traffic on this forum has been light. I recall seeing posts from you and a few others that recommended that people post DXP questions to the Altium's forum instead of this one.

I'll make the recommendation as well, though I do sympathize with Mr. Monroe's concerns.

I prefer this forum for a number of reasons, here are a few.

First, I don't want the only show in town to be controlled by the vendor of the product. If we don't support and use other forums, they will go away.

My own recommendation is that Protel users join [EMAIL PROTECTED] There is little traffic, but if the traffic is bothersome, with any of the protel-users lists, one can set one's subscription to Special Notices, which would allow the Association to contact you should it be deemed necessary. There are other lists, most notably [EMAIL PROTECTED], which is a backup list for the PEDA list. Most regular Protel writers belong to protel-users.

The PEDA Forum is owned and controlled not by an association but by Techserv, which is a service bureau, and Techserv has not been particularly responsive to the functioning user's association. However, the association has not attempted to move the main support list elsewhere.

(The protel-users family of lists on are generally owned by me, but only as a trustee for the association. List operation is subject to association decisions, and I *have* been overruled by the association.)

My own position is that the user forums should be controlled by the users. If the association matures to the point where it could take over management of the DXP Forum, it would be reasonable to request this. And if the users are coherently organized to a point where this could be done, then I think that Altium would be friendly to the idea.

Altium has rightly been concerned that independent mailing lists can rapidly degenerate into flame wars between disgruntled users and the company, because they saw this in the past. One result of such flame wars was a company policy that employees did not post to PEDA. Then Protel CSC started posting, as a sole official voice of Protel.

Second, this forum has been here for many years, almost since I started using Protel back in 1990. The DXP forums are a Johnny come lately and Altium does not even provide forums for their earlier products. Once upon a time they did, but only for a very short time during the mid 90's. And even then, negative comments were often censored.

Negative comments are allowed on the DXP list. Attacks on the character of Altium employees might meet with some response, but the list is not moderated ordinarily. It is essential that support lists either not be moderated, or that moderation be swift and 24/7.

(And if lists are going to be moderated, the moderation should be done by people chosen and trusted by both the users and the company, according to guidelines enjoying a consensus in the community.)

Third, I understand that this forum is monitored by a large number of Altium employees, so Altium knows what's going on even when messages are not posted to their own forum.

This was definitely true before the DXP list was started, and it is probably still true. However, Altium's focus is shifting, and I don't think this list has the power it once have. It also does not have anything approaching the traffic of the DXP list.

Forth, It's been proved time and time again that the user's usually have a better grasp of how to best use the products than most of Protel's staff. And even though there are users on Altium's forums, I would still prefer to post here for the previous three reasons.

Yes, however, this fourth item would actually be a reason to post to the DXP list. The DXP list is where most of the experienced DXP users are going to read and respond.

So it depends on what the purpose is of the post. If the purpose is to learn to use DXP, if the purpose is to criticize DXP in a way that is likely to meet with informed comment, the DXP list will be better.

If it is a 99SE question, this list would be better.

If it is a user organizational issue, the *best* place would actually be protel-users-association, where there is actually a hope that something could be accomplished beyond simply banging on keys.

A number of years ago I was told by a Protel Tech Support employee that Protel had instituted a policy that discouraged or forbade Protel employees from participating in this forum (they could look but not touch).

Yes, I heard this, but even if I hadn't heard it, it would be obvious from the silence. Note that this does not prevent some people who have at one time or another done a piece of contract work for Protel (or who were employed by them) from posting here.

So I'll certainly need to use Altium's forum if I require direct feedback from them, and I'll use it if I can't get an answer here, but otherwise it'll be my second choice.

And, of course, that Altium employees can and do post to the DXP forum gives that forum a tremendous advantage.

But the best situation would be something like a jointly-managed forum, where the users can have confidence that management is not biased and the company can have confidence that there is protection from abuse.

However, it seems that the DXP Forum is not suffering from a heavy hand on the part of management. Anyone who thinks differently is, of course, welcome to post here, as well as to complain to the association.

There has been a little activity recently on the association list, with some elements of a charter being proposed. One of my own long-term pet projects is about new techniques of association, bringing together the freedom and distributed intelligence of direct democracy with the efficiency of representative democracy, about which there is a little at and much more that has not yet been written there.

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