MakerBot is converting its Google Group into an archive and focusing support efforts on their in-house programs instead.
The group opened in 2009 when MakerBot launched and served as a key channel for providing support to MakerBot operators worldwide. Users would pose questions and they’d often be answered - sometimes by MakerBot, but more often than not by other MakerBot users, who made up the majority of the group.
Searching for solutions was a very common process used by most MakerBot operators, as the popularity of the machines meant someone else had likely already encountered any problem you’d face. Fixing an issue was often as simple as looking it up in the Google Group.
But that’s changed. According to MakerBot’s Tiffany Diorio:
We’ve been examining how we can best support and communicate with our user group and, as a result of this exercise, have decided to turn this Google Group into an archive and allocate the resources required to manage it to other support and social roles. What you’re not seeing as members of this group is the massive amount of spam that is manually filtered out daily. That’s time we are going to direct toward helping MakerBot owners.
For sure there was spam, as that happens with almost any public forum these days. But for us the question is: Can MakerBot provide equally good support from their internal system? They seem to feel so, but it remains to be seen how the community will react.
And that’s another thing - MakerBot’s community is changing rapidly. Over the past couple of years the company has been trying to move from a “DIY” audience to more of a “typical consumer” audience. The consumer audience is less likely to find the DIY-style Google Group support adequate and is more accustomed to phoning or emailing the manufacturer directly for help.
Meanwhile, the DIY community is likely to be unhappy with this move, but we think that’s merely a temporary issue. The DIY MakerBot community will no doubt quickly establish it’s own support forum, separate from MakerBot Galactic and things will proceed as they have in the past.
Curiously, 3D Systems did much the same thing when they acquired Bits From Bytes several years ago. They shut down the BFB forum and replaced it with internal direct support. In that case users simply moved to other discussion forums, too.
Via Google Groups