Monday, July 16, 2007

Comments about the SBS community

There has been plenty of talk about the whole SBS community lately. Vlad has certainly stirred the pot with some recent posts ( and here ) and to a large amount we have to agree with what he says. Why? Well, it certainly appears to us that the great majority of people in SBS land are takers not givers. There are very small number of regular contributors to the “community” while the rest tend to sit on their duff and simply suck in the information. Given that we all only have a limited time in every day we acknowledge that there is also way too much information out there for any of us to get across but hey the least you could do is say “thank you”.

Case in point. We developed a survey on our Supportweb site that was designed to try to get a feel for some basics of the SBS installs out there. We posted a request for people to complete the survey to our local SBS User Group and we were luck to get 10 responses! We then contacted Susan Bradley who was kind enough to post the survey information on her blog and to date our total number os respondants is 45! C'mon people, only 45 people in the whole SBS world have the time to respnd to a survey? This apathy is mirrored in the offical SBS Community survey, which apparently hasn't had very many respondants either. It just goes to show to us that the vast majority of the so-call SBS community in fact are takers not givers.

When we used to attend our local SBS user group meetings we found that we were just generally getting pumped for information. How do you do this? Should I install that? How do I go about this? Now, generally we don't mind helping people at all but of late we found that is all we have been doing and worse still we never received any genuine thanks for our contributions. We are happy to help were we can but we feel it isn't very smart to keep giving and giving when nothing is forthcoming in return. In that case we are just being stupid by letting ourselves being taken advantage of. Why should we get up and give presentations and provide advice, that in many cases has taken us plenty of hard struggle to learn, to people who simply take it, without thanks or making any contribution in return, and then implement in their business for their own commercial benefit?

So now we look at the so called “community” as a case of “well, how is this going to help our business?”. We continue to develop and post free material for the community (our videos being a case in point) but we are now asking for donations to provide us with some business benefit for our efforts. No doubt we will called all sorts of names for seeking commercial gain but you aren't required to pay to see the videos, it is a simply way to show us your appreciation of the efforts we have made in providing the material. If support isn't forthcoming then we'll look at channelling these efforts into another project that provides us business benefit, because if we don't we go out of business. Amazingly, when we started creating these videos we got all sorts of people want “free” support on some of the technologies we highlighted. Initially we provided support but after a while (and with very little thanks for for our efforts) we are reverting to the commercial model. If you want “free” support then make a donation to show us that you are not just a taker, because we aren't willing to continue to be taken advantage of.

Now, there is little doubt that this rant won't go much further than this blog since we doubt very few people even read it (hi mom), but at least we have made our opinions public and attempted to explain our motives. Of all the information we have is placed on the web, much of it free of charge, it would be nice to now and again get a sincere “thank you” rather than “this content is so basic even my grandmother would have known that”. Fair enough, we are happy to take any form of feedback on what we create but so far that “grandmother” crack has been about the total extent of it.

As we said, we appreciate that there are far more knowledgable people in the “SBS community” providing a far greater range of helpful material but it would be nice once in a while to actually know that someone out there does appreciate what you are providing to the community for “free”.