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[proesys] - exploder


[proesys] - exploder

And they should be able to just look at all the things that are searched
for and look at the results themselves. Or figure out how many different
searches a user tries per "event" before giving up and going to the
exploder. You have to login to the support site, so maybe do a big data
analysis of searches on their site, followed by email posts by the same
user to the forum, and then compare the responses from the exploder
against the responses from their support site.


Zodiac Oxygen Systems

Paul Bock
Engineering-IT Manager
225 Erie Street - Lancaster, NY 14086 - USA

With all sincerity and as much civility and tact as I have left to muster, I just have to ask - does anyone out there care how the idea of PTC taking over the exploder came into being? Does it matter that PTC didn’t initiate it? Does it matter that they were approached by PTC User?

On this particular topic, the vaunted email exploder, the “best source of information and truth”, has become an echo chamber of disinformation.

PTC did not swoop in and decide to take over the exploder… or shut it down… or steal it away… or kill, murder, eviscerate, destroy or subsume it. The hyperbole surrounding this topic has grown to absurdity. Each person tries to ratchet up the rhetoric a little bit more. It’s like we’re vying to see which person can hate PTC the most.

And I get it… this is revenge for all the years PTC let you down, ignored you, disappointed you, or just outright screwed you over. We have all been there. Some of us are still there at this moment. We’re all incredibly passionate about the tools we use to do our jobs. But at some point we’ve crossed over into willful ignorance that this move to merge the exploder into PTC Community was not being done at the suggestion of PTC. It was being done because PTC User requested it.

Therefore, PTC is not the unwelcome chauffer. If someone in your car pool says “Hey, I can’t afford to maintain the car and put gas in it anymore, could you take over?” how in the world is it reasonable to criticize the guy who was asked to take over?!

So while I value Scott Pearson’s well-placed and very valid comments on the Knowledgebase, the issue remains – PTC is not the ogre here, they’re just the easy target.

Every last person reading and responding to these messages is a professional interested in getting his/her job done as efficiently as possible. I sincerely believe we’re all reasonable, logical, and intelligent people here to support a common cause. There’s no reason for continuing to rail against PTC with all the hellfire we can summon for a move that was not engineered by them.

Moving forward, perhaps we can ask PTC User why they felt this was a necessary move. Certainly, we can continue to make reasonable requests for accommodations and changes to PTC Community to support all who wish to join. And of course, we should always advocate for improvements and enhancements to the software as well as to support mechanisms such as the Knowledgebase and Tech Support portal. But maybe we can do this with our eyes open in a reasonable manner. Instead of tripping over ourselves to heap withering criticism on PTC when it is not deserved, why not focus on areas where criticism is deserved… and where it can be used as a constructive tool for positive changes.

Brian K. Martin
Sr. Mechanical/Application Engineer
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

301.286.0059 (NASA Office)
443.421.2532 (Cell)

Follow me on Twitter @CreoHelp<">>

“With all sincerity and as much civility and tact as I have left to muster, I just have to ask - does anyone out there care how the idea of PTC taking over the exploder came into being? Does it matter that PTC didn’t initiate it? Does it matter that they were approached by PTC User?”

In a word: NO.

While I won’t speak for anyone else, I do not care who initiated it. In fact I’m a little shocked that it was thought of as worthy of even bringing up as some sort of defense of this intended move.

Oh, and “perhaps we can ask PTC User”? We, the users, are PTC User. We didn’t ask. A tiny group of users tasked with maintaining a very minimalist web site asked. Asked, I might add, without putting the question to the rest of the users.


Hi Brian

Most of what you have said is relevant and reasonable.

However when this was announced at the Conference, and it was published online at PTC Community, I was left with the impression that the exploder would be absorbed into PTC community but that it would not be able to maintain its current format of a mail list to which one subscribes.

What astonishes me that PTC, who are members on this forum and occasionally provide some very valid and very useful input, have made only one comment saying they don’t know when it will or what format the incorporation into PTC Community will take. This in spite of the outpouring of alarm we see every time this subject is raised from the people who make this forum valuable. It therefore does not surprise me that the members have reacted emotionally when we are essentially being kept in the dark.

Surely a company of PTC’s size and stature should have a better public relations strategy than this towards the very people who use their product and as such make PTC profitable.

I think we deserve to be treated better in this regard.


It doesn't matter who came up with the idea. In the end, there are good
ideas and not so good ideas. The good ideas work better than the not so
good ideas. From my personal experience, and from those of others, the
email exploder is a really effective technique. It doesn't matter that it
is old or new. It just works very effectively for a lot of people. And
that the PTC knowledge base, and PTC community forum is less effective

Put it this way, if tomorrow the knowledge base went away or the PTC
community forum went away, my life would not be impacted much at all.
However, If the PTC/USER email exploder went away my performance at
maintaining PTC products at my company would be significantly impacted.
And I would have to waste a lot of time testing and researching solutions
myself. Also, I would need to start training in a lot more distant areas
of knowledge, such as deeper knowledge of operating systems, databases,
network programming, etc. The user fabric represented by the email
exploder is extensive.

This is my personal opinion, not having anything to do with my employer,
but I would rather have the portion of my maintenance dollars that support
PTC tech support go to the benefit of maintaining the PTC/USER email
exploder, than the support systems that PTC has implemented.


Paul Bock


I think Brian's point is just what you have said in your reply - You said "We didn't ask..." (past tense) correct.

Brian is saying "Maybe we should ask..." (future tense) suggestion.

I view his point as illustrating our complaining being warranted and valid and excusable, but it is targeting the wrong party. Yes, PTC is listening (hopefully) and they are considering how to make the transition seamless while retaining the exploder format (hopefully) because we are all so vocal about it...

It absolutely DOES matter who we decide to rail against - as much as it matters HOW. Uninformed accusations are not going to go very far - maybe as far as the deleted folder. If you believe that every message they get ends up there, then why waste your time typing? I said earlier that I believe they want to make their customers happy - not nearly as much as they want to make new customers, but that's a different story... They are listening. They get the anger and frustration. But we need the support of PTC/User to guide the transition - they obviously have more influence with PTC than we do.

I don't think accusations and anger will solve anything - maybe nothing will. But diplomacy does work - at least some of the time, otherwise we would all be at war all the time. Let's try it.

PTC/User (whoever you are - that tiny group Donald referred to) - do you have ANYTHING to say? Is this a done deal? Is there any chance we can retain the email exploder format we obviously all love so much? Why is there such deafening silence out there?

I have no problem bashing PTC for the crappy help - local or online - for the ESL tech support agents, for the overpriced maintenance, etc... But, why accuse them for something that they didn't initiate?


@ Nate:
Thank you! That’s exactly what I meant.

@ Steve Cooke:
I agree with you Steve, truly. This situation has not been handled with much aplomb. While in this forum, all appearances are that I’m firmly defending PTC, behind the scenes I’ve spoken with those responsible for PTC Community and expressed the same concerns you mentioned. I think they realized, perhaps too late, the need for better communication and a more open dialogue on this topic.

I don’t think anyone expected the backlash this announcement caused. Of course, I think it was a bit naïve to expect such a fiercely independent an vocal base of long-time users would just swallow the news without comment! From what I know, PTC understands this problem will not simply go away but they’re still considering how best to address the concerns of the PTC User membership.

@ Donald Senchuk:
I must disagree with you. It has to matter that this idea was floated by PTC User. Saying things like “We are PTC User”, in my opinion, holds little weight. “We the people” are also the what make up the United States… it just so happens the a tiny group of people perform the actual functions of government. If the US Government does something I don’t like (maybe signing a trade agreement with Cuba for example), I don’t blame you for it. You have to blame those in positions to make those decisions. You also can’t blame Cuba- no matter how much you may dislike the country!

In parallel – if we don’t like the management of PTC User, we must change it! That “small group of people” dedicate their time, attention, and resources for free to that minimalist website going. Someone paid for the servers and applications to run the exploder… and the last time I checked there was no fee for participating in either the PTC User website or the exploder. We cannot get a free lunch and, at the same time, complain the food isn’t as good as it used to be.

@ Paul Bock:
My problem isn’t with people disagreeing with the notion of merging the two resources (Email Exploder and PTC Community). I support everyone’s right to voice an opinion good or bad. My problem is with people attacking PTC as the source of the problem. I don’t shy away from hammering PTC for every misstep when the criticism rightly falls on their shoulders. But this is not on them… and continuing to whip them for it is not right.

Of course, I disagree that your job would become vastly more difficult if the email exploder goes away.

Too many people associate PTC Community with PTC Tech Support. That’s like comparing apples to a broken 1972 Buick. They are not the same- and the caliber of help you’ll get from PTC Community is consistently very high. If you’re plugged in to the PTC Community, I believe you’d see it is tremendously valuable and could fulfill about 85% of the functions the exploder does. Just like experts answer questions on the exploder, experts also answer on PTC Community. You can receive notifications of new postings as email digests from PTC Community so you don’t ever have to go to the website. The only exception is if you wish to respond to posts. This is an acknowledged limitation and solutions are being considered to eliminate this problem.

@ Everyone Else:
I understand some people will continue to object to PTC Community with their dying breath. Even if limitations are addressed, some will continue to mount attacks because… well because it’s Thursday and it’s fun to pile on PTC.

Still, my hope is that some people on the fence will give honest consideration to ways that the exploder and PTC Community can be merged. That’s not to say people should drop their objections or that they must accept the site as it currently stands… but that they merely be willing to participate in a collaboration to bring both sides together.

Maybe it won’t ever work… and I accept that. All I’m saying is that perhaps we might try before declaring the effort worthless. In the interest of minimizing email spam, this is my last post on this topic. If people wish to reply to me personally, I invite your feedback to my email (below).

Very respectfully,

Brian K. Martin
Sr. Mechanical/Application Engineer
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

301.286.0059 (NASA Office)
443.421.2532 (Cell)

Follow me on Twitter @CreoHelp<">>

Why does it have to matter who floated the idea? A stupid idea is a stupid idea regardless of who initiated it.

Well said Donald!!! AMEN !!!!!

It matters who floated the idea because I believe Brian’s point is that the proof that this is not all some scheme by PTC to take over the world (mwuhahaha – rubbing their hands together) is that the idea came from the PTCUser group. That being said, I agree that this is a bad idea as floated. I hate it. But nothing will be accomplished in changing it if the response we give PTC is over the top conspiracy theories.

I have added more groups to my PTC/Community list for emails since this was announced so that I could see what kind of traffic happens there. Overall, the traffic is very similar to the traffic here on the exploder. That being said, the people pointing out that since you can get emails from the Community lists it is just the same. WRONG. Emails of responses on the Community do not include the prior responses or the original question so to see the entire thread I DO have to go to the website. I don’t have time for that. If someone’s response is “You’re right! That’s the best thing since sliced bread!!” I have to go somewhere else to see this pearl of wisdom. It may seem small, but I can save the last email in that conversation from the exploder and I have the whole picture. I just can’t do that with the community.

For me the bottom line is not whether it is PTC/User or PTC that hosts the discussions, I just want the same format I have been used to along with the ability to respond via email. With all the technology at their disposal, I would think both should be possible. Perhaps then it is a user preference as to how to receive their emails.

Rob Reifsnyder
Mechanical Design Engineer/ Producibility Engineer / Components Engineer / Pro/E SME / Pro/E Librarian

Well, some people care who floats a bad idea. I don’t. Just like I don’t care who floats a good idea. The idea (or thought or suggestion or method) should stand or fall on its own merits, regardless of who proposed it. “Don’t bash PTC” is an entirely different conversation.

Having said that, you’re entirely correct that isn’t not the same. I responded to Ryan Kelly’s email via the old tried and true ‘Respond to All’. The same one I’ve been using to communicate during this thread (and all others on the Exploder that didn’t need to be personally directed). I’ve been waiting to see what people’s response was to the details I feel he should also consider addressing to both communities in his November address. Alas, I’m pretty sure ‘Respond to All’ doesn’t actually do anything. I’m also still waiting for confirmation that ‘Respond’ even goes to the person directly at all. Or perhaps it just gets flushed into the Abyss.

It’s also a wonder to me that with all the technology available, my picking ‘Respond to All’ and snipping out any personal email addresses – leaving, for example, -<">mailtoSmiley Tongue-> – it doesn’t take what I’ve written and go make a forum post.

If it was their own idea, then I think somehow the PTCuser board seems to not understand that the part that makes PTCuser unique relative to PTC/Community is not transferable to an incompatible format. What I wonder is what the Board thinks will be transferred.

The view that PTCuser is a static pile of answers to questions and a list of users is the heart of the disagreement over what it means for PTC/Community to 'take over.'

The main functions I appreciate out of the Exploder is that it is highly responsive and peer-to-peer interactive and based on the lowest common denominator, e-mail, for computer users. Many companies do not allow social website access - the people who think this lock-out does not happen don't work for those companies. For those locked-out, the only avenue is e-mail.

The alternative? Logging-in is still time consuming over hitting reply and typing an answer. Yes, you can get e-mail notifications that there are new messages, but not the message and not the context, and not the continuing conversation. The web site is also more time consuming. Email does not include downloading an entire tabbed or menued interface along with each message, unlike every page. Again, fast enough for those with networks that are fast enough; but slow for those on slow networks, without particular benefit.

With the above main functions removed, as they are not supported by PTC/Community, PTCuser ceases to exist.

All that remains is the membership list and a few answers to some questions; answers that are no less cryptic on PTC/Community.

All the advantages PTC/Community has are presently available to anyone who wants, with a free account, so if there is rancor to be had, it is that present capabilities in PTCuser email exploder are being eliminated without in-kind replacement.


How many times have each of us tried to get an answer or info from PTC and also the Exploder at the same time? Now how many time has PTC come up with an answer before your friends on the Exploder. Just remember “TIME IS MONEY”

There are pieces of PTC Community that need improvement. When someone sends me a private email, I should be able to respond by just hitting 'Reply'. If the spam issue can be addressed, I think responding to threads by responding to an email would be a fine feature to have. Rob Riefsnyder's suggestion to have PTC Community mail out the entire thread (thereby preserving context) is also very reasonable feedback.

The only thing I would disagree with is the statement that the emails from PTC Community do not contain the message. They do contain the message... just not the running conversation (not the entire thread). Maybe I have my notifications set up differently than others, but I do get the message each person posts as responses are added.

It feels like we're settling on a relatively few significant pain points- specifically the two items I just mentioned. If everyone was able to reply by email... and receive email notifications with the entire thread, I believe that addresses the most contentious problems. I'm still not sure that's enough for everyone to approve of the merge, but it would be a good start.

Also- I wanted to point out I was wrong about the exploder having no spam protection. Apparently there are some form(s) of spam prevention implemented. It wasn't always that way... but there is some mechanism in place now to prevent spam. Therefore, if PTC User can implement this for the exploder, it's reasonable to ask PTC to implement it for a feature allowing users to reply to posts via email.

I forgot one - being able to start a thread from e-mail.

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