“Its almost as if they want take our great collective knowledge, muffle it and obfuscate it, then compare it to the "better" documents they can sell. So imagine getting a check-in error from PDMlink this morning, then coming to the exploder, searching for the term, finding all about the extrude function and how you can push and pull and save to JT, and at the side bar of the page, if you can spare 15 bucks, today you can become a PDMlink expert in 500 pages. That is death by book store. Maybe death by random search result is better.”
This is brilliant. It’s exactly what searching on the PTC Tech Support site is like. Copy the error text exactly and the results are so random you’re forced to make sure you typed it in correctly. Or, you switch to ‘search for exact phrase’ and get no results. Nope. None. That error has never been encountered during the use of PTC software. Ever. Never-ever. And then, opening a ticket results in getting sent a link to a CS with that exact phrase in it!
The real wonder is that they wonder why people are defending the Exploder so vehemently.
I made this same point months ago because I have experienced the dilemma you mentioned MANY times.
Until PTC can develop their own online Knowledge Base to actually give a meaningful result when searching for an EXACT error message presented by the very software PTC themselves wrote, what faith should users have that a PTC-run Exploder could be “better” for users than what we have now?
To turn it around, the folks at PTC who are masterminding the Exploder takeover could really gain some favor with users – and perhaps actual support for a PTC-run Exploder – if they would first get their online Knowledge Base in order.
PTC should take the good-faith step of making their existing online resources meet (exceed?) customer expectation.
PTC expends a fair amount of resources on focus groups already. Why not convene a User Experience event at PTC Live Global dedicated to the customers’ Online Knowledge Base? Let PTC reps watch how users do NOT find search results for exact error messages. Let PTC reps watch a user get HUNDREDS of poorly-prioritized results for a very targeted search criteria.
The worst aspect of this is that it could all be resolved with a stroke of a pen from one PTC exec. A simple three-line memo with the following directives:
1. Produce a list of every Error Message written into our code.
2. Produce a Tech Doc for each Error Message.
3. Tweak the Knowledge Base search engine to force the corresponding Tech Doc to be first search result for Error Message query.
#1 & #2 should be on the shelf already. (Please don’t tell me that even PTC Support doesn’t know about every Error Message and what they mean.) #3 should be easy. Call Google and ask.
But the fact that this three-line memo hasn’t been written is why so many users have so little faith in PTC taking over the Exploder.
All users want useful, well-functioning, no-cost online resources. And if PTC is the entity providing those resources, all would embrace that.
But past is prologue. Let history be our guide. Inject any over-used phrase you want. Regrettably, PTC has earned its reputation which is reflected in the overwhelmingly negative responses voiced regarding the Exploder take-over.
Note to PTC: Prove us wrong. Not by promising a great next-generation Exploder on ptc.com, but by delivering an existing PTC Knowledge Base that users will consider second to none.
Prove you can drive before asking to be our chauffeur.
Scott Pearson Senior Designer CAD System Administrator
[cid:image006.png@01CFDD8D.4B270790]S O U T H W E S T R E S E A R C H I N S T I T U T E® Space Science and Engineering Division Space Systems Directorate Department of Space Engineering 6220 Culebra Road, San Antonio, TX 78238
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 AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS
Paul Bock Engineering-IT Manager 225 Erie Street - Lancaster, NY 14086 - USA
I like the idea. We started our own list in an internal wiki page here. Pdmlink error codes and what they actually mean. This this is something that can be done via crowd sourcing if needed. It would help people who do not use "subsume" in there everyday conversations.
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
“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.
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 technology.
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.