What to do while the forums are down, dear Autodesk?

In common with most online services, the Autodesk forums are down for maintenance from time to time. That will be happening this weekend:

Announcement: The forums will be unavailable starting 1 p.m. on Friday, April 6 (Pacific time) while we implement the forum redesign. We will be back online at 9 a.m. on Monday, April 9, or sooner.

I really wish Autodesk would act like a company with an international focus and use universally understood time standards for its announcements. Allow me to translate for those people outside North America for whom “Pacific time” means nothing.

Pacific Time (UTC-7) UTC
Off line: 1 PM, 6 April 8 PM (20:00), 6 April
On line (latest): 9 AM, 9 April 4 PM (16:00), 9 April

So, what to do if you have something you want to say when the forums are down? R.K. McSwain has already made some suggestions: CADTutor, AUGI and The Swamp. I have one further suggestion:

dear Autodesk

This new forum is an experiment of mine, aimed at providing a place where people can provide feedback to Autodesk with minimal restrictions. I made an attempt at setting up dear Autodesk nearly a decade ago but the technology (Pligg) I used was not up to handling the vast amount of spam and hacker attempts it attracted, so I closed it in early 2009.

Now I’m trying again using a different format and different technology (a conventional MyBB forum).

Disclaimers:

  • The site is, of course, not owned or operated by Autodesk, a fact which is made clear on the site in several places
  • This experiment might also fail, for the same or different reasons
  • The technology I’m using is new to me and it might break due to my lack of experience with it or reasons beyond my control
  • A couple of days ago, attempts to register were generating database errors; this appears to be fixed now, but it may recur
  • There is no guarantee that Autodesk people will read the forums (although some did last time)
  • There is no guarantee that Autodesk will act on any of the feedback, suggestions or wishes made on the site (or anywhere else)

Last time I tried this, I didn’t let on that I was behind it. This may have been a mistake, but I did this because I didn’t want the site to be seen as mine. The idea was to allow a community to develop which could freely express itself, not one which was led or prompted by any individual, myself included.

This time I’m doing things differently in several ways, and one of those ways is to be completely transparent about who’s behind it. I still don’t want it to be “my site”, though. I’d like it to be a community’s home. If you are interested in trying to help form that community, please register on the site. The front page has instructions.

If you run into trouble registering or using the site and can’t communicate that via the site itself, feel free to let me know here.

Right now, the site is a blank canvas. Paint away.

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