Miro Internet TV Blog

Migrating Madness: Moving the Help and Forums

July 29th, 2008 by admin

This change in forum software is Big as in DipperWe recently moved our help and support forums to a cool service called Get Satisfaction — they make it super easy to search for answers, ask questions, and see what other people are talking about. Signing up is easy, and your log-in works with other nifty company pages too. Our buddies at Mozilla are on there, along with some other cool internet names.

Here’s the deal though: We need your help!

As you know, Miro is the main project of a small non-profit organization. Our user base means a lot to us. You’re the ones submitting cool channels in the Guide, request new features, and make Miro the awesome app that it is!

Our Legacy Forums still contain a lot of useful information, and for that reason they’ll stay open for you browse and search as a knowledge resource, but you should definitely check out the new digs. Come introduce yourself!

10 Responses to “Migrating Madness: Moving the Help and Forums”

  1. Nelson says:

    Your old forum ran on open source software. As far as I can tell, Get Satisfaction isn’t releasing any of their source code or anything. Don’t you see this as a slight problem?

    Why are open source projects like yours switching to use Get Satisfaction, if it is a proprietary system? Am I missing something?

  2. Thor Muller says:

    Hi Chris,
    We’re big fans of Miro at Get Satisfaction, and are excited to welcome your community.

    @Nelson, that’s a good question. We’re huge proponents of open source software, and are both users and contributors to open source projects. Get Satisfaction actually does offer both an open API and an open source templating system called Help Center: http://code.google.com/p/getsatisfaction/

    Our primary system is a “support network” rather than an isolated silo for a customer community, and aims to do for product support and customer-company communication what Flickr did for photo-sharing–create a common space for people to connect across related products and services. Consequently, the open source model makes sense for tools based on the service, rather than the service itself.

    I hope this clarifies! Feel free to ask followup questions here: http://getsatisfaction.com/satisfaction

  3. Hi Nelson,

    I’m one of the developers from Get Satisfaction. While the core of our business is a closed piece of software, like Thor said above, we do try to contribute back as much as possible. I’ve got several patches to Ruby on Rails committed that have come out of work for GSFN, we’ve released several plugins for RoR as open source, and we even have an MIT-licensed PHP application that replicates Get Satisfaction using our API (http://getsatisfaction.com/for_companies/help_center).

    I’m guessing that isn’t your concern, but rather that you feel a proprietary system has lock-in. My argument is that we give unfettered access to the data contained within our application through a fairly easy to use, REST-based API. It provides enough access to the guts of the system that Helpcenter (the PHP application I mentioned above) was able to be created.

    I’m curious about what specifically you see wrong about our approach in how it relates to the benefits provided by OSS. While I don’t think that the core software in GSFN will ever be open-sourced, I would really like to realize as many benefits for our users as possible that would normally be provided by going open source. I’d love to hear what those values are for you, and then see if we can push the limits so to speak of our closed system.


  4. Dean Jansen says:


    I’m glad you bring this up.

    We thought long and hard before switching away from the Vanilla forum (which is open source software), and there were two major considerations that led to the change:

    1) We still have a form of data portability due to the API’s mentioned above.

    2) Vanilla just wasn’t working terribly well for supporting Miro — people’s questions were going largely unanswered and it was difficult to see where the action was. I’m not saying that GS will always be superior to something like Vanilla or PHPBB, but at the moment it is working better for us/our users.

    I hope this fresh competition will spur more innovation on the open source side for forums and support services. Of course if all things were equal in this case, I would have chosen the open source option without question.

  5. Rick Kenney says:

    To add a little more to what Dean was saying about the old Vanilla system being technically viable but being unused, since switching to GS we’ve seen a marked jump in the level of input we’re receiving from the community.

    While I don’t know how much of that we can credit to GS, I do know GS’s email notifications and user interface has made tracking and responding to that input a whole lot easier.

  6. [...] we’ve blogged about it in the past and you may have noticed the recent revamp of our help section, we’re [...]

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  8. Claudiawadsworth says:


  9. regcure says:

    I would say that this system is the best. Mike

  10. Good thing you posted this one. It's such a great post. So your decision to move to Get Satisfaction is a good choice. With your post, maybe I would also move my forum into that service.

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