It's official - Constructive Criticism as a form of improvement is DEAD!

Every few weeks I check the Windows Forum topics for news on the progress of V3. I share the dismay and bewilderment of MANY, MANY Scrivener users arising from the inexplicable delays. Yes, I’ve read the “explanations and apologies” posts, so I beg you, please don’t direct me to to them yet again. While they address our collective frustrations, they do nothing to explain how we all ended up in this mess. It remains to be seen if the Windows team will ever find their way through the muddle. I wish them all the best.

But my frustration with V3 delays pales in comparison to my horrifying experience reading through the latest posts in these forums. The anger, vitriol, viciousness, and spite that characterizes the vast majority of the “conversations” is appalling.

As a professional software developer (in Windows) for over twenty years, I could offer many comments and suggestions about this particular project, in the purest of hopes that those ideas shared might offer some hope and direction. But I will not dare do so, not because I can’t take the inevitable heat, but because why would I willing subject myself to the attack?

Constructive criticism used to be considered a valuable and often necessary form of learning and gaining wisdom. There was an oft-quoted adage successful companies always lived by: The Customer is ALWAYS right.

Not so here. The L&L universe, as reflected in these forums, is an extremely bitter and jaded world, one I am not proud to be a part of. At this juncture, even if V3 was fully released and exceeded the functionality of the Mac version, I would not be comfortable recommending it to anyone for fear they would find their way in to this labyrinth of hatred and malice. I am so utterly turned off to the L&L experience, I will settle for writing in GoogleDocs, one chapter at a time, and manually moving things around when necessary.

Have I exaggerated? Don’t believe me? Watch what happens next…

What constructive criticism was met with hatred and malice? Can you give an example of something constructive that was met with malice?

One user made this statement recently:
Any xplat development takes time but… I was shocked… by reading the blog they’re using QT and doing development separate platform development. In addition to this, creating their own engines for spell check and richedits. There /are/ alternatives. I would recommend the development team check out QT alternatives . Xamarin? C#? After working in C#, coming from C++, it’s a lot easier and cleaner code.

What followed was zero acknowledgement from L&L staff as to the validity of his suggestion, and instead PAGES of people arguing about one person’s opinion and expression over another’s, none of which had ANYTHING to do with the original suggestion.

There are MUCH BETTER ways to do Windows programming than the path L&L has chosen to follow, as I understand it. The choice of tools and methodology significantly impacts the timeline and success of any such project. These types of suggestions were being made in 2017, and they were apparently ignored.

For that matter, with a user base as diverse and creative as L&L’s, why didn’t they solicit input BEFORE starting the project? Big miss, there, IMHO.

Regardless of the merits of any particular development platform, I think it should be pretty obvious that switching to a new one at this late date would not expedite the release of Windows Scrivener 3.

Also, those particular comments were buried in a thread the gist of which was that the Windows developers are incompetent and should probably be fired. Hardly “constructive” and I don’t blame them for steering clear.


Okay, so your example of constructive criticism is that L&L should have made a different decision about development platform for the Win version back in 2015-2016 when the work on the new Win version began? L&L is a very small group of people, not a big software company with lots of employees. Isn’t it possible, or even likely, that their design decision was based on e.g. who they are and their programming knowledge and background and that they chose Qt because they judged it to be the best choice at the time?

In what way is it constructive to suggest that they should have made a different decision 3-4 years ago? I don’t understand that part. Maybe you can explain it better so I understand?

So you can’t accuse me of ‘vitriol’ etc, let’s look at a couple of points calmly and logically.

‘The customer is always right’ - over the years there have been endless ‘suggestions’ that L&L are doing development wrong, with demands for more developers (that didn’t work out well for iOS), crowd funding, using different software, I could go on. The gist t of my comment is that clearly with all the conflicting demands from armchair experts the customer is not always right and often has no clue what they are talking about. Certainly suggesting the team abandon QT for Win V3 at this late stage and put back the project another 1-2 years could charitably be described as dumb. The customer is often dead wrong.

Constructive criticism seems to always be welcomed by Keith and co. Calling L&L incompetent, liars, demanding ‘consequences’ etc is not constructive, it’s mean, nasty, entitled… Forum members have a right to call that out.

As I mentioned in another post, the ‘anger, vitriol…’ etc is limited to a few threads that started with the aforementioned attacks on L&L. The L&L forums are overwhelmingly supportive with constructive help, suggestions for new features, etc. people freely contribute across the platform boards and learn. There is no labyrinth of hatred and malice and to suggest so IMHO ignores overwhelming reality.

To dismiss the Scrivener community on this site and recommend against it does an overwhelming disservice to yourself (using a clearly inferior solution), to L&L (potentially depriving them unfairly of customers), and to potential future customers by turning them away from the world best solution for long form writing.

JackSchaeffer, hopefully you will revise your opinion and agree that three of four emotive threads do not define a forum, a company or its product.

Responding just to this excerpted portion of your post, and echoing astaff, and at the risk of being called out for double-posting, I want to repeat the gist of my post in another thread: To me, reading these “discussions” of the delays in Scrivener 3 is like wandering into the postgame discussion after a round of 5th-grade dodgeball: “You threw at my head on purpose!” “Your sister is ugly!” Some complaint threads start out reasonably, some start out hostile. Some of the responses from long-time loyal, and sometimes defensive, users have gotten obnoxious. So I’d encourage dipping into a couple of the threads responding to requests for help in using Scriv. Rather than vitriol and malice, you’ll find genuine and well-informed helpfulness. Please consider that before recommending or not recommending Scrivener.

From the outside, without any idea of the actual program requirements, picking a new set of technologies from ground zero, this statement might be true.

We had a lot of this discussion back when L&L was first planning to release the initial Windows version, and while I’m not a fan of Qt in general, I think L&L did a good job of looking at the alternatives and picking one that made sense for them, for the available talent pool, for their requirements, and their general situation. A major part of the decision is that (as I understand it) the text system in Qt was the closest to what MacOS offers, so the developers would have the least amount of additional work to do in order to get the text editors, scrivenings, etc. working on Windows as compared to any of the other realistic options. Just using native Windows code alone would have been a massive amount of additional work just to implement one of the core sets of functionality we all take for granted in Scrivener.

There’s also the point that Qt is going to make it relatively simple for them to extend support for Android once Windows v3 releases, and to keep the Windows and Android versions in sync with the lowest amount of work.

The “perfect” is the enemy of the “good.”

I suggest that the content of this comment is counter-productive to the stated intent of the comment.

Personally, I found all the “constructive criticism” I needed in the Scrivener version 3 Beta forum. I read and digested all of the Beta forum bugs and comments. By the time Beta 7 (or perhaps it was B8) came out, I was hooked. I installed it, and I haven’t looked back, other than to make sure my v1.9x program remains updated and current.

(I still very much like the old v1.9x on-screen presentation. My liking is only reinforced by the occasional opening of said program to keep it current. I know, I know, I’m dated. Oh well. * shrug *)

But I have moved on. (I’m not that old. Yet.)

Scrivener 3 for Windows forever! Praise de lawd and, well, you all get it, I’m sure.

I’ve been successfully using the beta for all of my projects for many, many months, and it’s so far much better (looking at least) than the original, so I don’t see the anger involved, but then again I admit I haven’t been following all the threads, so ya’ll probably just tell me to shut up. lol

I have also been a user with Todoist for many years, and back in the day, they used to have a user forum, but the clammer and vitriol coming in their direction, specifically because there were so many suggestions for improvement, many of which would have required the whole software to be re-engineered, meant that most of the posts were a negative advertisement for the company. They cancelled the forum and instead went with a ‘ticketing’ system for problem solving.

It was a shame, but it was also understandable. Takes a certain bravery to leave the customer feedback in place, warts and all. In the end, a post reflects the expectations, disappointments and feeling of each individual poster. Some of that feeling can be steered by the actions of LL in that managing expectations is part of the management stuff. But a lot of what is written tells more about the poster than it does about LL to be honest.

Hopefully, everyone will end up happy. Until the next version starts to whisper its promise into our ears. :smiley:

Interesting. Astrohaus, developers of the Freewrite and Traveler writing devices, faced a similar challenge, and ultimately they responded in the same way, by closing down their user forums.

Stand down.

Go write.

Grow up.

This is exactly the response that will justify JackSchaeffer in his closing warning. You don’t know how much he writes, aside from the 10 minutes or so it took to write that post. As for “Grow up” … like I said, 5th grade dodgeball. “Why don’t you grow up?” “Well why don’t you grow up?” Well why does your mother dress you so funny?"

I think I said this before, but…

Ever since I learned how to Sync To External Folder, thus setting up my book in its proper structure in neat lil rtf files, I have always done it on a project in progress. Not only does it let me edit it in Android if I happen to want to add something while I’m on my phone (my least favorite way of writing, but inspiration doesn’t really care), but it gives me a backup that isn’t dependent on Scrivener’s format, whether it be V3Beta or V1.

Coming to writing from a background as a software engineer, I am particularly careful about work loss prevention. I didn’t move 100% to Scrivener 3 Beta yet, but I probably will now that my (very first book, hurrah!) project has been turned over to the editor. I’ll be sure to use a different syncing folder, just in case!

There are not. These comments come from people who have little or no experience with this kind of project, with trying to create and maintain custom GUI controls, and especially with long term maintenance of Windows software.

What there are, are other ways of developing Windows software which the people making these suggestion are more familiar or more comfortable with. The specific example you quote is one of those, with a person unused to C++ programming who finds C# easier to read. Anyone unfamiliar with C++ will find that. That would not be true of an experienced C++ programmer, who would find the opposite to be true.

And all the .NET and C# frameworks share one huge problem; long term viability is horrid. I have spent a significant part of my career working with Microsoft’s frameworks, and they ALWAYS abandon them and supersede them with something new and shiny. This leads to maintenance nightmares and expensive rewrites. Qt has spent a very long time in a highly stable state, and has always been reasonable in effort to port from major version to a new major version. Unlike Microsoft they have their framework as their product, not the underlying platform, and therefore they need to keep the framework competitive and backwards compatible. And at worst, if they decide to end development, the source is available.

L&L chose not to engage in discussions over personal preference and why they should not adopt frameworks which are guaranteed to be legacy sooner rather than later, and instead spend their time working on creating a product for their customers. I will not even try to fault them for that. Neither ought you.

Exactly. I rest my case. Thanks, guys (and ladies). Happy writing!

Bro, you came in looking to pick a fight. Don’t act all innocent.