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Auto-updates: Everyone who chose “Include me on early releases” on the Settings page.
For my part, I'm happy to run experimental code, but only when I have some indication of what is changing, and what parts I should keep an eye on for potential issues. This is useful for a number of reasons, in part because it means I can keep an eye on whether something unusual or unexpected may happen, or when a workaround to buggy or broken behaviour is no longer needed. Also, for those of us that support clients and organizations using your product, being able to be on the bleeding edge can help me be prepared to support them through changes.
But it's give and take, if you can't provide useful information, why should I take the risk of code that is more likely to be buggy than your average public build?
There are a number of ways you could implement this, one option would be to implement chrome://flags/ like list of experimental features, with the features being "automatic" (meaning Dropbox will enable it as needed), "enabled" or "disabled" when it makes sense to allow a user to opt-in, or "unavailable" when it doesn't apply to a particular target user.
But a blank "Meh, good luck, maybe stuff will be broken, we won't tell you what, and it won't even be consistent between users? That doesn't make me say "Yes, I want to help this company succeed", that says "I won't let any of my clients use this, because I can't even help them when they report something is broken"
Well put Dave! Releases might be decoupled from new features, but that doesn't mean there's no way to let us know what has changed. For instance, the big notice on the blog today could have been announced to us in a change-log (and it mentioned properly that it is NOT cross-platform.)
Having said that, glad to at least have correspondence from dropbox. Unfortunately, the biggest problem with the forums is that issues very often just get ignored. Lack of communication regarding bugs etc is THE biggest failure of dropbox, in my opinion. Which Is a pity, since it is otherwise a fantastic product!
At least changelogs let us know not to bother checking if a certain bug has finally been fixed. Here's looking at the Linux client bugs that have been reported and all but ignored for more than 18 months! It's nice that "we’ve started rolling out new desktop features more gradually to make sure they’re working as expected," but I think many of us would rather have old features that actually work first.
Just in addition to what I wrote above, while there may be "well over half a million" people running beta builds, only a handful of us actually bother to report issues etc. on the forums. A dropbox culture of not (in general) responding to feedback on the forums sends the message that our feedback is not actually appreciated. If the inbuilt reporting metrics (which, incidently, makes me wonder what is sent - a crash, a failure to show a gui, ...) is all that is actually counted as useful, I'd rather this forum was closed down. Alternatively a simple, "we're aware of that issue" would be nice. Or even a list of "known problems" in the release notice... (Or a page which lists them. In fact, even if changelogs are brought back (please!) a list of "known issues" would still be nice with every release.
Come to think of it, even a place for people to share workarounds officially would be nice. Some of the long-ignored Linux bugs make Dropbox look terrible (and I'm sure that the same is true for windows and OS- Until Dropbox they're properly fixed, there are sometimes workarounds. Most people won't check forums - but some of us care enough about dropbox and our own systems to actually share workarounds...
I must agree with Dave entirely. If you want or expect us to test your beta builds then you must clearly indicate what's changed. It's a very simple concept. Not doing that implies you expect me to take a risk, which I certainly won't.
Josh I'm sorry but thats an absolutely ridiculous answer. In fact I pretty much dont believe a word of it. Especially as you've ignored the whole thing for so long.
I dont mind testing things 'under the hood' or features to 'flag things to you' if there are problems - but say that.
Running a beta build means you’ll see new features and experience under the hood improvements sooner
Reading that makes me genuinely think that actually you have zero intention of improving or adding features to the client.
That or you are actually giving some users the new features and some not but you dont want to say that. If thats the case why actually put them on here?
I have to agree with the comments above.
Dropbox is alienating all of its beta community testers. I understand your busy, and you want me to go out on a limb to help you. But you have no desire to let me know, that this or that, may be an issue... !!! ??? Thats plain malarkey.... One person cant type out a few release notes. I don't believe it.
I mean how hard is it ? Over the past 7 years here in the forums, I have posted literally 10's of thousands of times. Day in and day out, sick, tired and hurting. Even during my bout with cancer, I came here and enjoyed the camaraderie with my fellow users. Honestly, beta builds are what drew me to the community and its sense of being a family working together to make something great for us all. Pfff, I have no desire to do that at this point.
I do this for free, and you all are being paid a salary and cant be bothered to post a few release notes !!! So that cant be it. There must be more to it... I think Mark, may have hit on an idea, and your disproportionally releasing features to users. It seems to fit. Just saying. After all, some of the earlier betas would say some users may see feature x and some may not.
You always say Pro users get priority support, well this Pro user says WTH.... I am telling you right here and now, that your making a mistake. I don't think, I will ever stop being a paying customer as I believe in the product. However being a Pro customer does allow me to tell you about mistakes your making and with the expectation you will listen.
Sometimes you have to speak up for the betterment of the community. Being said Pro user, take my vote as a PRIORITY statement. The previous posts and the up votes should show you something.
Dropbox has long been telling its free users to post in the forums. See if someone else has the same issue. What are you going to do when you entirely alienate the long time users? The people who know the product arguably better than some of you. Yes, I believe that. We know what it started out as in the early days.
Until this behavior changes, I for one will be removing all betas from my machines and I will not re enable them.
Its a sad day, I have been here since circa 2009. This will be the first time in all those years, that I have ever stopped running Dropbox betas, and its all due to lack of communication.
Sad day indeed in the community.
You know the old forums, had white text at the bottom that said "Protected by ARASH". When the entire page was selected you could see the text. I wonder what Arash may be thinking knowing the forums he loved so much are now withering on the vine so to speak. IMO.
Same here, I stopped trying betas since 3.17.31 which was the first one that had the (smug) message "The desktop client is regularly updated with many improvements and fixes." instead of the changelog ... won't touch betas again until you provide a change log.
Its worse than that - they have stopped putting release notes on the android client releases and on the stable desktop client releases.
I am a Pro user and this change is incredibly unhelpful. Its all very well saying for the beta "you’ll see new features and experience under the hood improvements" - but how do we know what you have changed?
This is utterly bizarre, and strikes me as nothing but pure laziness. Put the releases notes back on *everything*.