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Move Forums to Stack Exchange

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May 5, 2013
The GIS Stack Exchange ( has now been up and running for almost 3 years and it is my ArcGIS support forum of choice because of what I consider to be a superior and far more engaging user experience.

Apr 23, 2012

Feb 7, 2012
agree with it..otherwise no motivation for posting answers

Jul 24, 2011
@jbarry thanks for the history on the old forums, RIP. Helps put things in context. Was sorry to see them go. But glad Esri chose vBulletin. Most of my favorite non-tech forums use it, so I was happy not to have to learn my new around something completely new to me. I don't like the "Settings" button--most call it CP (user Control Panel). Minor complaint.

A much larger one: is it just me or do less Esri staff participate on the new forums? If so, why? When the switch was flipped I noticed a huge drop in Esri's participation on their own forums.

Given that a choice was made to use vBulletin, the new question is how can the software be better leveraged? I'm glad though that folks got a GIS stack overflow. Best of both worlds? There's More Than One Way To Do It. Nearly always is.

Good exercise would be to look at highly successful tech-related vBulletin and identify what they have that these forums miss. Don't reinvent the customization wheel?


May 12, 2011
 Migrating from old forums to new have only worsened the experience...!
Thumbs down...

Jan 6, 2011
@jbarry: RE: forums vs. stackoverflow - I think it's apples and oranges. Developers with deadlines need answers, not discussions. Searching forums for a specific technical answer is time-consuming and often fruitless - especially if API documentation is misleading or incomplete. Also, on ESRI sites and documentation, links are often broken or point to previous versions and don't help.

Stackoverflow moves good answers up the page, unhelpful answers float out of the way to the bottom. And when someone with high reputation points suggests an answer, I know it's more likely to work.

Jan 5, 2011
Microsoft has incorporated StackOverflow search results into MSDN search.

Perhaps Esri could follow suit and incorporate results into searches at

Jan 3, 2011
Geez, I just posted this five minutes ago because the search didn't return this post. I agree 100%. ESRI needs to stop re-inventing web applications and stick to improving the GIS field.

There are so many different ESRI sites (resource centers, map services, EDN, support, customer support, marketing) and none of them work or even look the same. The knowledge base lets you filter by plaftorm and version, but no other sites do. The forum search searches all forums by default (who wants that?). Half of the time a search for a problem in version 10 returns pages of links to EDN search pages - non of which have a relevant link.

Nov 3, 2010
they should also open up the closed old threads.

Aug 5, 2010
i agree with kirk, tooooooooo

Jul 29, 2010

Jul 16, 2010
I support the StackExchange format, something needs to be done about the forums.

Jul 1, 2010
I have to agree with Kirk and the others that this new forum needs a change. I do not like the new format either. I have posted a few questions and while I have subscribed to the thread and to be updated immediately by email when a reply is posted, it does not work. It is VERY annoying to have to log in every hour or so to see if someone has replied to your post.

Jun 30, 2010
I abhor the old arcgis forums, and as a result only used them as a very last resort. The new vbulletin one is much better for conversations. Stuff get's lost though, which is where the structure of Stack Overflow shines. In any case, ESRI permissions aren't required. Put together a place where the answers are, and people will find it.

If you support the stackoverflow model for ESRI/GIS topics, then please add your support to the GIS proposal at ... . Also, try posting your questions on stackoverflow directly. I've found a few answers there and posted some of my own. 

Searching is well-implemented and there is less duplication of questions when people can find answers in the first place.

Jun 15, 2010
GIS is now in the "commitment" phase towards becoming part of stack exchange.

Click here if you'd like to commit to supporting it.

Jun 14, 2010
This might help the conversation.  Just so we offer the ideas and reasons behind our actions.  We'd like to hear what you think.

The old Support forums were written from scratch about 14 years ago, and the application/database that drives it is for all practical purposes un-upgradable to include more modern and reasonably expected functions and capabilities.   After eval and user beta testing we are currently using vBulletin, which is a globally used and respected discussion forum engine.  We did consider StackOverflow.  The vBulletin app contains a powerful search and (arguably) clean interface.  Sure, it's different, and change takes a little getting used to, but we believe the usability pays off pretty quickly.  You can do a lot with this forum that was simply impossible with the old one.  The end result is to find, ask, discuss, answer, and collaborate quickly.  Does a forum do those things or not?  The answer to that question--for you--is the measure of success.

Many of us at ESRI are big fans of the StackOverflow site.  I mean, that one in particular is pretty much only for programming questions, but really I think you're asking about the general design of how that site works (ie, others similar to it).  On the other hand, we still see a considerable apples-to-oranges comparison in some use cases.  Even the folks who created StackOverflow state that they never intended it to be used as a discussion forum for conversations and complex threads.  That simply wasn't part of their design.  StackOverflow is a quite powerful Q&A engine that deals best with specific questions that invite discrete answers.  An exciting thing about S.O. is that it puts all control over the usefulness of the answers and the reputation and "cred" ratings of the participants directly into the hands of the community.  

That said, there is certainly a lot we can learn from StackOverflow on that last point.  The old MVP program was good, but limiting.  We're building into the new forums the ability for all participants to weigh in on rating answers or parts of the conversation for usefulness.  That way, we have one community forum area for both simple Q&A and longer more complex conversations.   The ArcGIS Ideas site "" does include a neat community voting capability.  That way we hear directly from all of you what you think is important and not important.

Jun 11, 2010
Hi,  here my comment about this new forum.  I really don't like it!!!.

Reward for me is not important.

But my problem here, is that the topics are too general.  I cant find user post fastly.  This forum need a better cut by topic (topic example : file geodatabase, Geoprocessor, editing, performance and more).

In new forum i watch : Desktop -general, Desktop-Extension ans Arcobject.  These 3 topic should be divided.  It's too large


Jun 3, 2010
 see other efforts to get GIS into stack exchange ...

Jun 3, 2010
Please, please, please change these awful forums to the StackExchange format - otherwise I think we are going to lose valuable members of the GIS Tech community.



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