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Atlassian's "Confluence debacle", and the fallout from users

panzerIVD (3054079) writes | about 10 months ago


panzerIVD (3054079) writes "Disgruntled customers of Confluence (the content-sharing application created by Atlassian) have been sharing their discontent in a somewhat hidden area on the documentation area of Confluence's product page. The negative commnets page have been growing exponentially over the past few months, and especially most recently. So why are customers so dissatistified? One of the major complaints has been Atalssian's decision to remove the text entering option called Wiki Markup Editor in version 4.0. The other complaints range from:
- issues remaining open or inactive for months, if not years.
- the RTE (the Real Time Editor which is the replacement to Wiki Markup Editor) is full of bugs, and is slow to use compared to the WME.
- The connection between Comfluence and Jira is broken.
- Incredulity over the founder's (of Atlassian) abusive use of foul language to describe and justify their decision to remove the Wiki Markup Editor.
(this last one is not a joke,..and is puzzling beyond belief)

Here are some of the complaints from the Confluence doc site:
"You can't have it both ways,.... you can't post sweet sugary positive comments,.....but hide customers that have a legitimate beef with your decision to remove the WME."

"My company just migrated to the version (5.x.x), which took away the wiki markup editor. After experimenting with the new page editor, I am giving up. Editing existing pages and adding is major pain. Inability to see content in its native format is another drawback. In its arrogance Atlassian decided to remove the essential part of wiki functionality, turning Confluence into a non-a-wiki knowledge management product."

"Removing the Wiki Markup Editor from Confluence, like Linux removing the command line interface,...can you imagine the uproar".

"IMO your product managers for Confluence are focused on the wrong priorities. Your reputation is bleeding because of it. Make the new editor support the same editing, search, and revision workflow without serious and unfixable bugs like you currently have, and you'll see this thread quiet down and eventually word of mouth among doc professionals and wiki consultants will improve again."

"I'll add that 15 months ago, in January of 2012, is when I first learned of the 4.x removal of the wiki markup editor. I discovered it when doing routine smoke testing prior to an IT-scheduled upgrade from 3.5.x to the latest version. Naturally, I threw up red flags and prevented our usual upgrade process. We're still on 3.5.x and stopped paying maintenance long ago."

and the most recent:
"It is obvious that Atlassian would rather sanitize the truth and manage perception than simply be who they say they are.
- Still can't get reliable PDF generation out of anything past 3.5.
- Still can't use WYSIWYG editor (which they released, despite their pledge not to, well before it was ready).
Atlassian listens? Fraid not. They're doing for Confluence what Balmer did for Microsoft. And they are damn proud of it.
For the record, I have not heard a single positive response to the change from anyone who has gone through it...except for those that appear on this page. Professional groups, nothing but bad experience... I wonder just how they are collecting their feedback?"

One commenter even went so far as to dutifully list all the issues people have posted in the thread. How many you ask,..well, I count 50 issues.

Matt Hodges, John Masson, and Paul Curren (Atlassian employees) have tried to stem the tide of these negative comments to no avail. They actually seem to make things worse evertime they try to rationalize the removal of the Wiki Markup Editor. There have also been (what appear to be "friends", be they friends, spouses, or actual employees of Atlassian) angry comments fired back at the unhappy users. Seems that all this negative exposure has gotten the better of these supporter's better judgement.

So the question is this,..why would a software company ignore their customer's harsh comments as a result of the removal of functionality?
Coke tried it, Microsoft tried it, and the list goes on,...and after a time,...once the dust settled,...they all buckled and restored the product to its original state. How long will Atlassian stand their ground?

See below for the link to the site where all these complaints can be found. I'm sure the fight is not over yet, if you like Mixed Martial Arts,'re bound to love it. Atalssian's not tapping out,..but they're sure getting a beat down."

Link to Original Source

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So, they removed wiki markup from their wiki... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44801899)

So they apparently removed wiki markup from their wiki, and thought this would be a good thing?

Re:So, they removed wiki markup from their wiki... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44801957)

They don't believe that the definition of wiki includes a wiki markup language.

Re:So, they removed wiki markup from their wiki... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44803803)

That's like saying, "I don't believe an email client should send email."

Re:So, they removed wiki markup from their wiki... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44825099)

So they removed wiki markup from their enterprise wiki, didn't provide a usable text editor, broke a whole bunch of functionality, and won't even provide security support or browser support for the last good version that didn't have a broken text editor?

abusive use of foul language? (0)

David Nicholson (3054723) | about 10 months ago | (#44802181)

I'm a little confused what that point means, are you referring to the company's core value of "Open Company, No Bullshit"? ( You might be able to argue that it's foul language, but it's not abusive. I've been following the page for a while and haven't seen anything of the sort. Also, I'm generally in JIRA professional groups and not those that are Confluence-related, but a quick look at the first one I thought of, over on LinkedIn, showed a very reasonable conversation about the editor, split almost evenly in thirds (want it back, liked the granular control, don't want it), with plenty of positive feedback on the RTE. "Coke tried it, Microsoft tried it, and the list goes on,...and after a time,...once the dust settled,...they all buckled and restored the product to its original state. How long will Atlassian stand their ground?" - it's been a year and a half, I think it's pretty clear that wiki isn't coming back and this particular page is just a rant session.

Re:abusive use of foul language? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44806799)

Are you the same David Nicholson that works at Atlassian as a Support Engineer and went to UConn? David: Are you sure that you're allowed to comment on articles like these, especially when you has a vested interest??? You might want to check with the legal team before you get yourself in trouble. I'm not aware of another company that uses foul language in it's core values statement???? It's sad to see that people can't even recognize that using foul language is abusive in a work environment. Must be some good water-cooler moments at that company. Does everyone there curse out customers when they open tickets, or complain about loss of functionality? In the end David,...let the big boys talk for a little while okay. We know it must difficult to support customers that are unhappy, but try not to take it personally.

Re:abusive use of foul language? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44822507)

OH SNAP!!! Busted!

Huge thread on Atlassian site, Big lesson (1)

samjones3 (1968072) | about 10 months ago | (#44803761) []

There is a problem when a company says "we are the greatest, most customer-focused company" and then does something that even a small % of users feel is strongly anti customer.

Removing a core feature (a defining feature, in fact), of Atlassian's Confluence breaks the implicit customer contract: "We have a feature. Learn to use it. Embed it into your lives, and we, as a software company will take care of you as you invest your time and $ in our product."

This whole issue is completely of Atlassian's making, as they made the choice to yank the feature. They had lots of choices (they could have kept the feature, degraded the feature, deprecated the feature, etc etc) but instead they yanked it and promised there would be no pain.

So we feel pain, and it is a double bad on Atlassian (first the yank, and then the pain, neither of which is expected by a customer).

Then it is a triple bad when Atlassian tries to explain it away "We couldn't handle the round trip problems" (not my problem! so degrade the feature and make round trip go away!) "Everyone loves it" (not relevant.) "We will fix any bug in the RTE" (not relevant, and worse because it has not been true so far.) "The product is moving faster now" (not relevant, not our problem, not necessarily good given the # of regressions I have observed).

Bottom line: We, customers/users, experience pain.

Instead of helping mitigate the pain, or even acknowledging the pain, Atlassian blames us for feeling pain.

Re:Huge thread on Atlassian site, Big lesson (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44817843)

You just expressed our sentiments perfectly. We (Fortune 100 company) are at a loss as to Atlassian's complete and utter disregard to what their customers want, and what we are begging for. Sure, I think everyone can understand that creating a software product is difficult and expensive. Then add the cost of maintining it, supporting it, and hopefully improving it. The cost can be staggering. But so what, that's nature of the business. They're acting as is they just realized these things. Then they have the GALL to try to broadcast that they're the best in breed, best in customer satisfaction, best in employee stisfaction, best in jump rope, etc. However, and as the article states, the whole reason for creating, maintaining, supporting and improving is for the customer! I am puzzled as to why they would remove a tool used in the product and replace it with soemthing that is less than ideal. Most software companies go to extremes to offer new ways to use their products. They usually add tools,...not remove them altogether. Can't see Microsoft stopping you from using options when creating an e-mail in Outlook. You're given the choice to create an e-mail using; Plain Text, Rich Text and HTML. They also allow the use of custom templates (stationary). If they removed any one of those options, there would be a similar uproar. We also use Jira and I'm beginning to wonder what functionality will they remove from Jira so it make the developers jobs easier. Boohoo them. Someone over there should get a pair of cahones and do the right thing for us, the customer!

there's so much wrong with what they did... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44820867)

They went out of their way to insist that they would never push out the new RTE (that replaces wiki markup) until it was ready...until it was a transparent replacement, and didn't cause problems, etc...

We watched videos, read blog posts, and forum comments where this was recapitulated over and over.

And what did we get? A crappy editor that doesn't work for its intended purposes. Two full versions (and countless point releases) later and we still can't use it.

On top of that, it breaks other functionality that we depend PDF generation.

Instead of fixing problems, Atlassian keeps throwing new and ever-stranger new features at us...

Just bring back Wiki markup, or let me license 3.5 and commit to fixing security issues display bugs for new browser versions.

Once you do that, take a retreat and figure out how it is you (as a company) have strayed so far from your stated ideals of "Open Company, No Bullshit."

Just live up to this, please.

This includes not scrubbing feedback from your comments because you don't like them.

Re:there's so much wrong with what they did... (1)

samjones3 (1968072) | about 10 months ago | (#44842533)

>> On top of that, it breaks other functionality that we depend PDF generation.

Don't even get me started on PDF and word exports... They seem to be breaking things in this area as fast as they fix them.

We are a very small shop in Confluence-universe, and we have been the initiators of multiple bugs in these areas.


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