Do you pay for upgrades?


(Brittney Wilson) #1

We have been discouraged from upgrading the community platform we are using due to potential complexity. Instead, they almost always provide a backport to fix bugs that arise.

Now, however, they are refusing to apply a fix for a bug stating we are on an unsupported platform. When I enquired about upgrading, they state there is a fee (both to the platform provider and potentially a 3rd party).

Does your community platform charge for upgrades?

(Sarah Hawk) #2

Wow, that’s pretty rough. We don’t charge for upgrades at Discourse, no.

(Jason Hill) #3

Feel free to name and shame the vendor. Might help others avoid them in future! It sounds like you aren’t getting great support.

(remah) #4

I would want to have more information before talking about naming and shaming anybody. There needs to be a lot more clarity from the @thenerdynurse just to be certain that we are not being unrealistic because we’re trying to compare apples with oranges.

The most obvious issue is that the term “community platform” is imprecise and tells us nothing about the actual computer/digital platform.

There are many questions that could produce good reasons why an upgrade is going to cost real money:

  • Is the entire “community platform” unsupported or is it some part? The “3rd party” could be a software license fee for underlying software.
  • Is @thenerdynurse talking about one application or more than one application. Discourse is one application so any upgrade is far less likely to require an upgrade fee. But if Discourse were being used as one part of a highly integrated set of applications then an upgrade fee is entirely conceivable.
  • Is the “community platform” provider a hosting service or the developer of the application? Either way could produce such costs.
  • Is the complexity that prevents them from keeping up-to-date with the usual smaller updates/upgrades the real reason that there is now a cost because the job has now become too big or complex.
  • Is the technology stack open source or closed source? Discourse is open source so an upgrade fee is far less acceptable but not unheard of where integration services are required.
  • Is the hardware virtualised or bare metal (e.g. a dedicated box sitting somewhere)?
  • What contracts have been signed?
  • … and so on

(Nick Emmett) #5

It certainly sounds a pretty tough line. we don’t pay to upgrade ours (Salesforce) - it would be good to understand which platform you’re using. i.e. if it’s a typical cloud platform, SaaS style then I would expect it to be included in your monthly (or whatever cadence) subscriptions.

(Brittney Wilson) #6

The rational we receive is that it’s because we are on a “hosted” platform and thus the process is manual. If we were using Cloud, it’s automated.

(Luis Villa) #7

That’s almost certainly reasonable, for better or for worse. There’s a real cost in time and effort for them to do that.

(Brittney Wilson) #8

I guess I’m most frustrated that we were discouraged from upgrading for so long and never once was it mentioned that there was a fee for this.

(Luis Villa) #9

Yeah, if they explicitly discouraged you from upgrading you might push back with that. Or push for a free move to the cloud service if that’s an option for you. (Honestly, in 99% of cases the cloud service is the right one, but I can’t speak to what needs may have pushed your company to the hosted option in the first place.)

(Joel Rangelle) #10

I’ve seen this frustration multiple times in the community software that I use, but I usually get the feeling it’s more a lack of understanding and a lack of expectation on the part of the client. I hate to say this, but its YOUR job to understand the terms of the license as the community manager or license holder. It’s not the job of the platform vendor to project manage or babysit your own independent and self-managed upgrade plan. You made it clear that you’re self hosted, which means that you bear responsibility for managing your own web services.

While I’m sympathetic to your situation since I’ve been in the exact same situation, I learned from it. I took the time to read through the license terms, contacted support to discuss my license, and put together an upgrade plan.

(Brittney Wilson) #11

You’re totally right. However, nothing of the sort was spelled out in the contract. It may have been something understood by the previous community owner, but that information was not shared with me.

(Brittney Wilson) #12

We’re moving to a new tool, but this particular bug is a nuisance and we still have a good bit of time left on the contract before we fully migrate.