Meta bug: this forum appears to be unsupported or neglected

I am a little puzzled that Omni both sells scriptability as a premium value of OmniGraffle and apparently neglects to respond to queries in the OmniGraffle scripting forum.

Scanning down the page it is striking to see how many posts have received either no response from anyone at all, or no response from Omni.

That does seem quite unusual by current industry standards.

Having immediately discovered a rather basic scripting bug ( the .lineType property fails to read or write as advertised in the JavaScript for Automation (JXA/JSA) view of the .sdef ), I begin to wonder whether I should really be entrusting a scripted graphics project to OmniGraffle at all.

Is OmniGraffle scripting actually supported and for real ?

Any thoughts or responses ?

Thanks !

See, for example, the ‘11 months later’ context of another post today …

Despite this entry in the Help File:

It’s not clear to me that a member of Omni Staff has ever responded to a question in the OG Applescript forum, and a number of questions appear to have simply fallen into the void … (0 responses)

I think the forums was more of a way to get user involved in the discussion. It has been voiced by OmniStaff that they will visit the forums from time to time but they may miss a few threads here and there. To really get their attention, you’ll need to email the OmniFolks at their support e-mail for a more definitive answer.

they will visit the forums from time to time

Not in this case, I think. There doesn’t appear to have been a single response from a staff member since the OmniGraffle 6 AppleScript forum began.

they may miss a few threads here and there

All off them, apparently. A number of posts have been waiting for six months to a year for an answer. Not a single one, as far as I can see, has received a response from Omni staff.

To really get their attention, you’ll need to email the OmniFolks at their support e-mail

No, that’s really not good enough, or even approaching acceptable, given:

  1. The claim in the help file (see above)
  2. The large number of support staff hired by Omni and paid for by premium (Pro) licenses
  3. The fact that that would place the onus on users to post twice – once in the forum (sharing experience and bug reports) and a second time to the support staff.

The user’s duty is to pay the premium license. The company’s duty is to honour its claim, read the forum, and respond to customer queries.

for a more definitive answer

They don’t appear to have given anyone any kind of answer. At all.

Sorry for the confusion! As @wilsonng mentioned, our staff members do spend time on the forums when they’re able to do so on top of their other duties, but we’ve tried to consistently state that if you want a guaranteed response from our support staff, emailing us is the way to go.

Well, three responses to that:

  1. It’s well below industry standards, in an industry in which few suppliers have as many full time support staff as you do (you appear to have c. 7).
  2. It’s not consistent with the Help File characterisation of what customers can expect from support forums.
  3. It’s frankly disrespectful of customers to leave their queries entirely unattended to for over six months, let alone a year. Particularly as you market scripting (quite prominently) as a premium benefit of the Pro license.

I can’t think of another company which neglects their user forums to that extent.

WilsonNg’s apologetics are quite understandable if he is deriving (or hopes to derive) any income from AsianEfficiency’s provision of services to OmniGroup’s markets. (Asian Efficiency naturally has a commercial interest in sheepdogging dissatisfied OmniGroup customers back into the pen), but that kind of apologetics is not compatible with the interests of customers. If WilsonNg does have any connection with Asian Efficiency he should really declare that interest when intervening in the persona of a fellow user.

In the long run it seems unlikely to be good either for OmniGroup, or for Asian Efficiency, to simply encourage routine anaesthetisation of customer dissatisfaction.

Are you saying that you consider the neglect of customer queries for more than a year as an acceptable expression of company policy and standards ?

Does it seem acceptable to you, as the manager of these support services, that yours appears to be the first response of any kind, by any member of OmniGroup staff, to any query whatsoever in the scripting forum ?

What do you feel when you look at this list of customer queries which your service has indefinitely ignored ?

Might it not be a little more respectful to customers, and a little more consistent with good practice to simply say something like:

  • Heavens ! We do seem to have dropped the ball there.
  • My apologies to customers who have waited over six months without our attending to their queries.
  • While we clearly don’t have the resources to write scripts for customers, and may not be always able to check the OmniGraffle scripting forum every day, I will personally ensure that the forum is reviewed, and that queries do receive some kind of response from the company (if they have not been dealt with by other users) with a delay not longer than one week …

That would seem to me to strike an entirely reasonable balance between the interests of your colleagues or community, and those of your customers.

It would also encourage a perception of a genuine scripting product, and might help sales.

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I have stated in prior posts in this forum that I was asked by Asian Efficiency to contribute an article about my workflow. It was used as an example of how a person slowly evolved and created a workflow that would be customizable for themselves. This showed the power of OmniFocus and its potential for users to create their own workflow.

I donated that post to Asian Efficiency and did not receive any form of payment from them. I am not an employee or subcontractor to Asian Efficiency or Omnigroup. If I was a paid staff of OmniFocus, I would probably have a title under my user icon that said “Staff” or “Moderator” there. You don’t see it? OK! That tells everybody that I am just another forum participant.

My only link to Omnigroup and Asian Efficiency is as a customer who purchased products and have used them.

I have no intentions of entering into the services of Omnigroup or Asian Efficiency at this time. So let’s get that conspiracy theory out of the way.

If you’ll see from the forums, I have contributed quite generously to the forums in a desire to see one of my favorite tools and community grow.

Asian Efficiency has their own interests of which I am not aware of and not privy to such information.

I can easily think of two right now. Culture Code used to have a forum for their Things product line. It used be linked from their home page. After discovering how much of a headache it was to maintain it, they removed the link from the front page. We would have to Google for it to get access to the Things forum. Now they have deprecated it and left many Things users out in the dark.

I’ve tried 2Do and they have some articles but no forums. The most reliable way to contact them is through Twitter. But 140 characters is usually not enough to try to work out a solution.

I can think of others but this could go on forever.

well I guess I am sorry that I extended my hand out as a form of assistance. That bite must hurt. But I am going to guess this was post is about lashing out in frustration without realizing the amount of anger that seems to come from rather harsh words.

I guess you have your answer from the OmniFolks and me.

My only intent was to explain why what you were observing wasn’t in alignment with your expectations, and make sure you knew about our primary support channels. (I realize now that I forgot to mention our phone support, which is another option.)

In the end, whether forums should be treated equivalently to email and phone contacts is one of those topics about which reasonable parties can reach differing conclusions. While our forum coverage isn’t universal, there are also examples of much larger organizations - Apple would be one - who have far less of a presence on their forums than we do on ours. We at least try to set clear expectations about how we handle our channels.

(Side note: since this is deep into forumwide meta-topic territory at this point, I’ve moved this thread to the channel for those discussions, which should actually give it wider exposure than the scripting-specific one it started in…)

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I certainly have yours – and that’s fine – thank you.

In the OmniGraffle scripting 6 forum, however, no-one has ever had an answer to a technical query from any employee of the company.

As a public-facing expression of the company and of the state of that particular product and its use, it’s the very image of dereliction. Each query left unanswered is like a broken window, simply ignored for six months, or for a year at a time.

Neither the products, nor the customers who use them, are at all well served either by the spectacle of such painfully visible dereliction, or by blindly rushing in at every opportunity to simply downplay every problem or dissatisfaction expressed by other customers.

OmniGroup is a company, not a religion.

I wasn’t downplaying the problem. I just mentioned the other avenue for more guided assistance. If I am at a bus stop in a strange city, I ask others for assistance and am grateful for any directions or maps that are given so that I can go in my merry way.

I’m sorry if my assistance may have caused you anguish.


We at least try to set clear expectations about how we handle our channels.

That is belied by the tension between these claims and the contents of your help files.

You are pushing for a poor balance of interests between your support service and the company’s customers. It’s not entirely a zero-sum game, but equally, those interests are not identical.

You are also pushing, perhaps a little selfishly, for an even worse balance of interests between your support service and the company’s brand and marketing.

The slum-condition dereliction of the OG scripting forum is both:

  • an eloquent expression of the practices which you defend, and
  • a very clear and painfully visible message to potential buyers that OmniGraffle scripting is itself derelict and not for real.

I wasn’t downplaying the problem.

Good to hear that you are not downplaying the problem.

I think progress needs to be made on it.

Brian Covey has kicked an earlier thread about this forum into the long grass, but the key question can only really be answered here:

Is OmniGraffle Pro scripting for real ?

Looking at:

  • all the broken windows (queries left unanswered in this forum for months or even over a year by OmniGroup),
  • the general quietness (very little activity - perhaps discouraged by non-responsiveness ?)
  • the basic and disabling bugs I have immediately found (can’t read/set line types from JXA, can’t read/set Freehand or Plastic strokes at all, from AS or from JS)

It looks to me as if I probably shouldn’t assume that OmniGraffle scripting is likely to prove reliable or actively maintained.

The state of this forum, and my first experiments, suggests that other bugs seem likely to turn up, that fixing them is unlikely to be a high priority, and that expertise is likely to be thin or absent in the support staff.

Has that been the experience of others ?

Or is the level of neglect in this forum a bit misleading ?

(At the time of writing, there:

  • is one broken window (completely unanswered query) dating from Nov 2014,
  • two broken windows dating from Dec 2014
  • four more from this summer (Jun 18, Jul 1, Aug 19, Aug 31
  • another that has already been neglected for a month (Nov 14)

And a query made yesterday is a repeat or endorsement of something asked 11 months ago, that never, apparently, merited any response at all from the Omni Support service and its manager.

In fact not a single technical query has ever (as of 29 Dec 2015) received a response in this forum from a member of the company).

I find that level of neglect and general dereliction discouraging. Is it the general experience ?

Do basic and disabling scripting bugs seem as likely to be kicked into the long grass as forum queries are ?

Please refrain from creating threads which duplicate existing ones. (Your other posts are fine, which is why they remain in place.)

That’s inappropriate Brian – this is a question addressed to other users of the OmniGraffle scripting interface.

( It’s not as if your support service has ever answered a query in that forum … )

I don’t share that opinion, but I do believe I understand it and your other concerns. The topic you have raised requires consultation with several other members of the management team, including ones who are out of the country over the holiday period. As of yesterday, the topic had already been filed for discussion with them when they return.

The only other thing I will say is that if the comments you recently edited into unrelated posts were directed at any other visitor to the forums - including any other member of our staff - I would take action against them as a violation of our community guidelines, which state that our forums are for discussing software, not for directing personalized criticism at individuals.

Because you directed the comments in question at me, though, I am going to assume that you were unaware of those community standards and take no other action other than to inform you about them.

Please don’t make the same mistake in the future, or direct similar comments towards any other member of the forums. Because I’m making a one-time exception in your case, it may be helpful to search the forums for the words “community guidelines” for more typical examples of how incidents like this are handled here.

unrelated posts

Directly related.

I am delighted, however, to see that the manager of the company’s support services has suddenly developed such a punctilious and activist interest in that forum, having, with breathtaking discourtesy, failed to ensure that a single customer query ever received any support or response whatsoever.

It seems very clear to me that all those customers whose queries went invariably and indefinitely unanswered, and whose contributions went invariably unacknowledged, deserve personal apologies from the manager of the company’s support service, particularly in the light of the help file reference to the presence of company staff on the forums.

I also think that the company itself probably deserves an apology from the manager of that support service – for allowing a customer-facing shopfront to fall into such a visibly dismal slum of total dereliction.

Please, enough with the repeated sarcasm already. We all know that : (1) you are unhappy with the support provided by the forum. (2) no one other than Brian has responded to your repeated “questions addressed to other users” other than Wilson, who you insulted, and (3) you have repeated your complaint ad nauseum, and continue to do so even after Brian has told you you’ve been heard loud and clear and he will take it up with management.
Some of us get these posts to learn, others to ask questions of other users - you seem to have no desire to do either (except to ask whether others are as unhappy as you). If you have a support question that you’d like users to answer, ask it in a forum - if you want more than the support of other users, send Omni an email - they’ve told you repeatedly that’s the sure way to get a prompt answer (not that you’re really interested in getting support).
Your point has been made and responded to and, after a dozen or so posts in this thread and the other one, you might consider whether it is time to move on.


We’re still getting caught up from the New Years’ weekend and we haven’t worked out all of the implementation details yet, but the discussions I referenced earlier in this thread have mostly happened now, so I figured I’d post an update.

Our current plan is to do the following:

  1. Add a more prominent "Welcome!” post similar to the one we had on our old forums. Like the prior one, it would include a reminder that the forums are not an official support channel. Links to those channels and to the community guidelines will also be included.

  2. We believe we’ve found a way for a forum post to generate an email to our support team without requiring a poster to expend effort posting and emailing separately. Once that’s set up, it’ll be much easier to bring a thread to the attention of the support team. We suspect it’ll be fairly common for these conversations to still end up transitioning to email for resolution, but making them easier to start is a clear win-win.

That’s where we’re at; I’ll have another update soon. Thanks!