Lessons for the Glowforge team about the forum

The irony here is that you illustrated my point: There is a great deal of basic stuff that prevents you from participating by way of eating up your limited time.

So, to get back to my original point: there are things we can do to make the forum more welcoming and helpful to new users while also ensuring that remains useful and fun to more experienced users. I think now is the time to consider these things, so we don’t go too far down an unintended path.

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As this is a functional attempt to introduce the masses to a hobby laser there are, by nature going to be a massive influx of people like me. No idea.
I think the problems and support area should have a pinned format for submitting questions that asks for all the pertinent information and is to be filled out in order to save those willing to help from having to query for the details.


The incomplete sentences kill me.



Hit the wrong button…

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I’m in the same position…knew nothing about lasers…nothing…but still bought one.


I didn’t - but I knew the difference between bitmaps and vector graphics, and that “cutting out a bitmap” would require vectors of some sort, for example. Then I did some research, like what the limits of CO2-lasers are (doesn’t do anything to metal, don’t try to cut PVC and so on), and then I pulled the trigger. Mind you, I still have an awful lot to learn… but that’s the fun part, innit?


From the glowforge.com front page:
“Make magical things at the push of a button.”
“12 revolutionary features that give you creative laser superpowers”
“Not a designer? Meet our catalog.”

The Glowforge is specifically marketed to non-geeks, therefore it is going to be purchased by non-geeks. You surely saw the promotional videos. They make the Glowforge look about as difficult to use as a toaster.

Don’t blame the newbs for not knowing, respect them for asking.


I can respect all that, but I think you were coming from an entirely different place than many of the rest of us. I never knew ANYthing about vectors and bitmaps…and even less about lasers. All I knew was that I really wanted to make cool things…then spent the next 2 years + after I bought it, here on the forum learning from all the amazingly smart people on here.


but this is the key sentence in all of that. you didn’t wait 2+ years and then when it showed up on your door, say, “ok, now what?”

not that i expect everyone who orders a GF to spend months on the boards here reading and learning, but i’m still surprised at how many people didn’t do anything to prepare.


… and don’t have any clearer path to help than asking broad, poorly-formed questions on the forum. Again I come back to needing some sort of better way for people to get started.

No…that’s true…I didn’t wait until it showed up on my doorstep, but I certainly didn’t do all my learning before I bought it, as he said he did. And yes, I get you, too…I had my space ready and my custom-made counter done a year or more before I actually got the machine. I’ve seen lots of folks say “my GF will be arriving tomorrow…I need to figure out my venting and a table for it”. That kind of procrastination would have made me nuts.


i’m a graphic designer by trade and work in an architecture firm, and i can’t say that i did, either. but i think there should be some level of “so why am i buying this and what do i want to do with it” when you spend thousands of dollars and have such a long wait.

but that’s me. obviously plenty don’t feel that way.

and, again, i think that we’ll see US customers making more impulse buy decisions now, and i expect less preparation there. but those of us who waited 2 or more years, that just surprised me.


I definitely had some things in mind…but because I was a blank canvas, I really didn’t know what a laser could do…and for that matter, what I could do, either. Since then though, I’ve discovered so much about both that now I can’t imagine not having Glowria in my life. :slightly_smiling_face:


This brings up another problem, the annoyingly inconsistent Discourse forum rules. I have been posting for a while, and have spent an inordinate amount of time reading, but I’m not allowed to upload files at all, or more than one image per post. It sometimes feels like discrimination. I really don’t want to just spam the forum so I can “earn” better posting privileges, but there’s some kind of inconsistent enforcement of the rules going on here.


I am not a discourse expert but I think these thresholds are setup in some sort of administrative configuration, and handled automatically.

I don’t think the rules for the various trust levels have ever been posted. Maybe someone knows the actual rules and has posted, I haven’t seen it. The multiple photo limit thing has always seemed silly to me – it’d be one of the first things I would change to make the forum better for new users.

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I can only assume that they are cross-referenced against the list of people who are known to have bought a Glowforge, and since the order was under my husband’s email, I have “second-class” status. I see people post “first project” posts with a bazillion photos all the time, which I can’t do even though I’m way past my first project. I’m sure this is an automatic process, so I don’t think anyone is out to get me personally, but it still annoys the heck out of me.

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Oh that would be annoying. Have you asked support about it yet? I personally want you to post tons of pictures of your stuff :slight_smile:


Thank you! :smiley: I have not asked support about it, because the unending refrain (from all the experienced users I interact with, including you, actually) whenever I mention it is “Discourse does that automatically, it will go away eventually, just keep posting!”

Yeah, but you might have a point about not being officially an “owner”. That seems screwy.

Actually, I’m not sure that it will in your case. :thinking:

For new owners, the setup is that after they have posted a certain number of times, the Discourse system automatically will allow additional pictures, link permissions, and other goodies after a certain amount of time has passed and they have proved they are not a bot.

But there are two tiers of “users” on the forum. Owners and Guests. The guests who are added by an owner do not have the same abilities that actual purchasers do. They can ask questions, do single image posts, but I’m pretty sure they don’t have the same permissions that the owners do.

Guests were added so that the regular owners could assist people who might not have purchased a machine of their own yet, but who were using one through a school or friend situation. They also have questions and they don’t have access to support directly, so Glowforge created a method for them to get some assistance.

Setting those limits aside for a single individual might require moderator intervention to add your email to the account.

Don’t know, but I would ask privately with an email to support@glowforge.com and see if they will consider it for your situation.

Or if it’s even possible. :slightly_smiling_face:

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