Discussion Groups?

Warning, it’s going to be a busy day here. I’ve got two if not three posts lined up.

The Autodesk Discussion groups are one of my favorite places to learn. Not just how to solve problems, but to learn how people are using the software. People in there often present new uses for the software that I’d never even consider. I’ve been an (over) active participant in the DGs since they had real Admins and volunteers that wandered around cleaning up the riff-raff. (We miss you every day, Anne!)

With that said, this last round of changes to the DG, along with the sometimes intolerable signal to noise ratio has me pondering an old request: based discussion groups. I’m sure you’re a member of other discussion boards out there, but would you want to see us set up groups under this domain, just for C3D users? It would NOT be EE supported, but would be a community. We’d ask for some volunteers, and even look at some swag for top respondents, gurus, etc.

This is not a done deal by any means, I’ve only looked at board software in passing, so don’t get too excited. Put your thoughts in the comments below, and I look forward to hearing from you.


  1. Jason Michel says:

    100% interested!! I use the Autodesk DG’s everyday to learn and help others learn. I have found solutions to my “issues” with the software on the DG’s about 95% of the time. If had dedicated discussion groups, just for the Civil 3D program, I think it would be a great benefit to all.

    And Thanks James for all your posts on the Autodesk DG’s over the past years. I can’t tell you the number of times that I would go to look for a solution to a problem only to find that someone else had already had this problem and YOU were the one that responded with the solution. I have benefited greatly from your knowledge of Autodesk software over the years. Thanks again! (and keep it up).

  2. I think its a great idea too! 😉


  3. Fred Mitchell says:

    I would definitely be interested in it!


  4. Can you get the volume necessary to make it interesting? The AUGI DG bores me, so I don’t go there very much. The Swamp wouldn’t take me, I’m still waiting on the acceptance email. If you can get the volume to keep me interested I would be in.

  5. Volume is one of my primary concerns. I’m also concerned with the fact that (just like Autodesk,) we would pick up slack for not “supporting” our groups. Since these would probably be open to all, I just can’t see us having the time or manpower to support the full host of users in an interactive way if it DID take off.

    It’s a big step, I’m looking forward to more feedback.

  6. Just Do it… (insert Nike logo)

  7. Kevin Spear says:

    Great idea! Like Chris, i agree that the AUGI board isnt what the Autodesk DG is. While autodesk has tried to establish a community portal for civil, im not sure how effective it is without the civil3d domain.

    That said, im not suggesting you become the portal, but that might be the perception down the road. Its clear that you guys are the gold standard in the blog community. I have not doubt that you would also be in the DG community as well!

    Enough rambling already… Any help you need, just ask!

  8. Jason Hickey says:

    I’m all for it, it would just make one more thing for me to check every day…

  9. Dustin Manning says:

    I was just going to suggest this. I believe it could be beneficial. I agree with the others that the DG is just massive and the Augi is hardly active. I don’t know how to improve either situation. Making the Civil 3D discussion group only for EE clients would improve the content and could be seen as another perk for being an EE client.

  10. mike shick says:

    I personally don’t like it much, if nothing more than because it decentralizes the information. Civil 3D will just be another forum to search. I think everyone’s resources can be more effectively used in one place.

    I was writing this before I took a look at the new DG. Maybe I like the idea. What in the world is autodesk doing. I think they just a couple steps backward.

    I’d say we all comment to autodesk on their new design…and still try and get our resources in one place.

  11. I don’t like the idea of it being EE clients only but its your site and you do what you want. The Civil Community Site was supposed to be this great idea wot bring everyone together but its seemed to have fizzled out as well.

  12. Shawn,

    Thanks for the comments. Just to clarify, it would NOT be a client-only site. The majority of the content on is publicly available for FREE. The DG would be open to all and free. Users would have to register, just like with other DG’s out there.


  13. Nathan Bartholomew says:

    I don’t like the idea much. Don’t get me wrong, you guys are fantastic at what you do and are the benchmark.

    But like others, I am skeptical that the forum/DG would not generate enough volume to keep it interesting (especially it it was EE customers only).
    I also think it would be duplicating much of what is going on at the Autodesk Civil 3D DG (even though some questions there are for Vanilla Autocad).

    I think that EE/ as it is at the moment is not far off the perfect recipe. You pick and choose the interesting, (sometimes) relevant and quirky questions from the current DGs, and answer them here (or there). Especially when someone asks specifically for your help.

    OTOH, you have followed through before on ideas that I would have thought risky, but have pulled them off with aplomb. So….why not?

  14. Stephen Sherrill says:

    Yes James, a grand idea. I would welcome more content in here that is open to all rather than just your EE clients. Just make sure you have an able moderator doing housekeeping duties and it attracts some of the same crowd as TheSwamp you may want to consider shutting it down on Friday evenings.

    Stephen R. Sherrill
    The Dinosaur

  15. Steve Boon says:

    The Civil Community site was supposed to be the first place to go for all things Civil 3D – and for a while it was. There was a large group of users who were all dealing with similar problems related to the software, and there was a lot of support both from Autodesk and the smaller group of resellers and users who had the time to learn the workarounds.

    Unfortunately the Community site has become stale. There hasn’t been a blog post from Dan or Dave since February and only two Skill Builders posted in 2008. The discussion group was worthwhile (at least up until this week), but like you I have noticed that the ratio of “interesting problem” posts to nonsense has changed. This may be an indication of the maturity of C3D 2009 – most of the problems have either been fixed or the workarounds are well known.

    I guess that my concern is similar to previous comments in that creating another DG removes some of the experts from the Community where they are needed, which makes the situation even worse. I think that we would all be better off if we can suggest/encourage/inspire/browbeat Autodesk to put resources back into the Civil Community. If we can get them to fix their problems – starting with a moderator on the Community DG for example, then we are all better off.

  16. Kevin Currey says:

    Obviously everyone who comes here will like the idea (myself included). But if it became as poplular as it should be it would only be a matter of time before you have your own “intolerable signal to noise ratio.”

  17. Well, the one thing about hosting it is that we can make the rules. #1 (maybe #2,) would be, “No bitching to bitch.” If it’s not a problem or a solution, then it’s gone, if it’s a dead horse, it’s gone. It’s a lot easier to maintain a high technical level when you can swing a husky to the clutter.

    Anne did an incredible job of this way back when, but then the ‘desk accountants decided it was better to have the free-for-all approach that costs less money.

  18. J. Stevens says:

    You guys would definately do a better job with the DG but personally I don’t want another place to post. If yours would become the default that most users would post to then I would rather look at yours instead of Autodesk’s.

  19. Shawn Swanberg says:

    I’m all for it!! I’m still in the process of transitioning the firm I work for to Civil3D and I need all the help I can get!

  20. Mark Jung says:

    There are some good comments here and with the state of the current Autodesk DG I’m all for a DG that works. But if they can get the bugs worked out I’m sure it will become the resource we all have come to rely on again. Like Nathan mentioned, the way you guys have picked different topics and problems from the existing DG’s to solve has been a great way to keep me coming back for more.

    But if you guys choose to start a DG then it will be another great place to find answers and solutions. I’m with you either way!

  21. William Berry says:

    Sounds good to me. Like Jason said, I can have one more stop before I convince myself to get to work. BTW, what would be the status of Barkasi?


  22. James Murphy says:

    Can you create a ClintonG corner in it? A group for folks like Mikey Ski. 🙂 Or do you want to keep the place clean and tidy?

  23. Allen Robberson says:

    I think its a great idea too! 😉



  24. David Collie says:

    100% interested, especially since autodesk decided to “fix” something that was working just fine. I can never fine what I am looking for with the new format. If you create one use the “new and improved” autodesk format as how NOT to do it!

    Thanks in Advance!