I don’t contribute at all, so this topic isn’t for me I guess. But in generally, and most of users here knows all of this.
There is a strongly hierarchical community here, as it should be. A bit like in British society. Some are strongly developers, some are more end-users, but they are trying to provide a platform for discussion.
The way the two groups discuss, implement things, and understand things in general is quite different.
Nor is it easier for Meta to be a global community. I’m weird, as well as a Finn, so I don’t care about American-style icing. I’m just interested in the thing. Someone else might take the direct-writing as a bloody insult.
Then the matter itself is basically lost, and nothing moves forward. Even if both parties agree on the issue or problem.
Even a language barrier is a strong stumbling block, or at least a risk. I write strongly in Pidgin English using Finnish expressions, and I do not master the basics of prepositions. I read English fluently, though. It is easy to get misunderstood, and at the same time helping others, or participating in them at all, is behind a higher threshold. There is no solution to that, but it explains why not everyone can participate.
There is one fundamentalist problem plaguing every developer forum. Developers develop for themselves and therefore have difficulty understanding the needs, reactions and desires of the average user.
Meta is by no means the worst example, but a similar atmosphere can be seen here as well. What could be done about it then? Nothing, I think. It comes from such a different world.
Bug messages and the like must be responded to. In most cases, people react. But it must have some kind of follow-up system that tells you a little later whether a wish or error can be fixed quickly, in the near future, or whether it is unrealistic. The same is true for feature desires.
Just as people read differently, so does the writing style. Some of the Methane-related are remarkably sunny. Some are short and from time to time even dull in the opinion of Finns. But unnecessarily often I see clear passive-aggressiveness if the average user refuses to bow to the will of the developers.
But of course there is a problem with users as well. And different abilities in technical problems do not make it any easier. In addition, quite a few of the obvious requests for support are strongly faq material and it is clear that not even the basic instructions have been read.
The fact that staff are able to respond most often with help is commendable. I myself might not be as long-suffering.
But one request I have. Never say that something doesn’t happen because Discourse is free. That is not the case and it is a strongly degrading claim to the community. Without the community, you would have no platform to sell credibly to corporate customers. Those who maintain a free forum pay for use by doing ongoing testing. At the same time, some of them, who have sufficient technical skills and the necessary language skills, do a lot of the support activities that belong to the company.
On the same axis is a reminder that paying customers are served first and according to their wishes. Of course, if you want to point out a clear division between categories A and B users, that is a workable policy.
Each of us knows what the economic realities are. But it doesn’t have to be waved like a wet rag towards your face. Come up with another expression. Lack of resources, hurry, is sufficient.
Sorry, I can’t respond constructively to the title. Maybe it would help if we all even tried to understand the needs of others, find some middle ground, and reach a consensus that combines Discourse’s business, community activities, and content of Meta.