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29Apr2016

Questions we need to ask about Kunena

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849 hits Updated: 13 December 2016

Measuring customer satisfaction about Kunena

Questions we need to ask

Opinions matter.  In today’s poll-driven world public opinion decides the fate of governments, business success and little “successes” (and “failures”) like which movies you watch, the restaurants where you dine and even what brand of toothpaste you buy.  All opinions are personal and subjective; everyone has a different opinion about what they like and dislike.  In the end, we are totally responsible for choosing how we think and act:  we cannot blame someone else because we followed their example.

In today’s world—where opinions become the news—is it any wonder that governments want to know what voters think, that manufacturers and suppliers want to know how consumers rate their products and services, what your friends, colleagues and family think of your views?

This article discusses our current perceptions about Kunena and, just as importantly, whether the Kunena developers care what we think.

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.Evelyn Beatrice Hall, The Friends of Voltaire, 1906

Measuring customer satisfaction about Kunena

There are three main ways we can find out about Kunena:

  • Google
  • Joomla Extensions Directory
  • Kunena website

Google

Entering the seach term “kunena” in Google will yield over 550,000 results.  Some of the results are several years old.  Over time the amount of search activity in Google for “kunena” can be displayed in graphical form[1] as shown below.

Interest in "kunena" over time compared against version release dates

I cannot say if this graph is useful—it is just one indicator of popular interest in Kunena—but we could infer that, over time, popular interest in Kunena is declining.  People are not searching for “kunena” as much today as they used to do a few years ago but there may be any number of reasons why this is the case.

Joomla Extensions Directory [JED]

The JED is probably the main resource used by site owners to locate and download extensions for Joomla.  The JED lists extensions and allows people to rate their satisfaction according to functionality, ease of use, documentation, and “overall satisfaction”.  According to the JED, Kunena rates highly—the “overall satisfaction” is about 98%.  The problem with the JED (and with the rating for Kunena) is that most of the reviews are old; Kunena today is a very different product to what it was a year ago and older.

Another problem with the JED is that the last two reviews for Kunena are neither relevant nor reflect people’s current satisfaction with Kunena.  The last review was dated 15 February 2016 and it was primarily a complaint about Kunena as a source of spam[2] in the user’s site.  The review before that was dated 6 August 2015 (i.e. 9 months ago).  Since June 2015 there have been ten releases of Kunena. and the last stable release (K 4.0.10) occurred on 17 February 2016.

The JED is, therefore, not truly representative of current public opinion about the latest supported version of Kunena.

Kunena website

The Kunena website is where people can find the latest news and reported problems about Kunena.   The website serves three main purposes:

  • where the project team announces plans and details of their activity;
  • where people can ask questions, report problems, provide feedback and help one another; and
  • to showcase the latest version of Kunena.

One of the built-in features of Kunena is the ability to run opinion polls.  This feature has not been used often at the Kunena website; the last community poll was done more than 3 years ago.  The project team has wasted a wonderful opportunity to (a) showcase the polling feature of Kunena and (b) gauge public opinion about their work.

This leads us to conclude that (a) the polling feature in Kunena does not work or it works unreliably or (b) the project team lacks confidence in using their own product to gauge public opinion about their work.

Questions we need to ask

There are naïve questions, tedious questions, ill-phrased questions … but every question is a cry to understand the world.  There is no such thing as a dumb question.Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, 1995

Conducting a market survey/opinion poll is always risky; you never know really the outcome until you actually start doing it.  Although it is true that everyone wants to see the results of a survey, it’s critical to keep a few important things in mind when designing the questionnaire.

The survey needs to have a purpose.  The purpose of a market survey is to find out what people think about something; in this case, we’re talking about what people think of Kunena.

The questions need to be relevant—there’s no point in asking people what they think about Kunena if they’ve never heard of it.

The questions need to be simple, easy to answer.  People love surveys but not if it takes them more than a few minutes to complete the questionnaire.

Irrespective of the sample size, the fact that people may choose not to participate in the survey is an indication of the interest they have in the subject.  If no-one answers any of the questions this also says that there’s no real interest in the topic.

It is better to have tried to run an opinion poll (and perhaps failed to obtain any participation) than not to have tried at all.

Summary

If you have read this far I have two things I would like to say.  Firstly, a big thank you for your time!  Secondly, I will be creating a simple survey in the next few days[3].  If you have any particular thoughts on the matters I’ve written about or have your own ideas for questions you think the Kunena project team should be aware of, let’s hear from you.  You can send me a “tweet” on Twitter using the hashtag #Kunena.  You can also write your own comments on this article using the form at the bottom of this page if you prefer.

If you think I’m wrong then say “I think you're wrong.” If you say “You’re wrong”, how do you know?Michael Russell

Notes:

[1]  The graph was obtained from Google Trends.

[2]  The incidence of spam is not related to any specific product.  The developer’s response in the JED was "I'm sorry you have many spammers.  There are some anti-spam features in our component and there are also third party plugins to prevent spammers."  These comments, while sympathetic, are not helpful.  For more information about spam countermeasures in Kunena, see How to stop forum spam in Kunena.

[3]  This article was originally written before the release of K 5.0 and, consequently, before the Crypsis template was forced upon the users.  As more users of Kunena have now discovered (and continue to discover) the consequences for their websites as a result of the upgrade from K 4.0, it now seems pointless to conduct a user satisfaction survey here.  The messages posted on the Kunena forum contain a variety of different opinions about K 5.0 ranging from positive to highly critical—many users indicating their complete refusal to update to K 5.0 because of the difficulties they’re having with its installation.

About the author:

is a Joomla professional and former member of the Kunena community for more than 8 years—a substantial contributor to the original Kunena documentation project with over twenty thousand messages posted at the Kunena forum. The opinions expressed in this article are entirely those of the author. View his profile here.


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