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How not to moderate a forum

Alex Christie

2 April 2008

Creative Labs have shown how not to use a company forum by threatening one if its forum users with legal action for improving their software drivers.  Creative Labs makes sound cards for PCs and their sound cards perform better in Windows XP than they do in Windows Vista.  I have a Creative sound card on my PC with both Vista and XP installed and it is true that there is a difference.
Creative have a forum on their site where users go to troubleshoot their issues with their various products.  I have visited this a couple of times as I have a couple of Creative products and the community is pretty good at responding to questions – answers coming from both moderators and (seemingly) regulars.
A lot of people noticed the problems with their soundcards performance in Vista and one of them, user Daniel_k, actually created his own software to get around the problem.  He posted links to his software from within the forums and had been doing so for a while until it came to the attention of Creative’s Vice President of Corporate Communications – Phil O’Shaughnessy who issued a warning (you can read it in full here ) directed at Daniel_K accusing him of theft and telling him to stop distributing the drivers.

A quote from the post "By enabling our technology and IP to run on sound cards for which it was not originally offered or intended, you are in effect, stealing our goods."

This was an unfortunate way to do things as it was like shouting "we are crippling our products and don’t you try and fix it!"  You could kind of understand where he was coming from if the product wasnt advertised as being Vista compatible.

So now the forums are full of spiteful posts from disgruntled customers.  Post titles include "From a FORMER long time customer", "Even the Titanic sank" and "Creative vs its customers".  If this guy is producing great drivers for its software they should have just given him a job.  I dont think this is a case of any publicity is good publicity.….

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