Several of the top posters in Citrix’s user-to-user online support forum have gone “on strike” by refusing to answer any more questions until their efforts are officially recognized by Citrix. They feel that Citrix has not made good on offers to recognize them for their assistance.
Like most of today’s major software vendors, Citrix has built a web-based support forum where people can post their questions and answer to other peoples’ questions. A virtual community has sprung up around this web forum, with the same 10 or 15 people answering most of the questions. (The top 5 posters or so have posted over ten thousand messages in the past twelve months.)
When the web support forum was launched about a year ago, Citrix wanted to ensure that it would be widely used. Therefore, they put together a Community Support Forum Reward Program where people who answer other peoples’ questions can receive “points” for their answers. Citrix then provides “rankings” showing which users have been the most useful by acquiring the most points.
The online description of the Rewards Program says, “Citrix will recognize users who are most active and helpful within the community.” More than a year after the program was launched, the top posters felt that Citrix did not make good on their reward offer. (Citrix invited the top two posters to training in November 2003, but the group did not feel that training helped the group in total.
In early April, eight of the top posters got together and sent an email to Citrix’s Director of Global Escalation Services. The posters outlined their success and reminded Citrix that the new recognition program has been in place for over a year without any actual recognition. They also pointed out that several responses from their posts are listed in official Citrix Knowledge Base articles and that they’d like to receive more than unofficial recognition from Citrix. They even offered to work with the company to create a more solid and clear reward program.
Time passed and nothing happened, so the top posters appended the words “on strike” to their display names and stopped answering questions in the forum. They figured that if Citrix didn’t want to support them, then why should they support Citrix?
Community Support Forum Rewards vs. The Citrix CVP Program
The top posters stressed to me that they’re not looking for automatic inclusion in Citrix’s CVP program. They said that while they’re certainly interested in consideration for inclusion, what they’d really like to see is some kind of published chart that shows what awards are offered for achieving a certain point status.
They asked for that chart include things like copies of Citrix courseware, NFR versions of all products, access to betas and technology previews, iForum discounts or free passes, or exam vouchers. All these benefits are focussed on getting better knowledge on citrix products, so that they can share it again, with the forum community."
Late Breaking Update
On May 17, Citrix's escalation director responded to an update mail from the group, letting them know that a start has been made. He confirmed that various benefits asked for were reasonable and would be granted.