Nature of forum posts

This could be just my imagination but it seems that the nature of posts has changed a bit over the past year or two.

There now seem to be far fewer “how to” posts (ie. how to get the best out of the software) and far more about technical problems that might be more obviously directed at Support. Quite a few of them are about not being able to reach Support in the first place. Have forum members been outsourced as a branch of Support now??


Quite many of the “support” questions are by Pro users with older versions and Make users that aren’t entitled to “official support” so I think that is understandable. What disturbs me is that it seems that quite many Pro users seem to be unaware of the mere existence of the real support, and that the way to reach them through the website is not as obvious as it perhaps should be.

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I discovered the forums when looking for support. I was directed here even with an active pro license and support. I vaguely remember not finding any actual support, phone number or email, and just given a link to the forums. I don’t blame anyone for coming here for support because it appears that is what Trimble is directing them (us) to do.

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Quite. So your answer to my question would be Yes.

One reason for raising this is that when Trimble try to persuade us to take up a subscription they make big play of the access to support (and indeed tell you when you no longer have it). But if support effectively means referring to the community, the formal support is of limited use. I have never used it despite having been a paid up member of Pro for many years. Not that I remember having a suitable technical issue to refer.


I would agree from my experience. I started engaging with the forum after joining the SU team circa late 2017/early 2018. I even have a folder on my drive called ‘Community’ where I save all my responses and screenshots that I’ve shared (re: workflow tips). I haven’t responded to as many lately given what you said…seems more technical and less ‘how do I do this cool/complex thing?’ My only hope is that more people know the software well enough to need less help with those kinds of tips/ tricks :wink:

I can share the feeling, the portion of technical problems has increased.

I think that a dedicated community spread around the globe is hard to beat by a comparatively small local service team, in the forum you probably often get faster and not necessarily worse answers. If I have a question, I also ask it in the forum, even if I would be entitled to support directly from Trimble. If it’s not about licensing issues or other things that require internal knowledge, I don’t see a problem with that.

What happens to crash reports nowadays? I seem to remember that in the @Last days, as a newbie, SU started crashing, and that Support contacted me spontaneously after I had sent in my Bugsplat, and sorted me out, without me filing any help request (I might see 18 year old events through rosy glasses).

I notice an increased number of posts for things such as whitelisting a domain, licensing issues, setting up multi-seat installations, etc. These really should be going directly to support, as none of the volunteers here have any ability to address them. It begs the question of why posters think this is the place to submit such things.

Another troubling trend is posts that serve only to gripe or to criticize SketchUp for not working the same as some other modeling app. Frankly, all the negative energy from those topics leads me not to look at the forum as often as I once did. I get quite tired of feeling like an apologist or being called a fanboy for saying “well, that’s not how SketchUp works, here’s the SketchUp way to do that”. I can’t count the number of replies I have started and then trashed, thinking “oh the h*** with it”.

I also agree with @Anssi that BugSplat reports seem to get very little response these days. We hear repeatedly that the developers take BugSplats seriously, but the current system of feedback gives the opposite impression. I have yet to be contacted by support following a crash unless I post the report here as well, and the web page that BugSplat sends you to has never had anything useful to say about any of my crashes.

On the other hand, I don’t mind posts asking about what appears to be a bug in the operation of SketchUp. Often these are operator error we can straighten out.


I hear you, same here.

It would be nice if the support staff would have a greater presence in the forum.

Wow that sounds amazing. I did not know that was ever something that happened. I figured bug splats were just tossed into a pile and ignored completely, based on my experience with them. And they happen more often than ever before too. Maybe the issue is that sketchup isn’t as stable as it used to be that is causing so many technical issues on this forum.

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We look for trends in the bugsplats, and also look up specific ones when someone contacts support.

Sometimes though I may be looking at them for trends, and I will see a bugsplat come in while I’m checking them. For some of those I know what the issue is, and the solution, and I have emailed a number of people to tell them what they need to do to stop the crashing. Surprisingly few people reply to my emails.


I wonder if that could be related to the expansion into the education sector? In other words, the presence of “angry young men” (with due apologies to all the angry young women I have failed to acknowledge) who may shoot from the hip. I have no evidence to back this up whatever beyond listening to the tone and language and recognizing that social media may have encouraged a lack of patience and application.

Not sure what you can do about it.

Col. Blimp, over and out.

I think it came about when SketchUp Web was launched (and Free users hating it, and Pro users wondering "why do i care about this?), followed shortly by the requirement to subscribe (and Pro users wondering "what do I get from this?).

What disturbs me is that it seems that quite many Pro users seem to be unaware of the mere existence of the real support, and that the way to reach them through the website is not as obvious as it perhaps should be.

My experience ( not much) is that support is fairly slow to respond -
Licensing issues seem to get resolved quickly enough (sales team?) but technical issues, if they get a response, seem to be days or weeks rather than hours.
In a Pro environment (deadlines), days of delay can mean “I may as well start from scratch and work through the night”.
Forum users may not be able to solve the issues but usually give a good idea of how to narrow down the issues or suggest workarounds so I can totally understand why eople come here as a first port or call.

I would love to know how much of the sketchup’s intenral team is supporting Schools? - the education sector is usually the source of the most helpdesk queries of any…if they are getting pro-level support then it must be a heck of a workload.

I get support through my reseller these days - great response time and usually quite knowledgeable even if they just go back to Trimble themselves to find out. I think that’s a good support model.

My feeling is that going to the forum with questions that might be more rightly aimed at the support team makes perfect sense.

There is the potential that many people can be helped by the same guidance. This is good on its face, AND, theoretically, this would free up resources within support to better focus their efforts. One example of this would be to have a robust participation in the forums. While I know there is some of this already, the community seems to be crying out for more, and to really SEE that Trimble is in the conversation.

Here is a great counter-point to the way Trimble seems to handle technical, support, and use issues: In our fab shop, we have a production CNC machine. ShopSabre, the manufacturer, maintains a private Facebook group, which functions not unlike this forum. The way it is different is that there are numerous active participants from the company in these conversations, giving guidance and, where necessary, reaching out privately to help individuals with programming or technical issues that are better discussed one-on-one.

ShopSabre’s brand loyalty is absolutely amazing. People LOVE this company. They make great machines, but as importantly, they are always reachable, and active in the community of users.

There seems to be a great deal of unhappiness with Trimble on this forum, and it seems to come from people that love using SketchUp (even if they dread using Layout, which is another story…). Maybe Trimble should look to ShopSabre for some guidance about how to build a satisfied user base.

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I can see some sense in this. However, the problem for the company is that they cannot really use the fact that paying them money gets people great support if most of it is being provided free by forum members. That’s the kind of thing that gets a company a bad name.

I am not sure I would agree with this. The most unhappy posts seem to come from people who don’t really understand what SU is for or who haven’t invested enough time to make it work for them. Speaking purely personally, I would say that although there are a few things about the way SU work that bug me (and always have), on balance I much prefer using it to other CAD systems I have used in the past. As you say, Layout is another matter, but even that is impressive in lots of ways. It just needs updating (“just”…huh!).

Fair point about the unhappy posters.
Be careful using the “J” word. We have banished it around here.

Quite. Hence the quotation marks.

“Technical Problems” vs “ how to” in the forum:
For me the forum is a one stop “shopping” for getting answers on questions I have. What I experience is that the how tos are faster solved/answered than the technical problems, which is great for the how tos. I understand that technical problems often cannot be solved by the community, if they are due to “bugs” or short comings in SU. And in such points I would expect the SU team to jump in and take action in the forum - much more than what they do now.
I posted lately two issues and got answers from the community, but as these are technical issues and resulting enhancement requests, someone from SU team in fact should jump in. But this does not happen.
Maybe I should go to the support page, but I think sharing issues in the community is a good thing, as others may face the same issue. And Trimble could use this much more to see how much certain issues really “hurt”.

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I just started using sketchup recently. I immediately had problems even downloading the software. I found the website and help very hard to navigate. When I was finally able to get ahold of help at Trimble, they simply told me I would probably be better off taking my questions to the forum and asking the sages there. I thought that meant the sages were employees of Trimble and proceeded to upset one by asking why I was having such a problem with the software, etc. Seems like maybe Trimble is trying to avoid helping people.

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