At least in the case of my comment about Fairphone Angels, while I think the program is a net detriment to Fairphone’s reputation and potentially a significant liability, I was posting more to point out the confusion and speculation that abounds on these forums in contrast to others. It’s not that all the Angels are problematic, but that they’re easily mistaken by new or infrequent (or simply search result) users as speaking for Fairphone, and just add to sense of confusion, especially when those users are used to forums that do have relevant information posted by employees and liaisons.
Many modern community forums do have involvement and information from employees. Even when that information is disappointing, or has to be revised, it means that users have some sense of what’s going on. The information shuts down rampant speculation and at least ameliorates complaints. Perhaps more importantly, it means that when users, who may never participate on the forum, do a search about problems they are having, they can actually find real information, and updates, about the problem and whether it is being addressed.
As another example of employee communication about a planned update: Zoom made a very poor implementation of screen sharing under Wayland with their Linux client, making inappropriate use of private Gnome APIs that, possibly in response, were disabled by Gnome developers. Thus, like here, significant functionality stopped working for some users because of a lack of software updates. Users complained on their forums; while developers weren’t there, community liaisons in communication with them were. There were communication problems acknowledging and understanding the problem, and there were many suggested timescales from the employee posting on the forums about the eventual update that ended up being delayed, but people did at least know that the matter was being addressed, and had some sense of time scales. I was never a participant in their forums: when I started having these problems, that thread came up in a search, and I followed it for updates until it was fixed, rather than pushing my collaborators to use a different service.
With Fairphone, for the most part, the forums seem to just serve to amplify complaints and confusion. Is Fairphone doing any work on making call audio quality reasonable, or have they stopped working about that problem? Is Fairphone still legitimately working on an Android 12 update and having security updates in a timely manner, or are they turning into the many less reputable small Android manufacturers who promise updates that never happen? Is Fairphone actually not concerned about repairability, only fair trade, as some posters suggest, and is the back not meant to be removed from the FP4 *? Simple, informed updates from employees like the above, even if the comments aren’t meant to be taken as official statements, are enormously helpful in letting people know what to expect. They don’t need to be frequent and pervasive. Just comments like those, with actual information, every month or two in some of the major threads would be amazing.
(* A forum poster on the Framework community forums responded to someone asking about some DIY ideas, warning that the internal USB C plugs were likely only rated for around 500 attachment cycles. Within a day, the CEO had responded in the thread authoritatively clarifying that they were rated for 10,000 cycles. And thus ended the potentially damaging rumour. )