gfxman, it is on topic, hopefully let me make it clearer for you. "Externalizing" can be (AN EXAMPLE ONLY), if you want it to be, as simple as say to you, hey gfxman, what your doing is great, organize putting banners on that site and we'll support you give you some ad revenue. Now you handle everything, you keep the users happy, you have the admin issues, you deal with it all, you understand what the users want. Well done. Congratulations and thank you very much. Same applies to here.
Luceric, The reason for the Area community existing is that users of M&E products want / need a community, that's pretty clear. Other Autodesk products don't have communities. What's apparent is that Autodesk responded with the Area, and luceric, just because they did, does NOT mean its a success. The very fact that we are NOT having this conversation in the Area should be clear indication of just how badly it's performed. PROOF: How often do you Luceric, or any AD staff for that matter post on the Area VS elsewhere. :QED.
If Autodesk realize this understand and accept their limits, then partner with people that can and have done the job better, that specifically delivers on what users want, NOT Autodesk's perception of what users want, you'd find a lot of happier campers, something that has clearly eluded the Area all its life. You can rationalize it by saying isn't that the very same understanding that Mr. Bass is applying when AD acquiring products, such as SocialCam, Indestructibles etc etc
Isn't what gfxman saying above THIS is what I want, same for tekano et al, same for mailing list people, and this is what we can do !!! Why some AD staff feel so emotionally and permanently married to the Area and deaf to everyone and everything else is beyond reason and logic and what's best not only for the users but the company too.
Luceric, the other questions you have, they all have very specific rationale, some future looking value, all a monetary value, all of them have to, because by definition it's a public company, and any ceo has to be able to justify each and every position, if not to the board, but to the shareholders directly. I dont want to dilute the above comments by entering into it here and now. But look at budgets etc not from the bottom up, but from the top down. Paraphrasing Kennedy, "ask not how much your marketing budget is, but where is it going to come from."