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Hey guys we are going to push this drop back for a week first.
We are in talks with Topre right now to try and make this a bit better for the community. I will keep everyone updated.
Thanks for entering discussions with Topre about the drop. I think that MD could have done a few things to make the drop better:
1. Provide separate images of the base kit and add-ins. Clearly explain why the font and text alignment on the add-in differs from the base kit. Right now the only stand-alone image of the add-in is in the discussion. Given that the add-in keys have the stock Topre font and text alignment, it makes sense to show the add-in keys integrated into a stock Topre set. The current banner image shows blue add-in keys integrated with the base kit, which looks strange and generates confusion because the base kit render shown below also includes blue WASD & arrow keys, but with the correct font and text alignment.
2. Provide an as-complete-as-possible hardware compatibility list. There are not that many Realforce-branded keyboard models, just list the model numbers that would have full compatibility or partial compatibility. Is it compatible with Hi-Pro models and Type Heaven? It should be, but this could be easily confirmed with a compatibility list generated by MD rather than have users rely on other potentially incorrect users in the drop “discussion.”
3. The custom keycap set claims to be compatible with tenkeyless (TKL) Realforce models, but that is incorrect; it is more accurately described as providing “limited” compatibility with TKL models. Swappable CTRL & CAPS keys are not provided, neither are LED-compatible NumLock/ScrLk or LCTRL keys.* It should also be noted that the LCTRL key on Realforce 87u keyboards differs from that of the 104u & full sized keyboards, but no mention of providing this keycap is made, nor is it shown in the custom set render, although my research indicates that the keycap is provided (for a more complete description of the issue see btctopre’s posts here: https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=74413.500). *Based on information from Geekhack discussion.
4. Provide full TKL (87u) keyboard compatibility. Offer swappable CTRL & CAPS, and LED compatible NumLock/ScrLk keys as an add-ons or integrate them into the standard kit. Alternatively, you could sell base TKL kits and sell the numpad as an add-on. Either way works, but the end result should be complete compatibility for Realforce keyboards. I have intentionally not introduced improved cross-brand compatibility (HHKB, Leopold) as an issue because it has already been mentioned extensively in prior comments.
5. The “discussion” pages for this drop rapidly became toxic, but were necessary reading because of the lack of information in the “description.” Users flung insults and misinformation around, which did not help those relying on the “discussion” pages to find answers to their questions, many of them about points 1,2,3 and 4. I am not a Geekhack forum member, but I had to scour that forum to find answers to my questions about the set. I know it is not MD’s job to police the Internet, but discussion forums have administrators for a reason, and MD was very slow to respond to the hostile environment in this drop’s “discussion.”
6. There is no central location for discussion & information on this keycap set. Early prototyping and feedback occurred on Geekhack. Once the drop went live, Geekhack continued to be the best place to find information about the set, but there is no reference to the Geekhack thread anywhere in the Massdrop “description.” There are questions in the MD “discussion” answered on Geekhack, and Geekhack questions answered on MD. There are a handful of online keyboard communities, Massdrop is a production and fund raising vehicle for the creators of those communities, hosting more members than any single community. Massdrop should be the primary discussion forum for a live drop, not the original forum. Post a link to the original forum topic, let users read it if they want to, but the MD community should make an effort to ask and answer questions on MD so that we don’t all need multiple user accounts across various forums. Aside: I understand why people avoided the MD discussion for this drop, see point 5.
Please consider these comments constructive criticism. This drop is a rare opportunity and I am glad that MD, Matt3o, and Topre are collaborating. I really would like to see this drop succeed.
Chassuer makes very good points. Thanks for a very thoughtful and constructive post.
The lack of photos for the add-ons and the lack of a hardware compatibility list is particularly disappointing.
Excellent points and thank you for all the well presented feedback. I'll bring these points up during my talks with both Matt3o and Topre to try and address as many of them as possible.
Please also ask if there is a possibility for an option for convex Alt keys, convex number pad 0 keys, and up arrow keys in the profile of the home row.
@YanboWu, any new details? Is this going to get canceled and reposted at a later time?