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Author Topic: Just a support suggestion or pet peeve.  (Read 1124 times)

Offline SaltedWeb

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Just a support suggestion or pet peeve.
« on: December 02, 2017, 06:25:49 PM »
I really appreciate all the help on these boards, but one thing that bugs me a bit is someone asks a question or worse yet a newbie asks one. And the answer is something like, SMF has settings for it or along that lines.

First I think everyone appreciates any help they get on here, But there is a fine line between help and hindering sometimes.
When I see a answer like this occur the very next question always is what, or where is that at from the OP ?
Just suggesting take a step back and realize some people come here cause they are stuck, and getting quick answers
to a questions that really doesn't answer anything probably frustrates some people.

Myself I don't mind hunting and pecking for an answer, if I get a non-helpful answer I trying figure what the heck they meant and figure it out. But really in an example of saying something like SMF has settings for that, maybe say there are settings under configurations and maybe help point them in the right direction. The  other thing is many ask for access to other members accounts. Thats all fine an great, but then when we do a search it comes up all we know is you and the user worked on this common problem I am now looking for so the thread only served two people and now one must ask it again.

This is not a complaints, but if you are wanting to really help, great , awesome and kudos to that. However please try and keep the above in mind, teaching is great and letting others try and find answers builds there own ability but confusing people worse then when they got here or keeping answers from others well... you all get what I am saying...
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Offline Steve

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Re: Just a support suggestion or pet peeve.
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2017, 08:40:45 AM »
I see a lot of guesswork and assumptions in your post. Do keep in mind that everyone is a volunteer and almost all of the support staff are using their phones when they're here. They have limited time (they may be on a break at work, etc.) so they're giving the quickest answers they can to help the most people they can. If their response is 'SMF has a setting for that' then the OP can go to the Online Manual and find out where those settings are, what they do, etc. Is that not 'teaching' someone how to solve their problem while getting him/her the most information available?

Your post assumes most people want to be taught how to fix their problems when in fact, the opposite is true. They come here hoping for someone to tell them exactly what to do and if someone is willing to do it for them, all the better. They don't want to do searches, check the online manual, read stickies, check the mod site, etc. etc. etc. If you don't believe me, count the number of Stop Spammer + 2.0.15 threads there are in the support boards.

Don't assume we're not trying to be as helpful as we might be able to in each and every thread. We're trying to help the most people we can and when there is already posted or documented answers to the questions asked, the answers might be short and quick out of necessity.
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Offline SaltedWeb

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Re: Just a support suggestion or pet peeve.
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2017, 12:31:19 PM »
I see a lot of guesswork and assumptions in your post. Do keep in mind that everyone is a volunteer and almost all of the support staff are using their phones when they're here. They have limited time (they may be on a break at work, etc.) so they're giving the quickest answers they can to help the most people they can. If their response is 'SMF has a setting for that' then the OP can go to the Online Manual and find out where those settings are, what they do, etc. Is that not 'teaching' someone how to solve their problem while getting him/her the most information available?



Your post assumes most people want to be taught how to fix their problems when in fact, the opposite is true. They come here hoping for someone to tell them exactly what to do and if someone is willing to do it for them, all the better. They don't want to do searches, check the online manual, read stickies, check the mod site, etc. etc. etc. If you don't believe me, count the number of Stop Spammer + 2.0.15 threads there are in the support boards.

Don't assume we're not trying to be as helpful as we might be able to in each and every thread. We're trying to help the most people we can and when there is already posted or documented answers to the questions asked, the answers might be short and quick out of necessity.

With all due respect Steve, I find it very interesting you start off saying I am making assumptions, yet all you did was make assumptions about what I said or what you think I meant. I stand 100% by what I said. I have been a member here since the beginning and why I may not be here all the time posting and may lurk I have seen more then enough and been here long enough to be allowed my own opinion.  So Steve don't assume you have any idea where i am coming from. I did not willy nilly just start posting dribble, about support. I could point our hundreds, if not thousands of post reflecting what I have said. It was not an attack, or insult nor a complaint but an observation, sorry you missed that.

So why I respect your opinion as staff, sorry you couldn't accept my opinion. Besides kind sir, protocol would say you should ask me what I meant, not go on some tyrant trying to tell me what I am assuming. I love this software and am grateful for all the help. and then closed in the OP saying (This is not a complaints, but if you are wanting to really help, great , awesome and kudos to that) . I find interesting you ignored my very first words and last praising SMF help, and I even go on to state it was not a complaint. So as I said, I have 100% seen what I stated and I 100% stand behind what I wrote. You don't know me, and obviously have no clue where I was coming from as all you assumptions were way off base.
But hey thanks for the feedback.
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Offline Steve

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Re: Just a support suggestion or pet peeve.
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2017, 01:41:52 PM »
With all due respect Steve, I find it very interesting you start off saying I am making assumptions, yet all you did was make assumptions about what I said or what you think I meant. I stand 100% by what I said. I have been a member here since the beginning and why I may not be here all the time posting and may lurk I have seen more then enough and been here long enough to be allowed my own opinion.  So Steve don't assume you have any idea where i am coming from. I did not willy nilly just start posting dribble, about support. I could point our hundreds, if not thousands of post reflecting what I have said. It was not an attack, or insult nor a complaint but an observation, sorry you missed that.

So why I respect your opinion as staff, sorry you couldn't accept my opinion. Besides kind sir, protocol would say you should ask me what I meant, not go on some tyrant trying to tell me what I am assuming. I love this software and am grateful for all the help. and then closed in the OP saying (This is not a complaints, but if you are wanting to really help, great , awesome and kudos to that) . I find interesting you ignored my very first words and last praising SMF help, and I even go on to state it was not a complaint. So as I said, I have 100% seen what I stated and I 100% stand behind what I wrote. You don't know me, and obviously have no clue where I was coming from as all you assumptions were way off base.
But hey thanks for the feedback.

I'm not sure where you got the idea that I felt you were posting 'willy nilly dribble'. Nor did I take your post as an attack or insult. I took it as you intended, an observation. And I responded with what I see the situation as from my point of view.

I knew I should have quoted your post and responded point by point. Had I done so, you would see that I did not assume anything about what you posted.

I also did not say I couldn't accept your opinion. You started a dialogue and I responded. I wasn't being defensive nor suggesting that my view was the 'correct' one. I was merely relaying information you wouldn't be privy to and why you've seen the things you pointed out.

Shame we couldn't have a discussion without the snide tone of your last post.
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Offline Sir Osis of Liver

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Re: Just a support suggestion or pet peeve.
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2017, 09:56:50 PM »
Biggest problem in providing support is trying to determine where on the learning curve a member is.  It's often difficult for anyone here to guess the knowledge level of a new member, or one who posts infrequently, and an appropriate response may be quite different for the same question.  Some forum owners are interested in tinkering with the code, others just want the forum to work, and don't want to know the gory details.  If you get an unhelpful response to a support request, it's not because a team member is blowing you off, but more likely that he/she has assumed you would understand the answer.  Everything is obvious if you already know it, and it's sometimes difficult to view a support issue from the standpoint of someone who's not conversant with the software.

Offline SaltedWeb

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Re: Just a support suggestion or pet peeve.
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2017, 10:50:42 PM »
Thoughts:
You know what would be nice and could help the great support & staff and the new or unfamiliar with the SMF process here?
Is when a person fill out a post in a  " support " or  "mod " are is they would have to fill out a few pieces of information to submit a post in those areas. A small form integrated into those post areas.

Imagine if staff and support knew :  What Mods you have, what version of SMF and where you are hosted and of course what the issue is ahead of time?
But those first three ideas are often a place to look as a cause for there issues.  I would guess most are Mod, or some SMF versions or a host as a cause and that usually is where the support can finally help a person.  I know some may think I am just posting this stuff to complain. Far from it, in fact in my real life I work as lobbyist and actually get laws passed so learning what works and doesn't is part of my job. That said........... The reason why I bring up this above as an idea for a solution as it falls in line with how most tech support systems work, well is having the most common basic information first. I know in the years I have dealt elsewhere with supports until they get needed information they have no clue most times where to start.

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Offline Sir Osis of Liver

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Re: Just a support suggestion or pet peeve.
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2017, 11:23:05 PM »
Actually, there's a sticky that addresses your points -

https://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?topic=228939.0

It's been on the board since 08.  But nobody reads stickies. :P


Offline Kindred

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Re: Just a support suggestion or pet peeve.
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2017, 11:47:00 PM »
And we have considered doing that before... but experience has proven that it would end up with people choosing the quickest and often wrong information.
Please do not PM, IM or Email me with support questions.  You will get better and faster responses in the support boards.  Thank you.

Offline SaltedWeb

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Re: Just a support suggestion or pet peeve.
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2017, 11:48:03 PM »
Yes Sir OSIS, Its true, most people don't read agreements or stickies when they join anymore and site rules, conduct .
Its odd how it becomes a complacent act and we pass by allot of information that would help.
Maybe people are desensitize to all we are told to read, I mean how many really read the terms at
FB, twitter, or even Ebay. So yep I have seen the stickies here read them myself, but if a person is
just used to getting to the meat and potatoes of the problem they wont often slow down and read and
hence is why I made the suggestion.  Where I am hosted they have a whole tool box of knowledge and help.
But makes me wonder since this topic, hmmm how many even know the knowledge base is there as a first
place to get help. I don't know.... just my thoughts on this stuff.
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Offline Sir Osis of Liver

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Re: Just a support suggestion or pet peeve.
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2017, 11:57:16 PM »
BS, MS, PhD.  Too much information.

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Re: Just a support suggestion or pet peeve.
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2017, 06:06:26 AM »
And we have considered doing that before... but experience has proven that it would end up with people choosing the quickest and often wrong information.
If the field is obligatory, for sure, unfortunately. But what about it being optional, or even, just a note right above the post area? (more visible than the stickies, so more people will see it, such as "be as detailed as possible" kind of note. Can link to the sticky for more information)

Offline Arantor

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Re: Just a support suggestion or pet peeve.
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2017, 06:44:34 AM »
Given how many people don't know even something as simple as which version (how often do 2.0 topics get posted in 2.1 because people think 2.0.15 is 2.15)... wouldn't recommend it as people will mostly just leave it blank or put the wrong thing in.

A drop down for SMF version was tried long ago, though it was mandatory and whatever was the first item in the list was what was invariably picked.
To assume is to hope that those who came before had the presence of mind and capacity to implement the dreams of those who would come after.

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Re: Just a support suggestion or pet peeve.
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2017, 08:06:35 AM »
I think a visible note could be a fair compromise. Just leave something simplified saying how you'll receive better help if you can give as many details as possible, then link to the sticky for a complete guide. If one does not read nor pay attention to that, that'll likely be the same type of person that would not be using the fields properly anyway.

For the others who just don't know where to start/what to say/missed the sticky, it can cut down on the asking of basic questions.

Offline Kindred

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Re: Just a support suggestion or pet peeve.
« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2017, 10:44:55 AM »
And yet evidence and previous experience suggests the exact opposite
Please do not PM, IM or Email me with support questions.  You will get better and faster responses in the support boards.  Thank you.

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Re: Just a support suggestion or pet peeve.
« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2017, 12:09:22 PM »
Having more easily visible information for those who might need it is never a bad thing (assuming of course you don't go overboard and add warnings everywhere, then it's just annoying).

Offline SaltedWeb

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Re: Just a support suggestion or pet peeve.
« Reply #15 on: December 04, 2017, 02:33:35 PM »
I am not saying I have all the answers or even one, I guess it appears to me that SMF's success has an Achilles heel, that being
support without having to learn each and every time is often not possible.

Why ?
1. Its very easy to use.
2. Number #1 makes it to where anyone with internet access and host can have a forum.
3. The support here is so good people rely on it solely and wont pick up a book or read even a sticky.
4. Why simple in its own package SMF has the potential for any novice to destroy their forum with a few clicks.
5. Mods are a plenty and as noted often Mods, or even host have to be high on that list of problem creators.
6. The forum can be confusing with a search often bringing up a similar answer 7 years ago and no clarification to a new user of its importance or lack there of simply saying its over 120 days old doesn't mean to many obsolete.

I would venture to say that that the powers that be at SMF would find it much easier to do support if the user
has even some basic information to provide them.

Here is a maybe a stupid idea, but if version identification is a huge issue to the fill in forms.
And perhaps its way to much coding to be worth it. But I have seen support pages where they
fill out information and then in the same block a link saying to find your version click here and it would have a PNG of where they
can find the version on there forum, and mods/versions and well the host they should know.
I only posted this as its pretty easy to pick one in a million post and see frustration by support or the users and why I have been
of and on here since 2003 and thought even though I am not involved in SMF, I have been here long enough to see its a constant in the force. :-) Maybe say something......

Don't want to beat a dead horse, these were just what I saw as a pet peeve and this being the area to give site comments :)
I hope anyone reading this realizes this is not a rant, or me insulting staff and or support. The point I have a pet peeve is
only due to the tremendous continued success of this Form Software.  I love the software itself and any and all web projects I have I try and see if I can use this software because I am really comfortable using it, its always feel like a nice worn in pair of shoes. And I have used Xenforo, and other paid software and personally find SMF superior.





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Offline Arantor

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Re: Just a support suggestion or pet peeve.
« Reply #16 on: December 04, 2017, 04:51:06 PM »
Quote
3. The support here is so good people rely on it solely and wont pick up a book or read even a sticky.

It's actually more like people are lazy - you'd see much the same mentality on the other forum packages. Especially given the number of people who post and then post an hour later because they're bored of waiting (or stressed)

Quote
due to the tremendous continued success of this Form Software.

New posts here in 2014 - 125488
In 2015 - 76010
In 2016 - 52076
So far in 2017 - 44707

Not sure I'd call that tremendous continuous success.
To assume is to hope that those who came before had the presence of mind and capacity to implement the dreams of those who would come after.

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Re: Just a support suggestion or pet peeve.
« Reply #17 on: December 04, 2017, 07:04:31 PM »
Oh true, community forums in general have lost quite an amount of market share towards social media such as Facebook and, to lesser extent, Twitter.
The support sites reflect it; although there's also lesser users asking for support the more familiar they get with it. And people may find their way to the documentation quicker. The overall market decline doesn't mean that within its own segment the software does not have a continued success... People simply move to different types of platforms. For generic chatter, Facebook serves it purpose very well. For more specific subjects, people still often go to (or end up with) a standalone community forum as the community/group stuff on Facebook really leaves a lot to wish for. (Still for certain groups serve their purpose by the way, don't get me wrong there. :) So there are a lot of subjects/type of boards that simply need software like SMF, quite a significant amount of sites out there. And we're there for them. :))

The marketshare divide between social media and community forums is probably slowly but surely going to stabilise now that the growth on social media is no longer as insanely exponential as it once was.  Which is also why the decline on activity here for example isn't going down as fast anymore as it was in the ~2014/2015 period you've shown. Time will tell, we'll see. :)
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