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Subject: Re: Apology, and a period of break.

Re: Apology, and a period of break.

From: Paul Louden <>
Date: Sat, 20 Jun 2009 12:39:33 -0500

Tomer Shalev wrote:
> Many times you responded newbie's questions: "Support question belong
> to XXX", "Bug reports belong to XXX" etc, closing the issue.
> I would suggest a more friendly approach: You should provide a short
> and simple answer, and following it, write "If you would like further
> assistance, please open a new support issue for this question in XXX,
> as this is not the right place to ask."
> You can even open that issue yourself, refering to the original post.

The problem I've always seen with this is that if that they'll get an
answer anyway, many people won't feel a need to care what the right
place is. There have been plenty of people in the past who've shown a
thought process of "Why bother making sure it's right. He'll just
answer, and then tell me it was the wrong place. But at least I'll get
an answer."

If people just chose not to get annoyed at correction, it wouldn't be a
problem. But as I said, this is a fundamental difference - it wouldn't
bother me at all if someone told me I'd posted in the wrong place. My
response internally would be "oops, I should've checked better" rather
than "that jerk." As I said, it's more or less a fundamental difference
in reactions that is apparently in my way.

> When a user asks an RTFM question, don't tell them "It is in the
> manual, why did you post this question when you obviously agreed to
> the forum rules which mention that you have to read the manual before
> you ask question" etc.
> A more human friendly approach would be to quote the relevant text
> from the manual (yes, it takes more time to do),

Yes, it does take more time to do. Given that I already spend a lot of
time doing this, would the more human friendly response be "leave them
unanswered" or "let them know an answer exists, so that they can
actually solve their problem, rather than sitting stuck still"? In my
mind, the latter is better.

> If the answer is short, they know someone has it and can write it down
> for them in 10 seconds, in contrast for them wasting an hour. They'll
> appreciate it! They also expect to be gived a link rather than being
> given an 'it's in the manual' response.

The link to the manual is on every page. A second link to it is rather
redundant. Again, this is an issue of time. Should they be left entirely
answerless, or be given an answer I can fit the time in for that
actually provides them some help? This is, fundamentally, why I'm taking
a break. It's become clear to me "no help" is better than "help, but not
phrased in the way I enjoy it."

> When a user is arrogant and expecting Rockbox volunteers to work for
> him, answering his questions or fixing his bugs, as if he pays them,
> there is no reason to start an argue with him, adding fuel to the
> fire. One can just ignore, or block the thread. It is wrong to answer
> "we will gladly give you back the money you paid Rockbox". This is
> indeed the correct answer, but it is not the smartest. We are here to
> make as many people as possible like and use Rockbox.

I don't think I've ever offered anyone a refund. I've told people who
objected to the expectation that they follow the forum guidelines "if
you agreed to those in error, we'll gladly release you from the
agreement and happily take back the access we gave you in exchange."

> Paul, it would be best if you keep doing your great work. People in
> the community can be more aware of this issue, and provide you with an
> immediate feedback once you do something that is considered offensive,
> which you are not aware of. You deserve it.

Feedback isn't the issue, nor is it wanted. I understand that these
people react this way. I can't relate to the emotional context of it. To
me it's completely irrational that a person gets upset when *they* break
published guidelines and get chastised for it. It's irrational when
*they* get upset for being told where to find the answer to their
question rather than being ignore entirely. Emotionally I cannot relate
to it at all.

I will be severely limiting my involvement until I have a personal plan
for addressing these matters. I'm just trying to explain it further now
so that it's a little clearer to people why I'm taking this step, and
why it's not such a simple matter as "just be more understanding" or why
this really isn't "over reacting," it's a decision I've considered over
several months, and think it's really the best all around.
Received on 2009-06-20

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