Problem Solved Or Solution Ignored - Thoughts On Technical Assistance Thru The Forum

After seeing the magnificient Marty Major score a perfect 10 in online tech support, I was thinking how it doesn't usually work out that perfectly. You know the deal, you suggest this or that, maybe there is a little back and forth for a day or two, you think maybe you are helping, and then....nothing again ever!

So my question is what's the more likely case in such a scenario?

1. You are not helping the user, either thru giving bad advice or the user not being capable of using your good advice, and so the user gives up on you.

2. You help fix the problem but the user never bothers to tell you.

3. The user realizes the question is unsolvable/incoherent and simply breaks off without explanation.

As far as I can remember, anytime I ever asked for help in an inline forum and someone actually helped me, I would tell them so. However I must admit a couple of times I just gave up because I wasn't being helped and was tired of explaining.

So then I have to think that usually when you don't hear back its number 1? Agree? Insights from veterans?


1. The Magnificent Marty Major is the name I plan to use when I retire and become a magician on the Grapefruit Circuit.

2. My help actually falls under the umbrella of training really - not technical support. Nothing was broken; I just had better documentation than the OP could find... :)

As far as an answer to the mystery of the vanishing forum OPs, I don't know.

But based on the warped bias I carry from 15+ yrs in support, I would surmise that the majority of them eventually realize that their posted problem had something to do with a completely unrelated 'thing' - and they are too embarrassed to admit it.

You just move on. There's no crying in technical support.

As far as an answer to the mystery of the vanishing forum OPs, I don't know.
But based on the warped bias I carry from 15+ yrs in support, I would surmise that the majority of them eventually realize that their posted problem had something to do with a completely unrelated 'thing' - and they are too embarrassed to admit it.

Are you familiar with this discussion? There was quite alot of suggestions and back and forth but then ultimately we didn't hear back from OP. I can "move on", but the truth is I don't answer questions only to help someone, but also to learn something. And so I want say in my own mind, 'yeah that must of fixed it.' or 'i guess that didn't work.'

So one question would be is it out of place to ask the OP whatever happened? It seems nobody ever does that around here so I'm leery. Any warped or dewarped opinion welcome...

Do not take offense Ms. Wilson, but you don't really come across as the 'leery' type. :)

Ask away.... I've done it - and more than once.

Unlike sales, in technical/field support you are either right or you are wrong. Good support people posses an innate intolerance for grey. :)

From my experience, veteran field/tech support people have an ingrained need to be right - or to figure out why they were wrong - so next time they will be right again.

I figure if I contributed to the back and forth, then I am within my rights to demand that OPs either validate my genius - or prove me wrong - so I can complete Ari's Step 5 towards the end of your referenced discussion - if applicable.

...so I can complete Ari's Step 5 towards the end of your referenced discussion...

You have just created a Step 6, bragging about bragging about repairing! Genius validated.

You can just address me as Ruki, sans honorific, as in "Rookie", and save the Ms. Wilson for any discussions in which my mother may be referenced.

And thanks for the advice, I feel more leerless already!

And step seven: metahumor.

Unlike public forums, since members pay, we try hard to give / foster genuine help. I think there is a high percentage of cases here where the feedback is useful.

We don't demand that members who ask for help follow up to close out an issue but I know many who have been helped greatly (either to solve a problem or to realize that they need to take a different approach).

LOL! Been there myself.

I'm a little intimidated posting here, after all everyone on this thread is in the IPVM Hall of Fame, but thought I might chime in with a perspective from the other side of the modem.
I've asked loads of questions over the years (FIDO Net anyone?) in various technical help forums and I would say that for every time it was worth my time asking the question, there'd be two that weren't worth the trouble of typing it. Now Imma not saying that its always their fault, cuz Lord knows I'm far from perfect, but a lotta times its plain as day that they could've done me a better turn.
In my opinion these are the general categories these 'gurus' fall into:

Quick Draw McGraw: This types whips out an answer quicker than you can finish your question seems. Usually, they key in on on word or phrase that reminds them of somethin' and there you go, instant answer.
The Gatling Gunman: This type will quickly launch a into a sustained rapid-fire answer post, and starts like McGraw but ends up just giving every answer to every question he's ever heard that's even close to yours.
The Winchester Warrior:This type as the name implies, only has one or two shells in the chamber, usually of start-from-scratch nature. He's the guy telling you to reinstall the OS on a new hard drive because your left speaker ain't workin!
Deputy Dog: As bad as the others can be, this one is the worst. He never fires a shot ever. He will just keep asking you more questions, getting broader and broader, hoping for you to break off before he gives a wrong answer. He'll want you to find out which power grid (I'm not kidding'.) you are on (the wrong one). Eventually right when it seems he is on the verge of some flash of insight, he'll go silent, rendering all your time spent explaining wasted...
The Lone Ranger: Takes aim, fires a silver bullet, need I say more?

Though I wanna share one other secret you might not know. A good ten percent of the time, I've told my gunman that I'm satisfied when I'm anything but, just because I don't think that he has a chance in hell of helping me, but he's a nice guy who tried to please real hard.

So yes, I admit it, I faked the Big A, you know as in Answer...