So, in the past few months I've been building up a list of high-quality articles about EclipseCrossword that answer popular questions. They're searchable, so people who have common questions can theoretically find answers near-instantly instead of waiting for me to respond to them. This is good for everyone.
The thing that's new is that now I have a bunch of articles that I can point people to instead of writing lengthy replies. This is great for me, because it saves me a lot of typing. It's also great for the people asking the questions, because they get well-thought-out answers complete with pictures and links to other articles. The only real downside is that it loses some of the personal touch. Instead of getting a personal response (or something that looks like one) when someone asks if they can make corrections to a puzzle they created last week, they get something like this:
Hi! Yes, you can add and remove words, change clues, and make other modifications to puzzles that you've saved in the past. This page will walk you through the process:
I hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions or comments, and have a good one.
Green Eclipse.com personal support
(I've typed that last line so many times I don't even want to think about it. In Outlook 2003 I used to be able to type "I hope" and it would offer to AutoComplete it; it's probably the feature I miss most in Outlook 2007.)
Anyway, it seems a little less personal, at least to me, even though I honestly read their email from start to finish, thought a bit about how best to answer their question, and only then decided that I'd already written up an answer to that question and put it online. I wonder sometimes if people are put off by those responses; I might do a survey. I wonder if it seems like I'm ignoring them, or being condescending, or just being cold. Sometimes I word it to the effect of "Here's an article I wrote recently..." to make it seem a little more friendly.
What do you think? If you'd asked a question and got an answer back that was basically just a link to a page that was specifically written to answer questions almost exactly like yours, how do you think you'd react?