Wednesday, April 6, 2005

My nemeses

Okay, here's another email I received just now:
I have been trying everything I've read here relating to this program for over
an hour, and still cannot get this program to start. I thnk your directions
so far are extremely hard to follow.
Okay, so, minor spelling error aside, those are complete, valid sentences. Though I don't think that my directions are particularly complicated, that's not the problem. The problem is that this person could not possibly have been thinking, "the text I am writing will help someone diagnost my problem!" They even provided some useful feedback—apparently, my directions suck. But one thing that I cannot understand about apparently normal people is this complete lack of skill at communicating something very basic. They have a problem. But, rather than telling someone (me) what their problem is, they just tell me, "it's hard." It's as if they were to call 911 and just keep saying "I need help!" over and over again, except this time, the person is just trying to install software from the internet, and they presumably didn't just witness something traumatic like someone being brutally stabbed or shot or set on fire.

Now, sometimes, you just want to complain about something. If that's the case, you don't need to be too specific, though it obviously helps. If I get a ton of email from people saying that the directions suck (I don't), then I'll rewrite them. Of course, it helps to know why they suck, but just knowing that they do is helpful. But, this person obviously wants my help. They've been trying for an hour; they wouldn't do that and then send an email not expecting to be helped out.


UPDATE—just got this reply:
I have downloaded all the pages, but I don't know how to get to the start page, so that I can make a puzzle. How doI create the puzzle I want to create. HELP!!

We're talking, of course, about the Start button.

[...] I'm not really stupid, I just can't find it.

I teach beginners computers to a senior class, so I''m not computer illiterate [...]

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