Thursday, April 7, 2005

Nemeses, response

I've been thinking a little about my previous post titled "My nemeses." I can understand frustration—everyone's frustrated sometimes. One idea that came to mind to possibly explain some peoples' tendency just to send me emails with essentially just the message "I have a problem" is that it would be an acceptable way to start a conversation. If I were to go into someone's office to ask them how to show the Data Source Catalog task pane in FrontPage, I might introduce myself with "I have a problem." Of course, then I would go into more detail; it's unreasonable to expect someone to do all of the work of helping you themselves. Perhaps this person just doesn't understand their communication medium. Maybe they don't understand that letters and emails do not work like phone calls or in-person conversations. Maybe this distinction that seems so obvious to me is not obvious to the rest of the world. But, even after all that, there's no excuse for the way that this person has essentially failed to respond to anything in any of my replies, but rather to just rehash the same message to me three times. These are the times when I don't like doing technical support. I like helping people, and I like getting feedback on my work, and I like hearing that I helped some family who had recently fallen onto bad times make a free, unique mother's day gift for Mom. But I hate it when communication fails. I hate it when it's my fault, either for stumbling over words or mixing up my sentences or just not getting my point across. I hate it at least as much when it's not my fault and I can't do anything about it or really learn from it.

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