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From Mike Scott <>
Subject Re: A moderator's view of this list [was: Re: I Hate Your Product]
Date Mon, 02 Apr 2012 07:25:26 GMT
On 01/04/2012 21:08, Rob Weir wrote:
....(snipped throughout; attributions missing)
>>   Bayesian filters cannot work in this case because they assume that the
>> Maybe. I don't know, and thought it might be worth trying. There's usually
>> /some/ key word or phrase that gives the game away.
> I think it is fair to say it would work some of the time.  But I don't
> think there are any silver bullets here.

I agree. But I reckon even a, say 50%, success rate would be of 
considerable help.
> And I assume this is not fun for the user as well.   Writing to ooo-users
> is probably not their first choice. I think when a user has a problem they
> do things like:
> 1) Repeat the action
> 2) Quit OpenOffice and restart and try the action
> 3) Maybe reboot
> 4) Maybe hit F1 and see if the online help does anything

So far so good.

> 5) Post to Twitter "I hate OpenOffice, it can't do X"

Irrational. And probably expected.

> 6) Search Google (or Bing) for some words that they think are related to
> the problem

Now there's a conundrum. Google is a bit of an art - often I've found 
answers quite quickly where non-computer-savvy friends have totally 
failed. It seems you need a fair bit of experience to see the right 

> 7) Somehow end up on this mailing list.  But honestly I don't know the
> exact path here.

I've wondered that too. If they came via the web site, they /ought/ to 
be more aware of what the list is than some seem to be. Some will be 
sent by unscrupulous vendors, so won't know what they're dealing with.

> So reducing repeated questions helps us and helps the user, especially if
> we can get those FAQ's in front of their eyes earlier in the cycle, like at
> step 6, or even step 4.  By the time they end up here, users tend to
> already be frustrated.

One thing I've noticed lately is how easy it is to forget the 
exceedingly steep learning curves involved in some of this stuff. I'm an 
ex sysadmin, so when I don't know some answers, there's a pretty wide 
knowledge base to build on, and it's usually easy to understand and 
phrase a problem and find an appropriate arena to get help. /And I take 
that for granted/. Others don't have that start line, and I find it very 
easy to get frustrated in trying to explain things to some people that, 
to me, rate as glaringly obvious yet they simply don't 'get'. And that's 
/my/ fault, not theirs.

Mike Scott
Harlow, Essex, England

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