01 October 2009

Help Forums


Forums are, in many cases, the best way to get help when oyu have a problem, especially a computer problem. Big companies like Apple, Microsoft, Abobe and the like are not exactly forthcoming all the time when there are problems with their products and prefer not to talk about it. end users, on the other hand, nick pick every issue and in many cases find work arounds and solutions. My recent on going problems after installing Snow Leopard on my new tower highlighted some of the best and worst and the do’s and don’ts of using forums.


Asking for help:

Be clear what the problem is or as clear as possible. Make sure to state what you have done already to solve it. Don’t demand that you get an answer in 5 seconds... the other users are no different than you and are not sitting at thier computers hoping to answer your question. No matter how big a company is, they can not just write a solution to your problem and send out a new release that afternoon... it may takes months so be prepared to wait!


Giving help:

READ the question and the other responses. I can’t tell you how many people tell you to «fix permissions» on your MAC... a 1st step most people take and mostly does nothing. It’s npt a bad suggestion, but once it’s been suggested and it always is, saying it the 5th time is not helpful. Do not blame the victim... maybe the computer came with the software already on it, in any case, while it’s often good to wait, it’s these early adopters that are finding the bugs before you get the nerve to update yourself. Not everyone is a computer genius so be clear enough that a typical end user can understand your response.


Do:

Ask for help and give your advice on the forums, if something works, let others know it did.


Don’t:

Blame people for having a problem or knowing less than you do or expect an answer and solution right away, if at all.


My pet «help» peeves:

Software companies too cheap or lazy to make a MAC version now assume you will be willing to run out but a copy of windows and run «Boot Camp» just to use thier product. Others save important bug fixes for the next point upgrade and expect you to pay for something they should have got right in the first place.


In summary... respect the people asking the question and the people taking the time to give a solution, whether is works or not. Read the responces before adding your own and try the solutions before complaining nothing is working!

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