On Sat, Mar 31, 2012 at 1:46 PM, Dennis E. Hamilton <***@acm.org
> I agree with Rob that there is something about how the use cases don't
> seem to fit. Alternatives would be valuable.
> I am not clear how the StackExchange sites are appealing for novices
> though. It strikes me that those venues are definitely oriented toward
> power users and enthusiasts, at least: <
> http://stackexchange.com/sites?view=list#questionsperday>. I have a
> standing query for StackExchange posts that mention OpenOffice and there
> are 1-2 per day, tops. These are usually not beginner questions. Some
> could be answered on the Community Forums but I would not ever expect to
> see most of those on this list, for example.
You are correct, that would be more for power users and enthusiasts. But
let's be honest with us, do we really have the ability, through this list,
to support "average" users? I don't think so. I've done technical
support, early in my career, for Lotus 1-2-3. The problem with
novice-to-average users is they don't have enough of a mental model for how
their system works, let alone the application, to help you understand what
their problem is. Supporting users at that level is like playing a game of
"20 questions". It is hard enough over the phone, but via an email list is
is nearly impossible, especially if the user is not subscribed to the list
in the first place.
Personally, I think this list could be good for power users, and in general
for "2nd line" or "2nd tier" support, i.e., where issues on the support
forums can can escalated if things cannot be resolved there. This list
could also be a fine place for subscribers who are supporting other users
with OpenOffice, in their companies or among their friends or family.
But I just don't see how we can help users who are unable to use a mailing
list effectively. How would you do telephone technical support for someone
who did not know how to use a telephone properly?
> If there were an OpenOffice exchange for the OpenOffice.org-lineage
> products, I am not certain that the StackExchange requirements for a
> sustaining site would be satisfied, although I see a large number of
> low-activity StackExchange sites on the end of that list.
> I think there is another factor too. My sense is that many users do not
> want to bring their problems to a public setting. That may well be without
> ever using a public list. The "fear of embarrassment" threshold appears to
> be very low. I suppose that is an invariant, but it is probably a good
> reason for us to be very careful with newcomers who have shown the courage,
> perhaps the anger, to bring themselves here or to a forum.
We're someone insulated from that since most users who post without
subscribing probably do not realize their posts are publicly archived. But
this could bite us in the future. As moderator, I've tried to be sensitive
to this, and if a post comes through that seems to be sharing too much
personal information I reject it and contact the author directly. But this
approach won't scale.
> I think that ways to provide assistance via the product is also important
> to consider, although it is known that help systems are under-used.
> I support consideration of all the avenues that may improve the success of
> users who stumble in their installation and use of the software and/or
> their use of support resources.
> Meanwhile, I also think there is significant room for improvement of list
> operation and removal of some of the friction that appears to be a barrier
> to so many.
> - Dennis
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Rob Weir [mailto:***@apache.org]
> Sent: Saturday, March 31, 2012 09:43
> To: email@example.com
> Subject: Re: A moderator's view of this list [was: Re: I Hate Your Product]
> On Sat, Mar 31, 2012 at 12:07 PM, Dennis E. Hamilton <
> ***@acm.org> wrote:
> > Fioretti's auto-replier idea is more interesting than a bounce with
> > instructions to non-subscribers. It in effect makes a moderated-in
> > non-subscriber an automatic subscriber to the thread which they have
> > initiated, and to only that thread. I think that such a mechanism should
> > notify the OP that is happening and provide other information as well.
> > It is an intriguing proposal. I am not so sure about the edge cases, but
> > they can't be as messy as what happens now in reality.
> Can anyone thing of an end user product with a user base the size of
> OpenOffice that is successful doing user support via an email list?
> The all-to-all paradigm seems doomed to suffer from information scaling
> problems, as well as the obvious signal/noise problems and the
> disproportionate impact of a handful of novice users without list skills.
> Marco's ideas sound like a different list paradigm that might work, but
> would require some custom coding.
> Another option is to consider that there are more off-tue-shelf tools
> available for support than just forums and mailing lists. Collaborative
> Q&A sites like StackExchange give a lot more ability for the community to
> police itself, rating question and answers up or down, tagging questions,
> a better search interface, cross linking of questions, etc.
> > - Dennis
> > PS: Readers should not presume that there are unlimited resources
> > available to others. The extent to which ASF is operated by volunteers
> > with a wide range of different skills (collectively, not necessarily
> > individually) is quite remarkable.
> > [From one moderator to another, here]
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Rob Weir [mailto:***@apache.org]
> > Sent: Saturday, March 31, 2012 08:28
> > To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> > Subject: Re: A moderator's view of this list [was: Re: I Hate Your
> > On Sat, Mar 31, 2012 at 10:11 AM, M. Fioretti <***@nexaima.net>
> > wrote:
> > >
> > > On Sat, March 31, 2012 3:57 pm, Rob Weir wrote:
> > >
> > > > What do you think? What is the purpose of this ooo-users list
> > > > to the support forums? On some project communications we advertise
> > both
> > > > as equal support avenues for users to raise problems.
> > >
> > > Rob,
> > >
> > > email vs forums is an almost religious issue. IMO, one if not THE
> > > of ooo mailing list is to provide users with support ALSO from those
> > > volunteers who will never ever use forums because they like email
> > > and since they aren't paid they're free to say no to forums, period.
> > >
> > >
> > But for the people having problems, like with the previous thread, I
> > think it is a religious issue. They are not expressing a strong
> > for the list. They are just looking for help and for unknown reasons
> > ended up here. But they could just as well have ended up elsewhere. For
> > example, we get user support questions to ooo-dev as quite a few to the
> > bugzilla admin address (!).
> > > This is just my opinion, feel free to ignore it, it's no problem, but
> > > heaven's sake:
> > >
> > > > However, I think a user that is in this state is not best served by
> > > > sending a note to this list.
> > > > A) First, since the original poster is not subscribed to the list, he
> > is
> > > > not receiving any of the responses, unless he was explicitly copied
> > > the
> > > > response.
> > >
> > > please do ban immediately from this list whoever tries to propose or
> > > practice even here the "sending again to unsubscribed user" idiocy that
> > > plagued the OOo lists for a decade, details here for those who ignore
> > > background:
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > The Apache foundation should have inside enough skills and/or money to
> > > implement the autoresponder trick I've explained in that post and, many
> > > times before that, on the OOo lists.
> > >
> > >
> > The autoresponder thing sounds interesting. So you don't allow any
> > non-suscriber traffic. Any posts from non-susbcribers get an automatic
> > response that presumably outlines their support options, tells them they
> > would need to subscribe first if they want to post to the ooo-users list,
> > maybe gives some hints for writing useful support request posts, etc.
> > I think that would be an improvement. What do others think?
> > -Rob
> > > If nobody wants to provide support by email, and everybody wants to use
> > > the forum, no problem, close the list and go for the forum. But if
> > support
> > > via mailing list is needed hire any decent programmer for a day or two
> > > implement the autoresponder I proposed, and then forget the whole
> > >
> > > HTH,
> > > Marco
> > >
> > > ---------------------------------------------------------------------
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> > >
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