Disappointed El Reg............
..........I thought the jargon used was that the personal responsible for this had an "ID ten T" problem?
Late last week, global hardware manufacturer MSI informed the 97,000+ people registered with its support forums that its reps were "fed up" with repeating information easily found in user manuals. The company even went so far as to say that it had installed an "RTFM" chip on its hardware boards to determine whether users had …
My parents and teachers tried to pass that one off on me too but I was smart enough to realise that's just so they can get on with their day without interruption from whoopy cushions, stink bombs and hand buzzers. After all, April 1st is April 1st for 24 hours, do you only celebrate Christmas Day for the morning?
Ok I admit that they're off for April Fools. But how many of us have worked in a support role where, really, the users can't follow instructions On The Screen, and so they call and ask how to do this.
I've been fed-up to the point I've gone BOFH, walked to the desk of the Camel-Back Breaking Straw, and removed the computer. Naturally LUser whined at their Boss, their Boss whined at my Boss, and without ACKing my Boss I when Back the Thier Boss and said "I'm sorry you hire incompetant people, this is not my fault and Hey! Now it' not my problem. You say they can't do their job without a computer? I submit that they can't do their jobs *WITH* one.
Somehow I avoided the pink-slip (because MY Boss was a propeller-head before being downgraded to management).
I raise my glass in salute to MSI technical staff.
...knows perfectly well that a minority simply WILL NOT read instructions, manuals or anything else which may actually help them. In our business, we show important information in bright red capitalised text, several point sizes bigger and underlined, and people still can't be bothered to read it. Then they try to claim we were negligent for not telling them!
The world is full of idiots, but they don't like to be reminded of their stupidity.
"The job of support staff is to look after idiots who don't have a clue."
It is to support them, not to wait on them, not to dote on them, not to wipe their bottoms. When a member of staff cannot do their job properly, management needs to be informed.
"Bitch about their stupidity all you like, but don't do it in earshot of the user. Your job is to keep them happy, not to belittle them."
And when a staff member costs a business money by outsourcing all their thinking to support? I regularly inform my clients when lazy staff are costing my time and their money. I suppose you'd just tell me to shut up. I'd be firing _you_, and that right soon.
"Outsource all their thinking to support" - spot on. We support some people like this, although they don't usually do it again if they have to speak to my boss, who can be breathakingly sarcastic in a very irritating way, for example sp-eak-ing ve-ry sl-ow-ly or just talking louder and louder over them if they try to interrupt. Though not to anyone who pays the bills :-)
We don't get paid just to be shat on, and belittleing them once in a while shows the others that their oh-so-important problem maybe isn't quite as important as a site outage by one of the more major servers. (been there, got the T-shirt - although belittleing managers is the best, like the call centre who insisted the screen was broken until I turned up the contrast, or the same guy who was convinced htere was a system problem because the screen he was working on wasn't getting any response - due to the fact the system needed UPPER CASE and he'd left the CAPS Lock off).
Beer - cos that's often the only resort after a long day
At one time in the distant past we used WinNT4.0 on laptops(*Shudder*) in my organisation.
At one of our more remote locations, one of those crashed... really hard...
When I examined it a few days later, it was revealed that it had crashed because the user had installed a game that was only compatible with Windows 95 on it, supposedly so that his kids could play.
I reinstalled the laptop and sent it back, with a message not to install games on the machine again.
Guess which laptop was back in my hands a couple of weeks later, with the same symptoms and the same game on the HDD?
I reinstalled it, and before I let the user have it back, I told him in no uncertain terms what I thought about him wasting my time on fixing his crap, and that if he ever did it again, I would not only NOT reinstall it, but I would also explain to his superior that he was wasting my time by misusing the organisation's equipment, and also that his crap also resulted in him not being able to do what he was supposed to for days on end.
These days, though, we don't let users have Admin rights on their computers, so they need to come and beg me to install their SW...
'I need to install the drivers for my new camera' - What Camera? You aren't authorized to buy a camera. Only IT can do that.
'It's my private camera' - 'Go get yourself a card reader. They don't need any wonky drivers'.
'But I need the photoediting SW on the CD' - No, you don't. You either use MS Photoeditor which we've already installed, or you can ask your superior for Photoshop.
(We have 350+ applications in use. Not all of them are well-written. We only install SW we know won't break what we already have... )
Sometimes, if REALLY feels good to be able to say no...
The users had NO rights on their machine, everything was locked down tightly, full authorisation from managment to refuse service if it's not directly related to the job they need the PC for. NO personal software to be installed, NO personal hardware to be attached. The users weren't even allowed to ask us for support directly. If they tried, were to tell them "No, log a fault with helpdesk." We were supporting thousands of users in local and remote offices with quite a small staff and this method of managment WORKED.
I miss it greatly, where I am now there is too much freedom. The users can access printers, internet, everything but network drives without needing a valid login and even actually have local admin rights on their PCs (sob!) Much smaller user base, much much bigger problems (and job queues).
... and have the scars to prove it.
The problem is that we've all been on the oppoite side, but often aren't prepared to admit it even to ourselves.
And how many of us have seen manuals that we are told tell us everything we need to know, but appear to have been written in an Asian language then translated to English via Sanskit. Or manuals that provide instructions for older versions of the product or that are incomplete or incomprehensible.
"If we want people to RTFM, then we have to make a better FM"
Had a user who kept abusing the pointing device... we also had a mouse problem,and the two combined rather nicely.
"My mouse broke again!"
"OK, sir, we'll send one up."
"I'll be at lunch for an hour. I want to see it, ON MY DESK, when I get back, you got that?"
"No problem. 'You want it, you got it, Toyota'"
He did, of course, totally miss the sarcastic Toyota slogan, but there y'go, can't have everything...
He came back from lunch to find an MS Mouse box on his desk. He missed that there were air holes in it. On opening it, the dormouse we'd caught and put in the box scurried out and legged it, stage left.
While the yelling down the phone was at times incoherent, the sense of satisfaction we got from his boss chewing him out for wasting out time again was massive ;-)
While I see their point, it might not have been the best way to go about it! I seriously appreciate it though, it's something we would all actually like to do!
However on MSI's part I would say that it would have been funnier if they actually included a user manual with their machines. Neither my U135 or the Wife's laptop (Not even shure what model she bought, I wasn't involved with buying it) came with anything beyond a very basic "plug it in this way" pamphlet.
Also in my present job I would rather like to just take some of the customer's computers away, and tell them they can have them back when they have learned to listen to basic instruction. One of the guys I work with spent nearly 2 hours the other day trying to get a guy to plug his router in!
Anon Post, because i F34r da management!
People really are keen to take offence when someone questions their basic abilities. Instead of the muppets on the MSI forums reacting so vehemently towards MSI they should have acknowledged that they are not using their basic abilities.
Just because some nitwit can figure out which component goes in which socket on a motherboard, doesn't automatically relieve them of the need to read the manual. If I take the time to read the manual of every new motherboard that I work with after 18 years of building PCs both professionally and for personal use then why won't the 'wannabe experts' do the same?
Nice idea for a joke, but if you're going to take the mickey out of your paying customers you need to be ever so careful to get the tone right. Might I suggest they ask Jerry Sadowitz to help with their next April 1st mail out. He's an affable chap whose amiable put downs often coax chortles of self recognition out of a paying crowd.
When was the last time you received a 200 page motherboard manual. The readable part of every motherboard manual I can lay my hands on (and that's quite a few with my history of building PCs) never exceeds 100... and they're usually full of pictures.
You buy a complex product like a motherboard with the expectation of building a PC, you better bloody well pay attention to the documentation or on your own head be it when you blow both it and the $100 CPU you want to put on it.
MSI were absolutely right, and more power to them!
Manuals are not novels. You don't [need to] read them cover to cover. They should have a section to cover setting up, and the rest should be there to look points up when there is a problem. The more potential problems they cover the better.
Btw, well done MSI ! But I hope their manuals are good enough to have entitled them to have said what they did.
that this was an April Fools joke. However, posting such on the forums got their post deleted and/or their account banned. I'm not certain what this means, but why would they go to the length of banning people permanently for making a claim that it was an April fools' joke... when it was?
Love the idea of the RTFM chip - sounds just the kind of ploy the BOFH / PFY / PFY-acting-as-BOFH would use (along with rewiring the PSU when they next do a site visit to provide a 12kV output that can be triggered remotely...)
And talking of April Fools, I wonder what Google are planning for Thursday? :)
RTFM is an acronym. It is also an abbreviation. When one abbreviates a phrase by taking the first letter of each word ... that's an acronym.
Maybe you're trying to reawaken some old argument about initialisms or acrostics, but they're just shibboleths, like most of the non-existent rules that grammar nazis like to hit us with. Sorry ... like most of the non-existant rules with which grammar nazis like to hit us.
I know what Shibboleth means. Perhaps you should look at the genesis of various grammar rules. You'll discover they were invented so that classically trained public school boys could look down on the hoi polloi. In short, they're Shibboleths.
On to point two. Sometimes when people type they mistype and misspell (I assume this is why you wrote "streetfight" without a space). Or perhaps you missed the unnatural metre the "corrected" grammar gave the sentence and my point entirely.
Perhaps they were also invented to help ensure clarity and consistency, because language, like any medium of communication, benefits from some degree of standardization. Your English is probably not the same as my English, but we can understand each other best if we at least try to follow the same rules.
Hmmm. So BOFH is not a brief version of Bastard Operator From Hell?
You can try and be all prescriptive about English, like any good grammar nazi would, but operationally speaking (at the very least) BOFH is an abbreviation of Bastard Operator From Hell, it being a briefer version thereof, and is therefore correctly described as such.
This initialism crap has already been covered off, and you've missed its point anyway. According to some authorities, an initialism is only an abbreviation if it is pronounceable or "word-like". So VAT is an abbreviation if you're saying "vat" but an initialism if you're saying "v.a.t". Retarded isn't it. That's why most authorities never bothered with the distinction.
Lastly, have some recursive acronyms: LAME, WINE, PHP, GNU. Now find me someone who calls them recursive initialisms.
The anonymous grammar pedant was correct. An acronym is when initial letters of the phrase form a new word, such as 'laser', or mimic an existing word, e.g. 'AIDS'.
An abbreviation *can* be a shortened version of one word, such as 'Dr', but also means reducing several words to their initial letters, such as U.S.A.
So, as it is pronounced Arr-Tee-Eff-Emm, not 'Rutfum', it is NOT an acronym.
According to which authority, Jimbo? Ay, there's the rub. There are too many exceptions and difficulties and everyone pretty much gave up trying to be pompous about it.
Sure, some grammarians still swear blind that an acronym must be pronounceable, but they'll gut you over your use of sentence adverbs like "hopefully" as well, so you're advised to keep quiet on this one. The world has moved on.
ab·bre·vi·a·tion / [uh-bree-vee-ey-shuhn]
1.a shortened or contracted form of a word or phrase, used to represent the whole, as Dr. for Doctor, U.S. for United States, lb. for pound.
2.an act of abbreviating; state or result of being abbreviated; reduction in length, duration, etc.; abridgment.
ac·ro·nym / [ak-ruh-nim]
1.a word formed from the initial letters or groups of letters of words in a set phrase or series of words, as Wac from Women's Army Corps, OPEC from Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, or loran from long-range navigation
So it's an acronym.
Is RTFM somehow completely unsayable? I can convert scrawls on paper to sound with ease. It is pronounceable. It is pronounced artyeffem.
This pursuit of "correct" grammar loses all meaning in the light of actual language usage.
And English is operational you bunch of mindless fuck-shunts. Queen Victoria died and English moved on. Witness Sarah Churchwell blathering on in the Indie about how sentences must have a verb. Really? What a total fucking twat.
RTFM Chips should be installed on everything especially Lusers and they emit a small electrical shock say 50,000 volts for starters and slowly edged up to as much voltage as it takes to cause your socks to fly off and your toes to make for the border.
but thats just me i'd never work in a support role i'm just a facilitator in helping the Luser get what they need a good kicking or high voltages
now as it's sunday afternoon.. and monday is all to close time for a pint or 12
...and support costs would be a lot lower if everyone did RTFM. I think any question that is covered by the manual should have the response delayed by a week. Any question that omits key details should be delayed by a period dependent on what is omitted.
So a "My printer doesn't work" style query may be delayed by a few minutes if you neglect to give the driver version or several days if you don't bother to mention what model or even make printer it it is.
By making it faster to try solving problems yourself and if that fails, encourage useful problem desriptions support costs would go down from not spoon feeding so many utter imbeciles. There is a reason that the average programemr holds the average user in sheer contempt - it is not a matter of prejudice but has been repeatedly shown to be justified.
If the volume of support issues for users not RTFM'ing, then what will happen when users do? How many of those tech's will be out of a job - fast - in that case?
As for another issue, what about when the issue is documented in a newer version of the manual that the supplier didn't bother to release (yes this has happened, and yes I had the support tech insisting it was "page 30 in your manual sir").
Paris. Brings to mind something that will happen to those techs when the management realise the calls are going to drop significantly.
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"Never. Only people too dumb to get a decent job in the IT industry work in support.
That's why they all have the chips on their shoulder."
I'm guessing you are some kind of "management", or one of those "users" that think they can fix every problem or that because they can create excel Macros.
Ever read BOFH....you people are the reason we love to be in support......
I've been working in It support and administration for 17 years.
I'm a SERVER and NETWORK ADMINISTRATOR!
I also work part-time on the Helldesk(Off the desk these days, but may decide to get back later) because it helps keep me abreast of what the (l)users think they need, and also because it means I get to teach the other helldesk operators a trick or two.
(5500 lusers, 7 - 10 operators, 200 locations, too many servers and printers to count, 350+ applications... We're supposed to answer 80 of calls within 14seconds, and solve 80% of cases 'on the phone'. )
Having server experience, I've been able to 'wake the dead' (server on a remote location), to tell a user which box to reset to bring 'the internet' back online, or a thousand other problems.
And having Helldesk experience, I know which apps users are more likely to need and to plan server setups, migrations, and so on.
Some support roles are simple, some are complex. Don't tar every support centre with the same brush.
When the IBM RISC System/6000 was first launched in 1990, IBM UK employed *A LOT* (100+ man years worth) of very experienced UNIX people to man their support centre (and, originally pick up the phone on the first call, although that didn't last too long). It was even quite fun for a while learning about a brand new platform and UNIX variant while supporting customers. And it was measured on customer satisfaction and first-time-close rate.
It's obviously not like that now, but such is life!
I am sometimes called for *free* help. I have to remember a dozen people's computer specs, and when they want help, usually with really helpful messages like "the internet is broken", my first words are usually along the lines of "okay, if you click on the start button...".
"What start button?"
Bottom-left of your screen. It is green, it says "start" next to a little picture of the windows logo.
"Oh that. What's that for anyway?"
If you've ever done friends and family tech support, you'll probably know how the rest of the conversation goes. And, to be fair, I'm glad it is a freebie as I can always get fed up and pass the buck. You couldn't pay me enough to sweeten talking to somebody who has used a computer for several years and NEVER noticed the start button. Or somebody who believes IE is the only worthwhile "internet" because if it wasn't any good it wouldn't have been included with the computer. Or wants to know why emailing a 5Mb Powerpoint attachment to everybody they know via dial-up usually ends in failure.
But my absolute favourite. A woman get fed up with messages from her computer written in nerd-speak saying things like "Windows has recovered from a serious error" (her box needed a damn good cleaning). Anyway, she wrote a very stroppy message to Microsoft and in the "To" field of her email program she wrote "Microsoft". Her mail server bounced it. She said "if computers are supposed to be so bloody clever, it would have known where to send it".
As a long term Support engineer I can fully understand why MSI did this.
Customers, mostly males, don't read manuals!
In my current line of work in a electronics shop we had to recently close down one of our till points as it was becoming obvious to the staff that customers were hanging around it to get free technical advice on computers and other electronic devices including things we didn't sell.
They'd often joke that they can't understand manuals and they knew we would try to help.
Word had no doubt gotten around that we knew far more about modern gadgets than PC World staff next door!
Many years ago, I went looking for a reasonably priced IDE harddisc for an Acorn RiscPC. I made the mistake of engaging in conversation with a bloke in PC World (Guildford). He advised me that if I had no more sockets for harddiscs (um, NOT what I said!?!?) for my Amiga (what? WHAT!?) when I should get a Soundblaster 16 card (WTF? to put into an Acorn?!? or even an Amiga!?!) as it has a socket into which I can plug a harddisc (uhhh.... a harddisc? not just a weird sort of CD-ROM unit?).
All the languages and phrases in my head, I cannot find anything to express my thoughts after 'that' little nugget of advice. It must HURT to be that dense...
I went to PC World to pickup a new battery for my motherboard. some guy in a shirt and smile comes over to me and asks me if he can help. I tell him I need a new battery for my motherboard and show him the slip of paper on which I wrote the battery make and spec (this was probably my second mistake).
Mr ever so helpful said he would go and check for me, he came back a few minutes later and said sorry sir we don't have those batteries here you'll have to go to Maplins!!!
So there is me walking round PC world taking in the new Games on display before I trundle over to Maplins and what do I spy in the corner? A five foot display of batteries with a big f'off cardboard duracel battery potruding out of it!
OMG you don't think...... nah it can't be, because Mr ever so helpful told me they don't have any.... wait what's that?
OMFG it's a battery, same spec as the one I need for my motherboard but wait... it's made by another company than the one I currently had
MIS Manuals are some of the best published. Some Mobo manuals are terrible but their's are very good.
Good manuals are always a consideration when I purchase a peice of kit. Althought I never usually get past the Quick Start Guide but just in case you can always refer to manual.
After all if you follow tthe steps 99% of problems can be avoided
I always liked 'Do you still have the box solution?'
I've never worked formally in support, but as one of those "lucky enough to know about computers" (years of effort having bugger all to do with it apparently) I've had more than my fair share of willful bone-idle computer dyslexics, who simply cannot be bothered to make the slightest effort.
Including one friend of my wife, who kept sending us emails to an address that was one character wrong - so we never got them. Why didn't she just press reply to the emails we sent her? God only knows. When we pointed out her addressing mistake, she replied "Well! It's only ONE character out for heaven's sake! For the money I pay they could at least make an EFFORT !"
I later watched as the same lady sat on the phone to a support line, and typed in NOT what she was asked to type, but what SHE decided was more appropriate - with predictable results. The operator eventually hung up on her, and I had every sympathy with him.
Another friend asked me if we had a program to make cross-stitch patterns out of photographs. We do - my wife uses it a lot. She handed us a commercial pattern that had clearly started out as a photograph. Would I convert if back into the original photograph for her? Er... no... it isn't possible. Nonsense, she said - if it works one way it must work in the other - that's just common sense! If you can't be bothered, just say so. So I told her she was right - I just couldn't be bothered...
But the prize goes to another lady (I'm not a MCP honest - but it so often seems to be the female of the species) who asked me to check out her almost non-functional PC. I wasn't keen to get involved, but I was being elbowed by my wife. Plugging in a utilities pen-drive, I informed the lady she had over 40 active viruses and trojans on her system. "How DARE you suggest my computer has viruses!" she said, "I'll have you know my husband is a solicitor !!!!"
The trouble with making things foolproof is that fools are so infinitely resourceful...
Used to work on an IT support desk. Hated it. Funniest one was someone phoned complaining about an icon on their Windows desktop that they could not click and had no title. After some querying I discovered that it was a background tile but the desktop was not set to tiled.
The biggest pain in the rear now is my relatives. They all have computers and are less than clueless about how to use them effectively. I constantly get phonecalls out of the blue asking stupid questions like 'How can I copy this web browser image into my paint program' etc.
I have told one of them that I will only give support for computer problems like viruses or if the computer refuses to boot from now on and they will have to read the manuals or help files from now on. Giving 100's of hours of free computer support to your relatives sucks.
It's not just professionals who have these problems - and at least they're paid for it. Spare a thought for those who have taken the trouble to make themselves computer literate, only to suffer (sometimes very serious) friction with friends and family when - usually after years of acquiescence - we finally decide we don't want to spend every minute of our free time sorting other people's computers for free. If for no other reason than it's almost always a waste of time - you know the machine is going to be unusable again within a week or two - the user has learned nothing and will never learn. You wouldn't believe the state of some of the machines I've been handed (actually, come to think of it, most people here probably would).
One cheeky neighbour (not even remotely a friend) openly admitted to me that he'd turned down the offer of paid support when he bought his PC - "I didn't see the need when we have you living just around the corner." (!!!!) Followed rather quickly by "F...k you mate!! Comin' to something when you can't ask a neighbour for a favour!"
Frankly, the bottom line IMHO is that - even now - PCs aren't consumer devices and aren't going to be any time soon. Which, considering the number of ignorant people who take at face value anything that appears on their screen, is probably causing bigger tragedies than an April Fool's joke.
"Frankly, the bottom line IMHO is that - even now - PCs aren't consumer devices and aren't going to be any time soon."
But wait! Everyone tells you that the reason Linux isn't being shipped on "consumer devices" is that "it's difficult" and that everyone is so happy with Windows which "just works". Don't disrupt their happy little monopoly-bolstering fantasy with the cold hard facts!
I worked for a firm that supplied hardware to a local education authority. We used to regularly get back machines that had obviously been tampered with. These machines had always "just broken" and "not been opened".
When these machines were returned they had a sticker inside the case reading: "Remember what happened when Nero fiddled."*
*OK it was a probably a lyre - just like the lusers.
I don't want to seem gullible, but isn't kind of wrong for MSI to install an RTFM chip without informing it's customers of it's purpose prior to purchase? Also, was it a dual core or quad core or however many core? Intel or AMD? Any other info on it's specs would be appreciated, and could anyone tell me what OS it's optimised for, I'm current a Linux user, looking to upgrade to something that works without being thrown at a wall or beaten into submission.
Blessed are those customers that don't have a clue, are too lazy or just plain living in another planet away from me. Bless them all cause they help me get my daily bread and help me pay my phone wireless connection so like that I can answer tech questions from friends and family. Without them, should we say unemployment line! So keep them coming and smile, smile and answer every question that their little heart can come up with!
Whilst the answers may be found in the Manual sometimes paying for tech support is the faster and hence the most valued option.. no matter what the tech muppet on the end of the phone may think. its his/her job that will go if everyone always were to rtfm.
I had this email and its obvious vitriol showed that it was some kind of gag before you got half way through it. Then the idea of a chip that "knows" you've not read the manual is obvious bunk, except in some weird sci-fi world or if Mandlebrain (sci) really goes off the deep end (he'll have a chip that knows what you downloaded).
The clincher is the last three lines of the body of the email:
The only question is, should MSI continue to do this? As some information is real bad.
Will this hurt your relation towards MSI products?
Please let us know, as we have to talk to MSI management <GIVEAWAY>the first of next month </GIVEAWAY] and make them decide what to do with the information.
The first of next month guys - oh its April the first, who'd have thunk it.
Seriously this ought only to have caught out the tired, the clinically stressed, and those who fell for the Nationwide special report on the spaghetti trees problem in the 1970s. Now if was like the famous documentary about conspiracy shenanigans, dead & missing scientists and a secret moon base. Now that was class, and *it only ended* with the visual phrase "This program was originally scheduled for transmission on 1st April."
It was a Panorama report , broadcast on April 1st 1957. It was a big deal at the time, because in 1957, no-one had done TV april fools jokes. Especially on an authoritative (at the time) programme like Panorama, which was presented by Richard (father of David & Richard) Dimbleby, who was a current affairs god in those days, and believed 100%.
'spaghetti tree hoax' gave me over 5000 hits on Google.
Apologies for not having an encyclopedic knowledge of April Fool spoofs. I'm glad you have the time to google every single thing you post online for accuracy!
I do recall that Nationwide did a lot of spoofs though. It was a tradition before people got so gullible that they complain about it.
Ah right. "Alternative 3". I just recall watching it largely by accident. There was loads of handheld & secret camera work. Running about. And the notice at the end was very miss-able.
It struck me that it might actually be the source material for half of the (mostly American) Conspiracy theories on the net..... Or maybe the only way they could show it was to pretend its a hoax...
My coat please - its the tinfoil one. Yes, with a hood.
...when one does look at the manual/help pages and they are so badly written (with screen shots from a previous version/different model) that they simply don't make any sense or lead to further problems.
If users are calling support, it's because the documents as supplied/available are simply not good enough.
I've had to use this forum a few times and the so called experts aren't very expert but they have an unfortunate attitude. I cowed one into submission once by pointing out his factual inaccuracies and he half climbed down. So I don't find the pratical jokes inadequacy surprising.
Can anyone name a company with tech support that is actually worth contacting?
Invariably they take days to reply. That reply will be little more than a fob off, just so they can mark the fault or query "closed" and make their stats look better.
My first port of call (after the manual) would be google and forums.
After that I'd try "tech support"... Now if tech support weren't dealing with muppets maybe those of us with a little more ability might actually get some useful support.
I'm sure I can't be alone in wanting to strangle the level 1 support as they read through their 20 minute script when you know exactly where the fault lies and would much rather speak to someone in level 2 or above.
"Have you switched it off and back on again?"
"You need to plug in the yellow cable we supplied. The yellow one. The what connection type? No, the YELLOW one!"
"Right. Can you monitor it for 72 hours and call us back if it persists?"
"OK, so you can't get an internet connection. Can you just go to our website and run the speed test?"
Though I hestitate to say it, Apple.
Laptop with Applecare, walk right into the local Apple emporium, seen instantly, machine booked in, broken trackpad replaced and laptop good to go by the afternoon- and nothing to pay. The people in the store were friendly, helpful and pleasant.
Still in shock.
...I think we have to distinguish here between serious support and the kind of support that comes with so many PCs and broadband accounts ... i.e. some bimbo (of either gender) with a 12 question faq in front of them. Some companies have both - it's a kind of triage.
If you're the kind of user who's reasonably PC-literate, then your problem may by definition be beyond the usual front-line tele-support people (or you wouldn't be ringing in the first place). While not always possible, it sometimes pays to try to get through to an actual technician. I did this some years ago with a broadband problem (eventually traced to slapdash BT local cabling). After struggling for an age with tele-support people asking "Have you tried switching it off then on again?", I eventually managed to speak to an actual technician - a hugely knowledgeable and keen as mustard young man - who had me sorted within minutes. I only needed that support service once again much later - but I insisted on speaking to the same chap - with the same result. I think part of that success was the mutual trust on both sides that neither of us was dealing with a numptie.
Both the manufacturer (XFX) and the retailer (ebuyer) had fast, helpful, and generally excellent customer support, so don't tar all support staff with the same brush. In fact, I'd highly recommend this particular manufacturer on the strength of their tech support, and no, I am not a shill.
your example is rubbish. RTFM is not a abbreviated word, is it? Its a *phrase* which hasn't been abbreviated to RdThFckngManl like your example.
A better example would be say TCP for Transmission Control Protocol.
An acronym has to spell another word from the initials, like say LASER for example, which I think was the point you were failing to make
>Not sure what dictionary you've been reading....
>An example of abbreviation : Professor into Prof. The word has been abbreviated, hence, it is >known as "abbreviation".
Actually an Acronym / Initialism is a type of abbreviation utilizing the first letter of each word. This certainly fits that description.
WTF- acronym. Enjoy.
If one is not close friends with the entire customer base, one does not play jokes with the said customer base, whom one might want to continue buying products from the company employing oneself. Doesn't common sense ever become common?
So, I'd received that email, too. I'd joined the MSI support forums, once, while I was looking for information about how to replace a cracked monitor screen, in an MSI laptop I had previously purchased. What that email amounted to, as I received it, was: A flaming bag of dog-poop on the doorstep. I mean, seriously, what part of customer service are those jokers failing to understand?
If there may have been any question, as to whether I'll ever buy another MSi product, that question is now closed, with a simple ,"Nope, no way." Not to hold the whole company accountable for some jokers - and the people who hired 'em, and the people who instructed the rest of 'em to set up the MSI customer service system like they have - just to wrap it up, as far I could care about it. I'm not one to support poor business ethic, by any means.
My best BOFH moment was when someone kept bringing in a computer -- over and over and over -- after being told we are a computer surplus, not a store, and do not provide support. (They were 1) Using IE which is stupid to begin with. And 2) Using the zoom function to zoom in like 300%, then printing pages and complaining when they printed huge. They would not accept a suggesttion to zoom back down to 100% before printing, or to scale it down in the print dialog!) After like the the 5th or 6th tme they came back.. "Hey it still prints too big!" I was like "Here, let me take a look at that computer" *Set behind the counter*. "I'm taking this computer back. Go to the cashier to get a refund, get out and don't come back!" Man that was sweet!
Kudos to MSI for this message. Personally, technology is strange enough that the "RTFM chip" part wasn't the greatest idea (particularly not on April 1), people could think this chip was real! But the part about "RTFM before you post in the forums or call!!!" Is spot on, and seriously everyone should do this, and I further agree MSI should not have to pay for damage because someone didn't RTFM and destroyed their hardware, and should be able to ban people from support that obviously don't RTFM.
You used to get a decent manual with computers, and clueful tech support.
Then the bosses realised that (a) only about 1% of people even bother to unwrap the manual, and (b) 99% of support calls are 'I cant print' 'turn the printer on' 'Oh wow, it works now!'.
They realised that they could save money by (a) not providing manuals and (b) employing monkeys (how much knowledge does it take to tell people to switch a printer on?)
Of course, the downside for clueful users is that they no longer have a manual, and they cannot get knowledgeable tech support, but hey - they only make up 1% of the customers!
The origin of "April Fool's Day" is supposed to be that, at one time, New Year's Day fell on April 1st, so people who didn't realize that it had changed to January 1st were the "April Fools".
However, at least in some places, New Year's Day actually had been March 25th formerly, that being an approximation to the date of the vernal equinox. Hence, that was a more appropriate date than they realized for April Fool's.
One thing worth pointing out here is that MSI's support forums are a community effort and not run by "official" MSI support, although they are affiliated.
"The administrators and moderators of this Forum are not employed or paid by MSI, but are volunteers; we are just users like yourself. There are a small number of MSI support staff who do post here, but you are not in direct contact with MSI Support here. If you need to communicate directly with MSI, you should look here: How to contact MSI.". I guess that TFM isn't the only thing not being R'd here.
They're a very helpful* bunch, but anything that ends up being diagnosed as an actual product failure obliges you to go and register an official call with MSI support.
So, all those calling for whoever was behind this to be sacked, this would be a tad difficult as MSI would have to hire them first.
*Although woe betide any n00b who asks for help without reading the posting guidelines and including all the information requested therein in their request.
To be fair, this is a user-to-user forum, not the primary technical support mechanism. As someone registered on the forum, which I never read (having tried to look up details on a graphics chip about five years ago, when the official technical support was useless), I tagged my account to be sent urgent forum administration information only.
So: the message was quite clearly supposed to be a joke. I was, nonetheless, annoyed to have received it when it clearly doesn't count as a major forum administrative issue. If I wanted "amusing emails", I'd not have told a friend of the family to stop spamming my mailbox. It wasn't clear that it was supposed to be an April Fool as such, being a week early, but that didn't make me take it seriously. I *did* go to some effort to try to read it carefully, in case there was actually some useful information in the message (without the April Fool context, it might have been some kind of "clever marketing" intended to highlight some genuine support feature that would be explained near the end - I had, after all, got it through an announcements-only address). This involved a lot more effort than the "joke" justified, since the English was so bad (if you're going to spam your customer base with a fake announcement, at least get a native speaker to proof read it) - I'd have been less irritated had I been able to skim it at speed. It wasn't an especially funny concept, and it certainly lacked something in the delivery.
The forum administrators appear to have decided that the only problem was stupid customers taking it seriously. I assure you, that's not why everyone is annoyed.
Maybe it's just me, but I download and read the owner's manual of potential m.b.'s before I decide to buy a new one (thank the internet for making it easy). Most sites have very badly written descriptions of a m.b.'s abilities and I'd rather make sure of what I'm getting before spending a load of cash on one. I pretty much do it for any electronics I buy, even from a local store. They usually don't have the owner's manual out with the demo unit.
... did the best April Fool's joke ever when he did the Capital breakfast show in 1989. He went into the studio on Saturday April 1st and repeated the breakfast show he'd done the previous day.
Caused a fair amount of havoc. People going to work and sitting in a big, empty office. People not doing what they were supposed to to because they thought it was Friday, not Saturday. I think there was even court action.
Sheer class, had me going for about 5 minutes - except I had my Saturday morning hangover so I knew it couldn't be Friday again...
I've written manuals and work the Help Desk. I'm fortunate in that most of the calls I get are actually things that no matter how simple it is to do them, we don't expect the users to actually do. But yes I'm familiar with the issues and feel for the people who wrote the rant. But they really should have held it until April 1 when people might have caught on.
Customer argument: I'm paying for a product/service, I should get exactly the support I want without having to make any effort myself. I can't be bothered reading a manual because there's support phone number or email address so I can ask directly.
Tech support argument: We'll respond to support requests that are reasonable, but when people keep asking the same simple questions over and over we'll tell them where to go.
Neither side is right. Tech support usually works on a "reasonable effort" basis, but unfortuantely it can be argued that it's un-reasonable to give time to people who can't be bothered reading a Quick Start guide, or whatever. I haven't had any MSI products for a few years, but I remember their documentation was usually better than many other manufacturers and I think that's part of the problem. The state of some manufacturers websites and documentation is shocking - if you make people think, they will hassle you for support!
judging by all the hoax email circulating around the internet. It never fails to amaze me how many people believe whatever comes in to their mail box, and dutifully send it out to their address book.
Because of all the problems with technology products these days I always need help with something. Most manufacturers want you to read the FAQs and look at the forums first, to save them time. The trouble is, that ends up costing me time. If the product only worked as expected, most of this time wasting would go away and everyone would be happier. (Are you listening Logitech? Seagate? WD? HP? Hauppauge? Intel? Microsoft? Canon? to name a few.)
If this whole thing was serious I would be asking MSI the following:
Are you not following industry standard practices?
Are you swapping known chores with new fangled --DO IT THIS WAY- methodology?
I really hate hardware vendors and manufacturing plants who reinvent the wheel on
I welcome RTFM messages, invite them in fact, provided the "helpful" respondent goes the extra angstrom and gives me a manual title or reference number and the page number at which I may usefully begin what they might equally usefully assume is the umpteenth attempt to FIND what I'm asking about in TFM.
Alternately, they could point me to any prior RTFM that does so. Simply writing RTFM is AMUAAHSAAJW (as much use as a ham sandwich at a Jewish wedding).
I'm currently attempting to debug a server with a baffling timezone problem and another with a sendmail issue. After forcing a couple of "helpful" "expert" sysadmin colleagues - who had RTFM'ed me - to give me a hands-on demo of their superior skillz they ruefully admitted that the (still unsolved) problems' solution(s) was not *in* TFM and STFU.
I have mixed views on this. On the one hand, I know if I kept hold of all the manuals and CDs that have come with equipment I've bought I wouldn't have space for any equipment. On the other hand, if the manual is both well written, and easily available online, I will still often look at the manual to solve a problem before going to tech support (google is the first line support of choice for me).
Having said that, the majority of users I know wouldn't understand the manuals anyway. Even well written manuals are usually written with an assumption of some knowledge on the part of the user.
But in this instance, since we are talking about a motherboard and graphics card manufacturer. If you are buying these retail, you should have enough knowledge to understand the manuals (especially well written ones like MSI's are).
Finally, to continue the pedant's line. Abbreviation is a superset of methods of providing abbreviated forms of words and phrases.
"Prof." is an abbreviation.
NATO is both an acronym and an abbreviation.
RTFM is both an initialism and an abbreviation. Also, depending on which dictionary you read, it can also be classed as an acronym. Certain dictionaries appear to require an acronym to be a pronounceable word, but many do not. Initialism is a very rare word, unlikely to be used outside pedant's corner.
Ok, maybe it was a joke, and maybe it was a disgruntled tech support person. I've done first line tech support, and users really do call you over and over to ask for information that was in bold on page 4.
That said, I'm a system builder who reads motherboard manuals in bed (great for sleep-inducing) and I'm here to tell you, the FM often sucks. Explanations for bios and jumper settings often seem to be whatever the manufacturer could think of off the top of their heads in the 2 1/2 minutes it took to write the stupid manual. For example, the entire documentation for the meaning of bios setting "Frobnitz on/off" is "Set the value of Frobnitz to on or off". I'm sorry, that's at best a waste of ink and a guarantee that you'll get support calls of "What does the Frobnitz setting do fer chrissake??"
Another common issue is that the Guide (what you can do) and the Reference (what the settings are for) portions are often written by different teams on, I dunno, different planets, with little or no relationship to each other. The text might say that you can switch off the analog sound and pipe everything through SP/DIF, but try to find the setting for it.
I really don't get why support types, like me, get annoyed when users keep asking them for help. Sure, it can be a tad irritating sometimes, but if they didn't keep calling me, the need for my job would soon dissapear and I'm grateful for the money thank-you very much.
If you're unable to offer good customer service, even to complete planks, then I'd suggest you try a different career.
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