More users = More support requests

Chris Ilias tb-planning at ilias.ca
Fri Mar 24 16:44:10 UTC 2017


Bruce A. Johnson wrote:
> More users = More support requests
>
> I think that getting more Thunderbird users, improving the initial 
> usability of Thunderbird for the average dunsel computer user, and 
> getting publicity is great.
>
> Do not forget support, though.  No matter how good you make a program, 
> there will always be people who need help with it.  Thunderbird is by 
> no means foolproof, and people get turned off by it all the time 
> because of problems with it.
>
> Don't just assume that "someone will take care of it", when it comes 
> to support.  The bulk of support requests are answered by people like 
> me who have an interest, but who don't know everything there is to 
> know about Thunderbird.  We cannot answer every question.
>
> I say again that we need an escalation process for support requests.  
> By "we", I mean the people who answer most of those support requests.  
> When I don't know how to help, or get stumped, all I can hope is that 
> maybe one of the others will try.  But in some cases, we just don't 
> know.  I've lost count of the number of times that I've resorted to 
> telling someone to uninstall, reinstall, create new profile, etc, 
> because I can't think of anything better.  Sometimes those steps are 
> necessary, but as a fall-back for "I don't know", it is terrible.
>
> Today there are a couple of support requests that I've decided to not 
> even touch, because I just don't know.  I'm going to be doing this 
> more often now.  Not even trying to answer some requests.
>
> Like one where Symantec has said there is a virus, but the user 
> doesn't know how to find that message in his hundreds of e-mails in 
> the Inbox, so he can delete it.  If you tell Symantec/Norton to deal 
> with it, you lose the entire Inbox.
>
> Another is that an e-mail has an invitation to put in their calendar, 
> and somehow the user has messed it up so they cannot see it.
>
> Then there was the one a few days ago that I banged my head on for 
> awhile and could find no solution for, so I reached out to an expert 
> here for help with it.  I was given suggestions I could not use 
> (because debugging is beyond me), and told they would look at it in a 
> "few days".  Rather than leave the user hanging, I told them to find 
> another way to do what they want.
>
> Without better support, and more of it, Thunderbird is going to get 
> the reputation of being a "take it or leave it" option.  Actually, it 
> already has that reputation, from what I can tell.  I try not to read 
> what the general populace says about Thunderbird much.  It's depressing.
>
> You want a good subject for PR?  How about people who care enough 
> about their project that they quickly and efficiently provide 
> consistent, excellent, and useful support? 


Hi Bruce,
I'm not sure what you're asking for. Better training for support 
contributors?
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