Questions, Chat lag and perceived rudeness

We get complaints about moderators in the support groups being rude all the time. Sometimes they are rude, it happens. That is not to say it is right, but it is proof that we are human. However a lot of time what you may perceive as rudeness isn’t and I am going to give you a couple of examples.

Quite often a moderator will say something along the lines of “please post your problem, comment, question in ONE (1) post, being as clear and concise as possible.”  or, “chat can be laggy, there is no reason to keep saying you have a question. Just post your question in ONE concise post.”.  I can see how someone who is frustrated might think that is rude, but it is not. Chat lag in groups is rampant and indiscriminate, it affects pretty much everyone at one time or another. I think we all know how frustrating it is to post a question and get “The message sent to Firestorm Support English is still being processed.If the message does not appear in the next few minutes, it may have been dropped by the server.” and have to type it all over again. As an aside I personally have started copying any longish (for me) post before I hit enter, that way it is a simple paste to post again if the message gets dropped. Also worth mentioning is that hitting Ctrl-Up arrow will get the previous text back into the text line. If you post a problem in multiple lines chatlag will often mix the order of the posts up making it hard, if not impossible to understand, let alone follow. Thus the advice, “please post your problem, comment, question in ONE (1) post, being as clear and concise as possible.” is  just plain sensible.

Another common complaint is that we talk down to users. a great example of this is when asking if you are sure you’ve done a clean install. many people see that as rude considering they said they did a clean install. To you I would ask if you have watched group chat after a release and seen users say “there’s more than one folder?” I cannot tell you the number of times I personally have had users say that to me. We attempt to talk as simply as possible so that everyone “gets it”. As the English group lead Lette Ponnier said in one of her blog posts “Our responsibility is to keep mental note of what topics we’re asked to explain over and over and over again and to adjust our approach to them if we have to. That process is continuous — we’ve all been doing it since we joined the team, and we’ll continue doing it while talking to you.” (  If you see that as being rude then I am sorry but that will never change. I could give lots more examples of this type of thing but my fingers are ready to go on strike already and I do have more to say.

We also get told/asked to help in IMs. In some cases we do just that. However  when questions get asked and answered in the group everyone gets to learn the answers which is (in my opinion) the ideal way to do things. For those who want one on one help I recommend coming out to one of our free classes where we do an open Q&A after the class (and who knows you may learn something you didn’t know). At that time you can ask anything. If you are on the latest release there is a link to the class schedule in the help menu, otherwise see the start page on the wiki where you will find a link to the schedule.

Lastly I would like to ask you this. How would you like to answer pretty much the same questions repeatedly, not just day after day but also many times a day in some cases. Especially when you know that a lot of the questions could be avoided if the individuals asking them were to go to some of the free classes the team holds pretty much every day. Go ahead tell me that would not frustrate you and I will tell you to help out in the support chat for hours a day, day after day for exactly the same pay as the moderators get, which by the way is nothing but thanks from the users as we have a rule that we cannot accept L$ for anything we do for the team.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, even if you disagree.

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5 thoughts on “Questions, Chat lag and perceived rudeness

  1. I think support do a great job. I have learned a lot just by reading other people’s questions and the responses given. I have also been helped directly in the group with my own questions a couple of times. Thank you to all the FS team for the work they do.

  2. I know for sure I could not do the job support does, they have saintly patience but anyone can get worn down eventually by rude and/or frustrated residents and the same thing over and over. One thing I have suggested, especially when things are chaotic is posting questions on Phoenix Lounge, same moderators, more likely to satisfy the “me first” impulse.

  3. I used to be a maintenance technician with the Post Office and boy, do I know where you’re coming from. Often, malfunctions result from things people “thought” they did but in fact did not.
    It isn’t rude to ask “obvious” questions; it’s vital to determine what’s really happening. You can’t assume (as you pointed out with the “more than one file” comment) that people have done everything they are supposed to have done when upgrading to a new viewer. In a lot of cases, the new viewer will install over the old one without a hiccup…but not in every case. That’s hardly surprising.
    You are to be congratulated on your patience with frightened (“Did I wreck my computer?”), inexperienced (“Where is this ‘C:’ file located?”) and even blockheaded (“Linden’s viewer doesn’t require all this ‘cleaning’, why should Firestorm?”) people; yet you manage to keep a cool head and answer their questions as clearly as you can. For that you deserve congratulations, it’s hard not to get testy when some idiot keeps telling you that you don’t know what your’re doing…while asking for help with a botched install.
    You and the Firestorm team are doing a great job!

  4. We love you, Firestorm Support!!! *hugs* Thank you for volunteering your time and talents for what is often a (more than) “thankless” job!!!

  5. Speaking as a tech support person, I feel your pain. You have to assume nothing when dealing with people you don’t know, and doing it over chat is twice as hard, as it takes all the human interaction out of things. Then on top of that, doing it for nothing but the warm fuzzy feeling you get helping others (sarcasm) really is just the capper. My thanks to everyone in SL who can do this and not want to take a sledge to their computer (or to their fellow life forms).

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