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READ THIS - BEFORE YOU ASK A QUESTION

Last response: in Windows 7
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June 7, 2012 2:18:19 PM

Ladies & Gentlemen,

If you are here getting ready to post a question, congratulations! You gone through the hurdles of registration and finally here, eager to find answers to your million dollar question(s).

Please keep few things in mind here before you post:

1) We don't know the brand, make, model and/or configuration and for that matter, what you have done (possibly, you might not even have an idea) to face the problem you are having with your computer.
2) People are helping you here voluntarily. That means, they don't have to help you and there is no requirement as such.
3) You can always call your computer's support line / or / the repair facility. Yes, they might ask for your money and you should spend it to fix your problems.
4) If you don't want to spend your money, Learn how to fix your problems.
5) The manuals are given to you for a reason - READ them!
6) SEARCH for similar problems and their solutions on this forum. Chances are that you are not the first one having the same issue.
7) SEARCH on GOOGLE to find solutions to your problem. Again, someone on this planet must have dealt with similar issue(s) before!
8) When all else fails, post your question and be specific.

Have a Great Day! :hello: 

More about : read question

June 7, 2012 2:18:52 PM

Moderators, can we make this a sticky?
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June 7, 2012 2:24:32 PM

Yeah... Somehow I don't see that happening.
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June 7, 2012 2:32:34 PM

Did someone piss in his oat meal this morning? ahhahahaha :pt1cable: 
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a b $ Windows 7
June 7, 2012 2:45:45 PM

And only a youngster and calling for his own posts to be stickied. Awesome.
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June 7, 2012 2:49:38 PM

Are you two seriously mocking him for making a good point just because he's being blunt about it instead of sugar-coating it and because he doesn't have a lot of points on a web site? Being a youngster on Tom's does not have an impact on one's technical knowledge because joining Tom's is not a prerequisite for knowing how to fix technical problems.
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June 7, 2012 2:52:30 PM

maximiza said:
Did someone piss in his oat meal this morning? ahhahahaha :pt1cable: 


Nah man, just thought I'd try to help out here. It's just that I wish people would be a bit more proactive and search rather than ask simple questions.

By the way, it would be "honey bunches of oats" in my case. :D 
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June 7, 2012 3:00:38 PM

vrumor said:
And only a youngster and calling for his own posts to be stickied. Awesome.


Not trying to start anything here but, what's wrong with that? This forum does not have any such post(s) to actually guide people. And, being a Veteran, why couldn't you make such request? Make a difference... you know..

What would be nice is to have such a guideline post as well as another sticky to common solution(s) to try out. That would only make this forum much more powerful. Wouldn't you think?

Oh heck, if this is the sort of uphill battle existing here, I'd rather not exert my energy.
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June 7, 2012 3:02:12 PM

tester321 said:
It's just that I wish people would be a bit more proactive and search rather than ask simple questions.



Yeah, I wish that too. Oh so much! All those lovely WHAT PSU? WHAT CASE? ....... all those questions that have been answered again and again. All that could be avoided with a little bit of research. But that would require spending some time on your own, oh noes, god beware! :non: 

Anyway, this won't change, ever. Nothing is going to change that, especially no sticky post or mentioning the obvious in whatever form. Why? Because it would imply doing some research before asking. :p 
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June 7, 2012 3:17:40 PM

whatsthatnoise said:
Anyway, this won't change, ever. Nothing is going to change that, especially no sticky post or mentioning the obvious in whatever form. Why? Because it would imply doing some research before asking. :p 


Well, I'll agree to that to some extent. Here is why: Take this Forum's (or for that matter, most forums) Registration process. It requires you to sign-up with an email AND, confirm it. That way, they are weeding out people who are not serious enough to join. It is effective isn't it? Well, for the most part it is. There is always an exception(s).

Likewise, a simple control (as I have seen on other forums such as XDA -which requires a minimum post count before posting in DEV section) that would verify that people have read the "Guideline" sticky post AND, visited a "Solutions to Common issues..." sticky post BEFORE enabling the controls to post their question - in my opinion, would be really effective.

Would that prevent people who have visited those threads from posting simple and silly questions? No. But, it would at least add a layer to filter out this. And, if those stickies are well documented and easy to use, I'd bet that people would be very thankful for it. Heck, they could even put a "Thanks, I found a solution from here" button and you'd be surprised how many hits that will get!
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June 7, 2012 3:25:41 PM

And than there are quite a few more things that are handled better in other forums, too.

Anyway, like I said, you do have a point, but I doubt there'll be a change. :) 
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June 7, 2012 3:28:23 PM

vrumor said:
And only a youngster and calling for his own posts to be stickied. Awesome.


Stupid or trolling? :lol: 
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June 7, 2012 3:35:12 PM

acerace said:
Stupid or trolling? :lol: 


huh? If this for vrumor, he's got to speak for it.

If it is for me, I don't get your humor. My effort was to only help so...
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June 7, 2012 3:39:36 PM

Quote:
Yeah, I wish that too. Oh so much! All those lovely WHAT PSU? WHAT CASE? ....... all those questions that have been answered again and again.


My 2 personal favourites

"965BE VS i3 2100??????" :fou: 

and

"Low FPS in BF3!!!!!!!!!" :fou:  :fou:  :fou:  :fou:  :fou:  :fou:  :fou:  :fou:  (after a few painful posts they divulge they are using a dried mummified hamster in a wheel as a GPU)
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June 7, 2012 3:44:31 PM

wr6133 said:
Quote:
Yeah, I wish that too. Oh so much! All those lovely WHAT PSU? WHAT CASE? ....... all those questions that have been answered again and again.


My 2 personal favourites

"965BE VS i3 2100??????" :fou: 

and

"Low FPS in BF3!!!!!!!!!" :fou:  :fou:  :fou:  :fou:  :fou:  :fou:  :fou:  :fou:  (after a few painful posts they divulge they are using a dried mummified hamster in a wheel as a GPU)


:lol: 

My Point(s) exactly! Thank You!
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a b $ Windows 7
June 7, 2012 3:44:33 PM

The only way this sort of post will make a significant difference is if THG makes all forum registrants read it before they are allowed access to the forums.
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June 7, 2012 3:54:36 PM

The forums not having a search function doesn't help in particular, neither.
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June 7, 2012 3:57:31 PM

blazorthon said:
Are you two seriously mocking him for making a good point just because he's being blunt about it instead of sugar-coating it and because he doesn't have a lot of points on a web site? Being a youngster on Tom's does not have an impact on one's technical knowledge because joining Tom's is not a prerequisite for knowing how to fix technical problems.


Thank You blazorthon. As a matter of fact, I did work as a support technician years ago in a corporate supporting over 500+ staff. I've done everything from LAN setups to custom image roll-outs organization wide, troubleshooting and so on. When I started that job, I used to get myriad phone calls ranging from how/where to plug a PCMCIA card to anything you can think of. One of my favorites was, "my keyboard /keys are not working"... turns out to be a piece of Twizzler under the keys!

What I started doing was to educate every caller and explain why they got the problem in the first place and what I did to fix it. You won't believe it; A year later, I would hardly get a phone call or two during the whole day! And, the fact that people didn't fear / hate to call the "tech support line" because I was nice enough to walk them through, fix it AND educate them. I'd make it a point to recap the whole thing before hanging up. This sounded silly with rest of the techs but soon they realized how our call volume/tickets dropped like magic!

I was here on this forum with one question and started noticing how many people could be helped in much better way. Granted it is free and so forth. But, who says that quality has to suffer? It'd be only in the best interests of this forum and its user community right..?
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a b $ Windows 7
June 7, 2012 4:33:09 PM

acerace said:
Stupid or trolling? :lol: 


Well at the very least with your avatar it leaves no doubt about you.
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June 7, 2012 4:58:04 PM

vrumor said:
Well at the very least with your avatar it leaves no doubt about you.


Definitely a troll.

And tester321, no, it's not you. :) 
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June 7, 2012 4:59:12 PM

tester321 said:
Thank You blazorthon. As a matter of fact, I did work as a support technician years ago in a corporate supporting over 500+ staff. I've done everything from LAN setups to custom image roll-outs organization wide, troubleshooting and so on. When I started that job, I used to get myriad phone calls ranging from how/where to plug a PCMCIA card to anything you can think of. One of my favorites was, "my keyboard /keys are not working"... turns out to be a piece of Twizzler under the keys!

What I started doing was to educate every caller and explain why they got the problem in the first place and what I did to fix it. You won't believe it; A year later, I would hardly get a phone call or two during the whole day! And, the fact that people didn't fear / hate to call the "tech support line" because I was nice enough to walk them through, fix it AND educate them. I'd make it a point to recap the whole thing before hanging up. This sounded silly with rest of the techs but soon they realized how our call volume/tickets dropped like magic!

I was here on this forum with one question and started noticing how many people could be helped in much better way. Granted it is free and so forth. But, who says that quality has to suffer? It'd be only in the best interests of this forum and its user community right..?


Any time :) 

That does seem like a better system than doing everything for a caller yourself. Heck, if it drops the amount of calls to a reasonable amount per day, then I don't see a problem with it. I still occasionally see threads with people asking if a motherboard really needs both the 4/8 pin connector and the 20/24 pin connector for a computer to work properly and other stuff like that.

Agreed completely. I don't see a reason for us to not show the forum goers how to take a more active role in solving their own problems or at least spending a few minutes to try. Not only would they be more inclined to actually learn about the computer and how to solve their own problems completely on their own at some point, but they'd probably get their problems solved faster too if they don't need to rely on someone who doesn't even have access to their computer to trouble-shoot for them. Some of the most common threads I see are people asking about something that involves the specifications of their computers or what they want to put in their computers, yet they never even took the few seconds (or minutes in more extreme cases should Google not be playing very nice) to just look it up.

I don't mind spending time to help, but sometimes, I feel like I'm wasting my time on things that these people shouldn't need help with or when they at least shouldn't need as much help as they're asking for.
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June 7, 2012 5:23:54 PM

blazorthon said:
I don't mind spending time to help, but sometimes, I feel like I'm wasting my time on things that these people shouldn't need help with or when they at least shouldn't need as much help as they're asking for.


This. :) 
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June 7, 2012 5:27:03 PM

blazorthon said:
...I don't mind spending time to help, but sometimes, I feel like I'm wasting my time on things that these people shouldn't need help with or when they at least shouldn't need as much help as they're asking for.


This is exactly what I am getting at. That's the reason why there should be a Sticky that has some generic/common Q&A along with a Guideline post. That would at least let people think twice and perhaps, just a maybe, go back to basics and try to figure out what's going on.

In any event, I tried :) 
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June 7, 2012 6:25:27 PM

I might be wrong, but I suppose a lot of newcomers don't even look into the forum, but simply use the ">> Ask a question" link on the mainpage ...

Meaning; they don't see anything of this, even if they wanted to.
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a c 353 $ Windows 7
June 7, 2012 6:35:54 PM

Seems you did not read before posting yourself http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/38307-63-read-first . All this exists already.

Most people who post here do not know what a "sticky" post is, or what a forum does even. They usually post things like "I need my computer back to normal" as the full topic.
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a b $ Windows 7
June 7, 2012 6:38:38 PM

Then there are those whose 1st language is not English and find Google usage intimidating? Perhaps rely on those with a better command of the language to do the research... just a thought...
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June 7, 2012 6:47:10 PM

dodger46 said:
Then there are those whose 1st language is not English and find Google usage intimidating? Perhaps rely on those with a better command of the language to do the research... just a thought...


Err, that "argument" is kinda flawed. It implies that English speaking people are the only ones knowing anything about technology, computers ... everything. :pt1cable: 

Or in other words, every country has resources in it's own language ... there's no need to pick out an English speaking forum in the first place. ;) 
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a b $ Windows 7
June 7, 2012 7:11:25 PM

Not really an argument, suspect Tom's is the best forum with perhaps the greatest knowlege base, and though available in many languages there are quite a few not supported.
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June 7, 2012 7:44:24 PM

I think the problem lies primarily in the registration process. Anyone and their dog can post here without even having received or read the confirmation email - which should contain some basic posting guidelines.

Particularly the drivers' section seems more like a drive-thru at McD's.

blazorthon said:
Are you two seriously mocking him for making a good point just because he's being blunt about it instead of sugar-coating it and because he doesn't have a lot of points on a web site? Being a youngster on Tom's does not have an impact on one's technical knowledge because joining Tom's is not a prerequisite for knowing how to fix technical problems.


Well said.
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a b $ Windows 7
June 7, 2012 8:12:57 PM

Mocking him? No. It isnt anything that hasnt been said before, and the same stuff persists. Was merely making mention of his heroic delivery, again, its been said before, and yet there is a sticky already that people should follow with the exact same info requested. So shouldnt he take his own advice?
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June 7, 2012 8:35:54 PM

vrumor said:
Mocking him? No. It isnt anything that hasnt been said before, and the same stuff persists. Was merely making mention of his heroic delivery, again, its been said before, and yet there is a sticky already that people should follow with the exact same info requested. So shouldnt he take his own advice?


But you don't have to questioning his rank as a youngster.

Rank and post counts doesn't justify someone's knowledge.
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a b $ Windows 7
June 7, 2012 8:41:10 PM

Wasnt mocking his knowledge, only his time here. But its great that you took time out of your schedule to make comment on my comment. Thank you.
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June 7, 2012 10:31:46 PM

Please don't waste your time responding to my lowly question.
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a b $ Windows 7
June 7, 2012 10:55:59 PM

Hi :) 

Good idea in THEORY , but it wont work...

I have run and moderated Forums for longer than most people who post here have been alive....

The main reason it wont work is people DO NOT READ STICKIES...

They come to a Forum for help for their particular problem and they want an answer , AND THEY WANT IT NOW...

So the present system is as good as it gets i`m afriad....

Its not that bad actually as there are a LOT of helpful people here , in particular those with higher ranks who have put a LOT of time and effort in to help others, and the Moderators do a good job, with quite a light hand....

So nice try Tester but it wont get stickied... as no point...

All the best Brett :) 
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June 7, 2012 11:20:41 PM

I am sorry to be blunt, but if your "educate as you solve people's problems" really worked to lower your volume of calls you either worked at a tiny organization or one where every single person from president to janitor was dying to learn more about the technology they were using.

I too work as a support technician and I will agree that your solution to educate people does work and it is something that we strive for, however then problem is not the people who want to learn it is the people who don't want or don't care to learn.

If everyone cared about and wanted to learn about the technology around them, half the people here at Tom's may not have jobs anymore!

tester I do not mean to put your solution of education down, I love it and use it whenever possible, its just the fact that education is not what everyone wants.
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June 8, 2012 6:26:10 AM

Ok Guys,

Looks like I shook a honey bee's nest here. It was not my intention or goal.
Just to clarify few things... If there is a so-called "Sticky", I didn't find it and who ever wrote that I should have read that myself is absolutely correct!

However, the problem is that I didn't find it and, if it is there, it is not readily visible. And yes, you guessed it right - I am NOT inclined to search for it (no user would). Should I? Yes. Would I? No.

If you are talking about any of those links in registration emails, guess again, I did not click it or read it - like most would not; exceptions aside. Just looked how to activate my account and clicked that link. Now, I am not just going to support my argument or myself here but, isn't it evident that it is being overlooked even when sent in emails? So, in other words, it is NOT effective.

That's why I mentioned a Sticky to verify people read that and so forth. Can you argue that it too can be circumvented..? Yes you can and you'd probably win that. I just think that many would benefit when suggested to abide by the simple rules to include some common yet, pertinent information.

For example, someone posts: "I got bluescreen" or "My word document doesn't open".. you get the point. Then, the humble soul deciding to help has to ask, is this a laptop?, desktop?, mac?; what version of Windows, When did you see this problem first, what are doing when this error occurs..... well, again, you get the point.

Now, Imagine: Someone posts:
Subject: "I cannot open a word document".
System Details: Windows 7, Dell Desktop, Office 2007.

I downloaded and opened this document from a website that offered to transfer One Million dollars to my bank account. (well, you get the point).
------------

Now, would this info speed up the process or delay things?

Perhaps, many may disagree. Or they may want to have a nice 4 page long chat that spans 2 weeks, "get to know the person" and all, (heck, why not meet at a bar and sort out the problem over a drink?), and then it turns out to be a real dumb thing the user is doing or a real problem that could've been addressed properly without wasting time.

That's all I was proposing. Just simple rules so people can see that the very first post there and "maybe, could read it" +, it could be reinforced by the helping community by asking "did you read the guidelines?" - yes, that is an extra thing instead of asking what make/model etc. But, how many times are you going to ask that same question to everyone? If enforced properly -that would require some controls to be placed during i.e. starting a new post.. to remind the user to check the sticky and offer some pertinent details; the whole experience would be better for the user and the person who is helping.

Case in point: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/43369-63-dell-desktop...
Over 3 weeks old!.
Now, imagine you are that user. How frustrating is this experience? Close to a month goes by. Maybe, that person uses SKYPE or etc. to talk to people overseas, or would like simply enjoy some music.. whatever! Why did that person create an account and post a question in first place? To wait for 3 weeks to get an answer? Somehow, I don't think so!

Face it: People come here for help and want to be helped. And, People here with knowledge want to help and would do so when asked. But, this is NOT a paid help-desk service and technically proficient people will "get to it" when they feel like it. If the user's post contains a one-liner, it may not motivate the person(s) to reach out and help - because it would mean asking the same basics all over, over and over again.
In my opinion, that's the real issue. It is simple. The quality of the question determines the quality of the answer.

Again, if this is all too much to be bothered with. No Problem. Leave things the way they are and nothing lost or gained right? Right!

I do want to Thank each and everyone of you for sharing your thoughts. At the least, I might have learned something from all this discussion.
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a b $ Windows 7
June 8, 2012 6:51:33 AM

For me, if there was a mandatory box to fill in with the OP's PC Make/Model number in the relevant Forums before they even get to ask a question it would save an awful lot of time...
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a b $ Windows 7
June 8, 2012 8:46:20 AM

Agree at most, but not number 6 & 7

searching in google sometimes lead u to bad article and more confusing not mention all the advertise....(hey it's what tom's hardware forum is used for, right?)

about searching in forum maybe i'm just lazy or i'm just lonely and need some interaction, hehehe

no offense guys... ;) 
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a b $ Windows 7
June 8, 2012 9:56:20 AM

tester321 said:

2) People are helping you here voluntarily. That means, they don't have to help you and there is no requirement as such.
3) You can always call your computer's support line / or / the repair facility.
5) The manuals are given to you for a reason - READ them!

Consideration accepted.
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a b $ Windows 7
June 8, 2012 10:01:39 AM

whatsthatnoise said:
The forums not having a search function doesn't help in particular, neither.

There is. It on the top net to the big "tom's hardware" logo. Advance search here: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/search.php
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June 8, 2012 10:06:48 AM

Despite it's flaws - Tom's helps a lot of people - let's leave well enough alone. If it takes a post or two extra.... not the end of the world. Nothing is perfect but Tom's is a great place for info & help!!!
-Bruce
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a b $ Windows 7
June 8, 2012 10:11:45 AM

^+1
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June 8, 2012 1:14:14 PM

Pyree said:
Consideration accepted.


Thank You, this is a move in the Positive direction!

Perhaps, this could evolve and facilitate more changes over time as the community sees fit.

And, all you guys who think things are perfectly normal the way they are, well, I agree with you to a good degree. I just think that improvement is not necessarily a bad thing. It is quite possible that some changes could make this Forum far more attractive and the word would spread because people will see effective results and they are going to suggest this forum to others: -coming from the fact that I never hear anyone telling me to go to a forum that is dead or where someone replies 2 months later. So....

Have Fun!
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June 8, 2012 2:08:33 PM

You bring out excellent points and compelled me to share my thoughts:

j2j663 said:
I am sorry to be blunt, but if your "educate as you solve people's problems" really worked to lower your volume of calls you either worked at a tiny organization or one where every single person from president to janitor was dying to learn more about the technology they were using.

It's not so much that they were "dying to learn about the technology".. how should I put this... Ok, Just imagine this: Your cable TV or some other device / appliance (one you can't readily troubleshoot or fix yourself) is acting up. You have to call the support number now.|. Ok. STOP. Think for a second. Are you really excited and looking forward to make that call? (I'll speak for most people in general, the answer is NO). Now, after 30mins to 45mins or whatever time later, your problem is fixed (let's say that is is something you were doing wrong or connected / used it improperly etc.) Would you remember the solution? Chances are that you would. Right? WHY? Because you don't necessarily want to make that call again when you know how to fix it yourself.

It is exactly the same thing here. Most users make mistakes by using the software / hardware in an incorrect manner (sometimes, can't back out of those steps and/or don't know how to etc.) If they realize their mistake, the would be less inclined to make it again - translates to less call volume.
Failed hardware and corrupted software etc. would require the user to make a call regardless right? so, we can leave that out of the equation.

j2j663 said:

I too work as a support technician and I will agree that your solution to educate people does work and it is something that we strive for, however then problem is not the people who want to learn it is the people who don't want or don't care to learn.

There are always going to be people who do not want to learn. In a democratic society, we haven't figured out a solution to this problem that is widely accepted :sol: . But these people are exceptions and few -if you ask me. General user base is really not that bad once you take a closer look.
j2j663 said:

If everyone cared about and wanted to learn about the technology around them, half the people here at Tom's may not have jobs anymore!

I must say that this is a fallacy. Your tech support job is not entirely depended on the knowledge (or lack of) of the user base. What's stopping your company to simply route your call to a help-desk in Philippines, Romania or some other country? The user base's knowledge has not changed right? It all comes down to your company's strategic plan and execution.

j2j663 said:

tester I do not mean to put your solution of education down, I love it and use it whenever possible, its just the fact that education is not what everyone wants.

Well, education may not be for everyone. I'd agree to this to some extent. But, I believe as human beings, we are constantly learning - about whatever it could be. Even an uneducated person is learning about something. Each experience teaches something. More precisely, the question should be, are they applying (or willing to) what they have learned!

So, I hope it helps to clarify my thoughts... :) 

Have Fun!
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a c 353 $ Windows 7
June 8, 2012 2:32:08 PM

tester321 said:
Ok Guys,

Looks like I shook a honey bee's nest here. It was not my intention or goal.
Just to clarify few things... If there is a so-called "Sticky", I didn't find it and who ever wrote that I should have read that myself is absolutely correct!

However, the problem is that I didn't find it and, if it is there, it is not readily visible. And yes, you guessed it right - I am NOT inclined to search for it (no user would). Should I? Yes. Would I? No.

If you are talking about any of those links in registration emails, guess again, I did not click it or read it - like most would not; exceptions aside. Just looked how to activate my account and clicked that link. Now, I am not just going to support my argument or myself here but, isn't it evident that it is being overlooked even when sent in emails? So, in other words, it is NOT effective.

That's why I mentioned a Sticky to verify people read that and so forth. Can you argue that it too can be circumvented..? Yes you can and you'd probably win that. I just think that many would benefit when suggested to abide by the simple rules to include some common yet, pertinent information.



I'm confused here, are you saying that there should be a sticky post to point out that there is already a sticky post about how to form questions so that people who did not see the first sticky post will read your second sticky post to read the first sticky post?

People who don't read the manual to their product or can't do a simple web search to find a driver and post here will not read the "manual" on how to properly form a post with the right info. If this info is sent in an email, they will scroll past it to the bottom to click OK or Register without reading just like we all do with the 20 page EULA, same thing if they are sent to a link that first makes them read the posting rules. No-one will sit and read the info, they just want to get to where they can put in a question.
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June 10, 2012 7:43:09 AM

tester321 said:
The quality of the question determines the quality of the answer.


This is basically the crux of the matter. If someone chooses to write a dissertation in response to "Hello, monitor light orange", that's their choice and more power to them. I simply skip these threads as I know that more than 50% of the time the OP is not coming back.

With regard to the original post: what you are trying to teach people is more or less common sense, which is an impossible task ;) 

vrumor said:
Wasnt mocking his knowledge, only his time here.


You are hardly in a position to mock length of membership.
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a b $ Windows 7
June 10, 2012 8:29:31 AM

Be that as it may. Im not making posts about how people should pose their question as it is already there. But thanx for pointing that out.
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!