Support type Questions or Not etc

Discussion in 'General Topics' started by StevieO, Mar 1, 2006.

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  1. StevieO

    StevieO Registered Member

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    I'm sure i'm not the only one who is now wondering lately, exactly what constitutes the term "Support Questions" on wilders !

    Lots of questions about many many different products, who do NOT officially have their Support Forums on here, are asked and answered and allowed many times every single day on here, and have been ad infinitum.

    If people want to recieve the maximum amount of answers/info etc to questions about something, like if they are having problems etc, to enable them to resolve it, then asking for advice from people who may be able to give them First Hand experience, is surely a good thing !

    So apart from vendors maybe having their own forums, and not all have, it still benefits not only the questioner, but also others reading the posts, who may gain important knowledge they might not otherwise aquire from other sources, including Official Support Forums, by seeing it on here. I know that i have most certainly have found out lots of things on here that i wasn't aware of before, and might be difficult to find, and/or take a long time until i may or may not do.

    Personally i don't see the harm, in fact just the opposite as all sides gain from the exposure and information.

    I don't want to hear about tos etc, but rather constructive reasons why some Support questions about some products are allowed, and yet others are not, even if they do or do not have their forums here or elsewhere.

    TIA


    StevieO
     
  2. Chris12923

    Chris12923 Registered Member

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    I hope you get the answer your looking for StevieO as I have wondered this type of question as well as others but I think I can already see where this is heading and it starts with a T and ends with an S. Good luck and I'll be checking back for an answer.

    Thanks,

    Chris
     
  3. LowWaterMark

    LowWaterMark Administrator

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    I agree that there is still some confusion regarding the policy about "vendor support" versus "general product discussions" for products that don't have an official product support forum here. It's a fine line and truthfully I do understand why there is confusion.

    Paul did post this in an attempt to differentiate between product discussions and actual support, but let me add to that a little now.

    The idea is basically this: For products that aren't hosted here in official forum sections, we really don't want the vendors themselves providing one on one (vendor to customer) support dialogs here. Every vendor has official support channels of their own, whether via email or their own forums, and we believe proper customer support ought to flow through those channels. Official, track-able, trouble-ticket related support dialogs for paying customers are the best way to go for these things.

    But, the confusion comes from the question, 'when does a dialog move from general product discussion to a direct support mechanism?' In the past, we've actually had complaints from some vendors that too much support was being done here, and that issues were not getting directed to them quickly enough because of that. Since they don't actively monitor Wilders Security, before they knew it, there's a huge thread here about a bug in product XYZ, yet no one told the vendor about it.

    We agree with their concerns. We want people to give the vendors every chance and use the official support channels whenever possible. Now the hard and confusing part... we like the idea that people also post that there may be an issue with a product, which helps to "get the word out" and perhaps it also gathers other people together, so answers can come sooner because there is more input about who has the problem and who doesn't.

    Take the recent upgrade to BOClean in this thread. Notice that very early on someone said "be sure to contact PSC directly via email" to let them know about the problem. The people involved had indeed already informed Kevin, and they said so. Good! That's exactly what we want. And after Kevin resolved the problem, he came here and explained what happened, but, he didn't provide the support here (i.e. no back and forth question/answer with the customers). That was handled via official channels. I view that as the type of thread that helps everyone yet makes it clear that official support channels are elsewhere.

    Any dialog happening here that might take away from a vendor's own official support channels, or any vendor posts being made here that makes it look like Wilders is an official channel for them when they don't have a forum section here, is what we're trying to discourage. Announcements, general discussions, and even "getting the word out" is all appropriate. Direct vendor to customer support dialogs isn't.

    I think that's the best I can explain it, so I hope it helps.
     
  4. Fernando Villegas

    Fernando Villegas Registered Member

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    IS StevieO complaining because of the warning in

    this
    thread?

    For the record, I also complained about that thread, it is nice to see moderators take action.

    I think the Boclean upgrade thread is kind of in the greyish area myself.
     
  5. StevieO

    StevieO Registered Member

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    LowWaterMark

    I'm sure that we all appreciate your frankness and understanding with regard to these matters, and i for one most certainly do ! Keeping us in the dark about things like this, only turns it in to what then appears like an " Us against Them " type situation, which can do NO good to anyone or the forums.

    If for eg a startup operation and/or a small or one man operator, doesn't have access to forums such as this to explain things about Apps to as wide an audience as possible, then we ALL lose out ! Also people like to seek help and advice from existing or previous users, to provide answers and info etc to their questions, not just from the vendor. In fact they might not even be a "Vendor" as such because it could be Freeware for eg. And they might not be in a position to be able to provide the facilities spoken of. Either way information gained Directly from users is invaluable, and we can't always rely on getting all that info by hoping that someone might just stop by on a vendors website, who may or not have the exact info we require and post it, even if that's feasable.

    So i do hope that people won't be afraid to ask questions from now on, and that "vendors" and members are allowed to answer and assist where and when possible. If it starts getting into a very lengthy thread that's turning into more like "support" issues, then by all means Politely request that other options may be open to them to continue. But early stifling etc of a thread, in the main only punishes those of us who wish to keep informed as much as possible about Apps etc.

    Thanks


    StevieO

    edit missed out a word
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2006
  6. MikeBCda

    MikeBCda Registered Member

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    I tend to look for assistance here (and similar boards) rather than at vendors' sites because (a) sometimes the vendor's forum is almost useless (e.g., Firefox in my opinion) and more importantly, (b) assistance and suggestions from other users is often far more valuable and useful even if it's not "official".

    And judging from the volume of activity on our Software and Services forum, there must be a heck of a lot of others who agree with me.
     
  7. MikeNash

    MikeNash Security Expert

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    A PM to the vendor on any threads that breach, or threaten to breach TOS is the way to go. This puts the onus on the vendor to move the discussion over the official forums, and allows the vendor to try and get the discussion moved in a smooth way.

    Of course, if the vendor (or users) do not comply, they can be "stomped on". I believe this is the best way for the mods to handle it, assuming a co-operative vendor.

    Mike
     
  8. peewee

    peewee Registered Member

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    Wow, well I guess there are a lot more people paying for this site then I originally believed, etc etc!!!
     
  9. Fernando Villegas

    Fernando Villegas Registered Member

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    peewee what dp you mean? We don't have to pay to use the forum. Or do you mean the forums supporting each product pay 'rent' to the owners of Wilders??
     
  10. peewee

    peewee Registered Member

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    Oh I see; I was just sure that people wouldn't be telling Wilders how to run the forum if they weren't helping pay for it. I see that I was wrong.
     
  11. MikeNash

    MikeNash Security Expert

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    Not wrong, just misguided. Probably, you have never run a business or any sort of public forum.

    The forums would not exist without users, and it's perfectly valid for those users to have an opinion - and, it would seem by this thread's existence, acceptable at least here to have a limited discussion surrounding acceptable use of the board as it relates to Vendor support.

    This allows everyone to understand each others position as it relates to support enquiries, I certainly understand LWM's position on this and he I am sure understands mine. They may be different in some cases, but that's fine too!
     
  12. Chris12923

    Chris12923 Registered Member

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    LWM I as well as others really appreciate your participation in this thread and its great to see Wilders finally trying to be more open instead of just closing the thread. I think someone else already mentioned something to this effect I just wanted to reiterate.

    Thanks,

    Chris
     
  13. peewee

    peewee Registered Member

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    Hi, I see you're upset; sorry about that. I actually wasn't talking about your posts to begin with but some with a very different style than yours. As far as my experiences; sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction.
     
  14. Wolfe

    Wolfe Registered Member

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    Mr. Nash,

    No offence - but seems like putting the world upside down. The one and only way to go is asking the board owners first before starting up a "semi-support-forum-thread" in the first place - especially when one runs a dedicated forum oneself....
     
  15. MikeNash

    MikeNash Security Expert

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    @peewee - No, not upset :)

    @Panther - None taken :)

    Please don't think that my comment is intended to suggest that vendors should be allowed to do whatever they please. If you read between the lines a little, my comment : "A PM to the vendor on any threads that breach, or threaten to breach TOS is the way to go"

    What I meant by this is that certain threads are acceptable, and will always be acceptable (for example, vendor participation in a feature comparison thread, or technical discussion of generalities). It's been indicated to me that other threads "cross a line" or can cross a line in the discussion. If the MODS felt that policy was being breached, a quick PM to the vendor saying "Hey Fred, I think this threads going a bit too far" was an appropriate action.

    Understand completely if I were to setup a thread called the official "foo" support thread, but my comment was more aimed at the situation where a vendor crosses "that line" as part of conversation and the way (in my view) that would be a good way to deal with it.
     
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