Wtf user



  • I do software engineering and customer support (unfortunately) for public safety agencies.  I need to preface this story by saying that my company offers training to our customers and a 24x7 helpdesk.  We encourage our customer agencies to have their own internal IT support (who we train to support our software) because that way they have faster service and take more responsibility for their stuff.  (Sure we provide great support, but after they buy the stuff it's THEIRS.)

    We have one customer agency in particular where the accumulated IQ of all their people doesn't go over about 80.  I've been working with the smartest of them, and frankly even he pushes my patience to the limits.  He called me this week asking for help in ftp'ing a file from his server.  He's done it successfully before, just was missing something and couldn't figure out what.

    He told me he got logged into the server using ftp in a command prompt window of his Windows box.  He tried typing "get file.txt" and got an error.  I told him he needed to tell it which directory or path the file was in, and I prompted him on the path.  "type /usr/data/file.txt".  He said he typed that, actually spoke the words aloud as he typed them, and got an error again.  I just KNEW by the way he said it that he forgot the most obvious thing.  "Bob, did you type the get command first?"

    Bob:  Oh, you have to type get.  Right.

    <sound of me blowing my brains out>

    (Note that he typed the get command the first time, just not after I prompted him with the path.  This is par for the course for this customer.  And no, I wasn't able to figure out what he was doing wrong, got fed up and told him to try to find his internal IT people to help him.) 



  • I deal with public safety agencies as well. Luckily, I worked my way to Engineering so I don't have as much direct contact with them. However, at least yours knows what FTP is. Ours don't even know what that means. We have to walk ours through basic Windows tasks and write applications to do tasks for them.



  • come on I can't believe in this day and age someone doesn't know what file transport protocol is!



  • Believe it.  The term "public safety" is a catchall phrase for saying we work with cops, firemen, dispatchers, etc.  Highly skilled, professional people, but not necessarily up with the current technologies.  Or rather, I should say, not up with computers at all, we are still occasionally having to train people in how to use a mouse!!

     Anyway, the intent of my original WTF wasn't that he was clueless about the technology, but that he started out doing it mostly right, but then when I prompted him he dropped everything but what I was literally telling him.  Sort of the IQ of a 4 year old, I think.  It was especially frustrating because this guy is the smartest of his agency and KNOWS #$%$#% better!!  He's done it successfully before.  Anyway, sorry, my WTF has degraded into a rant, so I'll stop here.
     



  • I'm sorry, he's not using a secure GUI client because...?

     



  • <sarcasm>
    Good god, man! You said "type /usr/data/file.txt" , and he TYPED "/usr/data/file.txt" ! Your users are completely useless! Clearly, you have so much more to complain about than any of us!
    </sarcasm>

    Guess what, there are people out there who aren't good with technology. There are, in fact, some people who do not program their VCR clocks, because it is too difficult for them. The command line is a daunting thing. There are no pretty buttons to press, no menus to use. It is unintuitive to the uninitiated. Such a situation is probably stressful at best. So, when you say "type foo", and he types "foo", not "bar foo", even if it's clear to YOU that bar should come first, whose fault is it?

    This is like going to an auto mechanic, who wants you to replace the oil in your car, but scoffs because you didn't replace the filter after you drained the oil (since he just ASSUMED that you knew to do that. I mean, cmon, you're changing the oil, you're changing the filter, right?). It's easy to demonstrate IT elitism, but not knowing how to step them through what to do when you KNOW that they're going to have trouble is pretty bad. Complaining about them not knowing what to do anyway is pretty inexcusable.

    Have you considered just having him get an FTP GUI program, like CuteFTP? That might solve that issue rather nicely.



  • I still think the real WTF is that the users apparently FTP into the root directory /



  • [quote user="Volmarias"]<sarcasm>
    Good god, man! You said "type /usr/data/file.txt" , and he TYPED "/usr/data/file.txt" ! Your users are completely useless! Clearly, you have so much more to complain about than any of us!
    </sarcasm>

    Guess what, there are people out there who aren't good with technology. There are, in fact, some people who do not program their VCR clocks, because it is too difficult for them. The command line is a daunting thing. There are no pretty buttons to press, no menus to use. It is unintuitive to the uninitiated. Such a situation is probably stressful at best. So, when you say "type foo", and he types "foo", not "bar foo", even if it's clear to YOU that bar should come first, whose fault is it?

    This is like going to an auto mechanic, who wants you to replace the oil in your car, but scoffs because you didn't replace the filter after you drained the oil (since he just ASSUMED that you knew to do that. I mean, cmon, you're changing the oil, you're changing the filter, right?). It's easy to demonstrate IT elitism, but not knowing how to step them through what to do when you KNOW that they're going to have trouble is pretty bad. Complaining about them not knowing what to do anyway is pretty inexcusable.

    Have you considered just having him get an FTP GUI program, like CuteFTP? That might solve that issue rather nicely.
    [/quote]

    Some users can't even handle a gui well though.  If the guy is having trouble understanding the concept of paths and directories, a gui will only help to a certain extent.

    A point and click ability to do things doesn't help if the user can't get past the basic concepts.

    I had one guy I supported long distance that couldn't understand the concept of his windows 3.1 box (long ago).  Windows 3.1 had all program groups as individual windows.  No Start menu.  Rather than closing a window when he was done with a program group, he'd drag it off screen.  I spent hours with him weekly talking him through dragging his missing windows back.

    It was made worse that he had a shared secretary do 99% of his computer work, since his job was primarily sales and she would update his sales contact database.



  • [quote user="Volmarias"]<sarcasm>
    Good god, man! You said "type /usr/data/file.txt" , and he TYPED "/usr/data/file.txt" ! Your users are completely useless! Clearly, you have so much more to complain about than any of us!
    </sarcasm>

    Guess what, there are people out there who aren't good with technology. There are, in fact, some people who do not program their VCR clocks, because it is too difficult for them. The command line is a daunting thing. There are no pretty buttons to press, no menus to use. It is unintuitive to the uninitiated. Such a situation is probably stressful at best. So, when you say "type foo", and he types "foo", not "bar foo", even if it's clear to YOU that bar should come first, whose fault is it?

    This is like going to an auto mechanic, who wants you to replace the oil in your car, but scoffs because you didn't replace the filter after you drained the oil (since he just ASSUMED that you knew to do that. I mean, cmon, you're changing the oil, you're changing the filter, right?). It's easy to demonstrate IT elitism, but not knowing how to step them through what to do when you KNOW that they're going to have trouble is pretty bad. Complaining about them not knowing what to do anyway is pretty inexcusable.

    Have you considered just having him get an FTP GUI program, like CuteFTP? That might solve that issue rather nicely.
    [/quote]

     

    couldn't agree more.  End user did exactly what he should have done.  Last thing I wanted back when I worked tech support was user who didn't do what I told them to.  Don't know how many times I told a user to do something to fix their problem and a 30 second fix became a 20 minute fix because the did what they assumed I wanted them to do, instead of what I told them to do. 



  • Right in principle IMO. However in THIS case the user apparently already used FTP correctly before, so he SHOULD have an idea of why you need the GET. (or at least should know THAT you need to write "get").

    I don't think the user was dumb tho. He maybe just forgot it out of nervousness.



  • [quote user="PSWorx"]

    Right in principle IMO. However in THIS case the user apparently already used FTP correctly before, so he SHOULD have an idea of why you need the GET. (or at least should know THAT you need to write "get").

    I don't think the user was dumb tho. He maybe just forgot it out of nervousness.

    [/quote]

    Thank you, yes, he's used ftp before, several times in fact.  And nobody seemed to notice despite my pointing it out a couple times that he typed "get" to begin with.  And I didn't tell him "type /usr/data/file.txt".  The prompting went more like:

    Him:  I typed "get file.txt" but it just gives me an error.  What am I doing wrong?

    Me:  You have to tell it the path, which is "/usr/data/file.txt".

    Him: <speaking the words/letters as he types them> /usr/data/file.txt.  Hmm, nope that didn't work either.

    Me:  Um, did you type get?

    Him:  Oh, you have to type get?  

    Me:  <slams head on desk> 


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