I need your help, but you only get to watch



  • A co-worker and I inherited the role of supporting one of our many reporting applications after our employer paid the lady who previously supported it a metric shit-ton to leave.  We knew almost nothing about the application, but knew more than the rest of the programmers (who knew precisely nothing about it), so apparently that was good enough.

    In the first week of our new role in the company, we had to help a user who was getting a strange error when trying to open certain reports.  The user was somewhat belligerent in her emails and over the phone, so we decided to just go to her office to see what was actually happening.  Since we were both learning, we both went.

    We arrived and she showed us what she was doing and the error message.  We both had some ideas, and I asked if I could "drive" so that I could check a few settings on her computer.  She ignored me and just kept clicking things.  My co-worker and I tried several times to get her to move out of the way, but every time we asked, she ignored us.

    We were about to tell her to just move the fuck out of the way and let us try to fix it, when she found something in the menu and asked us what it was.  I said "I don't know what that is-", but before I could finish she clicked on it.

    A window popped up with some big message, with OK and Cancel buttons.  I said "I don't know what this is, please click Cancel-", but again, before I could finish (and without even reading the window) she clicked OK.

    A "Save As..." dialog popped up.  I said "please click Cancel-", but she just clicked Save anyway.

    A "that-filename-already-exists-you-are-about-to-replace-something-that-might-be-important-you-stupid-fucking-nitwit" warning message popped up.  I didn't even have time to get the words out; she immediately clicked "OK".  At that point my co-worker and I said we'd look into the error she was getting and we quickly excused ourselves.

    Walking back to our offices, he turned to me and said "did that just happen?"



  • A classic case of I-click-the-first-button-I-see-because-I'm-totally-clueless-and-don't-know-what-I'm-doing-and-the-popups-are-annoying-get-them-out-of-here-fast. This is front-page worthy if you ask me.

    Off-topic, I'm surprised that Community Server correctly handles February 29th.



  • Perfectly common and understandable behavior. There is a message box the user doesn't want in the screen, it's an obstacle or at least an unwanted distraction, if clicking OK makes it go away, then clicked the OK button will be. Understanding what it means or the implications of clicking it is not the user's job. It's yours. (Unexcusable, but understandable. And very, VERY common).



  • @atipico said:

    Perfectly common and understandable behavior.

    What is? Impatience? Ignoring those that you've summoned for assistance and are trying to diagnose your problem?

    Either way, this common and understandable behaviour doesn't serve her purpose of fixing her issue - yet she can't see that.



  • @Cassidy said:

    doesn't serve her purpose of fixing her issue - yet she can't see that.

    Support is being paid to help her. She's not being paid to help support in helping her. Her attitude is stupid and counter-productive, and that's the source of the WTF, but is a very common behavior.



  • @atipico said:

    Perfectly common and understandable behavior.
    I strongly disagree - in every other support case in my career, every troubled user who has ever asked for my help has, at the very least, pretended to follow my instructions, and whenever I asked them to move aside so that I could fix their problem, they complied.  This is the only time I've ever had a user simultaneously ask for help and deliberately refuse it, so as far as I'm concerned it isn't common, perfectly or otherwise.  And due to the contradictory nature of the situation, I certainly don't understand it either.

    @atipico said:

    There is a message box the user doesn't want in the screen, it's an obstacle or at least an unwanted distraction, if clicking OK makes it go away, then clicked the OK button will be.
    Clicking Cancel makes it go away too, and almost never breaks shit.  Why not click Cancel?

    @atipico said:
    Understanding what it means or the implications of clicking it is not the user's job. It's yours.
    I think you missed the point of the story.



  • @atipico said:

    Perfectly common and understandable behavior. There is a message box the user doesn't want in the screen, it's an obstacle or at least an unwanted distraction, if clicking OK makes it go away, then clicked the OK button will be. Understanding what it means or the implications of clicking it is not the user's job. It's yours. (Unexcusable, but understandable. And very, VERY common).
    From what I can get from the story, she took the only path that would lead to failure.  Had she cooperated with boog or clicked any other option in any dialog, she wouldn't have the problem she has now.  It's neither common nor understandable to keep repeating a pattern of behavior that leads to failure while ignoring every other path, all of which lead to success.  The only thing I would have done differently is I would have recognized early in the interaction that the user is going to demonstrate the problem to the end, regardless of whether IT has a solution.  I would have quietly stood by until she finished and then said something like "Can I try?  I need to get screenshots of the error messages."  I've been chastised many times before for interrupting someone's rant with something as trivial as a solution to their problem.

    The only explanation for her behavior I can think of is a common one: users turn their brains off while interacting with computers.



  • @atipico said:

    She's not being paid to help support in helping her.
    She also isn't being paid to further sabotage her own working environment while support watches helplessly.



  • @atipico said:

    The only explanation for her behavior I can think of is a common one: users turn their brains off while interacting with computers.

    "While interacting with computers"? Hate to break it to you, grasshopper, but some people never find the "On" switch for their brains for their entire lives.

     



  • @Jaime said:

    The only thing I would have done differently is I would have recognized early in the interaction that the user is going to demonstrate the problem to the end, regardless of whether IT has a solution.
    She was quite finished with her demonstration by the time we tried to step in.  She even stopped to ask us what she should do, but once I asked if I could try, she turned back to the computer and started clicking around on different options at random.  It was so odd.

    After chatting with my boss and somebody from the helpdesk, it sounds like this user is well known for behaving that way.

    @Jaime said:
    The only explanation for her behavior I can think of is a common one: users turn their brains off while interacting with computers.
    I think you're on to something here.  While she was clicking around, it really was like she was in her own world.



  • @atipico said:

    There is a message box the user doesn't want in the screen, it's an obstacle or at least an unwanted distraction, if clicking OK makes it go away, then clicked the OK button will be. Understanding what it means or the implications of clicking it is not the user's job. It's yours.
     

    I agree completely. For example, sometimes I'm driving down the street and some policeman starts waving at me and saying things. That's a huge distraction so I usually run over him, which I've discovered makes him go away. Understanding the implications of getting run over by a car is not my job. It's his.



  • @atipico said:

    Understanding what it means or the implications of clicking it is not the user's job. It's yours.

    @atipico said:

    She's not being paid to help support in helping her.

    But she IS being paid to do a job, and if using software is part of that job then understanding what that tool is trying to communicate to her IS part of her job.

    You seem to imply the user's behaviour is not just commonplace but also acceptable and correct, and support are there to pick up everything outside of the user's remit. If that's the case, add me to the disagree pile.



  • @mott555 said:

    Off-topic, I'm surprised that Community Server correctly handles February 29th.
     

    And tomorrow, we'll find out if it correctly handles February 30th.



  • The title of this thread sounds like my wife's idea of love-making.



  • @da Doctah said:

    @mott555 said:

    Off-topic, I'm surprised that Community Server correctly handles February 29th.
     

    And tomorrow, we'll find out if it correctly handles February 30th.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @da Doctah said:

    @mott555 said:

    Off-topic, I'm surprised that Community Server correctly handles February 29th.
     

    And tomorrow, we'll find out if it correctly handles February 30th.

    ..--..

     



  • @spamcourt said:

    @morbiuswilters said:

    @da Doctah said:

    @mott555 said:

    Off-topic, I'm surprised that Community Server correctly handles February 29th.
     

    And tomorrow, we'll find out if it correctly handles February 30th.

    ..--..

     

    Sorry, it appears you're using ASCII-M. My browser only handles UTF-M.



  • @spamcourt said:

    I agree completely. For example, sometimes I'm driving down the street and some policeman starts waving at me and saying things. That's a huge distraction so I usually run over him, which I've discovered makes him go away. Understanding the implications of getting run over by a car is not my job. It's his.
     

    You get an osmium star.



  • @dhromed said:

    Filed under: because gold is a fucking useless trinket metal while osmium is actually cool.

    Dude, gold is awesome. In addition to being useful as currency, it can be used to make "dirty" nuclear weapons. It's extremely ductile and malleable and was probably the first metal humans were able to work with. Who knows, we may never have had a bronze age without gold.



  • @atipico said:

    Perfectly common and understandable behavior.
    Common -- maybe.  Understandable -- only if you are insane.



  • @boog said:

    Clicking Cancel makes it go away too, and almost never breaks shit.  Why not click Cancel?

    Because then it cancels instead of doing what they wanted.



  • @atipico said:

    Perfectly common and understandable behavior. There is a message box the user doesn't want in the screen, it's an obstacle or at least an unwanted distraction, if clicking OK makes it go away, then clicked the OK button will be. Understanding what it means or the implications of clicking it is not the user's job. It's yours. (Unexcusable, but understandable. And very, VERY common).

    The HELL it is, and that attitude is why we have belligerent and willfully computer ignorant people still allowed in the workplace. If you don't have a lot of experience, fine, that's perfectly fine. If you actively MAINTAIN your ignorance out of laziness or arrogance, and you ask me for help and treat me in this manner, you can fornicate yourself with your keyboard. Even being paid I wouldn't tolerate this shit, but I will gladly clean up your messes after your stupid ass is canned goods.



  • Been there. Had an application that output a file that the secretary could import. It appeared wrong because the settings on her computer were wrong. But she would not let me touch her computer; she insisted that it was my program's fault. After a bit of frustration, I said I'd look into it and walked away and never looked back.



  • @Jaime said:

    I've been chastised many times before for interrupting someone's rant with something as trivial as a solution to their problem.
    That's not an uncommon problem on this message board either.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    The title of this thread sounds like my wife's idea of love-making.
     

     

    ...

    Ambiguous. Are you pleased or displeased with that? I guess it would depend on how hot your wife is really, my incredibly filthy mind can do wonders with this statement alone.



  • How to fix dialog box banner blindness:

    "The filename you have selected already exists. If you wish to overwrite the existing file, type the fifteenth word in this paragraph. If you wish to cancel and select a different filename, type the seventh word in this paragraph."

    Typing anything else will, naturally, play pornographic audio very loudly.



  • @AndyCanfield said:

    Been there. Had an application that output a file that the secretary could import. It appeared wrong because the settings on her computer were wrong. But she would not let me touch her computer; she insisted that it was my program's fault. After a bit of frustration, I said I'd look into it and walked away and never looked back.
    When an IT person asks you to step away from the computer it should trigger the same kind of response from people as a police officer ordering someone to step out of the car.  However, IT tends not to have this kind of authority, but just imagine if they did, even though I bet if IT did they would just abuse it.



  • @PJH said:

    @Jaime said:
    I've been chastised many times before for interrupting someone's rant with something as trivial as a solution to their problem.
    That's not an uncommon problem on this message board either.
    You mean this message board wasn't intended for mindless ranting?



  • @boog said:

    @PJH said:
    @Jaime said:
    I've been chastised many times before for interrupting someone's rant with something as trivial as a solution to their problem.
    That's not an uncommon problem on this message board either.
    You mean this message board wasn't intended for mindless ranting?
    No, I mean it's not uncommon to be moaned at on here for providing a solution to a problem, when the person with the problem only wants to moan about the problem and is apparently totally uninterested in finding a fix for it.



  • @Anketam said:

    When an IT person asks you to step away from the computer it should trigger the same kind of response from people as a police officer ordering someone to step out of the car.  However, IT tends not to have this kind of authority...
    Yeah, and since support is there to help I think a better analogy would be a paramedic ordering someone to move aside:
    [paramedics arrive]

    User: ohmygodohmygod he's dying please help

    Paramedic: Move aside, ma'am, I need to resuscitate him-

    User: [ignores paramedic and starts poking dead guy with a pen] what does this do

    Paramedic: Ma'am, don't-

    User: [keeps poking]

     



  • @PJH said:

    @boog said:
    You mean this message board wasn't intended for mindless ranting?
    No, I mean...
    I know, I was kidding.  :)



  • @PJH said:

    ... when the person with the problem only wants to moan about the problem and is apparently totally uninterested in finding a fix for it.

    Some posters are from Mars, some are from Venus.



  • @Cassidy said:

    Some posters are from Mars, some are from Venus.
    Or they're simply on the wrong planet altogether.



  • @Jaime said:

    From what I can get from the story, she took the only path that would lead to failure.  Had she cooperated with boog or clicked any other option in any dialog, she wouldn't have the problem she has now.

     

    It may be the only path that leads to failure, but it may also be the only path that includes some specific action that she (at least thinks she) needs to perform.  Of course, in that situation, the correct response is not to be five kinds of idiot (like it's since emerged that she was), but to give the new techs time to read the prompt and then explain "but I need to click X here because I need to eventually get to Y", and then they collectively work it out from there.

     



  • @emurphy said:

    It may be the only path that leads to failure, but it may also be the only path that includes some specific action that she (at least thinks she) needs to perform.

    Plenty of maybes there, but what's certain is that she didn't seem to listen to - or want to obey - the requests from those she had summoned for assistance. I don't see the point of calling for help then showing no desire to interract with them in any way whatsoever.



  •  I've had a few users like that in my day.  These are the rare occasions when I set aside my normal politeness and start treating the user like a recalcitrant 6 year old.  I have actually said things like "if you want me to help you, you need to...".  Once or twice I've actually stated their name in a Voice of God just to get their attention.  It usually works because it's so unusual for someone to yell at you at work (other than your boss).



  • @erikal said:

    @morbiuswilters said:

    The title of this thread sounds like my wife's idea of love-making.
     

     

    ...

    Ambiguous. Are you pleased or displeased with that? I guess it would depend on how hot your wife is really, my incredibly filthy mind can do wonders with this statement alone.

    I don't have a wife. I just read "but you only get to watch" and I thought of some sadsack whose wife makes him watch her having sex with big black men.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    I don't have a wife. I just read "but you only get to watch" and I thought of some sadsack whose wife makes him watch her having sex with big black men.
     

    I think it may be time to take a break from the Internet.

     



  • @DCRoss said:

    @morbiuswilters said:

    I don't have a wife. I just read "but you only get to watch" and I thought of some sadsack whose wife makes him watch her having sex with big black men.
     

    I think it may be time to take a break from the Internet.

     

    You sound just like my wife.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @DCRoss said:

    @morbiuswilters said:

    I don't have a wife. I just read "but you only get to watch" and I thought of some sadsack whose wife makes him watch her having sex with big black men.
     

    I think it may be time to take a break from the Internet.

     

    You sound just like my wife.
    Wait, morbs has a wife?


  • @Sutherlands said:

    @morbiuswilters said:

    @DCRoss said:

    @morbiuswilters said:

    I don't have a wife. I just read "but you only get to watch" and I thought of some sadsack whose wife makes him watch her having sex with big black men.
     

    I think it may be time to take a break from the Internet.

     

    You sound just like my wife.
    Wait, morbs has a wife?

    An imaginary one, also,  dhromed



  • @db2 said:

    How to fix dialog box banner blindness:

    "The filename you have selected already exists. If you wish to overwrite the existing file, type the fifteenth word in this paragraph. If you wish to cancel and select a different filename, type the seventh word in this paragraph."

    Typing anything else will, naturally, play pornographic audio very loudly.

    ^^ This!


  • @TheRider said:

    @db2 said:
    How to fix dialog box banner blindness:

    "The filename you have selected already exists. If you wish to overwrite the existing file, type the fifteenth word in this paragraph. If you wish to cancel and select a different filename, type the seventh word in this paragraph."

    Typing anything else will, naturally, play pornographic audio very loudly.

    ^^ This!
    But is that zero-based or one-based?


  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @erikal said:

    @morbiuswilters said:

    The title of this thread sounds like my wife's idea of love-making.
     

     

    ...

    Ambiguous. Are you pleased or displeased with that? I guess it would depend on how hot your wife is really, my incredibly filthy mind can do wonders with this statement alone.

    I don't have a wife. I just read "but you only get to watch" and I thought of some sadsack whose wife makes him watch her having sex with big black men.

     

    I feel so violated :(

     



  • @Scarlet Manuka said:

    But is that zero-based or one-based?
     

    Ordinals are not ambiguous in that way.



  • @dhromed said:

    @Scarlet Manuka said:

    But is that zero-based or one-based?
     

    Ordinals are not ambiguous in that way.

    I thought about saying that but then realized it would make me look like an overly-pedantic dick so I didn't.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @dhromed said:

    @Scarlet Manuka said:

    But is that zero-based or one-based?
     

    Ordinals are not ambiguous in that way.

    I thought about saying that but then realized it would make me look like an overly-pedantic dick so I didn't.

     

    I thought about waiting for you to say it and then I'd reply with what you just said.

    But hey.

     

    Yeah.

    I don't know.

     



  • @dhromed said:

    @morbiuswilters said:
    @dhromed said:
    @Scarlet Manuka said:
    But is that zero-based or one-based?

    Ordinals are not ambiguous in that way.

    I thought about saying that but then realized it would make me look like an overly-pedantic dick so I didn't.


    I thought about waiting for you to say it and then I'd reply with what you just said.

    Exactly. If Asimov taught us nothing else, it's that robots can read your mind ordinals are zero based. Sheesh.


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