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massey

Helping others......

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Of late I have been seeing a increase in way to many "geek" terms used. To many responding to other posts in terms and words that person May not understand. I am just as guilty  if not more so than others. I am not here to throw stones and slam everyone for being to much of a "geek". I write this in hopes of changing things a bit and getting those wanting and needing the help, The kind of help that is useful and easy to understand.

Remember when you first sat down at a computer for the first time and turned it on. Did you understand what "bandwidth" was. Did you understand what "advertised speeds" meant. It just seems that if you would assume that a poster is in the same spot you were the first time you turned on a computer the help that you give can make a world of difference.

Try to put yourself in there place when helping. What in the world do you mean by "booting into safe mode" How do I "boot into safe mode" Instead of asking "whats your advertised speeds" Ask them to run a download speed test and tell you how fast they are downloading at and at what percent does it say your speeds are.

Instead of simply telling them to "tweak" there settings or run cable nut Explain as well how to set there settings back to the original xp default settings. Do your very best not to make them feel like they are not smart. Remember always that at one time you sat down for the first time. Turned on your computer and it was cool but confusing at times as well.

Try not to make it so complicated to understand and fix. I remember seeing a post how someone using firefox could not get video to work. I about fell down at some of the responces. Keep it simple. Give them the link to  the plug in for "ie tab" When they want to see the video. Right click on the tab and click on "switch rendering engine" The page will reload and there is the video. Don't make them jump through hoops by installing this software and that software. Keep it simple.

It is just my humble opinion that we are turning into geeks helping geeks. Instead of the way I think it should be. Geeks helping the average user. When you tell someone to "back up there registry before applying the tweaks" It would help if you would explain how to back up the registry first.

Remember good people. Those looking for help are trusting us to give them the right information. The easy to understand help they truly want and need. Personally I just hope this post turns into a sticky. Maybey others can reply and explain some of our geek terms and what they mean. Lets try not to scare the average user away, Lets try to help them in terms they understand. Most of us geeks had to learn computers the hard way. Trial and error. Some of us may not be "book smart"  Or have a college education. We got our education from the school of hard knocks. We are simply here to help. Lets not let ourselfs turn into geeks who confuse the average user. Let us become geeks who help the average user.

Sorry for the rant. Feel free to delete this post if you wish. This rant was not just at this forum. I have seen it time and time again in other forums as well.

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To start with I am a simple user that only knows how to do general maintenance. Maybe a little more. And most times I will try to make it simple. You can ask anyone I have helped. And there are times when someone I am helping that is new, is likely offended because they actually know more than i will ever know. But I try to anyway, or refer them to someone.

Yes, sometimes it is a hilarious question. But I try to recompose myself and try to help this person quickly. My actual computer knowledge just started when I joined this forum last Fall.

Also when I first started here, I was not afraid to ask questions. And if I made them laugh, well alls good. Maybe i have a decent sense if humor, maybe not.

Is there a particular instance for this?

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Massey, I see where you are coming from.  The majority of what we do on this site is help others, and our members range from IT to first time computer users, so it is a very dynamic community when it comes to things technical. 

You bring up a very good point in that it is important to speak clearly, when you are providing help, and in terms that the member seeking help will benefit from.  There is the matter of feeling out their ability, and understanding their issue properly, before you can accurately address their concern. 

It is important to remember that some people are not as well-accustomed to the computer, or to certain components of computing, as you may be.  But I don't think that there is a single person here who has not been the one asking for help on at one time or another, meaning that you were the less savvy one.  Myself included.

I think what massey is saying is not to get a big head.  And its true, nobody wants to get help from somebody who is all attitude.

Some things we can do to prevent confusion when helping:

~refer to an article, guide, or online resource that accurately explains the issue

~refer to a topic in the forum where the same/similar issue has been discussed

~relate a first-hand experience that relates to the issue ("this worked for me...")

~inform the customer to ask if the have any questions, and do you best to ensure that they are comfortable in doing so!

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Also on another note, sometimes it is difficult to have as much time as is necessary. I might be helping 4 or 5 others at the same time. And sometimes it is necessary to look something up.

But usually I will stop my normal chit chat sessions to try and give it my full attention. And I also  have my good days, and my bad days. I just hope it is my good days that stand out. But, yeah, I will see if I can improve on it in some way. Thanks.

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Massey.. right on.. after a while you can kind of figure out how much the user knows by the information that they provide in the post.  However, it is always better to consider them a brand new user who know nothing about the computer until otherwise stated.

One of the best parts of this site is that it isnt too difficult to get some really good help from some very knowledgeable people.  Along the way others will learn the process and then be able to help out also.  Most of us joined with very little computer experience..  There are some challenges in answering questions and getting stuff to work without voice/face to face contact... 

As many of our members have found out we DO NOT tolerate flaming for asking a question.. This provides a fair opportunity to all of our members to learn something.. If you dont understand.. Post, ask, or research..

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Massey.. right on.. after a while you can kind of figure out how much the user knows by the information that they provide in the post.  However, it is always better to consider them a brand new user who know nothing about the computer until otherwise stated.

One of the best parts of this site is that it isnt too difficult to get some really good help from some very knowledgeable people.  Along the way others will learn the process and then be able to help out also.   Most of us joined with very little computer experience..  There are some challenges in answering questions and getting stuff to work without voice/face to face contact... 

As many of our members have found out we DO NOT tolerate flaming for asking a question.. This provides a fair opportunity to all of our members to learn something.. If you dont understand.. Post, ask, or research..

Im not sure how long i have been a member here but i have learned more from this sight..than i ever thought i would ever learn thanks to all the great people here...just want to send a shout out THANKS TO EVERYONE... :D

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started to read the first post of the topic. sorry just coundlt DO IT :D.

can someone summarise?

Basicaly acess the tech level of the person asking the question.Then make your answer at that level so it will be understood. If this is possible.Sometimes the person is going to have to learn more even to understand a simple answer.

On the other side an experienced person "Geek"  doesn't need you to explain right click to them as an example.

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Very nice post massey. I must say you raise a great point. We are a special site due to the fact people can ask ANY question here without fear of being made fun of or called "noob" (dumbest word ever) and if someone does get outta line and wants to call names we handle it. So if someone wants to ask they should feel free. But you still raise a great point I will work on a sticky to explain alot of our terms. Right on man. Good recommendation.

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Massey, I see where you are coming from.  The majority of what we do on this site is help others, and our members range from IT to first time computer users

What about thoes of us who are technically " IT " but are lazy....  Would I..er we... er THEY be considered First time users or... how would that work?

:icon_thumright:

:-P

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I believe the correct term for these is "losers"  :evil6: :evil6:

Thats the term for anyone who uses the internet.. period. Unless maybe its for research... na still loser. :haha: Seriously you all suck. ;)

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very good post i to have learn a lot on this form just by reading i feel that this is a great bunch of guys and gals here i am glad i found this forum and joined  :D

well they made me pay to join  ;)

Thanks all

They made you pay to join this forum... WTF I would be pissed.. :haha:

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I really figured I would get holy heck for the post. I am truly impressed not only did I not get holy heck but it made some stop and think. Myself  included. What set me off was something I did. I was posting a responce to a user who was having issues with there harddrive. While my son was looking over my shoulder I simply responded to the user.....Reformat the hardrive. First my kid asked me dad...whats reformat mean. After I told him his responce was ....dad why did you not just say that instead. He was right and I assumed way to much. After some thought and some looking at other forums I had my kid....Who knows NOTHING about computers sit beside me and read some help others were giving. 90 percent of what he read he had no idea what they were saying. The links to other pages I find just make things worse. Generally speaking new users are easy to get frustrated and they will give up in no time. I think personally It would be cool to put a FAQ page for new users. I will bet in no time a list of 50 or more definitions and such can be compiled. While speaking "geek" can be a hard habit  to break I forsure need to break myself of it.

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very good post i to have learn a lot on this form just by reading i feel that this is a great bunch of guys and gals here i am glad i found this forum and joined  :D

well they made me pay to join  ;)

Thanks all

Hell, you mean I'm not supposed to be payin $49.95 a month?

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Hey massey,

Good topic. The computer is actually a complicated piece of equipment, technically-speaking. This said, I think it's good practice to NOT assume that people asking for help have clues about how certain things works. It's better to walkthrough them as if they are just getting on the computer for the first time. Obviously, condescending tones and implications should be avoided as you don't want to offend the person asking for help, or worse, create a flame-war. On the same token, you don't really want to be too complicated as to lose the person. But it's better to just answer what the person asks for and (if possible) provide some sort of simple explanation/description on terms that you think the person might not know.

Helping others is a good thing and you build healthy relationships with others that way. Something I find disappointing is when a person responds to a question by saying, "Google it" or "Use the search button". Why take the time to type that that useless crap when you can be more helpful and just give what the person needs? :)

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