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Obtaining extra help


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#1
Channeal

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Hello there!

I love GTG and have gained such a lot of knowledge through it, much of it stuff which I would never otherwise have learned. There is however one small area that has frustrated me a little bit. I am not sure if anybody else agrees with me, but I thought I would mention it just in case.

I recently asked for help with something (to do with partitions, actually). One person very kindly replied - but when I came back at them with a couple of points that needed clarifying, they did not answer a second time. I had no way of knowing whether they just did not know the answer, or whether they had not even seen my second post (I noticed that they had not subscribed to follow the topic).

I have also seen the problem from the other side, where I have tried to help somebody with a very simple problem (very small problems are the only ones I would ever be capable of helping with, unfortunately! :( ) and subsequently found that the problem was more complicated than I had at first thought. In spite of appealing on the topic thread for somebody else to come in and help, I have not usually been successful in getting any extra assistance, as everybody sees that the topic appears to have already been answered.

It is great that this forum allows even those of us who are a long way off being experts to help where they think they can - but I have actually now been put off being the first person to answer somebody, unless it is an area where I feel absolutely confident that I will be able to deal with every eventuality. I do not want to be responsible for causing somebody to not get the help they have requested.   

I am not exactly sure what could be done about this problem. Maybe there could be a special thread where people in the situation I mention could post a link to their original thread and request some additional help? Or perhaps the topic itself could be marked in some way? Or maybe there is a helper who would be willing to be designated as the person to be contacted if extra help is needed? Not sure of the ideal solution..... but please let me know what you all think.

It might also be an idea to include a few simple guidelines for helpers on the site, to include simple things such as being sure to subscribe to the topic and not to just abandon it without at least telling the OP that you are unable to help any further.

Many thanks,

Chris.


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#2
azarl

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We have such an are http://www.geekstogo...e-waiting-room/

 

Try reposting there


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#3
Channeal

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Thanks very much for your reply, azari.... but I always thought that the 'Waiting Room' was for people who had not received even one answer, not for somebody who has had a bit of help but needed more. Am I wrong then?
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#4
azarl

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It's for both - if you get missed, it gives a nudge


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#5
Channeal

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Okay. I had absolutely no idea that the 'waiting Room' could be used to get some extra help, but will bear it in mind in future. :)
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#6
paws

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Hi Chris,

You raise some interesting points., and your own posts to help folks have been very informative so thanks on behalf of our members for making them where you feel able to. 

 

I  have been answering questions on forums here at G2G and What the tech and other forums for quite a few years now, and sometimes I guess we forget how strange it all may be to someone who posts a question for the first time. So your post is a good reminder for all of us.

 

From my own point of view I answer questions whenever I have time to do so, however having two repair shops to run ( that pay the rent!)  its true to say that sometimes real life gets a tad frantic and there are just not enough hours in the day to follow through on each and every post on the forums, something has to give, and the paying jobs, employees and the repair shops must necessarily come first. However many of us (like yourself) do our best to help folks whenever we can.

 

Your replies to folks questions are valued greatly, so do not worry that you may not have all the answers, you are helping folks and that is what hopefully many of our members hope to do. I have been in the business for years but none of us have the answers to every sort of question... and that is particularly true when the original poster sometimes forgets to give us the information that we need and also tends ( sometimes!) to forget that its themselves that are sitting in front of the troubled computer...and not us.... and so we have to rely on their eyes ears and responses to the posts  in order to move on to the next step.....

 

You may see the original questioner ( in some threads)  respond to a helpers set of suggestions with a terse " that didn't work".....and we don't know if the commands failed  to execute, what error codes or blue screen resulted or even if all the suggestions executed Ok  but that the original problem was not solved. sometimes after an initial diagnosis and set of suggestions that may take several paragraphs of detailed instructions to put across........ the response from the original poster is hardly more than a word or two and totally lacking in detail....... Many helpers will painstakingly set out a step by step reply requesting further information, but others who may be pressed for time in their own businesses,,, may take the view that if the questioner cannot be bothered to make a " proper reply" then they are not going to make a more fulsome request a top priority task!

 

I would urge you Chris to reply whenever you have some thing helpful to add ( if you have time) even though you may not have the answers to everything.....( But obviously not in the Virus and Spyware removal forum where only accredited helpers are allowed to respond)

 

Do also remember that even in a well equipped workshop with experienced technicians its sometimes easier and quicker to format and reinstall ( or preferably reimage) rather than attempting a piecemeal type approach to a system that has been badly damaged in one way or the other..... however we tend to takethis action as generally a " last resort" type approach as often the issues can be solved easily by less radical measures...

 

I hope these random thoughts may help...

Regards

paws


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#7
Channeal

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Hello Paws,

Thank you so much for your very full reply.

First of all, I do want to stress that my post was not meant to be in any way critical of the person who initially answered the post to which I briefly referred. I have no idea why they haven't replied and there may well be other reasons. I fully understand that many helpers (if not all) have busy lives and am always mindful of this when somebody takes some time to reply. In this recent case though, I happened to see that the person had been on this forum a few times without answering me, so my feeling was that they were not going to answer me at all. Even so, I would normally have waited much longer.

My post here though was not really meant to be about that case in particular, but a more general point about how frustrating it can be from the helper's point of view to find that you cannot help any further and my main interest was in finding out how to approach getting some extra help. I never knew that the 'Waiting Room' could be used in such circumstances, so it was worth posting here as I have learned something new.

With regard to somebody posting a topic without giving enough info, I know this must be incredibly frustrating for people who help out in these forums on a regular basis. I personally always try to post as much information as I can when I ask a question, but even so I am sure that there have probably been lots of occasions when I have failed badly. Often the poster just does not realise what information is going to be needed. Even with this recent post of mine about partitions, I initially thought about including a Disk Management screenshot, but thought it was not necessary as to me it was just going to be a very simple question about whether or not partitions could be shrunk..... and then along came SleepyDude and asked me for the screenshot! ;)

For me, if I ever feel able to help with a problem, I usually prefer it if it is for somebody who obviously does not know very much at all about computers. I realise that this can be frustrating for those of you who know so much, but I just identify very much these people as it was such a short while ago that I knew virtually nothing myself. And I can well remember being absolutely terrified when I first attempted to seek help on GTG!

 

Sometimes if I see a post before it is answered, I almost feel tempted to go in and say 'But first, you will need to provide xy&z information' but of course that would take me back to my original problem of everyone then thinking that the problem was already being answered. It is not feasible as it would just cause even more problems for the poster to have to tell them to wait three days and then post in the Waiting Room!

Thanks again for your very interesting response; it has been really nice to 'talk' to you again.

Chris.


Edited by Channeal, 12 March 2017 - 07:34 AM.

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