Discussing: Rules about site error reporting
Rules about site error reporting
28 Dec 09 12:58 PM
I am really sorry to have to post this, but there have already been some communications with HASA that are unacceptable in their tone and content. Here are the rules about communicating with any HASA admin about problems on the site, whether that communication occurs in emails or in the forums, whether the problem is technical or to do with content.
- Be clear about the problem. Saying something like "When I click this button, I expect X to happen, but I'm seeing Z. This is wrong," is a wonderful, actionable bug report. Providing a URL is icing on the cake. Screen grabs are manna from heaven. Saying "Thus and such just doesn't look right," is not actionable. It means more rounds of communications. Saying "I don't like thus and such," also is not actionable. It's just a statement of opinion. Distinguish between something that is a problem and something that is a preference. Preference statements are pretty much ignored. Adjust your expectations accordingly.
- Speak in normal tones. When someone types in ALL CAPS (Aside from abbreviating HASA or something similar), that is yelling. We all know that it is yelling. No person who has volunteered to support this site deserves to be yelled at. It's not life and death - it's just a web site. Anyone who communicates using ALL CAPS anywhere in the message will be ignored.
- No general whining. When someone sends an error report, they are implicitly asking someone to take time out of her day to go fix what may be broken, whether a bug in the code or a mislabeled challenge. To do this, we really need "Just the facts, ma'am," not a disquisition of how the site is hard to use, how the volunteer response time isn't very good, how this site is awful compared to all the other sites, etc. Anyone who sends in a whine will be ignored.
- No disparagement. The people who support HASA do the best they can with limited time and no money. Speaking disparagingly of the site, and even more so of the volunteers, is simply rude. Saying something appears to be broken can be done without calling the site "shit" or the volunteers "idiots". Anyone who disparages the site and/or the volunteers will be ignored.
- No threats. Any message that comes in the structure "If you don't do X, I'm going to do Y," where X is some kind of modification of the site, site policies, site procedures, site membership and/or site content, and Y is something like never visit the site again, post an expose on the corrupt/inept work done by volunteers, remove all my stories, etc., will be ignored. Threats of sabotage to the site itself will result in the writer being banned.
- No obscenities aimed at volunteers or the site. I'm well known for cutting loose with some choice expletives, and have no problem with swear words dropped into conversation. However - cursing at someone who is trying to help you, or at the site because it doesn't operate the way you want it to, will get you banned from HASA. If you are not a site member, your email address goes into the junk mail list and you will be ignored.
- Sometimes the answer is "No" or "We can't help you". Just because someone really wants something doesn't mean they're going to get it, even if they ask nicely. Things someone thinks are errors may not be; they just work differently than it is assumed they should. Significant changes people suggest are usually rejected. Some problems can't be solved because there isn't enough information to figure out why they happen. Sometimes no one has time to help the requester. It's not personal.
Please remember that no one who supports HASA has any interest in starring in someone else's personal psychodrama. We will not tolerate being treated like emotional punching bags when someone wants to vent their frustration. If someone cannot provide information in a rational, calm and constructive manner, they need to take a time out and reformulate the request.