Our country was founded by geniuses, but it’s being run by idiots.John Kennedy
Foreword, please read!
This posting is not suitable for you to read if you get offended easily. This is my blog, on which I share my personal thoughts and opinions. Respect that as a fact. You are welcome to word your own below in the comments, just don’t attack me or others personally because you disagree. I will use any slang, curses and vulgar expressions I feel fit the situation.
Being a person who provides support, no matter if it is a game, hosting service or anywhere else, you need nerves made from steel with something even stronger than steel embedded so it won’t have a chance to ever rip. Don’t believe me? Try it. Providing support, in my opinion, is one of the hardest jobs you can pick – or a hobby, as it is for me.
Support means talking to somebody in 99% of cases. Both parties bring their previous experience into the conversation – subconsciously.
Both can quickly reach their limits and some collisions are impossible to avoid. I would like to talk about the reasons and motives especially from a supporters view today.
The ‘End Point’ – Support and the psychological suffering
Being a developer or part of a support team of any shape or form eventually leads you to an ‘end point’ as I call them. At a certain point of experience, you either consciously or subconsciously make a decision:
1.) Straight out ignore the most stupid questions/users – you’ve had enough
2.) Reply anyway since you feel obligated, but have a hate for the person asking the super dumb question burning silently within you
3.) Reply, and call them straight out for their intelligence
-> this could lead to higher ranked support team members to straighten you out again, making you feel like you were the idiot here and they’re right. You represent the whole project, you shouldn’t act like that
4.) Reply, always friendly and nice as you should, while your sanity packs it’s things and moves out.
Sanity is a supporters currency. It is often used up before the 15th, you can barely survive on it and it rarely ever receives a refilled. This is one aspect that users don’t see. Support usually do not get paid in the minecraft business. But even if they did, that doesn’t and could never make up for the nerves some users cost them. How much a user can impact the mood and mental health of a supporter and vice versa depends on many factors such as the indivdiual as well as the size of the project given support for and size of staff team.
Users who drive me nuts in support
Having gained a lot of experience by now sure makes me stand quite solid in terms of me providing support. However, there are just some types of users who make me remember them even longer than I’d like – for the wrong reasons!
1.) The dm’er
Support channels exist for a reason. Some users seem to straight out not give a shit. When people ask me in dm’s for questions related to the minecraft plugin I, amongst others, provide support for, I usually first conter with the question as to why they do not use the support channels. Sometimes, I get excuses, or no responses to that question to begin with, but some users are capable of being honest: “I thought I’d get support in your dm’s faster.”
This brings me to the next type.
2.) The one who cannot wait
Impatient people are among my top favorites to provide support for.
Just as I am in the middle of typing out my response because, yes, I am old school and use full sentences and I also prefer to not cut messages apart with the enter key, the user keeps talking to themselves:
“I need help”
“Because my plugin is broken”
… 10 seconds pass, I am still typing …
“Bad support! Omg how long can it take to give me a command to fix it?!”
At this point, you know what I do? Ctrl + A and then a backspace.
3.) Brutal denial and entitlement
Sometimes, it does happen that users misinterpret the documentation that was carefully written. We, as support, genuinely want to help them and point them into the right directions, some of us still go as far as typing out a full blown explanation why the user has it wrong, and often, the user understands and happily goes onto fixing the mistake. However, there are some users who deny that they made a mistake. For what reason I don’t know.
“How do you know it’s wrong how I do MY setup?! Did you make the plugin? No you didn’t, you are just a meaningless support member. I want to talk to the boss here!” – and in my case, our ‘boss’ straight out then bans the user from the discord. I can’t deny that entitlement in combination with downtalking my position as supporter gets me the most.
4.) Refusal to read the documentation
To understand the syntax here, one needs to know that we have a bot for which us support pretty much have all commands down for. Those commands make the bot post requested information and/or documentation sites from our wiki. This is very useful for us so we do not have to repeat ourselves over and over. There are users to this day who join the support channel, ask a question in perfect or almost perfect English, we have our bot send the relevant information in chat, and the response of the user is something like:
“I don’t want to read so much.” or
“I don’t understand it.”
Clearly, laziness is the driving force behind this. What these people don’t think about is that we can just copy paste parts of the wiki. That’s what I usually do and the next response is:
“Oh I see, thanks”
Do I have to mention that I need ice cream now?
5.) I am no speak not english good – Caught red handed
Sometimes, users pretend to be bad at the English language. Why? Maybe to receives faster support, thinking we feel sorry for those people.
Whenever a user uses really badly broken English, mostly though when paired with giving off a certain pushiness, suggesting they do not want to wait a single second to receive support, I look at their profile under shared servers and search up discords we have in common for messages from this user. Too many times than I like to admit, I find messages from them worded properly in full sentences that are logical and understandable without the need to re-read them. Do I then reply to them? Sure, in as perfect English as I am capable of, I try to throw words at them which are rather uncommon to a user such as ‘thread’, ‘api’ and other technical stuff, I use a lot of commas and form really really long sentences to the best of my ability. Karma is a bitch, and this time, I am your karma.
6.) Incapability of following simple directions/answering simple questions
Believe it or not, the following conversations really happened.
User: “I have a problem, can someone help me … <explanation>…”
Me: “What server sorftware and which minecraft version are you running?”
– end of conversation, I am still waiting for them to answer the other part of my question since 2019.
User2: “What do I need to do if I get the message <bla bla bla> in my console?
Me: “First you need to turn off your server. Then go into the folder /plugins/someplugin/ and delete the ‘library’ folder. Then that should be fixed.
User2: “Now I get a different message <so and so> how to fix?”
– At this point I knew the user ignored what I said and had the server running while following the rest of what I said, which fucked up their plugin even worse. They deserve it, and I need a coffee now.
The mixture and dose make the poison
It’s by far not always the end user’s fault. Some devs and supporters do act like retards, too. Some are by nature not the brightest, are too lazy to write documentations, make the wrong choices of hiring staff and many more reasons. Since there are so many possible reasons from both sides, chances are high that a question or an answer can be perceived as stupid and something in this mix collides.
On top of that, planet earth harbours many different languages, and you just cannot ask of the entire population to be able to speak/write in proper English. On another note, I as supporter know that I can’t ask of everyone to have the same or higher technical knowledge as me. But I do tend to forget that not everyone knows how to use a search bar.
As Minecraft became more and more complex and grew, so did the community and with it, the number of inexperienced greenlings. It doesn’t have to be bad, however, I feel like support have it worse with users these days than what it used to be back in the good old days. Personally, I partially blame the generation I-Phone for it. The ‘old bunnies’ still know how to talk to someone on an interlectual and respectful level. The newer generation often doesn’t for the simple reason that they lack social interacting experience. For some, the parents are also on their devices most of the time, and they copied the behavior. I myself find that to be a disaster and also very sad to watch two adults with their children at a public place where every single one of them scrolls on their phone or watches meaningless videos on their tablet. Another possible reason I see for this trend is that people have children at way younger ages than they used to, which creates lack of experience on the parents in a blunt comparison. I’m not saying every parent under a certain age is incapable of making sure their snippet turns out decent, I am talking about the overall trend I observed so far throughout my life.