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Private Message Tech Support

Postby desmond » Fri Jun 01, 2018 12:48 pm

I've been tempted to post about this before, but I've just received another one and this time I feel I need to post this:-

These forums are for community members to interact with each other, ask questions, and hopefully get help if thy need it. People generally do go out of their way to use their own time and expertise to help out other folks in need, and this is a great thing. Have a problem? Join the forums, and ask your question, someone will likely help you.

However, individual members here are not private unpaid personal tech support.

I have had a number of PM's from people who have just joined here because a search for their problem has turned up past forum posts where I had solved a similar problem for other forum members in the past.
(I suspect I'm not the only person who has received tech support PMs like this.)

PMing a member to ask for help is a somewhat different thing to posting to the forums to ask for help. It's a private exchange, the community does not benefit from the query/solution, and you're putting a burden of obligation of help onto one particular person, rather than the community.

In the past, being a generally helpful chap (I like to think), I've usually helped those people with their problems, and the occasional one, while cheeky, I can tolerate. But when it turns into a string of support requests, from people who otherwise have no plans to be part of this community - they just want their problem fixed... it's a bit much imo.

So, anyone thinking of directly PM'ing a forum member here for help with their problem, rather than making a forum post, consider that your problem is likely of interest to others than just yourself, and asking the community is more likely to get you better quality responses, and doesn't lay any expectations onto any one member to help.

If your problem involves some private exchange (say, the conversion of song files you don't want put in a public forum link), that's fine, don't include them in the forum post asking for help, you can follow up via PM should someone volunteer to help you out.

If you really do need personal tech support, and are happy to pay someone for it, say so in the post, and there are a number of excellent members here who will likely be happy and available to do this.

Note: this isn't directed at the person who sent the PM, or anyone in particular. It's to raise awareness, and hopefully make people thinking of doing this think twice.

In the future, should I receive more PM's along this line, my response will be to suggest you post your problem to the forum and someone may be able to help.
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Re: Private Message Tech Support

Postby blinddrew » Fri Jun 01, 2018 12:53 pm

:thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:
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Re: Private Message Tech Support

Postby zenguitar » Fri Jun 01, 2018 1:01 pm

Well said desmond.

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Private Message Tech Support

Postby ef37a » Fri Jun 01, 2018 1:04 pm

Good comment.

I have had PMs from people (not SoS I don't think) who have posted maybe just once in a forum but have sussed out who I worked for!

Fortunately such PMs have been few and very friendly but I can quite see the matter could become intrusive. I also agree with the point that problems should be aired in a forum for everyone's benefit.

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Re: Private Message Tech Support

Postby blinddrew » Fri Jun 01, 2018 1:13 pm

Even I've had a couple, poor fools.
Speaking of which, we either need to up that Jedi-level certification or delete some of my posts! ;)
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Re: Private Message Tech Support

Postby BJG145 » Fri Jun 01, 2018 1:31 pm

Well huh. Nobody ever asks me for advice.

Too late now. Hotline is closed suckers. :tongue:
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Re: Private Message Tech Support

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Jun 01, 2018 2:56 pm

desmond wrote:PMing a member to ask for help is a somewhat different thing to posting to the forums to ask for help. It's a private exchange, the community does not benefit from the query/solution, and you're putting a burden of obligation of help onto one particular person, rather than the community.

Fair point well made, and I completely agree with you. :thumbup: :clap:

And if anyone does receive an unwelcome PM, just let a Moderator know and we'll 'av a word...' ;)

The community is here to help, and some people offer a great deal of support in the forums, but being asked privately for help really isn't what anyone signed up for.
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Re: Private Message Tech Support

Postby BJG145 » Fri Jun 01, 2018 6:09 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:being asked privately for help really isn't what anyone signed up for

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WJXHY2 ... =34&end=43
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Re: Private Message Tech Support

Postby job » Mon Jun 04, 2018 11:54 am

On the plus side though, this is simply an indication that you're too awesome for your own good :clap:
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Re: Private Message Tech Support

Postby desmond » Mon Jun 04, 2018 12:04 pm

job wrote:On the plus side though, this is simply an indication that you're too awesome for your own good :clap:

More likely I just look easily exploitable... :headbang: :lol:
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Re: Private Message Tech Support

Postby Kwackman » Mon Jun 04, 2018 12:23 pm

desmond wrote:More likely I just look easily exploitable... :headbang: :lol:

Really?
Expect a PM regarding an exciting financial opportunity just for you.
I'll just need a few of your bank details....
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Re: Private Message Tech Support

Postby garrettendi » Mon Jun 04, 2018 12:36 pm

Kwackman wrote:Really?
Expect a PM regarding an exciting financial opportunity just for you.
I'll just need a few of your bank details....

I'm interested in this... Tell me more.
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Re: Private Message Tech Support

Postby Forum Admin » Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:11 pm

Are these requests coming via PM from members who have posted a reasonable number of times, or are they from new members with post counts of 1,2 etc?

If the latter, they might be would-be spammer accounts that the mod team ordinarily block/delete.
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Re: Private Message Tech Support

Postby desmond » Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:20 pm

Forum Admin wrote:Are these requests coming via PM from members who have posted a reasonable number of times, or are they from new members with post counts of 1,2 etc?

Joined that day, zero post count, sent PM that day. Basically people that only joined up because they thought it was likely that I could help them with their problem. This has happened a few times to me.

Forum Admin wrote:If the latter, they might be would-be spammer accounts that the mod team ordinarily block/delete.

No, they are not spammers, they are genuine people asking for help. They've seen posts, for example, where I have converted old Logic projects into LPX format for a few people in the past, they have the same need, and so to ask me, they join up and send a PM to see if I will do the same thing for them.
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Re: Private Message Tech Support

Postby Forum Admin » Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:51 pm

Thanks desmond. I'll investigate if we can stop PMs being sent by newcomers until they have successfully gone past the 3 post vetting process.

I felt sure we already prevented this, but will check.
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Re: Private Message Tech Support

Postby desmond » Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:03 pm

Forum Admin wrote:I'll investigate if we can stop PMs being sent by newcomers until they have successfully gone past the 3 post vetting process.

I felt sure we already prevented this, but will check.

Sounds like a good idea, if possible. :thumbup:
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Re: Private Message Tech Support

Postby ef37a » Mon Jun 04, 2018 3:06 pm

I actually don't mind this TOO much but it can get a bit TOO much IYSWIM!

I have a guy in tow at the moment who is a smart as paint, 'puters and such but is struggling with the century old concepts of valves (whereas I am like a pig in'it' there but get confused about 1970 onward) as applied to a simple (to me) 2 valve amp that he wants to refurb and mod for guitar use.

We have exchanged a good score of emails and diagrams (he puts up with my PC numptyness without a word!) and he seems to be getting to grasp.

A couple of years ago I had I think 3 people on the go and it did head in a bit keeping track of what I was telling who!

I do agree however that this should certainly not be encouraged. How people like Hugh do what they DO do and keep all the balls in the air beats me!

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Re: Private Message Tech Support

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Jun 04, 2018 3:34 pm

It involves standing on my head, Dave! :lol:

We've just done some tests, and it appears that there is a bug-ette in the system that does allow new forum members to post PMs directly, despite the system permissions apparently being set to prevent it. It is being investigated....

H
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Re: Private Message Tech Support

Postby Forum Admin » Tue Jun 05, 2018 10:50 am

The loophole is now plugged and new members cannot PM anyone, or even view the Members list in the grey menu bar, until they have submitted some posts and had three approved by the mod team.
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Re: Private Message Tech Support

Postby desmond » Tue Jun 05, 2018 11:44 am

:thumbup: :clap:

Thanks for this!
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