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Re: [Computerbank] frustrated help supporter

Sorry, I've tried to avoid interspersing my comments before but see **
below .. Bruce

At 22:18 9/01/02 +1030, Shaun Branden wrote (speaking for SA mostly):

 [How many help supporters do we have across Australia?]

>Not sure, but in SA we have Dale, Romana, and myself for the unix based
>stuff, with a few others helping out with basic unix and hardware.

** Now we are national we need a national register of our helpers.
** Now we are national all helpers need to be tapped into a place 
** where helpers talk over "stuff".

  [Do you share the answers you find that work?]

>We try to get together and talk about issues. For instance, Grant put me
>onto iceWM which works well as a low end window manager for our low
>powered systems.

   [How good does a help supporter have to be?]

>Depends, there is a need for people with general computer skills,
>hardware skills, unix user level skills and unix trouble shooting

** the helpers listed should be tagged according to these skills. 

  [Each question be handled by a Computerbank volunteer of that level?]

>Not sure, you are a computerbank volunteer, lets see if you can help me
>with this:
>"The Internet isn't working."

** the possible sifting mechanism (perhaps just the "receptionist" or 
** person answering the Computerbank phones) could separate out these
** various levels. The Melbourne PC User group does this with its
** over 10,000 users. For the simplest questions you get an immediate 
** answer, otherwise you ring a more expert person or they ring you.

>>>>>>>>  How might this filtering of those providing help occur?
>>>>>>>>  If the questions asked on the proposed pre-kindergarten 
>>>>>>>>  level list can be answered (on the list) by anyone who 
>>>>>>>>  thinks they know the answer, then there's no reason for 
>>>>>>>>  them to be tested before they start answering queries.

>No way. The answers need to be correct.

** As far as the proposed list is concerned, anyone giving a wrong 
** answer could be immediately corrected. As has been pointed out,
** we are not a business with business expertise and resources,
** therefore to get all the volunteers we need to help fix our wish
** for more volunteers in this area, this is an acceptably "loose"
** mechanism (way) that will, if not perfect, still work?

     [Mistakes any helper makes can then be fixed on the list]

>If they get it wrong, the users will not be able to read the list- they
>may not even have a file system left.

** So, in such cases, they go to the phone/fax/sanail options.

>>>>>>>> Helpers will learn to stick to answering only what they are 
>>>>>>>> very sure of for starters. Why answer on the list? Because 
>>>>>>>> others on it will have the same question in their minds or 
>>>>>>>> will have asked it before but not fully understood the answer 
>>>>>>>> then.

>This is fine, providing that the people answering have a clue.

** Others on the list, including the appointed monitor of what 
** happens on it, can fix that.

>>>>>> Doing as much as we can via the proposed "total clots" 
>>>>>> (aka. dummies) list means many things are possible all 
>>>>>> at the same time, can you see some of them? Start with 
>>>>>> the fact clients can ask a question at any time on any day.

>Come into #computerbank on openprojects and ask. There is usually a
>selection of very cluey people in there willing to help. Or ask a
>question to this list, a new one whatever, but don't take the answer for
>granted unless you know that the person you are talking to knows the

** Which is what I'm proposing but in the comfortable environment 
** of many other dummies asking "stupid" questions.  :-)

 [What about those not able to be online?] 

>>>>>>>>> That's to my mind a totally separate issue, the more 
>>>>>>>>> I think about it. And the more we get clients online 
>>>>>>>>> right away the SO MUCH BETTER OFF we will be.

>True, but that brings on its own issues. 

** Non-list (dummies list) help mechanisms need their own 
** separately evolved best answers. In another thread on here.

....................... Thanks once more Shaun.

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