Archive for November, 2013

When we ask you for your files, or a link to your site…

diagnosis

 

Much like the good doctor needs to examine the patient before coming to a diagnosis and very much like a detective that needs sufficient clues to nail the victim, it is important for us to go through your files to come to a correct conclusion on solving the issue at hand.

It is possible that sometimes, the issue that you are facing has everything to do with your code, and nothing to do with the software in particular.  Many times, it helps us improve the software after we have researched a particular bug that you have reported.

And yes, the files that you send us are not shared with anyone inside Adobe or outside of it except for the primary people involved in troubleshooting the problem.

For websites, you could stage your content on to to a staging server and share the link with us. The log in credentials that you provide us will be treated with utmost secrecy.

The do’s and dont’s when posting on a public forum

On a public forum, what you ask is as important as how you ask it. Ensure that you have done all that is possible at your end when asking the question before you seek answers.

Etiquette

Work on your title

As flowers attract bees through their vivid display of colors and scents, posts attract visitors by their titles. Ensure that you have captured the essence of your query in your title. Think over what it would take for you to click on the title if you came across it. For example, if your issue is related to a problem with a software not responding at launch, you can title it, “Adobe XYZ software doesn’t launch on the latest version of Mac OS (Maverick)”. People are more likely to click a link if they understand what the title is all about.

Provide all information that you think would help solve the problem

Solving a query on a forum is detective’s work. Provide as many clues as possible.

  • When did this happen?
  • Was this working normally previously?
  • Did you make any changes to your computer before this problem surfaced?
  • What is your software version, which OS are you using it on, which version of the OS?

The more clues you provide, the better will be the quality of your responses.

Insert screenshots where necessary

Absolutely, when necessary. Use the provision to insert images (click the Camera icon) to insert screenshots into your post. This way, you don’t have to type a whole lot of text. And if you are good at capturing videos of your screen, that would be equally wonderful. Just make sure that the video is crisp and captures most of the information that the experts will need to solve your problem.

screenshot

Do not divulge confidential information

Public forums, are well, public and accessible to everyone across the world.  To avoid your contact information being misused ensure that you do not divulge any confidential information such as your contact details, your serial number, your credit card details, and so on. Most forums have an option to send a private message. You could use that to provide information to trusted people on the forum.

Acknowledge help received on the forum

I cannot say this enough: Please, please acknowledge answers by marking them as correct or helpful whenever relevant. This provides other users with an insight into solutions that helped, and the next reader does not have to read the entire length of the post to arrive at the correct answer. And of course, it encourages the person that answered the question. Also, most times, people are helping you for free and this gesture can be rewarding in more ways than one.

Have patience

If you have asked the question well, it shouldn’t be long before someone answers your question. Just in case your question is ignored, do not panic. Go back and ask if people on the forum need more insight into your problem.

Go back and help other users

If you have enough expertise on the topic, enlist yourself for helping other users. Keep aside some time to help other people in your community. It can be a highly rewarding experience.

 

 

Date for the next update? Hard to tell

Lips-Sealed-714817

Much as I (we) understand your need for information on the next update, it is not possible to do so for a variety of reasons. No one understands better than us your need for fixing a bug that is bothering you. But when we do that, we want to make sure that the other person who needs a different fix is also taken care of.

In an unrealistic world, the bug fix would sneak your way into your software the next time you opened it and an equally sneaky message would inform you about the transgression.

In the world as it exists today,  product teams usually have to co-ordinate a lot of things and make sure things are perfect before they announce a release date. And things could go terribly wrong at the last minute prompting a change of plans.  That is how everyone’s world works too, right?

This is the reason why the product management team is the only team that has to make that call and announcement. People like me can broadcast it only after that is done. Think of it like a nuclear deal signed by the head of your country. The journalists probably have a clue about the details but they are not authorized to reveal it until the deal is done. There can be consequences.

4 Golden Rules for asking questions on forums

OK, you posted your question on a user to user forum and it went into a black hole.  And then you assumed, mostly incorrectly, that your question was dumb and unworthy of a response. Before you condemn yourself to eternal damnation, it might be worth following these four golden rules.

Rule #1: Do your homework

Philosophers worth their latest Nirvana will tell you that the way you go about seeking answers is sometimes more important than the answer itself.

OK, I made that up but it does make a lot of sense huh?

CCC_Search_REC_Recherche

Query answered already?

If you are Johnny come lately, chances are that your question has been done to death on the forum to an extent that it gives everyone the hives to answer it all over again. Look for the Search box. Use it.

You Google for everything from the person your favorite actor is dating to the possibility of human beings being aliens. Maybe it is a good idea to entrust Google with your problem too.

Your title, matters.

It is amazing how our actual behavior is completely in dissonance with, well, our actual behavior. Most of us never travel beyond the headlines of a newspaper, and yet, assume that titles such as  Adobe Problem, Help!, Adobe CS5 will have people rushing to answer us with floral scented candles.

Go back, rephrase that title, and get the pheromones oozing out of it.

The details, you devil!

What’s the software; which version? What Operating System; which version? Anything that changed on the computer before it got all wonky? Provide as much ammo as possible.

The more you give the more you get – this couldn’t be truer for forums. But avoid writing a soap opera.

Rule #2:  Don’t multi-post

keep-calm-and-don-t-repeat

Heard of the law of diminishing returns? If you got Rule #1 right, you are not going to be ignored. And if you are, just go back with a second appeal – on the same post.   Some communities can be very unforgiving of people that post the same question multiple times. Death by Ostracization is not unheard of.

Rule #3:  It takes time to answer. Wait.

patience

The submit button is not the equivalent of your confirming the order with a waiter. You have done your bit; now wait. People on a forum will help you when they have the time for it. It might take a couple of hours; maybe a day. They are doing it for free remember? And in most cases, all that they are getting for their head banging is your not-so-guaranteed thank you.

If people that work for free to answer your question can stay composed, so can you. They have other problems too + your problem.

Rule #4: Are you at the right place?

lost

If you have the latest version of the software and need a solution urgently, you should probably be picking up the phone or chatting with a customer service representative. Caveat: Ensure that you have followed Rule#1 before you do that.

Long wait times? Did you check if the company has a Twitter handle or Facebook account? Did you try using the callback option? Did you try chat support?

Socially yours…

It has been quite some time since I blogged, and in this time, I have moved from being content creator to the online social lead for web products. Essentially, what that means is that I will be responding to user queries posted on various social media platforms in collaboration with other experts at Adobe.

I will be using my blog to communicate all information about web products that I am allowed to share.  And needless to say, if I inadvertently state something that isn’t entirely correct,  it has everything to do with me and nothing that has been endorsed by Adobe. Having said that, I will stay clear of such misadventures.  I am trying to account for Monday mornings and bad hair days.

The information that I share is however, not for just your consumption but is meant to be shared, retweeted, reblogged, recycled, whatever. I will try to ensure that it is all worth your effort, time and space.

If you have anything that you want to share, please use the comments section to do that. Anything that is positive and constructive will be given immediate thought and attention.

I will try and notch up a blog post a week, and it is one of my commitments I hope to keep.

Cheers!

Preran