Re[Evangelism] ach out, mediation, guidance and Plone world peace

Graham Perrin G.J.Perrin at
Tue Nov 4 21:39:16 UTC 2008


Karl Horak wrote:
> … how can we locate and identify frustrated Plone admins and mitigate any
> negativity?  Can we set up a formal process to track sites in danger of
> falling off the Plone wagon?  Would it be possible to assign a POC who
> could act as a liaison between their admin(s) and Plone tech support?  
> I think it would be valuable if the Plone community had a process that
> tracks frustrated users and implementers, reach out to them even when they
> haven't asked or don't know how to ask for help, give them the TLC they
> need, and minimize the consequences of failed Plone projects.  
> Some of the input that identifies floundering Plone sites would come from
> the technical support lists and channels, but some could come from people
> who stumble upon negative blogs and rants on the web.  
> I'd appreciate hearing from others about if and/or how we should be
> attempting this. …

I'm very much in favour of reaching out. 

> a POC who could act as a liaison between their admin(s) and Plone tech
> support

Mediation (being in between) can be tricky. 

Picture yourself providing tech support in a difficult situation. Now
picture: a mediator adding to, or re-interpreting the advice that you have
given. Feelings are easily hurt in this way. Satisfaction for the person
requiring support is not always a win-win situation.

I suggest: guidance first, with the option of mediation to follow. 

Guide towards documentation or a ticket, or to a fair explanation of
something. Let the person requiring support make their own decision about
how to proceed.

* If a post is made to the wrong forum, simply move the thread to the more
proper forum† with a polite and reasonable explanation.

* If an issue is mis-filed in Trac (I'm occasionally 'guilty' of this), take
sixty seconds to abstract or at least reference the issue in a more proper

* Wear sandals. Be a hippy, even if your hair is short or missing.†† 

If the person requiring support decides that a *personal* approach is
preferable to IRC or the forums, then guide to the right person/people —
with the implicit or explicit permission of the referee(s) — and without
necessarily getting in between.

There's always someone who can help. 

A feeling of urgency, in a frustrating situation, should be reduced if
there's at least a map (not necessarily a timeline) of how a problem may be
dealt with. 

(True urgency should be exceptional, rare — if backup and restore routines
are easy to follow.)

Thanks to Karl for opening the discussion!

Thanks, too, to the Plone people who guide me when I'm without direction. I
understand and respect that not everyone has the time/inclination for
everything that's suggested here :)

Best regards


† In this and other respects, Nabble is absolutely excellent. Kudos to Limi
and others for the choice of forum technology, and for

†† Optional. I do sometimes include 'Peace' in my signature.
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