Ayende @ Rahien

It's a girl

Stupid support emails, #4

I am having a friendly competition with a friend about the stupidest support questions that we get from random people we never met. I posted about this previous, but I really can’t resist posting the content of something that I just received, it is either that or figure out how to send a nuke via email.

Hi,

Im f[removed] from Malaysia…. I has look at ur website about SOA. Did u do SOA application? Actually im a new learner, my knowledge are 0 about programming. I take an e-commerce course, at here I just do like a practical for 6 month and now I need to do on SOA. If u can help, I need some information about SOA, how to integrate the application, service and database. I help u can help me…

Thank you,

Best Regards;

F[removed]

This is the actual email text, I merely removed this guy name.

Therefore, I unilaterally declare myself the winner of the stupidest support emails contest.

Comments

Jake Scott
01/21/2010 11:00 AM by
Jake Scott

I just saw this on the Tweetsharp google group:

Newbie Programming Help

Hey,

I'm trying to make a twitter app thats similar to Tweetdeck or Seesmic in that I want multiple columns (1 for timeline, 1 for replies, DMs, search, etc). One way I found was to bind a list box MSDN support said to make a tweet class and then make an array of tweets and bind it to the replies list, then when I made a tweet array for the dms and binded it to another listbox the dms showed up in the replies listbox. I think binding may not be the way to go. Can anyone help me get my app up and running?

2nd on

Kev
01/21/2010 11:25 AM by
Kev

Ayende - Whether it was right or wrong to ask you for advice on how to use SOA in his integration task that's for you to decide.

But publicly ridiculing someone who clearly doesn't use english as a first or even second language is a bit harsh.

I see this kinda thing so often on so many predominantly english language IT/Dev forums/QA sites such as Stack Overflow. It fills me with sorrow to see folks who don't have a good grasp of english being the butt of a frankly elitist bunch of people who should know better.

Ponder for a moment the thought that all the good software development stuff/articles/forums was predominantly written in Russian or Mandarin, but your first language is english with only junior high school Russian/Mandarin as a second language. How would you feel if someone posted your cack handed translation of a question from english to Mandarin for shits and giggles?

Mark S. Rasmussen
01/21/2010 11:28 AM by
Mark S. Rasmussen

@Kev

I don't think Ayende is ridiculing the spelling in the post. It's the content that's laughable.

Arnis L.
01/21/2010 11:41 AM by
Arnis L.

@Kev

I've seen opposite too. How guys like Marc Gravell 'tries to salvage' poorly spelled (can i haz code?) and logically wrong questions on stackoverflow.

Grimace of Despair
01/21/2010 11:46 AM by
Grimace of Despair

@Kev: I always have mixed feelings at publicly ridiculing someone, but Ayende's English at times is equally bad (probably due to just type and click "post"), so I don't think he's mocking that.

But there seems to be a division within alleged programmers on the internet:

  1. those who just post a general problem and ask a solution,

  2. and those who post an outlined problem and ask advice.

The latter group is the largest and gets me chuckling every now and then.

Ayende Rahien
01/21/2010 12:00 PM by
Ayende Rahien

Kev,

a) Regarding the spelling, I don't mind that much, except when it is my brother, in which case I mock him ruthlessly. I am not a native speaker, so I am going to cut a LOT of slack to people.

b) I understand that the spelling makes it hard to read, but did you comprehend the content? It is what he wants that is silly.

KevDog
01/21/2010 12:30 PM by
KevDog

I'm guessing that the truly stupid one is this poor kid's supervisor, (i.e. the bonehead who gave him the assignment).

And as the coup dé grace, he probably asked for it in Access.

Grimace of Despair
01/21/2010 12:33 PM by
Grimace of Despair

That'll teach me for "type and click post": the former group is the largest of course ;)

Ryan Roberts
01/21/2010 01:04 PM by
Ryan Roberts

But publicly ridiculing someone who clearly doesn't use english as a first or even second language is a bit harsh.

I don't think that was the issue. I certainly hope not given the number of Ayendeisms in the Rhino.* source code :)

Stefan Wenig
01/21/2010 01:09 PM by
Stefan Wenig

Besides the laughable scope of the question, English skills are not that unimportant either. I think it requires some chuzpah to not only ask silly questions without even trying to gather some information first, but also bother the receiver with incomprehensible gibberish that requires multiple reads, guessing or even requests for clarification.

Mails like that should be answered by ELIZA. The resulting conversation might make a good read for long winter nights ;-)

Lesson: You can't be totally incompetent in your area of work and expect other people to help you in a language you don't quite speak. That's just too much! (But nothing that can't be outdone with some added aggressiveness. Hei! Must me help fix proken water peip with ur soft ware or me will never us ur three staff again! Wil setup web page about ur stupid software and ur ugly sista!)

William
01/21/2010 02:44 PM by
William

Personally I somewhat agree with @Kev on this one but not for the reasons of mocking his/her language or the content.

The fact is Ayende uses this blog for both personal and to market his business (support for various products) is the issue. He clearly indicated that this was a support email and how stupid it is.

Now being someone that has owned his own biz for awhile I find that publically making fun of his client(s) rather cold. And since this client and or future clients might read his blog too. I hope that you all see the picture that I am painting here.

Regardless if this email was sent by mistake to his support system is irrelevant, communications’ between any user/client and support should be taken seriously and with discretion.

Ayende Rahien
01/21/2010 02:47 PM by
Ayende Rahien

William,

This is NOT a support email from my business, this is something that was sent for me privately.

When I am talking about "support emails" I am talking about emails that ask me for support.

KevDog
01/21/2010 03:21 PM by
KevDog

I think the "support" wording is a corollary to "required". The principle of least surprise would dictate that support is a business issue. "Asking me for help" would have been less ambiguous.

Anon
01/21/2010 05:22 PM by
Anon

Never miss an opportunity to tell everyone that they are racists.

gunteman
01/21/2010 07:11 PM by
gunteman

To be honest, I think that the lack of humility and empathy shown by publishing this email is much more disturbing (and "stupid") than the email itself.

Ayende Rahien
01/21/2010 07:20 PM by
Ayende Rahien

gunteman,

Every so often I get frustrated enough with the lack of respect for my time that some people have that I find myself forced to make some statement about it

Phil
01/21/2010 07:29 PM by
Phil

This e-mail is mis-guided but not stupid. It is never stupid when you try to improve yourself albeit not always taking the right approach. This guy/gal was just trying to get better.

Set
01/21/2010 08:12 PM by
Set

At least you haven't made a 3D engine...you'd be spammed about MMORPG requests haha

gunteman
01/21/2010 08:28 PM by
gunteman

Ayende, I understand the frustration, I really do. I just wish you could blow off the steam in some other way.

As for making a statement, I doubt that it helps much. I think you should just arm yourself with a friendly but unapologetic blanket response mail. The same text could be included on a Contact page here.

Tracker1
01/21/2010 09:50 PM by
Tracker1

A while back I worked for a storage/backup hardware company, and once got a call from someone concerned about backing up a file and the drive wasn't working... (The electricity was out).

Andrew
01/21/2010 10:37 PM by
Andrew

It's amazing the high horses some people are on. I mean, seriously, the guy gets asked a silly question and he wants to show the email, is that really such a bad thing?

I also can guarenttee that the people who are "upset" with this have done far worse in their lives, but hey, it's the internet so it's easy to be a Saint.

Ngu Soon Hui
01/22/2010 04:23 AM by
Ngu Soon Hui

That's really stupid; I never feel so ashamed as a Malaysian.

Devaiah Kokkalemada
01/22/2010 05:22 PM by
Devaiah Kokkalemada
  And I used to be a fan, Ayende. This is in poor taste. This request was obviously not from seasoned professional.  "Lack of respect for my time" ?  It isnt even funny anymore
Jake
01/23/2010 03:10 AM by
Jake

The problem with this email isn't the spelling or grammar. It is anyone with good and decend problem solving skills could get started by searching the web and researching the topic. This is a, "I need to do SOA, can you tell me how to do it?". That is abdicating the responsibility on the learner to just tell him what to do.

This student should have:

  1. Researched and analyzed some initial findings

  2. Framed his problem much better in his email

  3. Mentioned some actions he has taken to solve the problem himself

  4. Postulate some solutions and ask if he is heading in the right direction.

I work with lots of new developers in the US and the biggest problem is they don't know to frame and solve problems.

Dan
01/27/2010 12:07 AM by
Dan

The worst I have done was record a phone call where I was trying to help a guy with his software system. I still have it, but of course it wont be released to the public.

The guy couldnt do anything at all. I'm not kidding. He couldnt open a Start Menu, take a screen shot, or send an email. Sure you might not know how to do this at the start, but 45 mins after starting I could only talk to him for about 5 seconds before falling off my chair from laughing so much.

I think it was at this point I went crazy and became a developer. Developers dont need phones.

Comments have been closed on this topic.