[ubuntu-uk] getting help - UK List

Toby Smithe toby.smithe at gmail.com
Mon Jan 29 21:24:20 GMT 2007

Very aptly described.

On Mon, 2007-01-29 at 20:23 +0000, Alan Pope wrote:
> On Mon, 2007-01-29 at 19:33 +0000, Matthew East wrote:
> > On Mon, 2007-01-29 at 17:45 +0000, Alan Pope wrote:
> > > On Mon, 2007-01-29 at 14:54 +0100, Matthew East wrote:
> > > > On Mon, January 29, 2007 1:10 am, London School of Puppetry wrote:
> > > > > is there a list somewhere of Ubuntu experts
> > > > 
> > > > There isn't such a list for the UK. However, developing one would be a
> > > > very worthwhile task for this team to carry out - face to face help is a
> > > > very important type of help which is much more difficult to find for
> > > > Ubuntu than it should be.
> > > 
> > > How would you envisage such a list operating? 
> > > 
> > > Would this be a "not an Ubuntu official partner, but willing to help"
> > > type list?
> > 
> > There is already one of those: http://www.ubuntu.com/support/marketplace
> > 
> Yes, I was aware of that, wanted to clarify what you were suggesting.
> > What I had in mind was more something by way of freely available
> > community support.
> I always find that a little tricky.
> For me (whether right or wrong) I like to choose how and when I
> contribute to the community. As with everyone else I have a limited
> amount of time to spend between this/that/theother. I also (as with
> everyone else) have requirements to pay bills and feed myself and the
> family. So this leads to a careful(ish) balancing act between:-
> a) Work - stuff that pays bills
> b) FLOSS stuff - contributing to the community for free
> c) Other - family stuff etc
> If someone were to pay me to do b) then I could do less of a) in order
> to do c). If I were to advertise my free services then the balance might
> tip more towards b) detracting the attention from those vital c) and a)
> sections.
> At the moment I can walk away from a computer, not looking at the
> support tickets, mailing lists, email (to do a) or c)) knowing that they
> will either pile up and I will have to go through them when I get back,
> or someone else will deal with them.
> If the contact is direct via email/phone/IM/whatever then the system of
> one-to-many turns into one-to-one. This is of course potentially
> beneficial to the recipient of the help, but less useful for the helper.
> More of my time would be dedicated to helping one individual - and
> whilst that would be a fulfilling task, it's not time efficient. Think
> of all the other people who have the same problem now or in the future
> who will not benefit from the private conversations between myself and
> the person I am helping.
> I would say we are better off pointing people to the support ticket
> system, as there are many eyeballs on it. For example I was going like e
> demon on that between October and December last year, but this year have
> barely touched it due to other commitments. Do the people asking
> questions get no support as a result? No, because there are loads of
> other committed people who the work load-balances around.
> Compare that with the person down the road who needs some one-on-one, if
> I am away doing a) and c) then they are left in a situation where they
> may mail/phone/IM/whatever me and get no response, or get a very delayed
> response. How does that look/feel for them? In addition as I focus my
> attention on them, talking them through whatever issue they have, what
> happens to all the other people who are waiting for their support
> tickets to be answered in a way that will benefit future google-users?
> I appreciate some people need a little hand-holding, I really do. But
> when someone is desperate for help (machine wont boot) they will expect
> the person helping to drop stuff to come over to help won't they? That's
> how I often find people with problems. 
> I know I have worded this mail from my perspective, but I am pretty sure
> it's not far off how many people feel about helping with the community. 
> Am I out of order / hypocritical / wrong? Please tell me. I would like
> to offer as much time and support to the community as I can, but I like
> the idea of time-inefficiency built-in.
> Cheers,
> Al.
Help me get to Venezuela!

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