Earlier this week I spoke to someone who had problems with support
requests. More specifically, they seemed to spend a lot of time
answering questions from
users who don't think reading the howto
page is worth their time.
In my experience, there are two great techniques for avoiding that
fate. One is to put some code in the users' way. For example,
investigates a particular error instead of merely reporting it to the
user, and was written to block support requests. The other is to put
the documentation itself in the users' way, even when the users
look for it the
That's not difficult, it just demands humility, writing skill and now
and then a bit of duplication.
A few minutes later I backed up my laptop, and happened to notice
how my (technically fabulous) backup provider expresses
What fool expects humans to read eleven-digit numbers? Why doesn't this cause a flood of mail from people who miscount by a digit and wonder why their bill is ten times too big?
The answer must be that the sales process weeds out most people. And I can imagine it does just that: would-be customers have to build the product from source, and must estimate how much it will cost based on prices given in picodollars.
I suppose I'm saying that if you can limit yourself to customers who are comfortable counting in picodollars, you won't have work hard to support the product.