Stupid end users

I don’t venture into The Pit at all (this is the first Pit thread I’ve ever started in fact), but I am just too effin’ pissed off right now…
What I hate about end users:

I absolutely, completely hate when they bitch and moan about problems with BETA software - and I’m not talking about just reporting bugs - I’m talking about being pissy that there ARE bugs. C’mon people, pay attention! You effing morons - this is NOT READY FOR PRIMETIME SOFTWARE! “Beta” in no way shape or form means its ready for public consumption. You download, install and use beta software, be prepared to encounter problems - even major problems. Every fscking piece of downloadable beta software that comes out has disclaimers all over the place (on the website, in the installer, I’ve seen in ‘em even in help files!) advising people they WILL encounter problems and some of those problems could even cause them to lose valuable data if they choose to risk using the BETA software. If something happens, report the bug but DON’t freakin’ whine about how you lost 3 weeks of work - it’s your own damn fault for using the beta version and using valuable, irreplacable data with it in the first place. Also, know the difference between “bug reporting” and “feature request”. “I don’t like that shade of green” is NOT, I repeat, NOT A BUG!! I don’t want to be going through the bug reports and find how you don’t like that Save button is to the left of the Close button rather than below it! That is NOT A BUG!

I also hate them with every fiber of my being when it’s readily apparent early on that they absolutely REFUSE to learn how to use the software because they “have free support” - Get with the program people - this is TECHNICAL SUPPORT, not “I’m too obtuse to read my help file” support. Now I’m not talking about people who have just brought the software home and started using it - I have no problem with them. It is the people who have been using the software for MONTHS or even YEARS that STILL call in because they can’t be troubled to learn how to print a document - and this is the 3rd time they’ve called in 3 months with the SAME GD QUESTION! Get an effin brain and get off my mother-effin phone! Go take a course at a community college (since apparently all the other schools kicked you out for stupidity)! I DON’T CARE! Just quit wasting my time when I could be doing something useful like help people with REAL problems rather than sitting here and listen to you suck the soul out of me, you moronic, crack-smoking, steaming pile of dung.

Finally, I am sick and tired of the people feeling like they deserve to have everything handed to them. “Can’t you make a free version rather than a paid version - I like the software, but not enough to pay for it” What? You arrogant piece of crap! Have you ever thought that maybe, just maybe, those that work for the company would LIKE TO HAVE MONEY TO BUY FOOD! Not everyone (hell, not many at all) that develops software drives a Ferrari like Cormack or something - these people have to earn a (probably well-under-market-worth) paycheck just like you - or are you just special because you snap your fingers and Daddy buys you a new “Hammerin’ Hank” dildo to cram up your useless craphole after you wear the old one out and you expect everyone around you to fall all over themselves doing the same? If you really like the software, buy the damn thing, otherwise shut the F up and go away, you sorry sack of shit. And if you do find a Warez version, don’t EVEN think of trying to get technical support - otherwise I will hunt you down and throttle your neck until every single zit on your pimple-encrusted face pops all at once!

Don’t be doing any of the above and we’ll get along fine; otherwise, I’m going to make your life miserable and you’ll wish you had never, ever called me.

Reasonable rant, but it is hard to take anyone seriously who says, “mother-effin”. If you’re gonna go, go for the gusto.

can’t help it, it was the way I was raised. I always assume someone that knows me is gonna read this, and that (as stupid as it is) is how I talk IRL (yes, I say “effin” - deal with it folks :slight_smile: )…

A user interface problem, especially one that might cause people to lose data, such as a misplacement of the Save and Close buttons, is a bug. Some of the other stuff your complained about would be lessened if user interfaces were better designed, but it seems that you want to brush off the suggestions of actual users trying to help you.

We all know that software engineers, some who live at the command line and in any event have an very different view of computers, always know better than actual users.

That a more accurately described as a design flaw, not a bug.

Most use “bug” to mean a problem due to a coding error, long after design.

Note that not calling it a bug does not imply it should not be fixed.

Do you also think the people that design and build cars don’t know more about cars than the people who just drive them?

A bug is an error in the code. Nothing more, nothing less. If the issue is the layout of the GUI, that’s a design issue NOT A BUG. If I click SAVE and the file is saved, regardless of where the SAVE button is on the screen, there is no bug in the Save code. If I click SAVE and the program crashes - thats a bug.

It’s not a perfect analogy, because people who design cars are almost certainly end users as well. Also, the car industry is far more mature than the IT industry, and I think in general is better at constructing what people actually want. I’m sure this will happen in IT, and is already happening, but it’s certainly not universal.

But most importantly, we’re talking about different things. The end users will often know a lot more about the goals they are trying to achieve using the software than the writers of the actual software. Something like a misplaced button that makes it very easy to lose all your work may indeed be much more obvious to an end user than to a developer who just tests that the save functionality doesn’t crash the program and writes a valid output file.

User interface testing on actual people who are going to use your software (people who don’t have preconceptions about software design or your application, but rather preconceptions about the tasks they’ve been doing for years) is very important. Because often they really do know more about what you should be trying to design than the actual developers.

Sure those people know more about cars. They’re also pretty sensitive about how well their product is received by the driver.

'Puter geeks, OTOH, are often critical of Joe Public because JP can’t figure out all the little messes that are in software. My experience with IT help types has NOT been good. Waiting on hold for an hour doesn’t help one’s mood either, so that by the time you are in actual contact with a 'puter person, Rationality may be leaving the building.
Then there are the company drones, who don’t want you to understand their “dirty little secrets” because if you know their stuff their job security is threatened.

And all that.

People who design computers and computer programs are also end users as well. We don’t write programs on paper.

I’d guess that computer engineers are probably much more end users of computers than car makers are of cars.

Actually, in response to the OP, I see why much of those things are frustrating, but I’m more inclined to lay the blame at the feet of your company.

Firstly, why would you have telephone support for beta software? Sounds like you’re just asking for trouble. I don’t know if this is standard practice, but why not an issue logging website which would be more useful for testing. That would free up your time for issues with the actual release.

Secondly, people are always going to take the path of least resistance. I tend to figure things out myself, but I work in IT, so I a) kinda like figuring stuff out and b) typically don’t run into things that confuse me for longer than a few seconds. But for someone who just doesn’t care or isn’t that savvy they’re gonna do the easiest thing. Which is to call you :wink: “Community college? But … but … critter42 is on the other side of phone line, always willing to help me out”. As frustrating as that is, the good thing is it should encourage your developers to develop as user friendly a piece of software as they possibly can.

And thirdly, asking for it to be free is not that unreasonable. They’re basically trying to negotiate the price as low as they can. If you want to eat, you can always say no, and ensure your product is worth paying for. If a car salesman gave me the whole “I gotta eat” spiel when I was negotiating a price, I’d be outta there. The market has set the expectation that free versions of software are available for certain products. This may not be true in your specific industry, but unless you’re designing missile guidance systems and Donald Rumsfeld is demanding a shareware version, it’s not unreasonable to try your luck :wink:

This is a good point. It sounds like the users in this case did not get the message somehow either that the stuff is beta what beta means. Limiting support to a website might help limit the beta users to a more advanced group of users who understand the concept of beta.

They’re end users for IDEs and OSs and all that, but probably not for, say, the application a bank teller uses to setup new accounts. I’m surprised that wasn’t clear from my post.

You point is very true for specific types of applications. I very much like the Eclipse interface, for example. This can to a large extent be attributed to the fact that the people that write it probably use it on a day to day basis. For writers of software where they will not be using it at all it’s far easier to be ignorant about the needs of the users, and far more work is required to counter this. Work like, for example, listening to the users when they say they keep accidently clicking Close instead of Save, instead of a knee-jerk “RTFM!!!” reaction.

An alternative analogy would be a race car driver (a super user) designing family cars.

I’m not saying users know what’s going on, or there isn’t a place for expert user interface designers. But the OP seems completely dismissive of users input.

Indeed. In fact, extensive end user testing would probably be in the job description of an “expert user interface designer”.

I was more thinking along the lines of consumer applications, that the general public (including programmers) would use at home. Word processors, games, etc. Speaking for myself as a programmer, I sure like me a nice intuitive GUI on everything I use.

There are certainly command-line geeks out there still though, who reject user-friendliness. Bizarre lot, those. I think they are in the minority though, and I haven’t worked with one in a while.

No, this is in reference to posts I often see made to support forums that complain (not report - complain) about problems with beta software, not phone support - mebbe I should have made that clearer. If you re-read my OP, the only time I mention phone support is in the second item :slight_smile:

Yes, I understand they will take the path of least resistance, absolutely - but that is exactly what pisses me off! The thing is, it does not matter HOW “user-friendly” you make it, you will always get people that call in about something that can be figured out in 2 minutes by reading the manual. It’s more the lack of self-reliancy and the increased laziness, the “I don’t feel like trying - let someone else do my thinking for me” attitude that is becoming almost epidemic in this country that I’m railing against more than anything, it just happens in my line of work to take the form of people not even trying learn the basics of the software they’re using and subsequently calling in asking basic questions they should have already learned. I noted in the OP that if it is a new user who has only been using the software a couple of weeks or something I DON’T have a problem with. In fact, I love showing those customers things they didn’t know the software could even do - THOSE customers’ reactions are what make my job fun :). It is those users who almost WILLFULLY refuse to learn anything about the software and then expect us to help them that chaps my butt (however, I am nothing but the most polite and helpful soul when I’m actually on the phone with these types of people).

It wasn’t that they asked for a free version that pissed me off necessarily, it was the attitude with which they asked for it. If it was polite and well-reasoned I wouldn’t have cared so much (it’s not my software :slight_smile: ) If they had posted an “I really like your software, but I’m a poor college student living off of Ramen and water - would it be possible to come out with a feature-reduced version that might be very low cost or even free?” - kind of post, it wouldn’t have set me off so much, it was the “I really like it, but not enought to pay for it” - I’m sorry but that’s a backhanded compliment if I’ve ever heard one. This guy (and for the longest time it has been a single developer, the sole employee of his own company) has worked his tail off for several years on this software, been selling it for several years (for under $30 a pop), and some other guy comes along and says “it’s not good enough to pay for”? - well, don’t let door hit you in the ass on the way out bud, there’s plenty of free stuff out there.

In any event, I feel better now :slight_smile:

No, I’m not - input is great, as long as it is framed in a proper manner. What I was pitting was people who get mad/upset when something bad happens with BETA software. I’m not dismissing their input, I’m taking issue with their attitude - I have seen more than a few times where beta software has been released with warning on top of warning on top of warning not to use in a production setting or use valuable data with go ahead, do it anyway, something bad happens, then they complain they’ve lost all their data. I’m saying that if you’re going to use beta software, be my guest (I do it all the time), but DON’T whine and complain about issues that it causes you - report the issue, absolutely, but don’t sit there all pissed off because you lost 3 weeks of important data with no backup. It is BETA software.

The last point of that paragraph was, in situations where there are separate “Feature Request” and “Bug” forums, they put things like “I don’t like the shade of green” in the bug forum rather than the feature request forum. I probably a) shouldn’t have used the SAVE/CLOSE button example and b) rephrased the whole last sentence like

but my only defense there is that it was before my first cup of coffee :wink:

Why don’t you just open source it? Problem solved.

:runs away:

I disagree. I think his point is A) how is the input presented and B) Where the input is presented.

A bug is when something doesn’t work as designed.
A feature request is when you don’t like the design.

Why do you say misplaced? Beta testing is how developers find out about things like “we don’t like where this button is” and “pushing save opens a new window.” Thing is, location of a save button is often times a personal preference. If one person does not like it, 100 others might like it better there. Not a bug- Feature request. On the other hand, if you press save and a virus loads, that is a bug, becuase the intent was for the document/file/project to save. This is a bug. Someone accidently (i hope) put the open new window code in the save button module. This is a bug. Beta realeses are full of bugs, and feature requests. If his boeard is like ours, it is very clear where to place bug reports and feature requests. The problem is the people that are too lazy to care, or so arrogant that anything they don’t 100% like is a bug.

I have complete empathy with the OP. At my place of employment, we have a product manager who gets paid to sift through feature requests and present them to our mgt. making suggestions on what features showed be included in our next release. It is very annoying for me to get a bug report from a client, where they ask for a design change. THAT IS NOT A BUG