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tooangry

This is a help desk

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OK, so much for getting something to eat ...

How about a single message, structured in a Q&A form (as Miss Betty's orriginal post was) that contains the final version of all the relevant information. Why should any new user have to trawl through all the disussions, rather than getting straight to the final conclusion?

And the words I used before ... "work in progress" .. means what to you? And the follow on, as you felt the "need" to go through "all of the postings there" ... what wasn't addressed in the "first" post that required you to delve deeper?

non-techie users they are still very much harder-going than a web-based forum

and yet, this Topic is about how hard it is to use the Forum .....

Baptism by fire to put it mildly.

Spend some time in here and look through other Topics. You'll see my name connected to a "Thanks" in one spot .... and "you're an *&^%$#" in another .... yet my "approach" to trying to help someone out doesn't change that much from post to post ... if not enough data is provided, I point that out .. if I don't understand, I'll say that ... so don't see that this web-based thing is all that necessarily different <g>

Spamcop promotes itself ... incorporate its service into their offering

And I was just about to say .. change "promotes" to "offers" and I'd agree. Then see that you beat me to that punch. That (to my recollection .. and I'm just too tired right now to go and verify) you have to dig a bit on the SpamCop web pages to find a reference to the SpamCop DNSbl doesn't say to me "promotes" And even when you find this reference, it's "offered" as a possible tool for "anyone" to use ... again, not your normal "promotion"

just refuse to deal with the resultant increase in demand for support

and where are you finding that "phrase" ???? This is turning into one heck of a long discussion that would seem to belie the "refuses to help" ... and to stress that point, I'm still hungry and getting thirsty at the moment ... and I'm just volunteering my free time .... I'm not sure what it is you're going on about, actually. If you really want to take up Julian's or JT's business strategies, I don't think this is the way to do it ... and in regards to your first post, addresses for these folks are available .. even through this Forum if you really want. (though not saying you'll get an answer<g>)

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what wasn't addressed in the "first" post that required you to delve deeper?

If there was nothing more to be said, why the 21 replies? If there is nothing useful in them, please have them deleted. If they do have useful information, why should we have to make our way through all 22 posts to extract all the data?

It's clearly time for this discussion to close.

I was asked to make constructive commemts, and did so. No one has responded to those. I suspect because they are sensible suggestions that no one has the time to implement.

If that's the case there is no more to be said.

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Well, I didn't respond because I went to bed.

I do not like the web forum for discussions and am not going to attempt to quote or to make sure who said what.

First of all, I agree with tooangry that the Why Am I blocked FAQ should not include all the discussion. I expect it is because the moderator would have had to ask me to do something - like copy my post into a new post that could then be pinned. As you see, we are not always online at the same times. And hopefully, most people would get the answer from the first post, and realize soon that there isn't anything more to gain from reading further. It is probably a choice on the part of the moderators to answer questions that have not been answered since presumably JT is going to do something about revising the FAQ structure.

Second, I suggested that Why am I blocked questions and spamcop user questions be separated when the web forum was being discussed in the newsgroup. I have repeated that several times and now there are, at least, two others (including tooangry) who have also pointed that out. And maybe a couple more who have agreed. The problem here is JT who, to put it bluntly, is not doing his job in either cleaning up the forum or of allowing interested volunteers in doing it.

Third, spamcop, IMHO, would be much more effective if it was a non-profit organization. As somebody pointed out, TPTB decided not to go that route. It is more like a cooperative for ISP's so that some people will volunteer to make it work.

Fourth, I don't understand why it doesn't work the way other users forums I have visited where there is a question, someone answers it. It is good sometimes that there are more than one answer because there are different aspects and viewpoints and expertise. And there may need to be a long dialog before the problem has been solved. OTOH, particularly newcomers, don't seem to understand that if the question has been answered that they don't have to put their $.02 in or make comments. In the newsgroups, quips or tangential discussions didn't matter as much because they were obviously sub threads.

Fifth, although I thought getting help through the newsgroups was a terrible way of doing it at first, and I thought that possibly a web forum for the help questions would be more 'user-friendly' (from my other experiences of user groups), it was totally sabatoged by the way the web page was written that introduces the forum and the newsgroups . And then by the fact, since some people seem to like the web forum better than the newsgroups, that nothing has been done to set up a General Discussion forum.

IIHMW, all discussion would politely be referred to the newsgroups. The forum for spamcop reporting issues would be for user help and for why am I blocked help. I might relent for a forum for general discussion, but would enforce that posts to the help forums should be only on solving the particular problem or helping the original poster. (and if I had to get forum software that allowed moderators to delete posts, I would) It doesn't matter, as I said before, if there are sub threads in the newsgroups. It is also very enlightening to a newbie who has read the instructions to lurk for a while before posting to see how posters interact and also to gain some insight into the larger problems of spam. It is frustrating and confusing in the web forum. One reason why I am not sure that a newsgroup/forum interface would be useful.

I also agree with tooangry that spamcop should have stricter definitions of spam. There are a number of people in the newsgroups who think that viruses are spam and should be reported. They have a good case, IMHO, in that viruses are unsolicited bulk email. However, spamcop does not include them in the spamcop definition of reportable spam. And that is the key. Being non-reportable by spamcop does not mean that it doesn't fit the definition of spam.

However, a discussion of what is spam, why it is spam, and how it can be dealt with helps everyone to explore possibilities of solving the problem.

And now I am done for the moment. <steps off soapbox>

Miss Betsy

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I never thought I'd be saying this, but I agree with nearly all of what Miss Betsy (sorry for getting your name wrong before) has to say. (I favour the web forums, but that is very much a personal preference, rather than anything fundamental.)

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That's a backhanded compliment if I ever heard one! :lol:

Does it mean that up to now you have NOT agreed with me?

It is always nicer to be able to discuss issues.

Miss Betsy

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I can only speak for myself, but as much as I know about computers I have learnt on my own, I am not technically inclined and if I have a question, I prefere an answer in plain and simple terms. I understand this is a help forum for spam related subjects but I noticed most newbies that arrive here with concerns are turned off by lengthy and technical explanations when, like me, they lack any basic notions to follow them. An old man who was a teacher all his life told me "if you want people to learn something talk to them in <<cow (or bull)>> language"...that may not make sense to you...

the bottom line is that moderators should use the lowest common denominator in their answer, I would rather get an insight in the process and learn how I can fight it than have a lesson in internet management...

in a short time I have learnt quite a bit in this forum, mostly reading between lines, if some exchange seemed chatty and light hearted it was only to spice up and stimulate an otherwise dry discussion...

We all have oppinions, but can we be open minded and identify with the other side sometimes?

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Does it mean that up to now you have NOT agreed with me?

Not always! Although your responses are always clear and courteous, which as you wil gather I value highly. And on this occasion I think you're spot on.

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Wow.... not often when I see "your website sucks and if you don't change it I'm going to complain! You need to work harder with your formatting and help me more!" although we've seen lots of "I can't click the help link, so I'm here to complain. I can't read pinned posts because they obviously DO NOT apply to me."

OTOH, it seems to me that reject messages should point the user to the administrator of the ISP, not a link here on SpamCop. It should be up to the admin, not the user, to properly take care of their e-mail server. Sending a msg to an e-mail user isn't getting the job done, it's just filling these forums with nonsense and elitism because no one will read THE BASIC INFORMATION first! Telling people over and over and overandoverandoverandover again to "contact your ISP" is redudant and after a couple years of being a SpamCop member and lurking in the ng's and forum, it seems like telling people isn't doing much good. They should be going to their ISP to begin with instead of a blocklist. Common sense, but then, this is the internet where it's uncommon to see any sense at all.

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...this is the internet where it's uncommon to see any sense at all.

Just the internet? ;)

I don't know that offline makes much more sense. :D

Seriously, IMHO, that is a good idea for the link to go the ISP (though I am not sure how that could be accomplished easily). Better yet, may the link should go to the Why Am I blocked FAQ. Witness rr.com's response to their customer. And I have had some experiences with abuse desks that either didn't know as much as I do or tried to throw a red herring out. If they read the FAQ, then they should know what to say to their ISP and get it settled more quickly.

Miss Betsy

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No one has responded to those. I suspect because they are sensible suggestions that no one has the time to implement.

If you re-read my last .. I chose to get something to eat, something to drink, and actually closed my eyes for a bit of sleep. I've already made a dozen house-calls, repairing systems that were hosed by the owners during their attempts to "fix" them yesterday while the local cable company had their outage ..... sat down here, have responded to several other posters, and finally made it to "this" Topic. Geeze, give me a minute, will ya? <g>

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Hi, tooangry,

My suggestions, all of which are intended to be positive, are as follows:

...Thanks for the suggestions!

1. Tidy up the FAQ for the help forum. There are 12 pinned topics in the forum, and several of them have multiple messages. The purpose of some is unclear from their titles.

...Wow, big job, but it's certainly a reasonable suggestion. At some point, I guess someone has to make the decision that the "work in process" phase is over and it's time to finish the job. Unfortunately, we don't have a "captain" on this team. Moderators: any volunteers to take on that role? :)

2. Provide a reference to the FAQ and the help forum from the overall FAQ for the site.

...Can you be more specific? Where is the "overall FAQ for the site" -- www.spamcop.net or forum.spamcop.net?

3. Provide a link from the Spamcop home page to the help forum.

...It's there, isn't it ("Help/discussion forum - let your voice be heard")?

4. Consider splitting the help forum for those who are being blocked from the help forum for those with Spamcop reporting problems.

...Another that can only be done by JT, IIUC. Moderators, can you action this?

5. Encourage moderators to take a more agressive stance in keeping discussions civil and on-track. In particular posters who arrive from outside with a problem should not be subject to sarcasm or abuse and deserve to be able to locate the information concerning their own issues without ploughing through unrelated debate and personal asides. Yes many of those who arrive here are unhappy. That is the inevitable result of running a system with a very agressive approach to spam. There needs to be a more positive approach to deeling with ths.

...If you've read other replies I have made, you know that I am very sympathetic to this view. However, the question of what is and is not "civil" is an interpretation issue -- in my experience, it's not always predictable what will trigger a negative response in an OP (things I find witty are viewed by others as being sarcastic). IIUC, it's a bit difficult with the current software (Invision) to split off off-track posts but I agree it would be a good thing to do that.

More generally, I think that there should be an effort to formalise a definition of what spam is for the purpose of Spamcop reporting. At the moment, as far as I can see, this is largely up to the individual reporter. With some active participants clearly taking a very strong line indeed I suggest that clarification of this issue is needed if Spamcop is not going to slip from "agressive" to "rabid".

...Different strokes. SpamCop makes it pretty clear what is and is not acceptable for reporting and has an enforcement mechanism. As you've probably seen, I am one of the (if the THE absolute) most rabid in my definition of spam but I try to follow the SpamCop rules when I submit through it and have yet to receive a complaint that I've violated [what I personally believe to be overly liberal] rules.

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I am not technically inclined and if I have a question, I prefere an answer in plain and simple terms.

In general, no argument. However, those "plain and simple" terms have issues. Semantics, definitions, experience, background, knowledge base, dialects, language translation ... all have some definite impact from both the question and the attempted response. Some of those "plain and simple" terms can cause great issues for others if mis-applied defintions for some terms are allowed to propogate without correction.Some issues cannot be answered without getting into technical details. Recent experience; customer says"I downloaded some file" .. which says to me that she went on-line, went to some URL, clicked on a link, sucked down some file, and ran into the issues that generated the call. Two hours wasted on my part trying to "find" this file available for download anywhere ... and it turns out her "download" turned out to be .. inserting the CD she'd just picked up at a Goodwill, and clicking on the "Install" button that showed up on-screen .... and the fact that the "great deal" she'd scored turned out to be one of those 1,001 game collections for a computer running a 486 or better and Windows 3.1 or better ... any wonder why her XP system had some issues? If she had said "install" at the start, rather than "download" ..??? noting that both words are "plain and simple" <g>

they lack any basic notions to follow them

and the follow-up question stating this wouldn't help? And as noted elsewhere and here, this isn't one of the best vehicles to handle some of these things to begin with.

moderators should use the lowest common denominator in their answer

there's a lot more activity in here than just "moderator" talk <g> and, if you read around a bit, you'll see that Moderators have asked a number of questions themselves .... and if read even closer, you'll see that some of those questions never get answered either <g>

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This may be a bit redundant and a bit of a rant, but I've wanted to mention this in the past, as this is not the first time I've seen gripes about spamcop being not so professional. (tooangry, this is all IMHO from long ago, not directed at you.)

I too have had some experience with "professional" help desks, and these are associated with services for which I am paying monthly rates that are more than spamcop's yearly (mailbox service) rate.

And yes, the spamcop FAQs could stand some more detail and the pinned forum items could be improved as noted. That said, the day spamcop attains the same degree of "professionalism" exhibited by the mega-sized ISPs I must subscribe to, is the day I consider dropping spamcop.

Yes, if I post a question to an SC forum I stand a chance of seeing a condescending, sarcastic, or otherwise non-professional comment. I also stand a very good chance of someone giving me a straight answer or directing me to a place I can find same, and most likely I will see it in minutes. When I contrast this from the typical response from my "professional" help desks, guess who wins? If I email the pro help desks, a couple of DAYS later I get a canned response that ALWAYS, always does not answer the question. I HATE HATE HATE those people (sbc.com, verizon.com). The 2nd email to sbc complaining about the first, results in the advice to call the 800 number. This is a guaranteed half-hour wait in queue. Then I speak to the first level dolt who, when I point out their server is bouncing half my incoming email as "recipient unrecognized", tells me to look at my DSL modem and see if the green light is on. It took WEEKS to get past the first level peons, to get to an actual person who knew his stuff from Shinola. Dear god, how I hate those people. I get tense just typing this.

But are they Professional? Oh, you betcha! Just look at the fancy graphics on their web site! Hoo boy, they put some money in that! They have *really* nice looking FAQ pages too. They don't go into much detail about anything, but if you don't know how to set up MS Outllook you might find something useful. And the recorded announcements you hear for a half an hour+ in ACD queue are *very* nicely done. They tell me I'm getting world-class service, too. Makes me feel a whole lot better (ok, did I mention sarcasm in the forums?). On the web page they have a pic of a smiling headset-wearing help desk professional! (I wonder if he's the one who told me to see if the green light was on?)

So, the point of this rant; ironically, it is my "professional" service provides who make me "too angry". I may get some guff on spamcop forums, but I also can get real advice and answers from knowledgeable people, in very short order. And I also know if I present an actual problem that needs addressing on the spamcop end, it's going to most likely get prompt attention from the top; I've seen it before. There's no such thing here as a canned response to a question I didn't ask.

IMHO, the bigger and more "professional" the organization, the more delay, misinformation, stonewalling, and frustration you will get. Been there, done that, don't like it. I'm very happy doing business with small-scale business.

End of rant.

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Hi, silentlarry!

...Wow, did you hit the nail right smack dab in the middle of the head! Thanks! :D:P

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This is a guaranteed half-hour wait in queue. Then I speak to the first level dolt who, when I point out their server is bouncing half my incoming email as "recipient unrecognized", tells me to look at my DSL modem and see if the green light is on.

Tell me about it, 4 years working with the help desk of the same company, they have a list of my prior queries as soon as I tell them who I am, yet they take me through the setup routine every time I call...it's rather silly...and yes, I never really get an answer to my question... :lol:

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they have a list of my prior queries as soon as I tell them who I am

I have to giggle a bit at some of the "I wasn't supposed to hear that" comments from "new" Tier 1 "techs" when they pull up my screen <g> Sometimes, I hit one that tries to "follow the training" and make me go through the scri_pt .. but usually, it's a pretty easy to suggest that perhaps they might want to pass me on to Mr./Mrs./Ms whoever directly or to whoever's filling that spot at the moment ...

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An FAQ that extends over 22 messages and nearly 5,000 words with no structure or indication how to approach it 

Other than scrolling down the screen, how else would one "approach" what's displayed? And again, as the text is "how's this, what else needs to be done?" ... I'm not quite understanding your ire.

How about a single message, structured in a Q&A form (as Miss Betty's orriginal post was) that contains the final version of all the relevant information. Why should any new user have to trawl through all the disussions, rather than getting straight to the final conclusion?

I'm still working under the cocept that the only reason anyone would feel so compelled to continue on past the first "entry" in this case is ;

1. question was not answered - please see my previous posts on this subject asking for your input on what was not addressed

2. question was not answered, but reader was willing to read on, in hopes that someone else may have pointed out what was missing and thereby get an answer

(that this reader failed to get excited enough to do as requested and declare what wasn't showing is not the fault of anyone "here")

3. morbid curiosity as to what's behind the curtain??

So to start things off to respond to your suggestion, I went through that FAQ and deleted several of my own posts, as those comments had already been incorporated into Miss Betsy's FAQ. Most of the people that posted their suggestions and comments there tend to read everything else posted in these Forums, so I'll guess that some of them will follow suit on their own. There are some that carry real content that's still "out there", so I'd hope they remain until the smoke clears, but the ones that have been incorporated should go ...

So here's one step offered to demonstrate that your words have been heard and heeded. More to follow,,,,

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...Another that can only be done by JT, IIUC. Moderators, can you action this?

Another note sent to JT with a sample layout offered by Miss Betsy this time ....

How about a single message, structured in a Q&A form (as Miss Betty's orriginal post was) that contains the final version of all the relevant information

As stated a number of times, it's the word "final" that's still floating in the air. But to satisfy your deman, Miss Betsy did up a new copy, I've place that in Help, moved the orignal with responses back to the Lounge for further work, if needed .... see the above for other issues ... Some of the other possibilities just aren't working out with the structure as it is ... but still looking/researching/playing with stuff ... deleted one that I started that hasn't had an actual issue against it for a while (after getting permission from the only other content poster in it that had actually only commented that adding these Pinned items was going to cause folks to have to scroll into page 2 to get the "new" stuff ... but again, I saw it as important to get that poster's approval for the deletion of his postingbefore smacking the whole Topic)

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