I hope no one feels they can honestly argue the point, but as a general rule I feel I truly like to help people; I would think that should be obvious based on the last decade of tools I have made freely available, the sharing of tons of possibly quite valuable information on this blog and other public forums, and who knows how many unsolicited direct emails I have received and responded to over the last 10-15 years.
That being said, it isn’t all an act of altruistic servitude. In part, receiving and responding to the emails has been fun for me and I used to often learn new things from the emails to boot. I can’t count the number of times someone would explain a situation to me and I would sit back and think, there is no way it works like that, only to test it and see that indeed, it does work like that whether that it was one of my utilities or more often, a Microsoft product I am familiar with.
To me, learning is always fun except when it involves learning from bad experiences like “Hey if you hit a sheet of ice when your car is traveling at 60 MPH the outcome is not generally good” or “don’t loan money to a friend because they are fairly likely to take advantage of you“. That learning and fun and just touching base with people around the world who have similar interests has always been enjoyable for me. That joy has value to me. Makes the time spent reading and responding worth it versus spending the time on other things.
Unfortunately, a trend in email question quality I started detecting maybe 5 years ago has been accelerating at a fierce rate the last couple of years and it has gotten to the point that a vast number of the emails I am receiving now are more irksome than happy making for me and pretty much a waste of time.
Those long time followers of this blog and anyone who has spoken to me in person is aware of this trend and my thoughts on it. But for the rest… The trend is people asking very basic questions that they could easily boogle for the answer or asking me how to do their job properly when their boss gives them an assignment to figure something out or several other things that truly have no value to me at all, simply someone who doesn’t or can’t put in the work and are using me as their phone a friend.
As many of you know, I already have a job in IT, I don’t need to be doing other people’s jobs for free. Especially, and this may sound mean spirited but isn’t intended to be, but especially I don’t need to be spending my valuable spare time doing for free the job of people who have taken the jobs of friends and future friends of mine who did a better job but cost more. I won’t speak any more on that specific topic other than quality workers can and should cost a company some quality money. Don’t go into Morton’s Steakhouse, order a steak, and then demand McDonald’s pricing – you won’t get it. Alternately, don’t walk into McDonald’s and order a cheeseburger and then try to demand Morton’s quality – you won’t get it. If you want McDonald’s pricing, you get McDonald’s quality. That may work for you, it may not. But if it isn’t what you wanted in the long run, you can look in the mirror to see who to blame.
With all of that being said, below are the changes I am implementing. Note that these changes are, like everything involved with joeware, completely and utterly up to my final discretion. I make the tools, I do the work, I define the results. I am open to people stating other opinions and may even change future directions based on those opinions but, in the end, if you come to me, you are asking me to be the sole arbiter of anything that I do for you. That is the most succinct way of stating the EULA’s of most if not every company out there. Don’t believe me, go into any Burger King (which does it your way) and ask for a Coca Cola without High Fructose Corn Syrup and a turkey burger with sliced kohlrabi chips and see how far you get.
joeware support policy change
- Any request for help will be reviewed for quality. If I am ok with the quality and the request, I will respond as previously.
- If the quality is poor based on my sole judgment, I will decide whether or not to go forward with it. If I chose not to go forward at all, I will likely respond with an email that says, I can’t help you and possibly a link to this blog post.
- If I determine that the request is of the type “I don’t have time or energy or know how to go look this up myself” and I decide I am willing to help I will respond with this blog post and request that you donate $300 USD to the joeware tip jar located on the top left corner of the blog where it says tip jar: and PayPal Donate. That donation will result in me being willing to spend up to 30 minutes of my personal spare time in responding to the email, the amount of time is up to my personal discretion.
- If I determine that the request is of the type “Tell me how to do my job”, the same results as #3.
- If I determine that the request is of the type “We want to add a feature or capacity to a product or make a new product but we don’t know how to and we want you to tell us how to do it”, I will send a link to this blog, request that you donate $600 to the tip jar and then be willing to spend up to 30 minutes responding to the email.
- If the request is to get me on the phone, put $10,000 in the tip jar before even sending the email. I will then consider it.
- If I determine for any other reason that I want to, I will send a link to this blog post and the donation request with some arbitrarily defined amount for the tip.
I have wide discretionary powers in what I will and won’t deem poor quality and what I will and won’t deal with. Even before this “policy change” if the email was poor enough, I would only be helpful enough to send back a response that would be useful to someone who could and would try to figure something out. This just solidifies my stance, makes it public, and offers a mechanism to change my mind on what kind of response I would like to produce.
For everything else…
If you have found a bug in one of the tools, please email me. If you have an idea on something to make one of the tools better, please email me. If you have an idea of a new tool that needs to be written, please email me. Note that all of those emails and the associated ideas become MY property the instant they hit my inbox. You can tell anyone you like that you made the suggestion but for all legal and fiscal intents and purposes, they are my intellectual property.
Finally if you just want to say hi and/or that you found the tools or information or whatever useful or humourous or has made your life better, definitely feel free to email me – and don’t forget the tip jar. ;o)
 The term boogle is what I use to describe using either Bing or Google to search for something. Yes I realize there is a website out there called boogle.com which just does a Google search but I think boogle sounds better than ging.
 I get about 10-15 of these a month. If people want to donate the right amount for this, then hey, I can retire and spend full time on joeware.