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23 January 2014 @ 06:00 pm
Information at last!  
A friend has just informed me that Bliz seems to be having serious issues with connectivity today, so the whole issue may be on their end.

On the other hand, I'm still a bit bent that there's NO way you can contact them unless you know information that someone who isn't computer savvy doesn't know.

A letter, perhaps?
 
 
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wmilliken on January 24th, 2014 03:26 am (UTC)
They don't really want to be contacted unless it's an issue so bad you'll stop subscribing.

In their defense, connectivity issues are a major pain to deal with, and often due to things outside their control. They take a fair amount of knowledge about everything from your computer, and everything along the path to their server, to actually figure out where the issue lies. I spent much of my life debugging Internet issues, so it's easy for me. Usually.

Traceroute is the main tool for looking at this sort of problem, though it actually didn't tell me much about today's problem. I learned a lot more by having problems just accessing Blizz's website. Given that the net was otherwise working normally, and that my wife managed to log in, it suggested Blizzard was most likely under attack, or had totally messed up their own systems somehow. And the latter normally happens on Tuesday, when they do maintenance. So my best guess is they're under network attack, which usually causes random connection problems. QED
bunnbunn on January 24th, 2014 09:01 am (UTC)
+1 on the 'support costs money' and 'connectivity is a major pain to diagnose' - and to that, I'd add that supporting people whose reaction to 'can you send a traceroute' is 'I can't do that' rather than to go to Google and find out how to run a traceroute, is *really* expensive and frustrating!

And by that, I don't mean that people who don't want to find out how to (say) run a traceroute, or view email headers, or whatever are bad people, or that everyone should have a formal education in network protocols.

I just mean that they don't speak the language, don't know how to describe the issues in precise words - and that makes trying to support them remotely by phone or email, rather like learning to unicycle carrying an umbrella and six live rats. It can be done, but my goodness it's not easy, it takes ages, and everyone involved has to be prepared to cooperate.
barbara_hambly: Party Hairbarbara_hambly on January 24th, 2014 03:17 pm (UTC)
What you say is true - particularly after someone explained to me what a Traceroute is and does. And I've found that "explanations" articles on the Net are frequently incomprehensible, being (often, it seems to me, though I may be wrong) written by and for people who already understand things that I do not understand.

I am very, VERY hesitant to start messing around with my systems without direct, step-by-step guidance because this is how I make my living: I cannot afford to freeze or crash my hard drive, and I do not trust my own perception of what I THINK an article says. It's one reason I loved the fact that I COULD call a Blizzard line and get help: they were ALWAYS so patient, thorough, and helpful. (Those articles on line, and more so the "help forums", I have NO idea who wrote those or what their qualifications are).

So, it is frustrating to be stonewalled by, "You haven't got the right filenames" after six or seven tries. I understand their need for triage, but perhaps there should be another tier of accessibility for those who DON'T know what the problem is.
Elizabeth Bartley: glass ballebartley on January 24th, 2014 10:22 pm (UTC)
They do give instructions for how to come by the information they demand (i.e. create the files they insist on receiving to create the ticket.) The small problem is that doing so is semi-technical: even following their step-by-step directions is non-trivial unless you're comfortable with computer technical stuff. The BIG problem is that it's not obvious to all users that they provide these instructions -- you have to realize that you need to click on the appropriate links.

The thing is, Blizzard probably doesn't realize that not everyone understands the instructions are at these links. When your job is working with computers on a technical level, even writing computer documentation, unless your job specifically involves talking to non-computer-geeks about computers, after a few years you lose track of what is and isn't obvious to normal people about computers. When I went through the steps myself, I noticed that the instructions for creating the debugging files would be intimidating for the non-technical user, and I knew I didn't know how hard or easy they were to follow (so if I were writing the documentation, I'd run those steps past a novice.) It never occurred to me for a moment that someone might not parse the links as further information about the related step here -- that was so obvious I didn't even think about it. But it was so obvious I didn't think about it only because I know how this sort of documentation is written, and I was reading it accordingly.

All that said, if Blizzard is going to insist on these steps being taken before they'll talk to you about this problem, they darned well need to have adequate documentation explaining how to take these steps. If that means hiring a succession of six-month temps to serve as the test dummy, that's what they need to do.
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