Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Here's The Problem

I don't know what was down, nor what was fixed. I can read a brief note in Google Blogger Help, by Blogger Employee. And I can read the latest Blogger Status post.

For me, I was unable to publish anything for several hours today, though, as far as I can tell, my blog was still accessible. And the GBH note tells us that something was done, and that Blogger is somewhat aware that we were concerned.

That's a good start, but only that.

The problem here is that there's never enough information provided for any Blogger "customer" to determine the nature of a problem, when it happens. The only thing we can ever do is submit another Blogger Help form. And since we never get a reply back from that (please don't call the botmail a reply, that's purely an acknowledgement), we never know if our problem is something that gets fixed, or if it just randomly went away.

The Blogger Status page refers to "a hardware problem", and "new hardware" to "restore the site". We don't know what was down, so if we see another problem today, we don't know if it's:

  1. The previous problem, returned.
  2. A new problem, affecting just us.
  3. A new problem, affecting everybody (or common to more than just 1 person).

So we gather in GBH Broken, GBH Publishing, and BloggerForum. We piss and and moan, and eventually BS posts something. And sometimes they fix something.

But we never know what gets fixed. And eventually something else breaks, and we never know what breaks then either. Just that
  • We can't post.
  • We can't access our blog.
  • Other folks can't access our blog.
  • We can't upload pictures.


In the meantime, PChuck's Network / WordPress is under development.

Having said all of that, I will point out that Blogger is only part of the problem. Until we (Blogger unpaid staff) learn to Troubleshoot Our Problems, I can understand (somewhat) why Blogger Support ignores our daily crys.

When we post
My blog is down.

how is that going to help anybody, or to motivate BS to do any research?

  • What is the blog URL?
  • What is the exact problem? If you see an error message on the screen, learn to Copy and Paste the complete text.
  • When did you first see the problem? When did you last not see the problem?
  • What is the scope of the problem? Try another computer. Try another computer on another network. Try a different browser. Try something.
  • And finally, Have You Reported The Problem?

All of the above are useful information, when you're trying to track down a problem. I don't know for sure if the Blogger Support staff spends too much time drinking coffee, playing frisbee, or napping on the couch. What I do know is, if we don't learn to provide professional diagnostics, BS is never going to be able to help us.

Diagnose The Problem! Help Them To Help Us!

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2 comments:

Mary said...

Blogger Help finally responded to my issue notification (which I entitled "Blogger slow and erratic today"), with the following email:

"Hello,

Thanks for writing in and alerting us of this issue. An unexpected
hardware problem this morning led to an unplanned outage. This problem has
now been fixed and Blogger is currently up and running as normal. We
apologize for the inconvenience and assure you that we are continually
working to make Blogger more reliable.
[edited out the more generic part of the response]
Sincerely,
The Blogger Team"


My response back to them was as follows:

"Thanks for the update.

In the future, it would be SO very helpful if you guys could update your Blogger Status page much sooner in the troubleshooting process. Believe me, it does not indicate a corporate failing or weakness to admit there is a problem. To be informed that there is an issue is a relief to your users, so that we know that the issue is not on our end and we don't keep trying to use Blogger while you're trying to fix it, which just leads to more frustration on everyone's part. If I know there's an issue and that y'all are working on it, then I can just walk away and try again later. Otherwise, I keep trying and failing, my frustration level rises, and I'm probably hitting the servers that you're trying to fix, and then no one is happy. It is more than annoying to have to go outside Blogger to user groups to find out if it's a global issue.

All we ask is better communication -- PLEASE!

-Mary"

Will probably fall on deaf ears and I'm guessing I'm replying to a bot, but perhaps a human will read that.

Chuck said...

Mary,

Good on you.

All we can do is try. One person at a time, eventually they will listen.

Setup another blog. Expand your thoughts.

Link here.

Don't bury your remarks in email (which might be seen by a few Blogger Support staff). Don't bury them here in a comment on my blog.

Publish them.

Encourage others like us.

Make noise. It's free.