I was having a discussion in the quilting bee IRC channel last night about users (in general, not q*bee users). A specific type of user: the user that complains constantly that X or Y is not suitable for their tastes/what they want to do, but who do bugger all to resolve that. Perhaps it’s just because I own and run so many sites, but I see this constantly and it’s gradually becoming one of my biggest annoyances on the web.
Take for instance, rev.iew.me. Things are quiet there at the moment because I had to put new features on hold, but generally speaking there are new users and new reviews on a daily basis. Despite this continued activity, there’s always somebody bitching that their site only has X reviews/begging for more. In every single instance, these users have completed approximately half the amount that they’ve received.
The whole “scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” ethic that I want the site to maintain lasts for about as long as it takes for a user to get their site added. (And don’t even get me started on the lame-Os that flounce the second they’re warned not to write junk reviews; and threaten me with “online cops” who “hack websites”!)
It’s not just rev.iew.me; Snark was mentioned too. Some users don’t like that the most active thread(s) are the random threads. Of course, when questioned, none of these people have made any effort to create other threads with more specific topics, or start a conversation on something that will interest them.
With little exception, even users of my scripts find it impossible to give feedback so that each can be improved upon, and this is the most frustrating because it’s the users that benefit most from my free coding time, not the random visitors I eventually harass for input. I publically shout out for e-mails, tweets and comments on what the user wants, and it’s not until they’ve given up using a script that they take the time to rant about it (and even then, not to me).
I think this attitude that “someone else will sort it” (that problems will magically fix themselves) goes hand-in-hand with the assumption that people deserve something for nothing (something I briefly touched upon through Julie’s “Paying For Free Things” entry last week). If you can’t summon up the energy to put a little effort in to solving your problems, don’t expect others (me!) to have a clue (or care) when things don’t work out.
I know us webmasters are a talented bunch, but generally speaking we don’t have time to wipe everyone’s arse, nor have we mastered the psychic arts yet.