Bugs and Car Talk Syndrome

Discussing the importance of users actively engaging with WebWorks.com to report and resolve ePublisher-related issues.

by Ben Allums
January 15, 2010

Bugs! Isn't that a great topic to blog about? Well, maybe not. Still, I wanted to talk about this subject because we've been missing out on an opportunity to learn from each other, make people happy, and improve ePublisher. There is one catch. Making this change happen requires a partnership between WebWorks.com and you.

A partnership Ben?

Yes. A partnership.

Well, that term partnership implies work, and I've got enough on my plate.

Really? You too! Gosh, I thought I was the only one. ;-)

Alright Ben, I get it. You've made your point. I can help out a bit. What do you need me to do?

I need you to keep doing what you've been doing all along:

  1. Use ePublisher.
  2. Tell us about your problem.

Now, we'll add just one more step: Show us the problem!

Let me tell you about a little something I call the Car Talk Syndrome. On the NPR radio classic, Car Talk, people call in and ask the hosts to help them fix their broken cars. And sometimes, these guys can help them right away. Other times, they tell callers “Go see your local mechanic”. I mean, it's a car, right? Sometimes you just have to see the problem first-hand.

Here at WebWorks.com, folks ask us questions too. (It's just like Car Talk except we use email, a case system, and we aren't syndicated. Otherwise, it's exactly the same.) So, like Car Talk, we can sometimes answer a question right away. The rest? We need you to show us those up close. That's when we encounter the dreaded Car Talk Syndrome. Folks are convinced that talking about their problem is the same thing as having it running on our systems. We kind of feel like the local mechanic who has been asked to fix a customer's car while it sits at home in the garage. Instead of the car, the customer brings pictures instead.

See right here? That's where my cousin backed his riding lawnmower into the side panel. What do you think?

What do I think? I think you've got a problem. What am I gonna do about it? Actually, right now, there isn't much I can do about it. Maybe crack open a beer and comment? “Yep, you've got yourself a problem there.”

So, just like you need to bring your car to your local mechanic if you want it fixed, we need you to bring your problem to WebWorks.com.

I can do that...I know how to do that...Actually, how do I do that?

Easy! Open a Support case.

When you open that Support case, you create a mini-workshop. A place where our Support staff and you can work together to reproduce and understand your problem. Then, when it's time to get help, Development can focus on fixing the exact issue that is causing you grief. Since you took the time to work with us, we get you up and running as soon as possible.

And then you're happy...And then we ship the fix in the next release...And then you're really happy...And then other people (who didn't report the bug) are happy...And then you get a raise because you're so much more productive with ePublisher...And then ...