?

Log in

No account? Create an account
entries friends calendar profile Previous Previous Next Next
There are no stupid questions, only stupid people - shadows of echoes of memories of songs
j4
j4
There are no stupid questions, only stupid people
My bosses are both away, one until Thursday, the other until next Thursday; basically this means I'm left holding the fort (or rather, the baby). So far today and yesterday I have had:

  • Two requests to do some work that boss #2 said she'd do two weeks ago.
  • A request to update a colour image with the attached document (a Word file).
  • A request to do, by Friday, a major revision of an area of the site which I've never seen before ...
  • ... and which is on a server that we don't even own.
  • Two requests to "just change a couple of words" in PDF documents.
  • About 15 requests to make edits which, to paraphrase the sense of urgency conveyed, need to go live by yesterday if not sooner otherwise the University will explode and EVERYONE WILL DIE.
  • One request from our Press department as to why a demo page in somebody's personal webspace on an internal server behind the university firewall can't be seen by people browsing from outside the university ...
  • ... for example, by the hundreds of people to whom the URL for said page has just been emailed.

*headdesk*

Tags: ,

Read 25 | Write
Comments
From: ex_humanfema327 Date: September 20th, 2005 11:45 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, boo. You make me feel positive about work, but despairing of the human race.
nja From: nja Date: September 20th, 2005 11:46 am (UTC) (Link)
I had an urgent urgent urgent request for a big favour from the centre up the road (which is starting to resemble the Raft of the Medusa). They wanted a password-protected area of the website where they could put an important research document. Oh, and could I email the username and password and URL to an external press agency, so they could put it in a press release. My question as to whether it needed to be password-protected if the password was going to be put in a press release is so far unanswered...
filecoreinuse From: filecoreinuse Date: September 20th, 2005 12:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
I hate people :)
hairyears From: hairyears Date: September 20th, 2005 12:34 pm (UTC) (Link)


Use more sarcasm. It's not always effective against idiots but I find it helps.

When speaking to Press, marketing or sales people, remember to ask them nicely before launching into technical explanations:

"Will it help if I speak really S L O-O-O O W L Y?"

You are working by, for, and among idiots. One day someone will write a useful business and management book about this, and get sued by Scott Adams - who already has written the book, but no-one takes cartoons seriously.

j4 From: j4 Date: September 20th, 2005 01:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
The problem is, everybody around here assumes they already know all the technical stuff, because they are grate branes, and besides, it's only the web, innit, and that's not really technical. Result: they don't take kindly to being patronised. Besides, I don't have the authority; in terms of the great Total Perspective Org-Chart, I'm probably stuck making tea for the bowl of petunias.

But if one more PhD or marketron says something like "Can't you just put in another button on the hyperlink from the drop-down bullet point?" then I'll, I'll ... well, actually, I'll probably growl, rant a bit on LJ, and go and make another cup of coffee. :-/
pseudomonas From: pseudomonas Date: September 20th, 2005 02:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm trying to educate my users to ask for things they want, but not to be too upset when it turns out the answer is "no". Sometimes they get terribly impressed by very easy things, too.
rysmiel From: rysmiel Date: September 20th, 2005 03:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh hell yeah. Bosses who cannot tell the difference between a two-hour task and a three-month one have positives and negatives, and being able to get back to them surprisingly fast can definitely be a positive.
pseudomonas From: pseudomonas Date: September 20th, 2005 03:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Often there's an easy way to solve their problem, so long as one isn't constrained too much by the way they first envisioned it being done. It helps that they're not my bosses.
j4 From: j4 Date: September 20th, 2005 03:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
so long as one isn't constrained too much by the way they first envisioned it being done

That pretty much sums up the bane of my existence. What we want people to do is say "We have this information; please help us make it suitable for the web." What we get is "Please add these thirteen new bullet points as hyperlinks to this PDF", coupled with a total unwillingness to contemplate the mere possibility that people who were hired to do information management and web editing MIGHT ACTUALLY HAVE MORE CLUE ABOUT INFORMATION MANAGEMENT AND WEB EDITING THAN THEM.

Ahem. Rant over.

(I should point out that it's entirely possible that our content providers might have better ideas than us about how to present their information; I'm always open to the possibility, and sometimes it even actually happens that way, and it's great when it does because it makes things easier for me. But more usually they're immovably fixed on something impossible.)
ewx From: ewx Date: September 21st, 2005 08:55 am (UTC) (Link)

immovably fixed

Just pop down to Mackays and get an unstoppable force. Same shelf as levers to move the world but about 1017km to the left.
imc From: imc Date: September 22nd, 2005 02:09 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: immovably fixed

Same shelf as levers to move the world

Anyone can get a lever, but do they sell fulcrums?
camellia_uk From: camellia_uk Date: September 20th, 2005 12:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
> Two requests to "just change a couple of words" in PDF documents.

not a problem. Print the documents out, change the words by hand (preferably in red marker pen), then put them in the pigeon hole of the person who asked for it. They won't ask again :-)
j4 From: j4 Date: September 20th, 2005 01:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
There are people here who still submit all web edits as red-pen-on-paper. I'm always tempted to go round to their office with a bottle of tippex and a red pen and make the changes on the screen.

Perhaps this time I'll tattoo the changes on their heads instead.
caramel_betty From: caramel_betty Date: September 20th, 2005 01:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Depending on the nature of the change, it's not a problem with the full version of Acrobat. Convincing people that they need to spend the money on such is more tricky, though. Thankfully, my manager listens to us and has the clout to tell people that she's right if she really needs to; her immediate boss is the company chairman.

In an academic context, where everything has to be justified for petty bureaucracy, I'd rather stab myself in the face. Or stab other people in the face, which also makes the problem go away.
j4 From: j4 Date: September 20th, 2005 01:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
We have Acrobat Pro. We can edit PDFs. But we don't. It's a workflow issue.

The content provider owns the document (in whatever format they produce it -- usually Word); we publish it in the most accessible format possible (often, sadly, PDF). The master copy, however, remains the one that the content provider owns; they determine the content, they own the information. It's partly a point of principle; but also, from a purely practical point of view, if we make changes in the version that we've published, then next time they send us a new version you can guarantee it won't have those changes incorporated in it, and we'll have to go through the whole process again.

It would really, really help if the content providers weren't all ON CRACK.
caramel_betty From: caramel_betty Date: September 20th, 2005 02:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
You must kill zem. You must kill zem all.
rysmiel From: rysmiel Date: September 20th, 2005 02:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
basically this means I'm left holding the fort (or rather, the baby).

I should stop reading my friendslist until after I caffeinate, because this left me manically muttering "Fortify the baby ! Fortify the baby !"

*hug* you have my sympathy.
From: kaet Date: September 20th, 2005 02:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
This just made some of us at CARET laugh. It reminds me of my job sometimes, :).
j4 From: j4 Date: September 20th, 2005 02:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Aieee! I forgot your people work with my people. I should probably be a bit more discreet. :-}
From: kaet Date: September 20th, 2005 02:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
I didn't mean official manager type people. Just someone else who bangs their head against similar walls, :).
j4 From: j4 Date: September 20th, 2005 03:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah, that's okay. As I believe I've said before, when all you have is a head, everything looks like a brick wall... We should all communicate with each other by banging our heads against the walls in Morse, or something.

Actually, more seriously, it's completely mental that the various departments' and divisions' webmastererers all sit there in their own little boxes reinventing the same wheels in total isolation and then whinging about inconsistencies between the sites. But I'm losing hope that that's ever going to change, even if there are strong rumours that they're planning to merge the UAS web team with the cam.ac.uk web team, not that I told you that, no, move along, nothing to see here.
rysmiel From: rysmiel Date: September 20th, 2005 03:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
As I believe I've said before, when all you have is a head, everything looks like a brick wall...

I like that; may I use it elsewhere ? I have been known to mutter "when all you have is a hammer, everything begins to look like a screw" or indeed "... like a kitten" but I prefer yours.
j4 From: j4 Date: September 20th, 2005 03:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Feel free! As far as I'm concerned once I've put something on the internet it's de facto in the public domain. (I think somebody on bofh.net may have already snarfed it for a sig, actually.)

(Questions of text-propagation remind me, actually, that I wanted to ask your permission to show something you wrote for me to somebody else. Um, I should probably take this to email, shouldn't I...)
rysmiel From: rysmiel Date: September 20th, 2005 04:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
OK, will be expecting one at the usual address [ hotmail is nearly full, but there's still about 100K left on it; anything bigger than that, interesting pictures or anything, send to rysmiel@gmail. ]
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 29th, 2008 10:51 am (UTC) (Link)

hello

Don't Worry, Be Happy! =)
Read 25 | Write