niennanir: (Default)

I'm normally very enthusiastic about the open source community and the free exchange of ideas so to start off I don't want anyone who does or has participated in an OS development project to be at all slighted. It is, in fact, my previous positive experiences in this area that make me feel so disgruntled at the moment.

A friend of mine sent me a link and asked me to check out an MMO and 'see how it is'. (I'm withholding the name so as not to be incriminating, my poor friend had no idea what they were getting me into) I love problem solving games and I love giving out my opinion so when I canvassed the PlaneShift site I was delighted. Here was an MMO that wasn't based in the accumulation of wealth and the death of less intelligent life forms (like goblins, ex boyfriends and GM's) And as if that weren't enough the screen shots were absolutely breathtaking. My inner artist was doing cartwheels. To say I was enthralled would be an understatement.

So I downloaded, I installed, I wasted a perfectly good friday night... but what did I care. Ok, the game is still in Beta, ok it's a little buggy... but, OMG lookie!! (I bounced a lot) and if I wasn't having a squeeing fangirl moment I was deeply entrenched in solving the more than complex quests. I was challenged, I was in heaven. I burned up most of saturday morning and forgot to go to bed Saturday night until my dogs got sick of it and whined until I finally turned out the light.

It was like crack, only better because I wasn't paying for my fix.

Sunday dawned and without even realizing it I burned up 2 hours searching for a secret garden and a mushroom. And then the inevitable happened in any beta testing. I hit a bug. I hit a -huge- bug.

Now I actually enjoy bugs, I especially like the lil squishy sound they make when you squelch them. I was undaunted, having beta tested in the past I knew what I was in for. I hit the forums and ran every search I could think of relating to the error I had just observed. There were a few that were close but none that were exact, but in Beta we take the 'close enough is good enough' approach. So I tried all the fixes in the forum.

Only they didn't work.

For most people this would be annoying. To me it's like Indiana Jones uncovering a new ancient tomb. I looked for the most closely related thread I could find and added all the details of my problem, thrilled that I might have uncovered something never before seen.

It only took a mod a few minutes to respond... with a statement that made it clear she didn't think I could read. I was a little deflated. Ok, I'm new to the game and I hadn't read the entire forum but I'm confident in my search abilities. (not to mention my precise english and trouble shooting skills) I replied with the insistence that I'd already properly run all the updates and that there was no documented reason that I could find for my error. And I wasn't alone.

While I was attempting to see if I could get out of the error on my own someone else posted on the thread with a problem identical to mine. The same mod insulted their intelligence in the same way and when he defended himself as I had.... the thread was deleted.

I'm feeling a bit betrayed right now. This was a legitimate error, and though it was clearly only affecting a limited configuration, in an open source community that shouldn't matter. I can understand the need to prune laziness out of a board, there will always be people who would rather gripe than hunt for a solution. But this was not griping, this was 3 users with similar errors who were dismissed by the dev team out of hand because the problem wasn't wide spread.

I'm disenchanted now. I don't think I'll be tempted to go back to PlaneShift soon if ever. If my clear and well researched bug report written in proper english can't be taken seriously then I don't think their dev community is deserving of either my time or loyalty.

I'll be searching for a new opiate now... I guess I'll have to go back to the bookstore, I can always get my fix there.
niennanir: (Default)
The One Post
Much that once was is lost, for none now live who have Root access to it....

It began with the forging of a Yahoo! Group. It was a Private group with closed membership, only 12 of us, best friends all over this part of the world staying in touch. Every day we shared each other's lives played silly online games laughed a little, cried a little and just did what friends do... make every day seem a little brighter.

But like all good epics things never stay happy and peaceful for long. No one wants to read that.

This peace was not to last for a darkness crept over our happy little world. A malevolent shadow whose cold, cruel hand threatened to destroy all that we held dear. We had heard whisperings of this nameless evil, rumors that it was slowly and nefariously spreading out, consuming, driving hearts to despair. We would fight, I said, but we were completely unprepared for the scope of its power.

The dreaded Post Delay

(Too dramatic? I'll dial it back a bit.)

It all began a year ago last February, yes, I said February, 2006. Posts to our group weren't showing up on our group board or in email. at first the delay was an hour, which was annoying. Then it was 2, then four. So I did what any good list mum would do. I contacted Yahoo Customer Care. And I waited, and the delay grew to 6 hours and I waited, then eight. With no response from Customer Care I did the only thing I could think of to stay in touch with those I cared about most. I set up a backup.

And we waited.

A week and a half later the problem slowly corrected itself. We went back to our online home relieved that the evil had passed.

Two weeks after I reported the problem to Customer Care I got an automated response telling me that there was absolutely nothing wrong with the system and either my email was to blame or I was just too stupid to use a Yahoo group.

There we stood in the ruins of our happy little virtual village and Yahoo! was telling us that the acrid smell of smoke was a figment of our overactive imaginations. Granted our imaginations are pretty good but I didn't think they were that good.

I did what every good list mum does, however. I assured everyone the danger had passed and we were home now and we would begin rebuilding. Everything would be fine, I said.

And then March came.

We evacuated twice in March. If it was another figment I never heard from Yahoo! about it. I sent a total of 10 support requests during the two weeks total our group was down. They ignored them all.

By April the group was down more than it was up. About 60% of our time was spent on the backup. I got an automated response from Yahoo! Customer Care about every 15th request I sent. All of them were slightly insulting in that they either implied that I didn't know what I was doing or didn't even have any relation to our problem. Every week the same Customer Satisfaction Survey landed in my email box asking me if I was happy that the issue was still unresolved.

This is actually starting to sound more like the Twilight Zone now that I think about it... maybe I should change the opening score.

This bitter path of destruction continued on into July. I got at least 5 responses from Customer Care that it was a problem with my Yahoo! Mail (I've never had Yahoo! Mail) By August we were emotionally exhausted. True it seemed the worst had passed. The group was now accessible about 65% of the time. But we'd lost some of the magic. Our little virtual home was no longer a safe have from the outside world where we could escape. Seven months had passed and we still hadn't had a response from a human.

I resolved that someone would give me an answer. I spent an entire weekend digging until I found a phone number for Yahoo! and I called them.

I talked to a receptionist and asked to speak with the supervisor in charge of Yahoo! Groups. I waited on hold half an hour and got a young man.


Supervisor: How can I help you?

List-Mum: You can start by telling me who you are.

Supervisor: I'm the Service Director for Yahoo! Groups.

List-Mum: What you don't have a name?

Supervisor: What can I do for you?

List-Mum: I knew it... the joint is run by androids. Well if you don't have a name you can tell me when someone with a name plans to answer the support request I made in February.

BicentenialSupervisor: Your support request for what?

List-Mum: For my non functioning Yahoo! group... isn't that the division you supposedly direct? Why would I ask to talk to you if I had a problem with IM?

BicentenialSupervisor: Well I don't know anything about that.

List-Mum: You're not alone in that. I didn't expect to get a support tech on the phone or anything but since I've been waiting for seven months I don't think it's too much to ask to have you contact one of your techs give him my email and tell him to contact me so we can trouble shoot this

BicentenialSupervisor: Well I can't do that

List-Mum: You can't do that because you don't have any techs or you can't do that because answering a support request violates Yahoo! customer care policy.

BicentenialSupervisor: We don't offer phone support for Yahoo! Groups

List-Mum: I'm not asking for phone support. I'm asking for a smart little geek with Root to email me!

BicentenialSupervisor: Well I can't do anything to help you

List-Mum: You're really just the android janitor aren't you?

I continued sending support requests daily. Most were ignored. then came the ultimate insult to customer dignity....


Thank you for writing to Yahoo! Groups.

We would like to reassure you that we are investigating the problem you
reported. We apologize for any inconvenience, and appreciate your
patience and understanding on this matter.

Thank you again for contacting Yahoo! Customer Care.



Yahoo! Customer Care

Visit our online help pages at:

New and Improved Yahoo! Mail - better than ever!"

Cow?!?!?!?!!? (I'm not making it up, I swear) The automated response was actually signed Cow. There were only two viable solutions I could think of for this. The first that someone had actually named their child 'cow' seemed unlikely. The second, that I was indirectly being called a cow in the hopes that I would go away to avoid further abuse seemed more plausible.

I was undaunted, I would not fall to this poisoned barb. I would rally my forces for an all out assault.

This was war!

I turned to the only army that had ever stood by me. The Better Business Bureau

I logged the complaint on August 2 2006, detailing the lack of response. I included the long headers that showed which Yahoo router was consistently stalling and I awaited the response...


"A Yahoo! Groups Tech engineer has reviewed this issue involving message delays. This is a normal operating condition of the Yahoo! Groups product, it is transient and is most commonly due to the users mail provider service."

It was tantamount to calling me a liar. I told the BBB that I most certainly would not accept this response but Yahoo! refused to budge and the BBB closed the case. I was devastated, what was the use of an ally who turned tail and ran in the face of evil? I would never place my faith in the BBB at my side when I marched into war again.

The fight had not been knocked out of me, however. I pressed on, I fought daily. I continued to quest for a support response, an end to the darkness that threatened to destroy us. Many of those lost posts from February and March had still not returned and I would not have them die in vain...

(Too dramatic again? *blush* Sorry, I'll try to ease up.)

I set up an email script. It sent the same support request to Yahoo twice a day. They were now responding to only one of 50 so it was the only way I could be persuaded that anyone might even be reading any of them. I scoured the web searching for some chink in the Yahoo armor. Then I found it.... a lone human among the automatons of Yahoo!

The Yodel Anecdotal

It was a blog for future development news, actually written by people who appeared to be homo sapiens. It said more blogs were coming for more Yahoo devisions where we could keep up on the latest news and I felt the formings of a plan. The November 5th posting talked about the integration of Yahoo! Help and Yahoo! Answers and I saw my chance. I posted a comment in the hopes someone without a hard drive between their ears would read it.


"What’s the point of integrating anything into Yahoo Help? Yahoo help doesn’t have any humans there to be helpful. I’ve been requesting support for my group for over 9 months and, apart from the automated computer system calling me a ‘cow’ I haven’t had a response.
It sounds like another attempt by yahoo to ignore customers again to me."


One day. That's all it took, one day and I had a response from a very nice lady who shall remain nameless for fear that the forces of evil will find her and destroy her. (She did actually have a name though.)

She contacted tech via whatever back door they have at Yahoo! for me. Sneaking into their territory at the greatest risk.... no less than three times before I finally got a response.

It was at least, semi human, though it seemed a bit confused as to why I was disgruntled at having to wait until the 17th of November for a support response. They thanked me for my patience (which I no longer had) and promised to look into it.

Normal operation was back within 2 days... for the first time in a month. The delivery time slowly improved over December, and we were just breathing a sigh of relief when the evil descended again in January.

This time I had formed a plan. I rallied everyone I knew and besieged the new Yahoo! Groups team blog. Every few hours I reported the status of our group, I helped others form contingencies and I stated that I posted the status of these problems on the group home page and other Mums and mods should do the same. I called for users to refuse to form new groups and to boycott Yahoo! advertising and paid services until Customer Care improved.

The next day. There on the front page of every Yahoo! group was a special notice from the support team reporting the outage and promising to update the community on the status. It was the turing of the tide, the first glimmer of hope in our 11 month battle against the dark tower. We would rise, would would reclaim our homeland. The issue was resolved in less than 5 days and we returned to normal service for the next 6 weeks.

My group and most others on Yahoo! Are down again today. I have drawn my sword and declared once more that I will fight for true customer service. This time I am confident that in a matter of days we will rise victorious. Our year long struggle has not been in vain. If it takes us another year we will not stop until the evil is defeated. Until every lost post is laid to rest in peace until...

(Over the top again huh?)

I would like to ask the internet community to join me, to demand Customer Service and dignity from all online services. The label 'free' does not mean we are not paying for them through other avenues and at the very least we deserve respect. Until the Customer Service status at Yahoo is improved to an acceptable level I would like to ask everyone to not create new groups at Yahoo. Use another service. Don't sign up for any of their paid services. Don't click through on their advertisers. Already their stock price is edging downward and when it slips far enough they will be forced to deal with the problems they have created.

This day we fight... I bid you stand, Users of the Internet.
niennanir: (Default)
My internet was down for close to 17 hours. I think I might need therapy now.

Not because I'm addicted to the internet... well, I am, but that's not why I need therapy. It stems from the psychological damage inflicted by my ISP, Comcast Cable. I'm pretty sure my blood pressure is way too high now too, but unless I actually have a heart attack I doubt I'll ever see anything in the way of compensation.

The net went down at around 5:30pm yesterday. I'm not sure exactly when because I was trying to sort laundry at the time. I returned to my laptop to find my mail and IM off line so I scuttled to check the modem, sure enough, blinking light.

Nothing can make me feel ill quite as quickly as that blinking light. I know what it means the moment I see it. I could feel the vascular constriction almost immediately. I started the reset procedures while I punched up tech support. I knew it wouldn't do any good, but I'm a rotten liar so at least this way I can tell them I already did it. It took 4 minutes to do all three reset procedures... it took 6 minutes to get a tech

6:12pm EDT
OrcTech #1 - *Indian accent* Thank you for calling Comcast, how may I help you today?

Dissatisfied Customer - My Internet is down and I'd like you to log into the system and let me know what the projected repair time is for my node.

OrcTech #1 - *slight pause* Um... ok... let me pull that up here. This could take a few minutes. *pauses to drink his coffee and pretends to look up status* let me ask you something, how many lights do you have?

DC - the power is active the send is blinking, receive and online are out. I did the standard power-down and reset/disconnect but there's no response which would indicate a problem on your end.

OrcTech #1 - *long gaping pause* Let me check something.... *longer pause while he actually looks up data I asked for.* Well.... it appears your assumption was right. We have an outage in your area, effecting 176 customers.

DC - Rhach

OrcTech #1 - sorry... *weird pause* I didn't catch that.

DC - nothing... what's the projected repair time?

OrcTech #1 - Looks like about 1.5 hours.

DC - Well that's good news, I shouldn't have to go Wardriving on a Friday night just to get my work done.

OrcTech #1 - *longer gaping pause* Is there anything else I can help you with.

I went for a swim, I made a salad, I watched two episodes of Stargate. Three hours of my life pass, still no internet.

9:03pm EDT
OrcTech #2 - *Jamaican accent* Thank you for calling Comcast, how may I help you today?

Really Dissatisfied Customer - You can tell me why my internet still isn't on after three hours when the last tech support guy I talked to told me it would be an hour and a half.

OrcTech #2 - Oh, well... I'm sorry about that. Let me look up the outage in your area I need to put you on hold a minute.

[Hold] - 11 minutes... salad dressing sticks to dish, dogs ask to go out, dogs ask to come in, The stargate is buried in lava trapping the team on a world about to explode.

OrcTech #2 - Well we are showing an outage in your area.

RDC - Yes *sigh* I know that... what's the estimated time for return of service.

OrcTech #2 - *snippy* Well it can talk a while, anywhere from 24 to 48 hours.

RDC - Then why did the last guy tell me an hour and a half if I was going to be without net for two days?!? You do realize that I can't go out now and find a connection and get my work done. which I might have been able to do at 6 o'clock. If I can't get my work done I can't get paid, if I can't get paid I can't pay my cable bill... and if I can't pay my cable bill one of you is going to have to get fired because the exorbitant amount Comcast is charging me every year has got to be paying one of your salaries.

OrcTech #2 - Well I can't do anything about the repairs from where I am. (I assume she means the mines of Moria) These things take a while to fix.

RDC - Well if Comcast is going to charge me for services I'm not receiving for two days I think I'm entitled to a discount, don't you?

OrcTech #2 - We can certainly do that ma'am, let me put you on hold and get someone in billing to help you.

[Hold] Comcast advertisements interrupt each other in an endless string of insanity for an hour and twenty minutes while someone plays the kazoo in the background. The Atlantis team barely escapes the exploding planet, Michael the Wraith contacts Atlantis about helping them opening their own line of Wraith Buffets.

10:40pm EDT
The kazoo abruptly stops.

I'm not sure whether to be relieved that I'm not listening to the kazoo any more, elated that the recorded sensual female voice is no longer telling me that I can find answers to my support questions at, or enraged that I spent over an hour of my life listing to a kazoo and the voice of Liv Tyler.

I took two Excedrin, watched the Genii blow up a planet, gave myself a pedicure, chased a mosquito with a can of Raid, read three chapters of Eldest, and went to bed praying that my net would be on at 9am when the alarm went off.

8:55am EDT
I'm startled from a dream about trolls setting fire to my Plumerias by the alarm clock. On the floor beside my night stand is the modem, still blinking. In retrospect I should have got a little Captain in me instead of the Excedrin. I wake up in a much better mood that way.

I have coffee and cheerios, I reset the modem twice for fun. I call Comcast for the third time.

9:35am EDT
OrcTech #3 - *Chicago accent* Thank you for calling Comcast, how may I help you today?

Psychotic Customer - You'll probably want to send me to your stupidvisor as quickly as possible before our recorded conversation is saved for training purposes, while you're doing that you can look up the status on my node and see if they have any sort of estimate on repair, I couldn't find out from the idiot who put me on hold last night for over an hour and then hung up on me. She said two days.

OrcTech #3 - *really long pause or fear* I'm... sorry to hear that (in his own defense he did sound sorry... but I think he was probably sorry that he was the one dealing with me) Let me pull up the network status, please hold.

[Hold] Dogs ask to go out, the modem pretends to reconnect and I almost drop the phone. I swear to myself for being gullible.

OrcTech #3 - Thanks for holding

PC - *eerily calm* No problem, I'm getting used to it.

OrcTech #3 - *frightened pause* Um... yeah... the status says here that they have 85% restoration on that node and...

PC - *still eerily calm* So I complained about being poorly treated and they moved me to the back of the line?

OrcTech #3 - *sucks in startled breath* Well, you see... these things take a while to fix.

PC - yeah that's what the woman who hung up on me said after she implied I was stupid for believing the guy before her who told me an hour and a half.

OrcTech #3 - *longer pause* Well... actually the first guy had every right to think that. Normally a repair this size doesn't take so long unless something goes really wrong. Did you have a thunderstorm there yesterday by any chance?

PC - *irritation* This is Florida we have a thunderstorm every day.

OrcTech #3 - *frightened pause* Well... I can't be sure but if they have 85% of the node active they should have the rest of it up by this evening at least.

PC - Well it looks like I have nothing to do with my day but write letters to the Better Business Bureau and think of creative ways to bankrupt Comcast and send all your stock options down the drain.

OrcTech #3 - *contemplates running away in terror for three seconds* Um... well

PC - I suppose I could write to the governor too... no wait... Charlie's up for the job, he just loves all that 'rushing to the defense of the consumer' stuff. I bet he'd love to hear this.

OrcTech #3 - *painfully long pause* I'll tell you what, I'm going to give you the number for billing and when your service comes back up call them and tell them how long it was off and they can issue you a credit.

PC - I highly doubt they have any motivation to do that when they can just leave me sitting on hold listening to a kazoo for over an hour.

OrcTech #3 - *begins to breathe funny* I'm really sorry but the best estimate I can give you is some time today.

PC - *accepting sigh* Well... thank you, you've been very unhelpful. Be sure to mention to your stupidvisor that I said that. He'll want to recommend you for a raise and a promotion for your exemplarily execution of Comcast company policy.

I hang up.

Forty minutes later that modem reconnected. I was really sort of stunned to be truthful, I'd been watching the light blink while I pummeled unsuspecting rival Civilizations on my laptop. It had almost become a fixture of my natural habitat.

My net's back up and running now. As soon as I finish work I'm going to nip off that letter to the BBB. Maybe I'll send copies to all the guys running for governor this year. It might be amusing to watch the fur fly if I get any takers. It will certainly be a lot less expensive than psychiatric treatment.

April 2017

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