Users suck!

Why do some people absolutely refuse to learn anything about their computers? Seriously, how hard is it to train yourself not to install spyware, how to set up your own freaking email, or how not to break the software!?

So far I have seen following species of the (l)user genus:

  1. Innocent Victim – this user claims that the computer is broken, and it is not his fault. He didnt do anything to it, he didn’t install anything, he didnt even go on the internet or turn it on for the past 3 weeks. The funky toolbars just installed themselves, and Beagle and Sasser just materialized out of the thin air. And despite the fact that he supposably did not turn on computer for last 3 weeks this user will also sware that he updated his virus definitions two days ago, and that he scans the system every evening… Sigh… This is the bane of all IT people cause there is virtually no way to troubleshoot anything with this guy. He didn’t do anything, computer is broken and its your fault.
  2. Descriptive Dude – this species of user for the life of him cannot give you one specific fact about his problem. He can complain for hours without giving you a single concrete hint at what might the problem be. The favorite complaints of this usere are claims that the computer is slow (though never when he is on the phone with you – just the other times), that it freezes, “gets errors” (which are virtually any dialog windows – very often info alerts caused by antivirus software or the firewall – but since the user does not read any dialogs all of them become errors) and my favorite “is broken.” The “is broken” argument is usually triggered when they upgrade some software and the new version has a slightly changed GUI setup. Now, Descriptive Dude can sometimes unintentionally blurt out usefull info if you are clever enough with your questions. Unfortunately though, most of these guys tend to be Innocent Victims at the same time…
  3. Illiterate Idiot – as bad as this name sounds, this guy is much more pleasant to work with than the previous two. He simply knows close to nothing about computers (and he is damn proud of it too) but he is willing to help out as much as he can. For illiterate idiot computers are magical entities with minds of their own, and he fact that you can whip these mysterious machines into submission will earn you great respect in his eyes. The down side however is that Illiterate Idiot is convinced that the sole purpose of your existence is to fix his computer, periodically clean it from spyware and remove any viruses – and hence he does not bother himself thinking about these things. He will happily continue installing spyware, browse unprotected and open executable attachments because he knows you will fix the computer no matter what.
  4. Needy Nut – this user is semi-clueful infividual. He does not understand much about computers but he most likely has friends who know more than him and give him “sage advice”, and he probably have read few computer related articles here and there. Based on what he was told by friends, and what he overheard or read somewhere he forms his own diagnosis for the problem and calls you to let you know that he needs to get it fixed. Of course his “educated solution” to the problem usually involves buying more RAM, getting new CPU, upgrading to the newer version of the software and etc… It is quite difficult to troubleshoot with this guy because he is entirely convinced that extra few MB of RAM will solve all his problems and he will not see any reason to look for any other solutions or to further investigate the problem. He simply needs more RAM, period!
  5. Self Proclaimed Expert – this guy will tell you right away that he knows all about computers, and that he does not really need your help. He will absolutely resent you trying to “walk him through” some tasks, and will get agravated when you question him about basiscs such as keeping his windows/antyvir updated, scanning the drive for viruses and etc. He will never aknowledge the fact that he might have made some mistake, or screwed up – he will blame you, the software and the manufacturer – anyone but himself. Even if he have deleted some crucial files, installed some nasty stuff he will never admit it. But as long as you just go with it, and blame the software manufacturer, crappy design, unstable OS and etc, you can sometimes get him to cooperate.
  6. Cluefull User – this is a very rare user variety, and a godsend to all IT people. This user knows enough about his machine to give you a good idea of what is wrong, and has enough common sense not to make the situation worse. He can follow the instructions well, and he actually retains information, and learn to fix small problems on his own before calling you next time. In fact, the more you help him – the less you will hear from him, as he will rarely call you with the same problem more than once. It is a true joy and pleasure to work with a user like that!

Guess which kind of user I usually deal on a daily basis? If you guessed anything but 6 then you are absolutely correct…


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