Emails and other private messages

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Emails and other private messages

Post by johu »

I'm not sure whether this will even reach the audience in question but there is only one way to find out

Lately I'm getting an increasing number of technical question emails again. "Where can I buy this and that board?", "can board A be used with B". These are perfectly legit questions but still you will NOT receive an answer to your email. Because that's what this forum is for.

Messaging me directly without a support purchase will get you bad karma but no quicker answer.

Note that the projects here are open source. That is contrary to the usual producer-consumer scheme. You are expected to contribute and you are not to expect anything from the developers who have already published everything they have, free of charge!

Yes, the active developers want stuff to work for everyone, but we're a small band. Overstress us and this happens: viewtopic.php?t=2801
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Re: Emails and other private messages

Post by Jack Bauer »

Same here. I'm also seeing the same questions asked and same mistakes made. When referred to the forum I get the "Don't have time for that!" response. In which case I submit you have no place undertaking a diy ev project and should either purchase an oem vehicle, employ a commercial converter or go back to watching funny cat videos.
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Re: Emails and other private messages

Post by MattsAwesomeStuff »

Jack Bauer wrote: Tue Sep 21, 2021 6:20 amWhen referred to the forum I get the "Don't have time for that!" response. In which case I submit you have no place undertaking a diy ev project and should either purchase an oem vehicle, employ a commercial converter or go back to watching funny cat videos.
There's some validity to their comments.

3 groups of people:

1 - Those that are too lazy to do anything other than interrupt you and demand you answer their personal question immediately.

2 - Those that barely know what to ask for, and might not even see their answer if they were staring at it.

3 - Those that will dig and research anything in any amount.

Group #3 is never a problem. Sometimes they're experts so they'll have great context about how to look for exactly what they want, and will spot it immediately when the see it. But sometimes they're just novices that are thorough.

Group #1 is always a problem, lead a horse to water and all that. They're selfish and will never change. They want it on a silver platter and then want you to lift it off the platter for them too. Aka, the people Damien's talking about above.

Group #2 are the ones that are worth some consideration.

We all know it's frustrating to read 30 pages of things you don't understand, just to discover that there isn't an answer to your question. Or maybe another search, or another, you never know if you'll find the answer in the next 10 minutes or if it's not there to begin with. Or worse, there maybe is and you didn't notice it because there's so much you didn't understand mixed in with it. I'm often in this group, I'm not lazy, I do try, I just really do miss the info when it's there.

This isn't Damien's or Johanne's problem to solve. It's the community's.

Discussion forums are great places to discuss a problem, to be part of the conversation right there when it's happening, but an awful way to archive and find a problem/solution.

It doesn't make sense to tell people to put in 3 hours of work in case their answer is out there. But it also doesn't make sense to handhold every single inquiry.

I've tried going through the forums sometimes just to find ways to contribute to the wiki, but, as troubleshooting goes, there's always 4 hypotheticals and then a maybe solution that often doesn't get fleshed out that it worked. So there's page after page of "I don't know, should I write this down as a problem/solution?" And "Is this question 'done'? Is now the correct time to compile this into the wiki?", I don't know.

My general take on forums is "Don't tell someone to 'use the search button' because it's a common question. If it's a common question, condense it into an FAQ where they can find it." And the motive to the community doing that is "Ugh, everyone's always asking the same damned questions, I'm tired of answering them individually." That's seemed to work for me in communities I volunteer in over the last 25 years.

Likewise, I'll tell people "Don't PM me, if I put effort into helping you solve your problem, it might as well be something that can help everyone else like you.".

Community goals:

1 - The wiki should be well-linked and advertised. Right now, you can't even find pages for like, the Gen 2 Prius from the main page without knowing it's there.

2 - Keep the wiki updated.

3 - Tell everyone to just check the wiki.

4 - Have an FAQ (if that's not in the wiki).

5 - Tell people to check the FAQ.

6 - Tell people create a thread.

... all of those should be options before privately contacting administrators, which is maybe never acceptable.

With respect to both OI and EVBMW and sales, the sales pages are a bit intimidating to beginners. It's fine if you know what you want. But otherwise I think it'd be common questions to ask "What exactly is this, who would use it, and how do I know if it's the right solution for me?"

It'd be great if the first few people to use a particular product stay on top of the info and questions and add them to the FAQ. I do my best on the Prius Gen 2 and 3 if someone else doesn't get to it first, but the others I don't have the context.
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Re: Emails and other private messages

Post by celeron55 »

Maybe Johu and Damien should make an FAQ page on the wiki, and just add the questions. The community can then try to add the answers.
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Re: Emails and other private messages

Post by Jack Bauer »

This has been hashed out here ad nauseam. At the end of the day for me its the folks on patreon,paypal and who buy my kits who pay my wages. So I'm very near to moving all my activities over to patreon/discord. ffs on the day Johannes posted this thread I had 6 pms waiting for me!
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Re: Emails and other private messages

Post by johu »

Bottom line I want questions to be asked publicly so they can be answered publicly. That at least will increase the probability of someone finding the question (probably via some generic search engine) and the hopefully sane answer too it. It's how I've researched all the 1000s of small issues I faced during development and also during using other open source solutions. I would never dare contacting a developer directly because I know how enervating that is.

Most people who've never been in that position probably think "asking doesn't cost anything" and just shoot out their questions to someone they can get ahold of. With this thread I want to create some awareness that asking DOES cost the energy of the person whos being asked. Even not answering an email irritates me because I had to make the decision to ignore someone.

Some pretty spot-on description: https://joeldenning.com/?p=29
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Re: Emails and other private messages

Post by MattsAwesomeStuff »

celeron55 wrote: Fri Sep 24, 2021 6:21 am Maybe Johu and Damien should make an FAQ page on the wiki, and just add the questions. The community can then try to add the answers.
That could be a good solution.

The best part about it is that it's easy to be dismissive of PMs then. Just copy-paste the link to the FAQ if you know it's there. A few seconds to solve.

And it's a lot more successful to say "That's in the FAQ" than "Go search a forum for what might be there and you might not recognize when you see it."

As someone on both sides of that line, ("stop asking the same questions, I've already written this" vs. "I couldn't figure this out, can you help me"), that's been something that's worked well for me.

...

I don't want to tell anyone how to run their business or what efforts they should do. But, I feel like the people who are the most passionate and technical, represent only 1% of the market for DIY EVs. But without things being simply explained, well-fleshed out, and well-documented, that other 99% decide it's not for them, when really it could be.

I do think a bunch of the solution is, that if the answers are easy to find, in the place and format people are expecting to find them, then they will be more likely to read them.

I've been all but evangelical towards OI and EVBMS over the last couple years, to the point of annoying some other forum members by shilling so much, steering people towards here, and, most of them are hesitant to embrace hybrid repurposing specifically, because of the lack of examples or documentation. There's no one place to point them to, that describes what to get and how to use it, with examples. The bridge between intimidating open source and casual DIY, is just enough dumbed down documentation in a user friendly and accessible way. They'd rather go buy a Curtis or Hyper9 because those seem more accessible despite having, in my opinion, far worse support than you get in this community.
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Re: Emails and other private messages

Post by Jack Bauer »

Given that everytime I log into the forum I have private messages seeking support despite EVERYTHING that has been said in forum,website and video I am now disabling pms on my account for an unspecified time.
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Re: Emails and other private messages

Post by johu »

yeah, similar thing with the shops enquiry function where it even says "do not send technical questions here but use the forum".

Just send you a message and unfortunately it seems to go through. Will probably be stuck in the outbox forever spawning the perpetual question "what does it mean if message is stuck in outbox?". Will check if this can somehow be modified to say "this member does not receive PM"
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Re: Emails and other private messages

Post by TheSilverBuick »

This reminds me, time to renew the Patreon'age. Work and life pulled me away from the projects for several months so I paused it, but coming back around. I promise to keep my questions on the forum though!
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Re: Emails and other private messages

Post by Jack Bauer »

And it keeps on trucking. The latest being a spate of "why has this not been hacked already for free" type of things. Very near to giving up on this forum if I'm honest.
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Re: Emails and other private messages

Post by johu »

The more you have already hacked, the more you owe to the world, didn't you know? :x

Just a small clarification from my side: any message that seeks to entertain me and doesn't request any action from me is very welcome.

Even messages that do request an action but acknowledge that it's no expected for free, is welcome. Shortened example:
Would you be able to help me with the electrical/software portion of the build?

Please let me know what you offer and how much you charge for the service.
And then there is messages that go straight to the bin - title "Reply requested"
A month or so ago I posted questions to you in the topic "..." in the Openinverter forum and subsequently
sent a personal message to your profile with the same questions and have received no reply in either.
<then the questions again, blablabla>
Who are you to request anything from me? Do I owe you in some way?

EDIT: Mr. Nixdorf supposedly said "I will not adjust my behaviour to the 10% douche-bags out there but to the 90% reasonable". In other words I don't want to allow 10% douche-bags to ruin anything. Maybe straight delete messages from people you never heard of without even reading them? Radical I know, but better than abandoning the forum.
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Re: Emails and other private messages

Post by mjc506 »

Sorry to hear this :( Whilst it would be a massive loss for the OI community if anyone were to leave, I can certainly understand the sentiment, and of course have no right to ask you to stay (but I will anyway :-) Please stay!)

I'm not sure I have any clever suggestions for 'solving' the problem. Relying on people to do the right thing only works 99% of the time...
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Re: Emails and other private messages

Post by tom91 »

I have had the same thing, very likely only to 1% of the volume you guys have had.

It has made me quite skeptical about anyone approaching me with a project or a request for help. I now tend to just ignore most of them or send them a short email telling them list out what they need help with. If no such list is made or the first email is of the "wrong tone" I do not respond.

At one point I was introduced to a "company" via one of my connections, the email interaction became so painful I had to respond with an email in which I took back anything that would have seemed to come across as an offer to sell to or help in anyway.

So hopefully Johannes and Damien can focus on "Real work and problems" instead of everyone who jumps in and demands their time. One learns quite quickly time is the only thing you have to give on this planet, it is your most valuable resource as you do not know how much of it you will have so best to spend it wisely.
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Re: Emails and other private messages

Post by rstevens81 »

I would try and create some templates, but employ the johu hourly rate approach.

Something like this should be the auto response...

Good morning/afternoon,

Although I try my best to help on the forum I am only a single person and have limited time available and do not have the resources to be able to give 1 to 1 answers, therefore if you would like 1-1 support please see ...web page with support options basically 1/2 HR Skype, hourly rate for project support etc.

I can feel your pain I have seen some of the posts, where googling and basic research have been omitted and I can only imagine the emails to be even worse!

I know it's hard and I know you want to help but try and think more business like otherwise it will eat you up.
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Re: Emails and other private messages

Post by arber333 »

Well i also had my share of "help me" messages. Usualy i tried to help but allways i steered them back to the forum.
So again... if you have questions and are asking in pm do make your report and share the results and findings with community. That is the way progress is measured here.
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Re: Emails and other private messages

Post by E46Driver »

rstevens81 wrote: Tue Oct 11, 2022 5:41 pm Good morning/afternoon,

Although I try my best to help on the forum I am only a single person and have limited time available and do not have the resources to be able to give 1 to 1 answers, therefore if you would like 1-1 support please see ...web page with support options basically 1/2 HR Skype, hourly rate for project support etc.
Auto-reply is a good start. Makes it VERY clear and doesn't waste your time "deciding" to not respond. In fact, I believe Johu already has a store item for 1:1 support (https://openinverter.org/shop/index.php ... ry&path=60)

As a consultant, I have found the exact same thing in my career. Just too many leeches out there wanting everything for nothing. You really need to protect yourself and your time.

That said - I am very thankful for all the work you guys have put in. And all the work you continue to do in developing and supporting existing projects! I also have no right to ask, but I will anyway --- "Please stay :) ". And at the same time, I get it....the leeches are frustrating. Personally as I learn more I will try help more. I'm nowhere near the understanding of all you guys, but I can see it in the forums - you are all on another level.
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Re: Emails and other private messages

Post by Bigpie »

Could always go nuclear on the PM front :D
Screenshot 2022-10-11 at 7.09.24 pm.png
If something isn't hacked yet, have a crack at it, chase down owners of the vehicle and get a can bus log. At least do some of the leg work, someones far more likely to help out if you've had a decent crack at it.
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Re: Emails and other private messages

Post by Jack Bauer »

Thanks for the kind words folks. I do genuinely wish I could work faster, have more resources and hack everything but I exist mainly by the good will and generosity of the community. Perhaps this is why I'm affected in such a way by the small %.
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Re: Emails and other private messages

Post by MattsAwesomeStuff »

Evolutionarily, as tribal creatures, our brains don't have a category for more than like, 50-100 people.

I know Youtubers with 10,000,000+ subscribers, that still feel single negative comments like a punch to the gut. 3 or 4 of them on a video, and they feel like giving up. Out of milllions! Why? Logically they know these people are insignificant, but emotionally those 3 or 4 are just as bad as if they had 3 or 4 negative comments out of 50 viewers. Again, our brains just don't have an emotional appreciation for scale.

Every negative interaction feels like "Uh oh, this is one of the 50 people in my tribe, I'm going to be ostracized if I don't deal with this!" And it elevates it to a crisis.

These leaches won't go away, nor will the naysayers. So the solution is to find a way to appreciate their minisculeness.

Damien gets around 3,000 views on his videos (and he's not even trying to entertain, it's just the easiest way for him to share technical things). Can you imagine a crowd of 3000 people? That's a small arena, who all wanted to be there, to listen to what you have to say. That's a big sold out theatre, like a comedy special, every video. And 3 or 4 of them shout "you suck!" and "Damien you're wrong!" or pester you in the hallways to solve their problems.

Those 3 or 4 aren't the people who matter. The 3000 other people are who matter. Emotionally it'll never feel that way, but at least logically you can try to build that fence to remind yourself.

The Beatles have people who hate them. Elvis had people who hated his music. You don't play for the people who don't like your music. You play for the people who do.

Solutions:

1 - Could ask for a volunteer to be PM secretary. They'd screen your calls and reply for you to tell people off.

2 - As above, a short copy-paste form letter should suffice. It's an annoyance, but it's a small annoyance, and doesn't take effort to confront. I don't know how many PM's we're talking about, but, CTRL-C, CTRL-V is a pretty quick stamp. Take out the garbage once a week perhaps.

If you find joy in the work you do and in the people in this community, don't let the people who aren't positive ruin it for everything else you've built. Easy to say I suppose. I'm not immune to it either for the communities I'm in, I just try to manage as best I can.
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Re: Emails and other private messages

Post by Vita1ii »

I want to thank the author for the work and for this wonderful forum. and I want the "hackers" to read more and get their answers to their questions. And they did not write in a personal, as it is very annoying. Thanks
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