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Windows 7: Help needed with school assignment

18 Oct 2014   #1
nommy the first

Microsoft Windows 8.1 64-bit Professional
 
 
Help needed with school assignment

Hey guys!

I study International Communication and Media, and for one assignment I need to write a short (750 - 1.000 words) feature article. Uni told us to choose any topic we liked and had a question about, and to conduct an interview with an "expert" on the topic in order to answer our main question.

Now my thesis is "How can online forums, like Seven Forums, help you in comparison to store-bought assistance". And in order to answer this question I made two mind maps;

Help needed with school assignment-mind-map-1.jpg
Help needed with school assignment-mind-map-2.jpg

I also came up with a small list of questions;
  1. What do you need to invest in order to get results?
  2. What is the main difference between seeking assistance on a forum or in a shop?
  3. Comparing your payment with the results you get, which one is better?
  4. Where can you get the best assistance?

If would be great if you guys could answer these questions and post a little something about what you think of the thesis, maybe with personal experiences.

When done I'll post the final product here (do note though, I'm a designer, not a writer, so don't expect a top notch article lol).


Cheers and thanks in advance!
Nommy



My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Oct 2014   #2
Boozad

W7 Pro x64 SP1 | W10 Pro IP x64 | W8.1 Pro x64 VM | Linux Mint VM
 
 

What do you need to invest in order to get results?

Time, patience and a willingness to listen and learn. the vast amount of knowledge on these forums can be quite daunting to newcomers, especially those with limited or minimal technical expertise. When our experts are offering advice the user requesting assistance should be ready to follow instructions and requests to the letter to ensure they get the best out of their support. We've all seen threads go south when users don't follow instructions, try their own fixes without detailing them, get angry with people trying to help... None of that works towards getting the best out of the support that's offered on these forums.

What is the main difference between seeking assistance on a forum or in a shop?

'Trustworthiness' for want of a better word. Stores are there for one reason only; to make money. Yes, they're providing a service but so are coffee shops, hairdressers and supermarkets etc. Finding a store that you trust can be a very difficult task these days, it's always a question in the back of your mind whether the store will cut corners or charge you excessively or for something you don't need or they didn't provide.
This forum offers free support, there are no other motives beyond getting peoples' problems solved. There is nothing to second guess maybe except for the expertise of the member trying to offer help, but that could be said about stores too.

Comparing your payment with the results you get, which one is better?

Almost every time the forums, how can you beat free? I dread to think how much stores charge for reinstalling Windows, virus removal, debugging and the like but I'm certain it's not cheap.

Where can you get the best assistance?

I may be biased but I'd say here without a doubt. Going on my very limited experience with brick and mortar stores I don't think I've ever seen one MVP or MCC, yet alone a bunch of them together in one place. These people earned those titles and really know their stuff, I'd trust these forums over any tech help store to be honest.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Oct 2014   #3
nommy the first

Microsoft Windows 8.1 64-bit Professional
 
 

Thanks Gav for the elaborate reply! Would you mind it if I would quote you in my article?

Quote:
...Time, patience and a willingness to listen and learn...

So basically the main difference between visiting us and going to a store is that in a store you only need to pay money, where with us you are a part of the troubleshooting process and actually need to do as instructed in order to get your issue resolved.

With that in mind; there are a lot of tech illiterate people around, and for those people it would be considerably easier to just go to a store and let someone else fix it, instead of, for example, making a bootable USB or reading a stack trace in windbg.
I myself have seen several threads where the OP wasn't able to follow the instructions given because he simply didn't understand them.

What would you say; are forums like SF generally accessible for everyone or is it necessary to have at least a slight bit of IT knowledge?


Nommy
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

19 Oct 2014   #4
MrNeeds

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

The only drawback to sevenforums is that we don't have physical access to the machines that need troubleshooting, so if it's a hardware issue then there's not a lot we can do apart from tell them to go to the shop.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Oct 2014   #5
Boozad

W7 Pro x64 SP1 | W10 Pro IP x64 | W8.1 Pro x64 VM | Linux Mint VM
 
 

Stefan of course you can quote me, no problem at all. I'll get back to your other questions tomorrow as I've picked up a nasty bug and need to get to bed.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Oct 2014   #6
Barman58

Windows 10 Pro x64 x2 Windows 10 Enterprise x64, Ubuntu
 
 

My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Oct 2014   #7
Layback Bear

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

All help forums are not created equal.
For someone looking for help must do their homework looking for the proper forum.

Things to look for and understand.
1. Is the forum run in a understandable polite fashion for people of different levels of knowledge.
2. Does the forum have exact but simple rules the forum is run by.
3. Does the forum answer questions in the level the person needing help can understand.
4. When reading through different threads do you feel that these members are really trying to help or just WOW people with their knowledge.
5. Ask your questions in as exact way as you know how. Quality help forums are not tweak or FaceBook sites.
6. Read some threads concerning your problem and it will help you understand the methods used in posting when one has a problem and requesting help. (Learn the lay of the land as they say.)
7. Don't try any of the repairs you have read for others until you get personal help addressing your problem. Doing a repair without guidance can cause more problems.
8. Asking questions about the recommend suggestion is a good thing. Arguing about them is a bad thing.
9. Any good site will have many observers of a thread. If misinformation is given it will be caught and corrected.
10. If one doesn't feel comfortable completing a request just state so and give reasons if possible.
11. Once you have selected your forum don't go all over the net trying other thing to fix your problem. The mess that will create is indescribable.

** Give this forum as a example.**
We have members from all over the world that offer help.
These members come in all skill levels and help where they can. If more help is needed we will find a member that is more skilled with that particular problem. We do work together to help solve problems.
We do it in a fashion that the person needing help can understand.
You do not have to already be a expert to follow the suggestions and recommendation.
We do the assistance in a polite and exact fashion. We are here to answer question when need be.
We don't look down our noses at people with less knowledge. We are here to help others and learn.

Now to put it simple.
We are here to help all who request it; as long as they follow the rules of the forum.

Compared to a local shop we have a advantage. Our methods and satisfied customers are all over the net. Anybody can research the Seven Forum and find out just about anything. You most likely can't do that with a brick and mortar store.
Remember the whole world can see what we do and how we do it.

These are things that just come from the top of my head.
Layback Bear
Jack

PS: Our charge for this help is the same for everybody. FREE
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Oct 2014   #8
andrew129260

Windows 10 Pro
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by nommy the first View Post
What would you say; are forums like SF generally accessible for everyone or is it necessary to have at least a slight bit of IT knowledge?


Nommy
Yes, they need to have the basic skill sets on how to work computers, and when I say basic computer skills, I mean actual computer skills. Knowing how to open internet explorer is not enough.

A forum is not going to cut it for people who either cannot learn, won't learn, or refuse to learn. That is why paid shops will always exist.

Amazon is heading in the right direction as they have there video chat with a live human who helps you even if you're completely dense and have no clue what you are doing at all.

Forums cannot help everyone unfortunately.

I know I myself most of the time like to be or need to be at the actual computer to understand what is going on. Phone support and forum support is challenging, as the terms and identifiers to what you call them are not what the customer thinks/says.

To them, internet explorer is the internet. So many times you hear people say I lost the internet, its uninstalled from my computer or it is missing! How do I get it back?

When simply the internet explorer icon is missing and that is all it was.

Forums are not for everyone. Can you google and learn a lot about pc's? sure. But if you request in a forum, and have no idea about the problem or understand what is happening, it is almost impossible to help.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Oct 2014   #9
Layback Bear

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

Andrew you make some good points.
That is why I recommend reading through some threads on a forum to new users with problems.
I'm hoping that should give them a idea whether using forum help or a repair shop is what they need.

Your statement is very true.

[QUOTEA forum is not going to cut it for people who either cannot learn, won't learn, or refuse to learn. That is why paid shops will always exist. ][/QUOTE]
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Oct 2014   #10
nommy the first

Microsoft Windows 8.1 64-bit Professional
 
 

Thanks everyone for replying!

I made a focussed freewrite off of which I will base my final assignment. Here it is if anyone is interested

---
For the past two years I have been actively contributing on various online tech forums. In this time I have seen numerous people who, while in the middle of the troubleshooting process, tell the people helping them that they ended up going to a store and spending copious amounts of money on something as easy as reinstalling Windows. I always wondered why people did this as there are lots of websites that give great, free, technical assistance. In order to help myself, and you, understand this I am writing this feature article. My main thesis is “how online forums, like Seven Forums, can help you in comparison to store-bought assistance”.

When something on your computer breaks down or when a program stops working a lot of people just tend to go to a store and pay someone to fix it, but what do we actually know about the people in these stores? Do we know if they actually know what they are doing? Do they have proper credentials? Don’t they just browse your machine and your personal files? Do they do what you ask them or do they do a lot of other things as well in order to charge you extra, because let’s face it, you wouldn’t know what they were talking about even if you asked, right?

What do you need to invest in order to get results?
A very important question to which Gav (Boozad), a valued member and long-time contributor of Seven Forums, the world’s largest Windows 7 knowledge base, answered “time, patience and a willingness to listen and learn”. When going to a store you merely need to go there and pay them either in advance or when the repairs are done. Granted, that’s easy, but sometimes it can take said store a very long time to even start with troubleshooting the issue with your machine. Plus you don’t even know what they are doing since it all takes place behind closed doors.

On forums this is different. You only need to log in with your account and create a thread describing your problem. Maybe you need to run a tool or two and upload the output of the tool so that the people helping you have a bit more information, but after that you’re done. Just sit back and wait for someone to notice your thread. Once you have gotten a reply it’s time to start working, because you’re doing this together with the people assisting you. Unlike going to a store you actually need to do something in order to get a result. The people helping you will give you instructions you need to follow. As Gav said, “We’ve all seen threads go south when users don’t follow instructions, try their own fixes without detailing them, get angry with people trying to help.. None of that works towards getting the best out of the support that’s offered on these forums”.

What is the main difference between seeking assistance on a forum or in a shop?
There are many differences, but the most important one, as Gav says, is trustworthiness. Unlike forums, stores exist for one reason alone, to make profit. “Yes, they’re providing a service, but so are coffee shops and hairdressers.” You simply can’t know if the person behind the counter is going to fix your problem and be done with it or if he’s going to cut corners and charge you excessively for something that was done in 15 minutes.

Forums, on the other hand, don’t want to make a profit. The people giving assistance on forums might have many reasons for doing so, but at the end of the day they all work towards one goal; helping you with your issue. “There is nothing to second guess maybe except for the expertise of the member trying to offer help, but that could be said about stores too”. Jack (Layback Bear) adds to that; “our methods and satisfied customers are all over the net. Anybody can research the Seven Forums and find out just about anything. You most likely can’t do that with a brick and mortar store”.

The only drawback at receiving assistance on a forum is, as David Best (MrNeeds) says, that the people assisting you don’t have physical access to the machine. This means that it is a lot harder to pinpoint hardware issues than it would be in a store. But, as Jack replies to that, there are people in all skill levels on these forums. “If more help is needed we will find a member that is more skilled with that particular problem; we do work together to help solve problems”.

Comparing your payment with the results you get, which one is better?
As both Jack and Gav say “Our charge for this help is the same for everybody; FREE”. Since technical assistance isn’t something tangible, it’s very hard to put a price tag on it. Stores can basically charge anything they want. Simple things like reinstalling Windows could end up costing you hundreds of Euro’s.

Where can you get the best assistance?
While this question is very hard to answer, since there really isn’t a set definition for the best assistance, it is possible to look at the people assisting you; “I don’t think I’ve ever seen one Microsoft Most Valuable Professional or Community Contributor, let alone a bunch of them, working together in one store” Gav says. Looking at the people giving assistance on Seven Forums, there are plenty of MVP’s and MCCA’s working there.

But, as Jack says, all tech forums are not created equally. One forum might specialize in one issue, such as virus removal, while other forums have knowledge on multiple issues. “People looking for help must do their homework looking for the proper forum”.

At the end of the day it all comes down to one point; are you willing to work with the people assisting you, or do you just want to sit back and wait for someone else to fix your problem? Andrew (Andrew129260), contributor at Seven Forums says that “A forum is not going to cut it for people who either can’t learn, won’t learn, or refuse to learn. That is why paid shops will always exist”.
---

I'll finish the assignment this night and deliver it to my professor somewhere tomorrow, so if you'd like to see something changed please do tell me on time.


Apart from that, many thanks all for replying!
Nommy

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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