Re: New TECHWR-L Poll Question - OoO
Doug Grossman wrote:
Again, just because someone uses a computer all day in their job, this does *not* mean that they necessarily need to know Word, Frame, or anything else inside and out. Maybe all they need to do is use blank Word docs to create letters every once in awhile. This does not make them dumb; it only points up the fact that they may not have any *need* to know any computer software at a detailed level.......and yet, they still use computers all day long, and can still hold on to their jobs. Further, believe it or not, they may still have a need/desire to be on mailing lists, and not have any specific need other than that to use an out-of-office auto-reply.
So the problem with people who can't be bother to learn how their computers work isn't that they're dumb. Or smart. Or busy. Or not busy. The problem is that they're inconsiderate jerks. If they cared to be participants in a democratic society, in which rights are balanced by responsibilities toward others, they would take the time to figure out how to configure their out of office assistants. But narcissists with an infinite sense of entitlement aren't required to do that, apparently. And that, friends, is the problem. Blame the technology if you want, but I say the fault lies with the people who misuse it.
This branch of this thread (about configuring Out Of Office automatic replies) suggests a need for a test of marketing concepts like TCO (Total Cost of Ownership). The drift with TCO has been toward claims that computers, software, and operating systems are becoming so simple to use and manage that the traditional costs of training, maintenance, and administration are shrinking. This thread illustrates one deceptive aspect of the accounting used to claim lower TCO--that is, that training costs are lower because software is easier to use.
Upon closer examination, many of those foregone trainings, where software users are simply allowed to be self-trained, result in hidden costs that are not accounted for. Consider whether any saving actually results when 2000 subscribers to this list spend time clearing unwanted OOO replies. Obviously, there is no net savings, even if one list subscriber did save the cost of OOO traing, because new, real, external costs have been created and pushed off to the other subscribers, who will compensate by cleaning up their "share" of the mess. The cost is real, but as seasoned, realistic netizens, I think very few of us expect everyone to get OOO right every time. There's nothing for it but to pay up and cope, without making it worse. We have a systemic problem--any solution should prioritize that, and not this particular symptom (occasional OOO misfire).
Uh, I'm going to bone up on Mozilla OOO, in case I ever get a vacation.
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