Not sheepish, but individ-ewe-al (livredor) wrote in lj_userdoc,
Not sheepish, but individ-ewe-al

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FAQ proposal: Why didn't I get help when I asked a Support question?

OK, so this is my first ever attempt to write a FAQ. There seems to be some debate about whether this is even needed, and I know it needs a lot of editing. It's way too verbose; it needs to be rho-ified, for a start! But hopefully it will get the ball rolling, and I'm thick-skinned when it comes to criticism.

LiveJournal Support is run almost entirely by volunteers. Volunteers make every effort to give each user the best possible answer. However, the volume of requests received is very large, and there have to be some restrictions on what Support can reasonably cover. Here are some examples of reasons why you might have found your Support answer unhelpful:

* You asked about a website or service outside LiveJournal. LiveJournal volunteers can only give information about LiveJournal itself. It would not be reasonable to expect volunteers to know about every site on the whole internet, especially as many sites change frequently. The people who run other sites might object if we gave possibly misleading information about their product. This includes sites which run on the LiveJournal code; although they may look similar to LiveJournal, they are not connected.

Volunteers can not recommend sites such as HTML tutorials or image hosting sites, because it would be unfair and probably misleading to 'advertise' a particular site. LiveJournal Support also can not help you to promote your journal on other sites, because each site will have its own policy about this.

* You asked how to use software on your computer. Just as there are thousands of websites, there are many different programs and volunteers do not know the details of all of them. This includes browser software, image editing software and other things you may use to help you use LiveJournal.

* You have a problem which is not caused by LiveJournal and is outside LiveJournal's control. You may have malicious programs ('malware') on your computer which prevent you from using the LiveJournal site properly. It is up to you to remove this malware. LiveJournal may be blocked by filtering software as an inappropriate site. In this case, you need to talk to whoever is in charge of the filter settings. Filtering software may be on your computer, such as 'parental control' or 'safe surfing' programs, or it may be enforced by your ISP. When LiveJournal is sending out emails normally, but they are not reaching you, there is a problem with your email system. You may be able to change settings yourself, or you may need to talk to your email provider. Alternatively, you can change to a different email system if the provider you use now can not help you. If your browser is not able to handle parts of the LiveJournal site properly, you need to change the browser settings or possibly upgrade your browser.

* You want to know how to use general HTML. There are many effects you can achieve with HTML to change the way your journal entries appear. It is not practical for volunteers to provide one-to-one HTML coaching. There are many excellent HTML tutorials available online, and you should use a search engine to look for one that helps you do what you want. If there is a problem with the HTML you are using at the moment for journal entries, you will have to troubleshoot it yourself. It takes a very long time to correct someone else's HTML code, and there are too many requests to be able to do this for every user.

* You are trying to create complex customization effects. There are tutorials for many basic effects, but volunteers can not help with anything more complicated. Volunteers can not create layouts for you, or provide code for custom styles. If there are errors in your layout, Support can not help you to fix these errors. The best way to learn to customize your journal is to keep trying different things until you find something that works. There are also several unofficial communities which provide customization and layout help.

* You want to do something that is impossible. There are some things that just can not be done without completely changing the whole structure of the site. Other features may be possible in theory, but against the philosophy of the site. LiveJournal exists mainly to allow people to create and maintain online journals. It may be possible to use it for other purposes, but you will probably find that it is awkward to do so.

* You are a free user, and you want to use a feature that is only available to paid users. If a feature is restricted, you can be sure there is a good reason for it. The feature may be expensive to provide, or use a lot of site resources. It may be restricted as an incentive to encourage more people to buy paid accounts. The site needs a certain amount of paid accounts so that there is enough money to keep running.

* You have a very complicated problem. Please be patient; every user gets an answer eventually. It may take time to investigate the issue and find a solution for it. This is especially true if you are affected by a site bug. Obviously, if the site is not working properly, fixing it is the highest priority, but this will probably not happen instantly.

Further reading:
Volunteering with LiveJournal

Problems with email:

Introduction to HTML:

Troubleshooting common problems yourself:

Introduction to journal customization:

Finding a community that might be able to help you even if the official Support system can not:

Paid account privileges:

Edited to add: Can someone write an abusey bit, please? I want to say something about 'We can't necessarily do anything about it if someone is being mean to you. The Abuse team will only deal with violations of the terms of service.'

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