As of today, requests for support via email (i.e, my contact form either here or on drupal.org) will be denied.

I’ve received four of them today, and I’m appalled. Normally I do what I can to help people who email me, but this is starting to snowball out of control. I’m not your technical support. There are channels for that. There’s the drupal.org support forums. There’s #drupal-support. If there are bugs or you think there are bugs, there’s the issues queue. But emailing me directly is rather rude. I’m sorry that my software is confusing, I really am. But honestly, would you rather I stop working on it entirely because I’ve run out of resources for it? And yea, usually if I’m in the IRC and you ask me there (publically) I’ll help you out.

Honestly, I work my ass off for the open source community, but at the end of the day, it’s an open source community. I get paid for a job that’s closely related to this, but not a single thing I write for public consumption actually gets used on my job. Perhaps someday in the future it will be. That means that all of the hours I pour into Views, Panels and my other modules are basically a labor of love.

But I’m a volunteer, I am not your personal tech support. To everyone who thinks it’s okay to privately email us for support — please think about the message you’re sending. You’re telling me that you think your time is more important than mine. Well, maybe it is to you. But it is not to me. Use the avenues available, and if no one is able to help you in those avenues, I’m sorry. Yes, it would be great if Drupal had a 24x7 support line to help you out, but that doesn’t exist and if it did it would cost a whole heck of a lot of money.

I’m sorry, but this is where I am drawing the line.

Comments

Couldn't agree more. Fair play to you, and your contributions are much appreciated.

Earl, thank you for all that you do in the way of development and support already. I certainly understand not wanting to do email support as well as IRC/forum/list support. It can be quite time consuming. I'm just glad that you're willing to do as much as you do already.

I counted three sorries in you post. As far as I can tell, you have no need to apologize. My contributions to Drupal are very few beyond trying to help out in the forums and with an occasional issue. Yet, I've seen a couple support via emails come my way too.

At the end of the day job, I've started to learn that I'm done working for individuals (whether for money or charity). Instead, I'd rather my evenings and weekends either go for myself, my family, or the community.

-Bryan

I am sorry.

Perhaps I shouldn't be, but I genuinely am. I'm sorry that I'm angry, and I'm sorry that people are not getting the help they need. Sure, there are lots of reasons why I can't give it to them, but I actually do like to help people. Otherwise I wouldn't have written any of this stuff at all.

So I thank you for the sentiment, but I can't not be sorry. Besides, that'd only leave me with angry, and I'd rather be sorry than angry!

I completely understand. Rest assured, you are not the only one with this problem. Since nearly 6 months, and even without such a hugely popular module as views, I really needed this statement on my account page:

Note: Please use the appropriate channels for support. I usually ignore out-of-the-blue support requests by e-mail unless some form of remuneration is offered (eg a page for the handbook or plain and simple PayPal).

It works! The 'Handbook page writing' is what scares people off ;p

An additional problem with this email support (sometimes after replying to a forum post) is that your answers do not benefit anyone else, making the effort rather pointless and, to the mailing user, selfish.

Yeah, I spend a lot of time in #drupal-support and it annoys me just in there when people come in asking how to use views without even reading the views manual. Personally I think the views manual is pretty straight forward.

Besides we can't drive away the creator/maintainer of such awesome modules. They are the staple of drupal for me.

It does exist. It's just that you have to pay for it.

Just follow this guide for hiring Drupal site developers and you should be able to find someone in some country to help you at any hour of the day.

That's the trick is that some people want 24x7 support and they want new features added without providing patches and they want you to do it for them - but they don't want to pay to compensate you for your time. WTF?

This is one of the biggest things that people new to open source software have a hard time understanding.

I myself shut off my contact form on Drupal.org a few weeks back for the same reason.

I agree with Bryan that you shouldn't feel sorry for doing not accepting e-mail support. I realize that you do feel sorry, because you feel the alternative is to feel angry. But what you should feel instead is a sense of altruism, believe it or not. Allow me to explain.

Brian Fitzpatrick of Google gives this great talk at various conventions about Poisonous People and how to avoid them. In it, he refers to the two most critical resources of the open source project. They're not brains or skill. They're not time or selflessness. They're attention and focus on the part of individual developers and other contributors.

You're not snubbing anyone here. You're simply allocating your two most critical resources in ways that better help the greater good of Views, the Drupal project as a whole, and the entire Drupal community in general. This is helping far more people than it is hurting, and if the people e-mailing you for support had one iota of integrity, they would recognize this too and be doing whatever they could to support you, including:

a) Having the decency to get as far as they can on their own before doing anything else, through reading the Views documentation, checking the Views issue queue for existing bugs/patches, reading through the code, or just plain old "trial and error."
b) After doing that and getting stuck, using the proper channels to ask for support: Drupal forums, the aforementioned issue queue, or #drupal-support on IRC.
c) Reporting back actual problems as bug reports in the tracker with clearly reproducable steps.
d) Offering to help with testing and/or development.
e) Offering to help with documentation, especially by providing a synopsis of the help they received to the handbook/Views FAQ so that other people can benefit.

I fully support your decision and am proud of you for taking what is ultimately the most responsible action you can: allocating your attention and focus on the larger problems that will help far more people.

From Kathy Sierra - How to Build a User Community, Part 1

This is a great read if only for the first 10 words - read the title and see the image about how users who are between beginner and advanced tend to NOT answer questions. As she points out, we probably need to encourage more of the intermediate Drupal users to contribute documentation and answers in the forum.

I'm one of those people who have sent you private emails (via your drupal.org contact page) asking for support - out of ignorance, because I didn't understand the etiquette at the time. (This was some time ago.)

You did respond, promptly, and courteously - and I thank you for that. I no longer ask for direct support, because I am now capable of digging through the sources and helping find the problems myself.

In any case, I'll add to the chorus of voices thanking you again for all that you have done, and I support your decision fully.

I've begun the process of building drupal modules, in the hopes of helping others get more out of drupal - so I can appreciate the issues you face when deciding where to put your time and effort.

Warmest regards,

Michael Curry
http://exodusdev.com

I installed views and pretty much had no problem getting it to do the various things I wanted, could think up, or just would dream up. I'm not sure I even read the documentation. It really seems very intuitive to me....

... and saying 'paint me an idiot'.

I am sorry - I really am for not knowing the rules of etiquette followed at Drupal.org.

I guess my enthusiasm to work with the community clouded the cursory precaution I had to take.

Thanks for being courteous and pointing me in the right direction.

Earl, thank you for all that you do in the way of development and support already. I certainly understand not wanting to do email support as well as IRC/forum/list support. It can be quite time consuming. I'm just glad that you're willing to do as much as you do already.

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