You’re probably reading this email because you contacted me with a support question regarding one of my open source projects. I’m glad to hear you are finding my project useful and I hope I can help you with your issue. However I don’t provide free support for these non-commercial projects via email. It is likely you can find the project on my GitHub account and opening an issue there is the best way to contact me with a question or a bug report. If you can’t find the appropriate place for your message, you can reach out to me on Twitter and I can direct you to the best place to post your information. If you are interested in paying for support, you can reach me at my business contact form.
GitHub and Twitter Require an Account
Using GitHub or Twitter both require setting up a free account. I realize this may be a hurdle if you don’t currently have an account but both of these platforms are important to help me manage my free support communications.
Why Not Email?
Providing support for these projects does not directly generate any money for me and investing time in answering questions by email does not scale well. By answering questions in a public forum, like GitHub, I experience a number of benefits:
- people with the same problem in the future may find the answer themselves
- if a person reaches out to me with the same question, I can point them to the answer that is already online
- other people who are also using the same project may beat me to it and provide the answer
I understand the feeling of not wanting to post a question online. I’ve struggled with the fear of being judged that my questions are dumb or a client would lose faith in me if they found out. I’ve mostly come to terms with these feelings. I’m learning new things all the time and part of that learning is asking questions. Of course, I do realize that different people have different preferences and that some situations do require discretion, if this is the case I suggest you contact me at my business contact form where I’m happy to provide support for a fee.
But This is a Quick Question
At this point you may be feeling,
Okay sure I get it but this a quick question. Can’t I just get an answer instead of jumping through these hoops?
If you were the only support request I ever got, it would absolutely make sense for me to email back a quick response. The reality is I receive enough of these emails that in terms of spending time it made sense to write this blog post. I want to provide support but I also need to realistically manage my time.
How You Can Help
With the number of people on the Internet there is a good chance that someone else has the same problem you do. Hopefully, solving the problem in a publicly accessible way will help others in the future. You can help by adding a short description of the exact steps you took to solve it once the problem is resolved. A summary of the solution can be a life saver for those who have the same problem in the future.
xlibber on flickr