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Work Conundrum

What's the best way of telling an end-user that the problem they're having with a piece of software is user error, *without* actually telling them it's user error?


Karen the Cute Computer Engineer
This is actually pretty tricky. I did some phone OS/2 support for awhile after school, and people would call in all the time getting the error "OS/2!! SYS02025" when they booted. The system halts completely, and it looks pretty bad. Most people think their hard drive is gone, and they were pretty panicked.

Karen the Cute Computer Engineer
But anyway, that's really just the OS/2 "Nonsystem disk" error, so it usually meant someone had left a disk in the drive. But when you asked someone if they had a disk in the drive, they'd respond "No, of course not, I'm not an idiot!" Except they obviously did. So I had to come up with diplomatic ways for saying so, usually blaming the computer itself...stuff like "Well sometimes, the old machines, the disk will get stuck in there. If you could hit the button again a little harder, maybe it will come loose."

Karen the Cute Computer Engineer
And, inevitably, they'd say "Oh, yeah, there was a disk in there." And it'd be fine.

Sock Puppet Bill

Karen the Cute Computer Engineer
Yeah, I guess it is pretty funny.

Sock Puppet Bill
No, no, OS/2! Wow, geez, I'd completely forgotten about that thing.

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