What do I do when nobody answers my e-mails anymore, and nobody answers my questions online?



  • I have sent many e-mails to companies and asked numerous questions on here, which just go unanswered. No reply whatsoever. They are not rude, unreasonable, or in any way mal-intentioned.

    I've noticed this in recent years, that even websites that "welcome feedback" and seem to encourage you to contact them just won't respond. They waste my time by making me sit here and write them carefully worded and polite e-mails with questions, which they then just ignore.

    I don't get it.

    And this website (and others) are the same. Forums. Any place online. I ask questions, make suggestions, report bugs, etc. No response. It's as if I were offline in a padded cell and just imagined having sent the messages.

    This has been happening so frequently and consistently now, for so long, that I'm seriously wondering what the point is even trying anymore.

    What could possibly explain this total shift in helpfulness? I understand if somebody doesn't want questions or even feedback, but then why the hell do they put up a big form or e-mail address and claim to "welcome your thoughts" and wording like that, when they clear don't?

    Why have support forums where nobody looks/cares? Why run mailing lists where nobody responds even after months or years? Some bugs are literally 20 years old by now and still aren't even assigned!

    I feel like I'm going crazy. There are so many unanswered questions and unresolved problems in my "computer world" that I find myself utterly crippled, and all these program, websites, services, APIs, etc. might as well be run by robots in terms of being able to communicate with them.

    I truly don't understand it. How did this situation come to be?



  • Problem

    There are two problems I often see with emails as well as questions:

    1. Too much content
    2. Content not formatted in a manner that makes the important parts stand out

    Most people just scan incoming messages and posts. If there is too much text, it's easy for the reader to miss the main points and it's possible they won't even realize what questions you are trying to get answers to. Also, if the question is not apparent right in the beginning of the post, it's likely they will also give up trying to understand your question, and just move on.

    Solution

    The goal is direct the user to the content you want them to for sure see.

    • Make the question you want to ask apparent right away. By the end of your second paragraph, the questions you really want answers to should be clear. You can then add additional background information after if you think more context would be helpful.
    • Use bullet points to break content into more digestable pieces.
    • If you are asking multiple questions, it's easy for the reader to miss one of the questions. Use numbered bullets to make each question stand out, and to also give the reader an easy way to reference each question when answering.
    • Use bold and italic formatting strategically.

    Example

    I'll use your current question as an example:

    • You question contains 9 paragraphs. It's not very likely any reader will pay full attention to 9 full paragraphs.
    • Your actual question is buried in paragraph number 6.
    • The question at the end, which does stand out, does not actually fully state what you want to ask, so it's not possible to just jump to that part and figure out what answer you are looking for.
    • You bolded the word assigned, so that draws my attention, but that word isn't important for getting the answers you want, so it's attracting the wrong attention.


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