Unfortunately, the day has finally arrived when my information has become so popular that it has stretched my resources to the limit.
Each time I add something to the domain, more E-Mail is directed to my inbox. Some is positive feedback, but most are random technical support questions that I no longer have the time to answer.
I enjoy providing this domain to the Internet community, but my time has completely been overtaken by my desire to help as many people with their own personal computer issues. This desire to help has, thus far, outweighed my common sense when responding to technical questions.
At the onset a few years ago, it was a welcome event. I helped those that I could and the people that had questions that was beyond the capability to troubleshoot by E-Mail, I would point them in the right direction to help them resolve the issue on their own.
Then it became apparent that taking the time to point people in the right direction took too much time. Either I was "talking over their head" and spent lots of time trying to draft an E-Mail that everyone can understand about a complicated issue, or I was "talking under them" by automatically assuming this stranger that E-Mailed me does not know the first thing about computers. I began to ignore these more complex problems, sometimes after the sender has spent much time writing very extensive information about their particular issue, because I do not have as much time as the sender does to devote to a problem.
On March 25, 2003, I drafted the following: The Rant: Impossible Questions to Answer by E-Mail. This was in response to the large volume of E-Mail I get daily involving technical issues beyond what is humanly possible to solve remotely.
It hurts me to ignore people, as I have said many times before, if you have taken the time to send kind words about the domain my way, I will happily take the time to reply and thank you for them.
Feedback and encouragement has always fueled this domain. No banner ads are (or ever will) adorn this site. I provide the information because I enjoy my geekie hobby and encourage other people not to think of their own computer system as a toaster that "just works." However, saying "Thanks for the information on your web site" and my reply of "No problem, glad I can help" takes tons less time than to read a massive E-Mail about a technical issue that, in reality, is difficult if not impossible to solve from a remote location.
As such, I have to draw the line somewhere. I have dreaded this day from coming because, in part, I feel my domain has became popular because of my personal style of presentation and my responses to as many people as I can. The lack of obnoxious advertising bombarding the reader also plays a role. This word of mouth has came down to "don’t bother me, ask Black Viper! He will tell you the answer."
One person tells two friends, then those people tell other friends… before I knew it, I have 182 E-Mails waiting to be opened.
I have my own issues. Even though, on December 30, 2003, it took me relatively little time to "swap" the domain to a different computer and get it running, I spent several hours monitoring and testing to ensure everything was working.
I then got, once again, behind. I "just caught up" only the day before by spending several hours replying to E-Mail.
One day leads to more and again, I am behind. So, not only do I have to ignore and possibly make people mad by not responding or helping with their particular problem, but those that I finally get to their problem, I get a reply to my solution saying "I have already figured it out" or "you took too long." As such, I have spent time in replying for no greater good other than "seemingly wasting my already limited time."
Thus, I am going to further limit the amount of technical issues that get my personal response. I have tons of information that many people have utilized. I write it once, it is view by, not only hundreds, but thousands. A personal reply from one person, goes to that one person and is not an efficient use of my limited time.
Several times, as with the most recent Virus and Worm epidemic, I would post a page directing people on how to solve the problem. If I responded individually to each person that page helped, it would have taken more hours than what is in a day.
In closing, I thank all of my readers for visiting and utilizing what variety of information I offer to the internet community. I will still respond to those people with kind words or "specific issues" relating to my information. In the short term, that will not change. In the long run, that line may also need to be drawn.
This change of view does not mean that updates to content and additional articles will never happen. In fact, quite the opposite. Limiting the amount of one-on-one communication will free up some time to do just that. It also should not be thought of as a way for me to "leave my readers hanging." That, by far, is not the desire.