There is no "doing it wrong" when it comes to supporting Thunderbird users. As long as TB users are being helped and moving forward in getting their issues resolved in a welcoming and positive atmosphere, you are doing it right. This guide is just some ways that the community has found that will help folks support Thunderbird users better.
- 1 Rule # 0 Anybody can do support - this is a good thing!
- 2 Rule # 1 Have fun
- 3 Rule # 2 Always be polite
- 4 Rule # 3 Use the Boilerplate
- 5 Rule # 4 Don't re-invent the wheel, link to existing solutions
- 6 Rule # 5 Use the Search Luke
- 7 Rule # 6 Develop your own personal support process that works for you
- 8 Rule # 7 Don't be afraid to ask for help
- 9 Rule # 8 There's lots to learn; we can all get better
Rule # 0 Anybody can do support - this is a good thing!
Has another Thunderbird user ever solved your Thunderbird problem? Have you ever helped anybody with a Thunderbird problem? It is likely that there are many other users who have the same problem. Why don't you help them out and give back to the Thunderbird community? You don't need to be highly technical - all you need is patience and good communication skills.
Rule # 1 Have fun
Helping other users is both satisfying and fun. If it's not fun, email the Thunderbird technical support lead, Roland Tanglao. His email is rtanglao AT mozilla.com. He'll help you out.
Rule # 2 Always be polite
Sometimes people are frustrated, impatient and impolite. Regardless, keep your cool and be polite to them. If you are impolite, the person you are helping will probably become more frustrated and impolite. If you are getting frustrated by someone's rudeness or if someone is abusive towards you, see Rule #1 and contact Roland , rtanglao AT mozilla.com.
Rule # 3 Use the Boilerplate
Most support requests have already been answered. There are some boilerplate responses here: https://wiki.mozilla.org/Thunderbird/Support/GetSatisfaction/BoilerPlate and always personalize them to your style of writing and to the particular support request
There are solutions for most support topics at the following sites:
- The official knowledge base at support.mozillamessaging.com
- previous replies on Get Satisfaction
- the excellent 3rd party knowledge base at MozillaZine
- the excellent 3rd party support forums at MozillaZine
- the excellent unofficial FLOSS Thunderbird Manual available in English and French
- the rest of the Internet e.g. SuperUser
When you find an existing solution, please copy and paste the link into a Get Satisfaction reply with a concise explanation.
Rule # 5 Use the Search Luke
While you can use the built-in search on each site to find solutions in the Thunderbird Knowledge Base, Get Satisfaction and MozillaZine, often it is faster and easier to use Google to search using the "site:sitename" qualifier. For example, if you are searching for information about gmail settings, then the following searches would be faster
- site:support.mozillamessaging.com thunderbird gmail settings
- site:getsatisfaction.com/mozilla_messaging thunderbird gmail settings
- site:kb.mozillazine.org thunderbird gmail settings
- site:forums.mozillazine.org thunderbird gmail settings
Rule # 6 Develop your own personal support process that works for you
- You can find topics you think you can solve by using the Get Satisfaction console. Search for keywords that match your area of knowledge. Alternatively, you can subscribe to the RSS feed for Get Satisfaction for specific terms. For example, the following RSS URL would return Get Satisfaction issues that include the term "Comcast")
- Search for answers in the places suggested in Rule #4 above.
- Post a reply using your own personal boilerplate that answers the question or asks for followup troubleshooting details. You will be automatically emailed any subsequent replies to the topic. We recommend using Get Satisfaction Replies and not Get Satisfaction Comments because comments are not listed in reverse chronologically order, which means they are easily missed by future readers of the topic. And an even better reason to use replies: you can't mark comments as "Official" (for replies by employees) or "Good answer!" (for replies by non employees) If you are afraid to use replies because it won't be obvious what you are replying to you then QUOTE the material you are replying to using the QUOTE ... [copy and paste stuff you are replying to] END QUOTE convention)
Rule # 7 Don't be afraid to ask for help
None of us know everything. If you are stuck, please don't hesitate to ask for help! Everybody who contributes to Thunderbird support has had similar experiences, wants to help and is friendly!
If you are having trouble with a specific Get Satisfaction support topic and would like somebody to help you support a Thunderbird user, ask Roland by clicking on "Email this to a friend" in the right sidebar and enter: rtanglao AT mozilla.com (change 'AT' to '@' of course!)
For general questions and comments, please join the tb-support-crew mailing list or send a message to rtanglao AT mozilla.com. Alternatively, log in to the IRC (IRC is one of the oldest technologies on the Internet for chatting!) channel #tb-support-crew on irc.mozilla.org).
Rule # 8 There's lots to learn; we can all get better
There is always something new to learn! Here's some places to start: