first steps in the complaint process

1. at the very bottom of this message is the advice I gave someone.
So far as I know, this is good advice.

2. in between is some meta-discussion of when and how to involve
the Lynx developers, who double as Lynx user support, in cases
involving either a) the user was using Lynx or b) Lynx has
provided useful diagnostic information.

3. I hope WAI-ER-IG will give serious thought to this option as
regards the first step in processing a complaint.  Specifically,
that the complainer writes to the complainee with a copy to a
third-party referree, in this case third party is a WAI mailbox.

4. Let me disclose one preconception: So far as I know, email
(free-form speech) is on the whole a more appropriate technology
for collecting feedback from the public than web forms (any
forms).  If the current generation of user feedback forms were
replaced with document templates, the net result would be a more
effective customer-service program.  The customers would feel
more as though they were listened to, and the businesses would
learn more from the data they collect.


----- Forwarded message from asgilman -----

From asgilman Sat Jul 18 10:32:03 1998
Subject: coaching users on how to deal with trouble
Date: Sat, 18 Jul 1998 10:32:03 -0400 (EDT)
X-Mailer: ELM [version 2.4ME+ PL15 (25)]

Quoted below is some advice I gave a user on another list.

In it I invite mail to this list.  Please see if you agree that
we want mail to come here under the conditions I set forth in the

The message quoted below contains what may be a better synthesis
on the topic of "how to get help when you have trouble on the
web" than I have managed to scratch out in the past.  I would
welcome comments from that angle as well.

The key differences in the new strategy:

Tell the user to write to the site with cc:lynx-dev.

If they are using lynx when they have the trouble, cc:lynx-dev.

If there is evidence about the problem that Lynx has turned up,
cc:lynx-dev.  The webmaster may need to ask "what does this
error message in Lynx actually mean?"  Finding people willing
to trace a failure is a problem.  The willingness is better on
webwatch and the skills are better on lynx-dev.  

Kelly, do you have any suggestions here?

Actually, I just got an idea for what W3C can do...


----- Forwarded message from Al Gilman -----

>From asgilman  Sat Jul 18 10:06:05 1998
From: Al Gilman <asgilman>
Message-Id: <>
Subject: Re: FYI>Encyclopaedia Britannica Launches eBLAST; The "Thinking...
Date: Sat, 18 Jul 1998 10:06:02 -0400 (EDT)
In-Reply-To: <> from Strategies for Success at "Jul 17, 98 09:48:32 pm"
X-Mailer: ELM [version 2.4ME+ PL15 (25)]

to follow up on what Strategies for Success said:

> I tried getting into this web and was refused.  Any ideas?


There is an email address for technical problems with their site

I got this from Kelly Ford's excellent review of this site which
you can find in the webwatch-l archives; start at

The problem is that the technical support people for the site
will need technical information about the browser setup you are
using; technical details that you as a user typically don't have
at your fingertips.

I see you sent this mail from CompuServe.  Were you using the 
CompuServe browser when you failed to get in at eBLAST?
They may have an email address for user support.

To get a problem like this fixed, start by trying to connect
three parties around one trouble report: yourself, someone
involved in technical support for the site, and someone who can
help with the technical details of the browser installation.

The trouble report should be filed as email from you to with a copy to whoever you feel you can call on
for browser and/or screen reader support.  Do be as specific as
you can about what you were doing when it failed, and what
browser you are using.

Do mention in your report that Lynx gives a "badly formed
relative URL -- stripping leading dots" warning message as it
accesses this site.  You can copy <> on your
message for follow-up on that detail.

If the browser is Lynx, it is appropriate to copy

If you have a disability, and the problem deals with web
technologies (as this one does), it is appropriate to copy

To summarize:

There are two keys to successfully resolving technical problems
in a network environment.  At this time with the web, they
are not that easy, but you can try.  The two keys are

	- Write a clear trouble report.  What did you do
	before the failure that worked.  If it failed 
	following a link, give the URL to the page where
	the link was.  Give you browser make and, if
	you can figure it out, model.  Knowing the
	operating system is also important.

	- Get the same problem description (this written
	trouble report) to all the people responsible for
	supporting any piece of the network that may have
	caused the problem.  Make them a team to solve
	the problem.  Email is great for this if you
	just "copy all recipients" on follow-ups to
	the trouble report.

Al Gilman

[all quote below]
> R
> -----Original Message-----
> From: []
> Sent:	Friday, July 17, 1998 6:24 AM
> To:
> Subject:	Re: FYI>Encyclopaedia Britannica Launches eBLAST; The "Thinking...
> In a message dated 98-07-17 09:17:55 EDT, you write:
> > There is a small technical problem with the way the site is set
> >  up.  I have received warning messages indicating that the site is
> >  using a badly-formed redirect URL.  Somebrowsers may cough
> >  on this glitch.
> >  
> >  If you use the long form Roberta sent, do you get through?
> The url is all lower case letters > maybe that is the problem you are
> encountering.  I have included here the text only version of the page which is
> not loaded with blinking graphics and is not like graphic intense frames
> version on index page.  
> <A HREF="">
> Let me know if this works for you....... Anne Macleod
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----- End of forwarded message from Al Gilman -----

----- End of forwarded message from asgilman -----

Received on Thursday, 13 August 1998 14:06:11 UTC