Love them or hate them, you can't really live without them now. I certainly can't but most of the reason for that is that they provide me with an income to do the more interesting things in life such as drinking, eating etc. I can understand why users get very frustrated by them and I have to say this is not helped by a large proportion of my fellow 'techies'. They have a very parochial attitude where they mystify the systems so that only they, the Wizard can save the poor helpless user.
I don't subscribe to this method and it is with great glee that I help users to tear the techie's security blanket into shreds of insecurity. In all the years I have worked in computers I have encountered an inumerable number of prickless 'wonders' who tut, moan and blame the user for everything that goes wrong on the computer system they so "expertly" set-up and configured. Generally, dear user - take heart - it's not you it's the scruffy little geek (you know, the one who couldn't get laid in a brothel with £50 hanging out of his back pocket) that bodged.
The policy of not sharing information is so badly judged. If a user asks how to do something and I know they cannot corrupt the system with this new knowledge - I show them how to do it themselves. That way I don't have the same person coming back to me a week later with the same request. They feel better as they feel they are in control and I feel better as the flow of (to me, very simple) requests slows to a trickle.
It seems I am not alone in sharing with the users. On one of my 'techie' sites I discovered this gem I thought I would share with you - sort of a Friday, best day of the week story. Wish I'd come up with the idea but rest assured, should the dpportunity just follow the legions to the roof :-)
hasta luego y bueno fin de semana,
I worked for a high-paced shop that had a staff that was often pretty stressed. Over the years, both prior to and during my tenure, we accumulated quite a few dead AT, XT, 286, 386, monitors, Wyse terminals, printers and the like. This stuff was stored in an unoccupied portion of the building along with other stuff that could reasonably be called trash. Eventually the principals decided to lease out the unoccupied area where all this junk was stored. And since there was computer garbage in the mix, my 2-man IT staff was tasked with getting rid of it. A large roll-off dumpster was scheduled for all the junk, including the computer junk.
After quitting time the night before the roll-off was delivered we moved all the dead computer stuff to the roof, 4-stories high. The next morning we invited the staff to the roof where they found a pile of gear and all were given the opportunity to huck the stuff off the roof and see if they could hit the dumpster. No one missed! And everyone loved it. They got to take out their frustrations on those &*$%^# computers by smashing them, and morale improved, at least for a few days.