Be nice to your Happiness Engineer!

This week I had a couple of problems with my WordPress blog.  The kind that requires technical knowledge and access.  So I have had the experience of being “just a user”.  It’s a little different from being on the other side of the help desk.

Having formerly worked in a computer help desk situation, as a programmer and also a systems administrator, I have experienced users of all types. Users with only basic knowledge of computing, through to users who were fellow programmers.

And users of any shape or form can be impatient, unreasonable, impolite and even rude. This does not inspire the help desk people (or Happiness Engineers as they are known at WordPress!) to be helpful in return.

So this week when it was my turn to ask for help, I thought back to what it was like being a help desk person, and tried to follow my own advice.

Which is:

  1. Find out how to submit your query. WordPress being a free service means that you are not entitled to help, it’s a courtesy. So do some homework first, to see if this isn’t a question which has already been answered in the online documentation.
  2. Failing that post your query to the relevant forum. State your problem clearly and be polite.
  3. If it is a technical issue which can only be solved by the technical people, remember to state your problem clearly and be polite when you submit your question to them.
  4. Be patient and be reasonable. Surprisingly, you’re one of thousands of users, many of whom also have problems that need to be sorted out.
  5. If you are an “advanced user” (especially a computer person) don’t get impatient if you get asked very basic questions to begin with. Your Happiness Engineer doesn’t know you, and doesn’t know how many degrees you have! 😉
  6. Remember also that communicating with users via forums and email alone can be difficult. For both sides of the help desk. So give the other person the benefit of the doubt.
  7. And when you have had your problem sorted out: SAY THANK YOU!


I forgot to add that my experience with the WordPress help desk was a very positive one. They sorted out my problems quickly and efficiently. Thanks again to all who helped me!


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Categories: Science/Technology


I live on the Southern coast of South Africa, and write about the things that interest, amuse or inspire me. You can find me at and (my photoblog)


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6 Comments on “Be nice to your Happiness Engineer!”

  1. September 24, 2010 at 10:11 am #

    This is such a nice echo of my own thoughts on the general subject of computer support 🙂

    We help desk techies do need a little more guidance than only vague references / descriptions in order to be helpful! It’s actually funny that end users assume we are all-seeing . . . like we can see all the way over the phone line – or in the case of email support, that we can read between the lines.

    You know that thing they say about “doctors being the worst patients”? I think that same logic can easily apply to some computer literate individuals as well – they can be the most impatient end users. Your point no.5 is very valid.

    A while back I had the pleasure of being assisted by a Happiness Engineer and I really liked the way he handled my query. I can only hope that I didn’t darken his day too much 😉

    • September 24, 2010 at 11:43 am #

      Glad you liked it . . . I wrote this for all the help desk folk who are feeling abused and unloved!

  2. September 24, 2010 at 6:51 pm #

    I’m sure you made the Happiness Engineer’s day! And that they wish every query was as carefully thought through as yours. You’ve made me aware of how it must be on the other side of the desk – thank you!
    Hope you have a fabulous Heritage Day weekend!
    Sunshine x

    • September 25, 2010 at 9:21 am #

      As the previous comment mentioned, computer people make some of the worst kind of users! 🙂 So I have to be conscious of what kind of user I am.

      Are you celebrating Heritage Day in London too? Just think, if you observe the South African holidays too, you can have more holidays each year!

    • October 8, 2010 at 3:14 am #

      You did indeed make our day. Thanks! 🙂

      We have great users…so the pleasure is all ours!

      • October 8, 2010 at 7:12 am #

        Thanks for the comment! Am pleased that some Happiness Engineers got to see it too.

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