Perhaps true. . . . But I’m not holding my breath.
I have to admit that one of the things that really burns my biscuits is fighting with a problem, doing search after search, spending weeks modelling and verifying problem modalities, all to find that the manufacturer has known all about that bug for centuries, and even has a [undocumented] fix that’s been around since benzine was linear!
This is one of those, “I’m on the plane. I’m heading out there. And when I get there I’m gonna [censored so the CIA and FBI don’t start investigating me!]!!!” type situations. Really peeves me off. Burns my biscuits. Really makes me wanna STRANGLE someone!
I have worked for several companies that had specialized departments of writers and web experts that had one task and one task only - to make sure the documentation and web site stayed in sync with the current state of the software.
Aside from that, what happens is there becomes two distinct bodies of information - the public forums and the private knowledge base - with the public forums being the ugly step-child.
One solution I have seen done is to make the public form part of the issue tracking system so that they run in parallel.
- Issues entered into the issue tracking system automatically become forum topics.
- Newly created forum topics automatically become entered into the issue tracking system and are assigned a tracking number.
This has three major advantages.
- It helps maintain a monolithic body of information that isn’t fragmented all over creation and maintains visibility to the outside world of the things that happen internally.
- It allows external, (non-employee), people help with the resolution of issues, taking some of the load off of the expensive internal subject matter experts.
- It helps create an image of transparency and honesty - something that is rare in Corporate America - which people will appreciate, especially educators and people in the university communities.
I’ve seen this implemented and, if done rightly with total management buy-in, it can be a great thing!