I have an occasional role as member of a technical support team for a rather large website. Normally it is a relatively undemanding task, and luckily enough, for the questions asked are generally simple enough to give me the appearance of being knowledgeable, an impression sometimes different from the reality.
Over the last couple of days I received a series of help requests from a user completely at a loss over a very simple feature of this website's content management system, and try as I might, every attempt to explain it's proper use led not to clarification but confusion, an ever spiraling maelstrom of misapprehension in which issue became plural and then profusion, molehill into mountain to quite humourous effect.
The poor user in question being a very good sport, I am sure will not mind me sharing our written exchange—and my amusement—their identity hidden to prevent embarrassment already present becoming public.
(I attached a screenshot to this message with the control panel in question circled in thick red pen) |
Upon receipt of this message I begin to laugh uncontrollably, apparently random public hysteria causing flatmates in rooms beyond to question out loud my sanity. Paroxysm of mirth now passed, I pen possible replies of felicitous wit, but err finally on the side of patience, and politeness, as I do still recall being a novice myself, and often didn't receive a patient or friendly hand.
Very polite and patient I thought—he obviously missed the attached image last time. Surely we are almost there. Almost? Not even! It gets better...
Actually I don't think X is to blame, but as I have already reminded myself, I am being polite today...
While trying to avoid the conclusion that there is a bigger issue here than anything technical, I do have an inkling as to what the latest "problem" is.
To quote an earlier message: "I've saved it once in the former way, but it only gave me the html coding."
This is a common error in when working in Dreamweaver's design mode (which may or not be the case here), and very easy to do if you aren't familiar with working in pure html. If you copy and paste html into the design window in Dreamweaver, which operates under the same principles as a text parsing utility like Plone's Restructured Text editor, all of your html is interpreted as text rather than code, the result being that tags like <p> and <a> are parsed into their literal html equivalents, ie <p> and <a>.
Obviously this occurred when the user entered the html in question into the reSt editor, and they are now understandably at a loss as to why their embedded video isn't displaying, while a whole lot of ungainly parsed as text html is.
In the end it was easier to simply log into their page and fix it myself, finding and replacing all of the converted tags back into html using Dreamweaver—a hunch confirmed 10 minutes later when even over the phone I was completely unable to explain what the problem was, or how I had solved it, and could only emphasize strongly that html should only ever be used when the html editor is selected.
Computers—there really should be a license required to drive them! But then again, they should be simple enough to be used as easily as the pen, paper and typewriter which they have almost completely replaced.
I am still waiting for that day...