627: Tech Support Cheat Sheet

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Tech Support Cheat Sheet
'Hey Megan, it's your father. How do I print off a flowchart?'
Title text: 'Hey Megan, it's your father. How do I print off a flowchart?'

[edit] Explanation

The main point of this comic is that many tech-savvy people really don't know much about computers. They just have developed an intuition which works in many situations. This intuition is shown here in the form of a diagram. In particular, the chart exposes the computer expert's secret ingredient: trial and error.

A flowchart is an organizational tool for showing process flow. A box is an instruction, a diamond indicates a question, and the arrows control the flow from one symbol to another. Other flowchart comics can be found here.

The title text is a sad admission that even knowing the procedure for how to fix the problem, many people will not follow it and still call tech support.

[edit] Transcript

Dear various parents, grandparents, co-workers, and other "not computer people."
We don't magically know how to do everything in every program. When we help you, we're usually just doing this:
[There is a flowchart there. Numbers are included to improve clarity, and do not appear in the original.]
Rectangle: Start.
[Go to 1.]
[1. Diamond] Find a menu item or button which looks related to what you want to do.
[I can't find one - go to 2.]
[Ok - go to 3.]
[2. Diamond] Pick one at random.
[I've tried them all - go to 4.]
[Ok - go to 3.]
[3. Rectangle] Click it.
[Go to 5.]
[4. Rectangle] Google the name of the program plus a few words related to what you want to do. Follow any instructions.
[Go to 5.]
[5. Diamond] Did it work?
[Yes - go to 8.]
[No - go to 6.]
[6. Diamond] Have you been trying this for over half an hour?
[Yes - go to 7.]
[No - go to 1.]
[7. Rectangle] Ask someone for help or give up.
[End of flowchart.]
[8. Rectangle] You're done!
[End of flowchart.]
Please print this flowchart out and tape it near your screen. Congratulations; you're now the local computer expert!
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I think he forgot one: "Use the built-in help, it's magic!" Zilti (talk) 19:48, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

Most people I know that have to ask for computer help couldn't read a flowchart in the first place. This may be the problem. 23:01, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
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