I don’t get some people. As I have said ad infinitum, I have been online forEVAAR—well, at least since the late 80s to early 90s; we're talkin' pre-web—and every time I think I have seen everything, the interwebs surprise me yet again. Usually with something I can subsequently complain about.
One favorite point of whiny complaint is the Amazon system wherein people can ask questions about a product and others who have purchased it chime in to answer to the best of their ability. Innocuous questions, like “Is this made from high-quality materials?” or “Will this fit on my ’75 Datsun?” Good questions that deserve a response.
And yet, there is a certain percentage of people who respond to these questions with variations of “I don’t know the answer to that one.”
Are people getting special bonus points on Amazon for answering questions? Or is this the online version of those people ahead of you in the checkout line who view their interaction with the cashier to be the chocolately, gooey nexus of their thriving social life? Trust me, that teenaged girl does NOT want to listen to your lame joke about deodorant. Be polite, of course, but just pay and leave already.
While Mojo loves writing—for she can talk and talk without those lesser beings interrupting all the time—she knows that many people don’t like it, and in fact AVOID IT LIKE THE PLAGUE. So WHY would anyone bother to type out a response to a question just to say “I don’t know”? It’s not like anyone is keeping track of just how helpful you are or aren’t, and if they are, I have news for you: just saying “I don’t know” is NOT PARTICULARLY HELPFUL. Especially since Amazon makes you click through to see the answers—ooh, suspense!—so you have the added slight-though-certainly-cumulative-and-perhaps-life-shortening hassle of having to click through, only to be rewarded with what I am guessing to be the Amazon version of a Rickroll.
Through the decades I have administered many an online contest for various and sundry groups. We’re not talking rocket-science sort of contests. We’re talking the online equivalent of “mail in three boxtops and this completed form to the following address” sort of tasks. The rules tend to be SUPER-SIMPLE, along the lines of:
1. DON’T POST YOUR ENTRY TO THE GROUP. Email it privately to THIS ADDRESS by THIS DATE.
2. I will take a great deal of time out of my busy life to compile the entries for judging.
3. I will then present the entries for judging and compile the votes. Again, TOTALLY OUT OF THE KINDNESS OF MY HEART, because Mojo is THAT SORT OF SELFLESS PERSON.
4. I will announce the winners on THIS OTHER DATE.
I have yet to administer an online contest where this does not happen: at least ONE entrant ends up saying, “I didn’t know what to do, so I posted my entry to the group.” To which the only rational response I can come up with is (this image bears repeating):
So usually I don’t respond at all, and just accept it graciously, with a whole lotta eye-rolling and shrugging behind the scenes.
More recently, I helped a very nice nonprofit by setting up an event for them. Web page, online ticketing, that sort of thing. Since many of “their” people aren’t necessarily on Facebook and they wanted to reach the widest audience possible, I put up a regular website as well as a Facebook event page, while other people printed flyers and whatnot for old-fashioned hand-to-hand combat. All are identical, complete with clip art and goofy typefaces, and (try not to be overwhelmed by the staggering creativity, now!) all go something like this:
DATE and TIME!
At THIS PLACE!
Here’s how much tickets are!
HERE is where you buy tickets!
Here’s some people who will be there!
Info about food and drinks!
Info about the entertainment!
Info about the venue!
Here’s that TICKET INFO again!
Tell your friends!
Boy, this is gonna be GREAT!
TICKETS TICKETS TICKETS! Buy them HERE!
SEE YOU THERE!
I can’t tell about the website, since it is a single page and there is no way to comment, but the Facebook page has generated some discussion, because it turns out this is a popular event for this crowd and people are totally psyched to go. Good for them. But at least TWO DIFFERENT PEOPLE—thus far in the two or three weeks the event has been up—have navigated all the way to the FB page, and have technologically mastered FB’s commenting software, only to ask “Where do I get tickets?”
And the second one, of course, asks right below the discussion of the FIRST one asking, and all the helpful responses telling them where to click and/or send their checks. It’s like living in a Bob and Ray sketch.
I REALLY DON’T GET IT. Apparently there’s an ongoing conspiracy to try to make Mojo weep for humanity on a daily basis. Or it’s the world’s most elaborate practical joke. If so, it’s getting kinda old, people...