Club Log has a user base of around 74,000 users, and if each of those users were to email for help just once a decade, we'll need to handle 5,000 tickets per year, which is about 15 to 20 every day. In any large population of people, there are some who are prone to aggressive, entitled or disruptive behaviour, and sadly, we see our share of this on the Helpdesk, as you would expect.
Volunteers can't be expected to stay around if they have to deal with abuse. Because of this, we have a set of rules that first and foremost put the choice in the hands of the volunteer, and away from the abuser.
Club Log's policy on abuse
- We are volunteers. We do not accept the burden of answering users' tickets unconditionally, and no entitlement exists.
- If a Helpdesk ticket is opened and the tone is frustrated or annoyed, we will always do our best to help. We understand the nature of these situations and we are happy to do what we can. We set the threshold as high as we reasonably can, because simple frustration is not abuse.
- If responses are overly entitled, aggressive, angry, accusatory, intolerant, rude or personal, are clearly worded to cause insult, annoyance, anxiety or simply to provoke argument, then our volunteers have the right to stop replying, without further explanation or any other response. You'll just never hear from us again if you do that.
- If a user is persistent or vexatious in abusing the Helpdesk, then further messages from them may be blocked without notice. Your tickets will no longer be seen, and will be automatically deleted.
- If a user is being especially problematic to the Helpdesk, or disruptive to Club Log as a whole, their Club Log account may be deleted and their callsign may be blacklisted in order to protect both the volunteers and the service itself from further misuse. There is no right to appeal and no going back.
How serious a problem is this?
It is a very low-level problem of a few emails from month to month. The level of abuse seen on our Helpdesk is nothing unusual or unexpected in view of the size of our user base, but these incidents have a disproportionate effect on volunteers, so we must keep the problem under control. The abuse policy is our safety net, and a reminder to anyone thinking about abuse to please, treat volunteers with proper respect and patience. They will do everything they can for you if you adopt a reasonable attitude.