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wshaffer
What we have here is definitely a failure to communicate 
10th-Feb-2016 07:19 pm
day, argh
I have spent, I kid you not, the better part of the past 5 work days trying to figure out the source of an arcane publishing problem that results in English language titles occasionally appearing in the tables of contents of non-English-language documents. It's entirely too arcane to go into here. If you will forgive me for being vague, it results from Thing A (which is a little counterintuitive but needs to happen to keep the software usable) combined with Thing B (which is a little counterintuitive but has sound reasons behind it), followed by Thing C (which is basically dumb behavior and in my opinion, a bug).

So, I filed a bug report, where I tried to explain in as comprehensible a way as possible that "We have a problem because Thing A --> Thing B --> Thing C, and I think the solution is to have the software not do Thing C, which arguably it really shouldn't do according to the spec, which I have linked here." The title of the bug, by the way, is basically, "Thing C should not happen."

I got back a "Sorry, why can't you just not do that in the first place? And also, do you want a fix for Thing A, Thing B, or Thing C?"

So I wrote back an even simpler explanation of the problem, with diagrams. And reiterated, "The problem here is Thing C."

I have just been offered a solution that prevents Thing A from happening. Yeah, the one that "needs to happen to keep the software usable." I have just written back explaining why that is not a fix from my point of view, and reiterating, once again, that the problem is Thing C.

I'm starting to worry here that the real solution is going to end up being Ugly Error-Prone Workaround D, which I came up with while I was writing my second bug update, but explicitly nixed because it was a pain in the butt and people would forget to do it correctly and not catch the error until the document came back from translation.

Sigh.
Comments 
11th-Feb-2016 04:51 am (UTC)
I hear you, sister.

The conversation I had today with my team's Art Director wasn't that bad, but it did involve me realizing that I had failed to explain things properly at least three times, and having to back up even further to fill him in on things that had come up in his absence.
11th-Feb-2016 09:10 pm (UTC)
Ah, fun times.
11th-Feb-2016 07:32 pm (UTC)
. . . seriously, how is it possible for them to not understand that the problem is Thing C? Is there some reason they would be seeing Thing C as a nonissue or a desirable element, such that they're blocking out your actual words? Or are they just not paying attention at ALL?
11th-Feb-2016 09:18 pm (UTC)
Not paying attention at ALL is an option. But what I think is in play here is that at this point, I probably know more about Thing C than the front-line support folks who are getting the first crack at fixing this problem. And second, if my intuition is correct, Thing C is not going to be easy to fix, and so it's a clear win if I can be satisfied with a cheaper and easier solution. (I would be happy with a cheaper and easier solution, provided the cure was not worse than the disease.)
11th-Feb-2016 08:07 pm (UTC)
Argh. Other people, such trouble sometimes.
11th-Feb-2016 09:23 pm (UTC)
On the other hand, I went over to help a colleague troubleshoot an entirely different arcane software problem, and got a spontaneous round of applause when I stepped into the room. Which at least has me feeling more cheerful about being my department's Official Unofficial Troubleshooter.
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