I’ve thought a lot about this post and how to write it without sounding like a cranky bitch. So before anything, I need to throw this out there:
I love to help people!
I do. I really, really do. That’s why I write my Bitchin’ Book Blog posts. That’s why I help people on Twitter. That’s why I give away things like free Blogger to WordPress migration services. That’s why I help my friends with their PHP homework.
99% of the time I love helping people.
…but there is that other 1%.
When too much help on the same thing becomes exhausting…
A few months ago I wrote a post on how to add a drop down navigation menu in Blogger. Since August, it has gotten nearly 150 comments (although some of those are my replies). Many of those comments are people just saying “Thank you”, which is great. But many of those are different people posting about problems they have or requests. Examples include:
Problem: “It’s not working at all! It’s just showing vertically and it’s completely un-styled!”
Solution: They pasted the CSS incorrectly, inside some other CSS. This invalidates all the CSS after that point, so the menu doesn’t work.
Problem: “The submenu items disappear before I can click on them!”
Solution: The CSS they chose needs a tad bit of tweaking to actually get it working correctly. It usually just needs a higher z-index.
Problem: “The subnavigation appears under my image slider so I can’t click anything.”
Solution: See previous solution.
Problem: “I want to center the navigation menu on the page. How can I do this?”
Solution: I have to write slightly different CSS code for each person, depending on the navigation menu they chose.
Problem: “I want to add cool hover effects or change the colours!”
Solution: I have to write custom CSS code for the person, depending on what they want.
For each comment/question like this I have to visit their blog, go digging through the source code to find the problem (because they don’t know what it is other than “It’s not working” or “I want this”), then walk them through how to fix the problem.
At first I didn’t mind.. but now whenever I get an email in my inbox saying:
[Nose Graze] Comment: “How to Add a Dorp Down Menu Navigation in Blogger”
I’m overcome with dread.
Another person to help.
Another blog to debug and dissect.
Another person to walk through how to fix it.
Another person basically asking me to code “extras” into their navigation bar for free.
Now I’m really happy at how much attention that post gets and how many people it helps. But the amount of times I have to visit individual blogs and solve their problems is really starting to weigh down on me. If you combine that with school work, client work, my own blogging, reading, my own coding projects… it’s just a huge burden. It immediately puts me in a bad mood because I’m just so darn sick of digging through Blogger code to fix navigation menu problems. It has made me want to never code another navigation bar again!
For the first time, I’ve been considering closing comments on one of my posts
Technically it’s not the first time. I have closed comments on a few old giveaway posts that attracted a bit of spam. I closed them because there was no reason for real visitors to comment on old giveaway posts.
But this is the first time I’ve been thinking of knowingly cutting off legitimate ‘discussions’ on one of my posts. I know people will still want to comment on that post and ask for help. But I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t want to do it anymore. I have no more energy to continue assisting people with that problem, and I don’t want to drive myself nuts.
That being said, don’t stop asking for help!
I hope people don’t read this post and then get afraid of asking me for help. I still love helping people and if you need assistance you can poke me on Twitter. It’s mostly this one subject of Blogger drop down menus that’s driving me up the wall and into a small hole of sadness and frustration.