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support v. support (was Re: Get Support link?)

(Moving this portion from f-docs-l as something I've been meaning to
talk about in a marketing context ...)

On Mon, 2008-04-07 at 13:52 -0400, Paul W. Frields wrote:

> The word "support" is unfortunately loaded with meanings we may not
> intend 

As are many other words ... and yet we get along OK with that.  What
makes 'support' so bad?

"Don't call it support."  This has been a mantra in Fedora for some
time.  Despite that, people still refer to 'support'.  Our closest
right-thinking has been to call it 'community support'.

Later in the above email, Paul suggests 'help' is an appropriate word,
and I tend to agree.  However, people still say 'support/supported',
especially where 'help' doesn't work:

"Is my hardware supported by that video driver?"
"How can I support my installation?

We can continue to worry about the word support or not.  The question I
keep asking myself is, "Would it change the expectation of people
requesting help if they understood from the beginning that there is no
commercial support relationship?"

I expect that it does not change people's expectations.  Folks who think
they deserve 'support' are going to feel that regardless.

In the end, I think we cause ourselves unneeded worry chasing down the
way we use the word support, and I'm not convinced we've made a bit of

- Karsten
Karsten Wade, Sr. Developer Community Mgr.
Dev Fu : http://developer.redhatmagazine.com
Fedora : http://quaid.fedorapeople.org
gpg key : AD0E0C41

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