My Wordspace

A dumpster full of various musings over life, God, scripture, and any random thought that may fly by meanwhile. Comments welcome.

Am I Speaking Another Language?

Posted by Iszi on March 22, 2007

I’m really getting tired of dealing with idiots.

Generally, I try to be careful about how I word things and express myself. Particularly when it’s going to be in writing, and especially when I’m at work. In communications with end-users, all it takes is one poorly-written e-mail from IT to create hours of cleanup work. With that in mind, I like to say I try to “idiot-proof” my e-mails.

But of course, once someone makes something “idiot-proof” someone else is bound to come up with a smarter idiot. Or – in my case – three.

Consider this quote from an e-mail I sent regarding an access change request that was not properly submitted.

Due to security policy and audit requirements, I cannot process requests for access simply based on “match to” criteria. There needs to be a specific list of roles outlined in any given request, which should be tailor-fit to meet the individual user’s access needs.

The e-mail goes on a little longer to describe the approval process for after the list of roles has been laid out, but those were the first two sentences in that message, and they were also the most pertinent to why I could not process the request.

Please, if I did something wrong here or was ambiguous in any way, somebody let me know because I obviously can’t figure out why I received the following replies from some of the people CCed on the e-mail:

(From the requester, to the Service Desk support person who had originally contacted me regarding the case.) –

Per our discussion this morning, I am forwarding you the email that I spoke of.
Could you please intercede on this matter and work on getting me the appropriate access?

(Reply to the above, from the Service Desk person. Names changed to protect identities.) –

It basically looks like Iszi and Joe Security are saying the same thing:

We need approval from your manager.
We need approval from John DataOwner (which we already have below)
Then that would be forwarded to ID Admin.

(Reply to that, from the requester.)

But all 3 steps below have been done. (including the email to ID Admin).
What’s the next step?

Yes, all three steps in the Service Desk person’s e-mail were done, but that’s not the problem! Did no one read the first two sentences of my e-mail?!?!

(From the person the requester wanted their access matched to, in reply to my original e-mail.) –

The reason I asked for the role to be copied from my ID, is that he will need it. If not, I would not have asked for it. Please duplicate his ID with the same roles I have set up

Finally, after re-sending my original e-mail – with font emphasis on the pertinent lines – and discussing the issue over the phone with several individuals separately, the request got re-submitted properly and everything fell in line.

Still, could somebody please tell me what I did wrong in the original e-mail? Why is it that three people couldn’t seem to get the message right?


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