Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Five Million and Counting - WHAT???

Recently I got one of the regular mails from Oracle (called OTN TechBlast). Title of the first article was "Five Million and Counting" and it was written by Justin Kestelyn, Editor-in-Chief, OTN.
So what is he counting? First paragraph answers that question:
"I can hardly believe it, but OTN membership passed the 5-million benchmark in 2006. But why should you care?"

What is so remarkable in this statement? Yes of course it is a big number. Yes of course it is nice that people around the world are interested in Oracle and its products. But the question remains - What the author is counting?

And the question remains for the on big reason - OTN member cannot change his e-mail for already at least a few years (according to this post since about July 2002). It is surprising in nowadays when

  • people change their works quite often and the right thing is not to work all the life in one company;
  • companies merge, crash, change names, domains;
  • free e-mail servers come and go.
One of the important parts of OTN is forums. Among other forums there exists one called Feedback. The goal of the forum is defined as follows: "Use this forum for feedback about OTN services and problems with OTN accounts.". Actually nothing is said that someone will solve your problem... Anyway people obviously are hoping for the best and continually posting their problems. As the Justin Kestelyn, Editor-in-Chief, OTN hasn't gathered statistics of what the main problem for OTN members is (or at least hasn't indicated that in his article about 5 million members), I've tried to do this job myself.

The source of statistics were 500 most recent threads starting from Mar 6, 2006 6:04 PM till Jan 30, 2007 ~20:00 PM.

So 49 of 500 threads (or 9.8%) were only about this very problem asking how to change email, asking for possibility to do that or asking to delete old account because they've created new with lack of possibility to change email. When looking at such statistics like thread views and replies on threads the situation was even more dramatic:

  • 79632 out of 329834 views (24.1%) were on above mentioned threads;
  • 412 out of 1684 replies (including original posts) were to above mentioned threads.

So 24.5% or about one fourth of all posted messages were about only one problem.

I can at least try to convert that to lost $$.

Assuming each view took 10 seconds (which is very very modest assumption due to fact that forum response times cannot be called very short :) employees of Oracle and its partners and clients have used 79632 views * 10 sec = 796320 person seconds = 13272 person minutes = 221 person hours = 28 person days = more than one person month to just watch threads about this particular topic. Of course that is not including

  • time to formulate and write responses including OTN members from Oracle;
  • people not knowing about such forums and trying to find out how to change their e-mails;
  • people wasting time for creating new accounts;
  • people wasting time for asking to delete old accounts because they have created new ones;
  • forums support group wasting time to delete old accounts;
  • time wasted by other Oracle employees according to this message;
  • people getting angry and tearing their hairs wondering how such basic functionality cannot be included;
  • people loosing trust to Oracle seeing how their feedback is (not) being listened to;
  • 6 hours of my time to gather above mentioned statistics and write these paragraphs :)

Yeahhh, as we can see even Oracle ACEs are suffering from this forced duplication of individualities (see here and here) so what can we say?

Anyway I hope that I will waste another hour or so to write another article that this nightmare has been ended!

P.S. Here is the list of the above mentioned 49 of 500 threads speaking about the same problem along with thread views and replies (the first is one of the most famous in forum history :)

http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=332623&tstart=0 32374 260

http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=466383&tstart=0 83 2

http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=465156&tstart=0 129 2

http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=315641&tstart=0 785 6

http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=457141&tstart=50 489 1

http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=455907&tstart=50 273 1

http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=454522&tstart=50 257 1

http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=449311&tstart=50 392 1

http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=448357&tstart=50 406 2

http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=296695&tstart=100 1342 9

http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=228506&tstart=100 4593 15

http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=442434&tstart=100 418 2

http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=438887&tstart=150 582 1

http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=245541&tstart=150 981 3

http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=435750&tstart=150 370 0

http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=434911&tstart=150 348 0

http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=433808&tstart=150 442 0

http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=432352&tstart=150 620 1

http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=426951&tstart=150 2033 5

http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=421480&tstart=200 1313 6

http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=426240&tstart=200 2031 3

http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=426944&tstart=200 1622 3

http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=427706&tstart=200 779 1

http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=425728&tstart=200 1218 2

http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=425827&tstart=200 1819 1

http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=422451&tstart=200 1843 1

http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=414598&tstart=250 1955 2

http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=415593&tstart=250 1173 1

http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=410096&tstart=300 1447 1

http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=406747&tstart=300 1442 1

http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=404058&tstart=300 1952 5

http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=405247&tstart=300 659 2

http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=405701&tstart=300 1111 0

http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=329360&tstart=300 1860 4

http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=241768&tstart=300 1048 2

http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=295366&tstart=350 1075 3

http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=397480&tstart=350 572 1

http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=389207&tstart=350 417 1

http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=384777&tstart=400 395 1

http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=385759&tstart=400 228 0

http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=385698&tstart=400 810 0

http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=384225&tstart=400 986 1

http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=384041&tstart=400 718 0

http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=376500&tstart=450 459 3

http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=376822&tstart=450 819 3

http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=375016&tstart=450 726 1

http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=373244&tstart=450 789 1

http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=372422&tstart=450 709 0

http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=369961&tstart=450 740 1