The Network is Magic

“The Network shall be assumed Guilty, until proven Innocent. Even then, it will still be Guilty.” – C. Gates

Three of the many challenges of IT Network support are: (A) most users don’t know what a network is or does, (B) they can’t figure out where it starts or stops, and  (C) when they say, “there’s a network issue”, the phrase is so broad, it applies to nearly any context or problem.

What they’re really saying is “My Thing is Not Working”.

Even if you prove that the network is blameless, and prove it with system-generated evidence like screenshots, they won’t believe you, since Their Thing is Still Not Working.

Why is this so? Why won’t they believe you? Because largely, they don’t care. Nor should they, unless they’re in a technical position. And there’s nothing wrong with that, though it can lead to chaos when you start troubleshoointg their problem.

It’s like Captain Kirk telling you Warp Dive doesn’t work, and you start troubleshooting.  Engineering says the gravity phase-shifting field-coils are working in tandem harmony with the spatial-antigravity field. Just like they should.  And, there’s nothing wrong with the matter/anti-matter chamber, or the high-velocity induction tubes, and all lights are green on your Engineering dashboard. It’s only after chatting up the Navigation Officer you discover the multi-spectral sensors are misaligned. Now, you know the engines won’t engage until navigation works, but does Kirk care? No! All that matters to him is going Warp speed. It’s the same with your users.

To them, The Network, as a bridge to their content, is completely undistinguishable from The Servers, which house their content. They know what their PC is and what it can and can’t do, because they can see it, touch it. But the other 99% remains an unseen, untouched, impenatrable mystery. It’s magic. And though you may be only a part of IT, when Their Thing Doesn’t Work, you are guilty.

With a smile, I tell my users, “I can build you the bridge you want, but that’s no guarantee you’ll find what you’re looking for.”

They never believe me.


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