Tech Support Comedy
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Type of site
|Humor, Message Boards, Online virtual community|
Tech Support Comedy, or TSC, is a website dedicated to frustrated tech support workers from all over the world and the customers they deal with constantly. It was created by member Hawk, an ex-Tech Support worker, in March 2000, originally as a web comic, but quickly grew into a bulletin board for reader submissions, and soon added the ability for members to comment on the submissions. Since then, the site has grown in both membership and content daily, with over 9,000 members and more than 60,000 story submissions. To date, TSC is the largest online community of IT workers found anywhere on the web.
Submissions to TSC include Tech Stories, Customer Misconceptions, Tech Support Rules, Customer Types, Co-worker Types, Customer E-mails, End User Phrase of the Day (or "EUPOTD"), Tech Songs, Cool Links, SoapBox, and finally Tech Calls, where actual calls to tech support can be heard. Also, an IRC chatroom exists: channel #TSC on the Nightstar IRC network. Membership in the IRC channel is open to all; it is not restricted to members of the site.
Access to most TSC content is unrestricted. Everyone may view it, but only members may add comments, or submit content. What you can submit, and how you can submit it is determined by your level of membership, which is separated into two levels. These levels are Regular Membership (a free membership), and Star Membership (given to members who have made a monetary donation to the site). While all members may post stories, tech support rules, customer misconceptions, customer and co-worker types, e-mails, EUPOTD's (End User Phrase of the Day), and cool links (see below for further details on each type) only Star Members may use HTML formatting when doing so. Star members also gain the ability to post Tech Songs, full access to the complete archive of Tech Calls and ability to post to the SoapBox, a specific area on the main page that everyone can see.
Star Members have special privileges:
- Ability to
- Post to the SoapBox
- Post Tech Songs
- Post a Cool Link of the Day
- Include a signature in each post
- Use HTML code in posts
- Access to
- Full Tech Calls archive
Also, Star Members' nicknames are preceded by a small yellow star icon.
One-year Star Memberships are granted to members who give a monetary donation to the site. These donations help to maintain the site. After a year has passed, a Star Member reverts to a Regular Membership. There are two levels of Star Memberships:
- Includes all Star Member benefits
- Includes all Star Member benefits
- Includes most recent TSC Star Member T-shirt
However, the T-shirt option has recently been suspended.
Tech Support Comedy members pride themselves on being a strong, close knit community. To this end, they have not only provided tech support to each other, but also emotional support when needed (see karma request section below), whether through submissions, comments, the TSC Forum, chat rooms, or even real world meetings, including group barbecues.
Privacy on TSC
Privacy is taken quite seriously on TSC. When members submit anything, they make it a point to alter or obliterate any names, e-mail addresses or other identifying information on the posting to something generic. This is done to guard the privacy of all those concerned in the post. For example, members that post to TSC often change their own names to their usernames in posted conversations, replace the name of other parties to starfish, EU or some other amusing (but generic) name, and obliterate the e-mail address and/or phone numbers to something that deliberately leads nowhere, or simply black it out or obscure it. Place of employment is often purposefully omitted or otherwise altered into something very basic and unidentifiable, since a number of companies frown upon any discussion of internal events, and doing so can potentially result in the member being disciplined, including the possibility of being suspended or terminated from their job, should the company discover and identify the person making the post.
Occasionally, a member may be going through difficulties in their life or job in one form or another, may be interviewing for a big promotion at their job, or may just need a positive boost in their lives, so they put in a karma request. These requests provide a show of support and solidarity for fellow members, since at other times, that member may have given karma to another in a previous karma request. Often, each member has their own unique way of providing karma, and can also provide any advice or assistance as requested/needed. Not only does it show the aforementioned support, but it can also help serve to cheer up the member who posted the request, since the karma delivery can often be done in a very humorous way. Traditionally, after the trouble passes or the tech receives the promotion they interviewed for, the member makes a follow-up post, thanks all who helped, and symbolically returns any unused karma to the pool.
In April 2015, Tech Support Comedy suffered a DDOS attack, and as such, the site was temporarily taken down so that Hawk could fix issues caused by the attack.
As of August 2015, the site returns only a blank page with the embedded HTML comment "Silence Is Golden".
TSC member skippytpodar created a website called "Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys" in the interim (Link), and offered any TSC members the chance to post content, as well as setting up a forum, similar to TSC's.