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Logic tells us that if we want to contact the Team, it should be about:

  • issues
  • feedback
  • bug reports
  • other not listed above

This help center covers absolutely every point (even the "not listed above" part), so it will likely to help users with 95%+ their needs, and for the unlucky few, they will need to send an email.

This is great and there is no doubt that it will be best for everyone, the team receiving less emails, users being able to solve their problems quicker without waiting for a response.

But then... why am I making this post? Well, I don't find it very nice how this was achieved. If we carefully analyze what is being done:

  • click contact us
  • help center is opened?

It doesn't look right, and people might think it is a mistake or a bug.

I am not against the idea of trying to persuade users to look for answers in forums or FAQs before you email them, this is actually a great idea, but it was poorly executed.

What changes should be done, in order to make this look like the link isn't taking you to the wrong place?

share|improve this question
It's really fairly common for attempts to find a Contact Us/Help link to take you to something like this just to help decrease the amount of support calls by giving easy access to the info most people are trying to get out of that "contact us" link. Maybe a "before you contact us, check out..." bit at the top would help make it not look out of place though? – Ben Brocka Aug 5 '12 at 22:41
@animuson I think this new title changed my meaning, I don't want to know why it takes us there, my ? is like an admiration of something I wasn't expecting, just like in "help center is opened?" – ajax333221 Aug 6 '12 at 0:58
@ajax333221: I changed it because your old title makes no sense since it's not really a question (or even a sentence for that matter). Please re-word it to accurately describe your issue. Perhaps removing the question mark and changing "take" to "takes" is a better title? – animuson Aug 6 '12 at 1:01
up vote 4 down vote accepted

The "contact us" page has been redesigned into a single consolidated form (rather than a landing page that lists a bunch of issues, some of which involve contacting us and some of which don't).

This page lives in the Help Center for the purposes of our information architecture (and the help center at /help does provide guidance for some of the more common reasons that people contact the company, including links to /contact where necessary), so the top of the page still says "Help Center > Contact". The title has been renamed to "Contact Support".

Hopefully this clears things up a little, but feel free to speak up if it doesn't.

share|improve this answer
Slight issue in the new page: I can submit the contact support form even without selecting a topic. Think topic should be mandatory too, same way that until 15 characters are entered the button is disabled. – Shadow Wizard Jul 22 '13 at 13:36
@ShaWizDowArd That's a mistake, we always intended for the topic to be required; we'll fix it. Thanks! – Laura Jul 22 '13 at 15:05
Want me to open new bug report for this? – Shadow Wizard Jul 22 '13 at 20:49
@ShaWizDowArd No need. I believe a fix is already queued up and should go live in the next build. :) – Laura Jul 22 '13 at 20:52
Cheers, found another bug more "complex" will report in separate post. – Shadow Wizard Jul 22 '13 at 20:54
OK, all fixed now. – Shadow Wizard Jul 23 '13 at 14:31

I agree that this looks a bit wrong. It is the "help center" (that's what we call it), but that's not why anyone goes there - they go there to contact us, because they have a problem they'd like us to solve. The end result of going there will always be us being contacted by them... Except when we manage to solve their problem on the way.

So the "fix" for this is probably to replace the useless "help center" header with a bit of text explaining why we're throwing a bunch of likely problems at them:

Contact Us

To help us help you, please choose the description below that best matches your reason for contacting us. We've tried to list the most common reasons, along with their solutions - if you can't find one that addresses your problem, select "Other".

share|improve this answer
I'd suggest "if you can't find one that solves your problem, select "Other"". Perhaps "select other to contact us directly" as well, to let them know in advance what it does – Ben Brocka Aug 6 '12 at 21:01
@BenBrocka Nope, because if I saw that? I wouldn't click on any of the others, I'd go straight for that one. – Aarthi Aug 6 '12 at 21:03
@Aarthi that's why I split the suggestions into different thoughts; the first fix still applies. The latter depends on how many people just shoot for the contact form; seems annoying to half-pretend there is no contact form until they click Other – Ben Brocka Aug 6 '12 at 21:09
@Ben: changed it. – Shog9 Aug 6 '12 at 21:11
looks perfect!, also the url should end in .../contact instead of .../help – ajax333221 Aug 6 '12 at 22:37

Emails on Stack Exchange:

Emailing the Stack Exchange team is reserved for private matters that absolutely cannot be discussed on Meta Stack Overflow or the Per-Site Metas. Most other communications should happen on the Meta sites.

No changes need to happen to this system, as encouraging people to search first before contacting the team is the whole point.

Goal: Noise Reduction:

I can relate to the noise that the team must get through email. For instance, everyday, someone will ask a question on Meta Stack Overflow that has already been asked, usually about issues or feature requests.

This is available on Meta, yet many people feel the need to post anyway, as if they are the first to think up their feature request. It's not really because they intend to create noise, it's that they haven't yet learned how to use the Internet in a constructive manner to find information on their own. This is not an intuitive process for most people, and I encourage everyone to patiently guide these users and help them understand how Stack Exchange works.

Stack Exchange Must Scale:

Remember, there are only about 5 or 6 community managers at Stack Exchange and a handful of moderators on each site. Part of what makes the Stack Exchange platform so great is the razor-sharp focus on the end-goals, and those goals are great Q&A.

Remember, this isn't just about the individual. There are over one million registered users on Stack Overflow alone, so in order to make this work, we must all pitch in and help ourselves every once in awhile. This isn't to suggest that you don't search before asking, but again, please understand that we're talking about over a million people, all with varying degrees of knowledge and experience, and this is not counting the other Stack Exchange sites.

If you have a real problem whose answer isn't found in the vast depths of Meta Stack Overflow, Per-Site Metas, or the Help page, then I'm confident that the team is more than willing to reach out and help you, but you should search first.

share|improve this answer
I think my question was misunderstood by you, but I completely agree with your words – ajax333221 Aug 6 '12 at 2:17
I get your point. You think it looks odd or not intuitive. But I suspect that most people clicking "contact us" have a very basic question that can be answered with a quick search. This is designed to weed out those people. It's not that SE hates them or doesn't like people, it's that there are so many that in order to stay focused, one must put some barriers in place. With that said, I'm not sure how else to handle this. If you have ideas, I suggest you self-answer your question. :) Good luck! – jmort253 Aug 6 '12 at 2:20
I might work in one after reading your encouraging words, for a start I will suggest the url not to end in .../help, but I will work on that later – ajax333221 Aug 6 '12 at 2:23

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