Standard unsplash photo that’s not at all related to the blogpost but somehow makes it more interesting and recognizable.

Hi, thanks for reaching out to me 👋

My generic response to requests for personal support

Last night I got two emails requesting webpack support. This is not new nor surprising. I get support emails all the time (as I’m writing this, I just got another support request via gitter on an old library I used to maintain). I think it has to do with all the workshops and talks I’ve given. People have questions about the stuff I create and want help with it. Totally understandable. When I have a question, I’d much rather talk to an expert on the subject than read generic documentation or outdated tutorials (this is one of the reasons that I do my tech chats).

Unfortunately, I don’t have time to field all of the support requests that I get via email, GitHub, Twitter, Gitter, Slack, etc… It’s not that I don’t want to help. I actually really LOVE helping people use stuff that I care about or just helping in general.

The problem is that we all have limited time and I can’t address every question. If I did, I wouldn’t have time to work for my employer, hang out with my family, and make more cool stuff (education/oss/etc.). There’s just too much. Because of this constraint

I try to maximize the positive impact of the time I have

In addition to this, I also try to focus on the things that bring me joy and support my family. Helping people does that, and I try to do things that help the most amount of people at once.

How can I help you?️

I almost never respond to direct support request emails. So instead, post your (Minimal, Complete, and Verifiable) question on a relevant forum (like StackOverflow) and feel free to tweet the link to me (or ask me on my AMA). I can’t promise that I’ll find time to look at it, but at hundreds of other developers will see it so you’re more likely to get an answer from someone. What’s better is the positive impact is increased because it’s in a public forum so I’ll be more likely to give it a look and help out (but again no promises).

Think of it this way, when I’m helping you, I’m not working for my employer, hanging out with my family, helping someone else, or making other cool stuff. I need to understand how spending my time helping you out will bring me more joy than any of those other activities at that moment in time.

This same thing applies to pull requests on my open source projects. If it’s not directly benefitting me in some way, then it’s hard for me to justify the time. Especially for projects I’m no longer using myself, I’d much rather just hand it off to some responsible person than spend time looking at your pull request. If you can show me that you’re that responsible person, then let’s do that!

Sorry if this sounds heartless 💔. I really do care and I really do want to help. I just can’t all the time. I hope you find the answer to your question and share that learning with the world.