New Strategies for Problem Patrons

Hello all, In November and December we sent messages with advice on dealing with a persistent problem patron who identifies herself as Jini. Jini has reappeared on the service since we reopened for the Spring term, and has resumed her pattern of harassing behavior and repeated questions. We appreciate that dealing with Jini has been adding to the stress and workload of staffing AskAway. We are working on the situation, and will be in touch with further strategies after an emergency meeting of the AskAway Advisory Committee.

Meanwhile, we have developed a strategy and a series of scripts that we encourage you to use.

Please be consistent in your approach. Engaging with Jini has proved unproductive, and only encourages her. The following steps can be taken with any patron exhibiting these behavior patterns.

When you log in: Scroll up through the Campfire messages to check whether Jini (or another problem patron) has already been asking questions.

The first time you pick up a call from a problem patron: Record his/her question in Campfire and let others know s/he has appeared. If it is the first time and s/he is behaving reasonably, answer the question to the best of your ability. If s/he becomes incoherent, send the “Problem – Harassment Step 1” script.

If the patron has asked the same question already: Use the script "Problem – Harassment Step 1": This question has already been answered today. There are other students waiting for our help. Please come back another day. Then end the session.

If the patron has already logged in multiple times: Use the script "Problem – Harassment Step 2": You have already asked several questions today, and there are other people waiting for our help. AskAway is a busy service, and we cannot spend so much time with one person. Please come back another day, and we will be happy to help you. Then end the session.

If the patron continues to log in after the previous script was sent: Use the script "Problem – Harassment Step 3 – Warning": We have answered your questions to the best of our ability, and cannot help you further. We have other patrons who need our help. If you continue to abuse the service, we will not allow you to use the service. Then end the session. It is important that everyone be consistent in this approach. Jini has a pattern of asking the same question repeatedly and will pursue it as far as she can. We will be in touch again soon with further strategies after discussions with the Advisory Committee. Meanwhile, please follow the strategy outlined above and give our problem patrons as little reason as possible to continue their harassment.