Are the days of the showpiece NOC office display gone forever?

Keith Medcalf kmedcalf at
Wed Dec 23 17:11:12 UTC 2020

On Tuesday, 22 December, 2020 22:42, Wayne Bouchard wrote:
>On Wed, Dec 23, 2020 at 02:58:32PM +1000, Robert Brockway wrote:
>> On Thu, 17 Dec 2020, Tom Beecher wrote:

>> If the last 50 years has shown us anything it is that humans and
>> computers working together can achieve far more than either in 
>> isolation.

> And if the last 15 years has shown us anything, it is that when you
> can't get past the auto-attendant and talk to a real human, and if
> that person can't talk to you like a person instead of reading scripts
> at you, your stress levels go way up as does your desire to break
> things. Automation in customer service (or excessive emphasis on
> procedures) is a really nice way of taking a five minute problem and
> turning it into an hour long ordeal.

The correct term of art for these humans that execute "scripts" when
answering inquiries is "flapper".  Often there are multiple layers of
"flapper" before one can communicate with someone who has any clue what
they (or you) are speaking about.  This is deliberate in an attempt to
cull the wheat from the chaff of the support calls because 99.9999999%
of callers are "chaff" and do not have a problem that is worthy of
attention by someone who knows what they are doing.

Many organizations which employ "flappers" have "flapper bypass systems"
in place in which there are either "magical incantations" or perhaps an
entry in the CRM system that identifies the probability that a caller is
"wheat" vs "chaff" so that the multi-level flapper system can be

There are even a few organizations which do not employ flappers at all
-- though they are few and far between.

If an organization does not have a functional "flapper bypass system"
then usually the most effective system to bypass multiple layers of
flappers is what is called the "shit principle".  The "shit principle"
states that shit works best when flowing downhill and therefore the most
effective "flapper bypass" is to direct the problem to the higest level
executive in the organization with the least probability of being able
to address the issue.  That person will simply direct an under-thing to
"take care of this and have them stop bothering me" which will result in
you immediately having the issue resolved by a competent individual.  

Organizations without other functional "flapper bypass" procedures
usually have a huge organization dedicated to addressing issues raised
through the "shit principle" since this is, in reality, their chosen
"flapper bypass" system.

Be decisive.  Make a decision, right or wrong.  The road of life is
paved with flat squirrels who could not make a decision.

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