New Checkbox - This is NOT support request

To get started with, I’ll say that the documentation of my items start with big bold notification that says:

Always submit all questions and support requests to support forums only.

Then comes the link to support forums and further explanation:

Asking for support via sales email or Envato comments form will never work because we have different staff members monitoring different areas:
Envato page and email box is monitored by sales team, while support area is monitored by programmers to solve any possible issues.
Hence, always visit our forums for instant assistance - our support team is ready to assist you around the clock!
Additionally, we may need your FTP login details in some situations, and you surely don’t want to share this information with public on Envato website.

Still, about 50% of clients who ask for support, submit support issues via Envato comments form. And it causes two major issues:

  1. Inconvenience to potential buyers. A new buyer obviously expects to find useful pre-sale questions/answers in comments. Instead, he finds a truckload of totally irrelevant messages like “How do I activate feature X?”, “I got error Z when installing in my server”, “How to set option Y”? and so on.

  2. More important, it “hurts” client himself. Like most of authors, I provide full support from Monday to Friday (and “unofficial”, slightly slower support is available on weekends). There were multiple situations when client submitted support question via comments form on Friday. Since comments are not monitored that often as support forums (which is logical), client has to wait until Monday just to get a canned reply like “Please submit this request to support forums, so we can assist you further”. Then he receives this message and needs to re-submit his request to the proper place. In other words, instead of receiving full assistance in 10 minutes or so after his support request, he needs to wait 3 days just because of his own ignorance.

Hence, I think a new checkbox like "I swear on my soul and mother’s grave this comment is NOT any type of support request from the author" should be displayed in comments form for buyers. This way, it will prevent item comments page from being “spammed” by irrelevant messages and clients themselves will receive support much, much faster.

Let me know what you guys think.

P.S. This topic was inspired by yet another complaint (not a client of mine) where buyer is upset about not receiving support, and then he says he asked for support via comments form - The seller does not answer and does not support me (as you see, it’s a very common issue, which affects Envato marketplace in a wrong way because of negative buyers experience).

P.P.S. Is it OK to flag/report comments that are actually support requests to cleanup item’s comment page and make it easy to navigate for those who look for answers to pre-sale questions or other useful information?


Nice catch.

This is the most annoying thing here on Envato, I face this issue every day also with buyers that are still asking for support and commenting on the items section, pasting code snippets, even when their support is expired, when I wake up in the morning I don’t want to open the comments area because will ruin my day.

I have buyers who bought my item 2 years ago (no support renewal) and they are still asking support questions in the items comments area because they can’t actually open a ticket, then if you don’t answer them they will post again and again and will force you to give support for free with bad ratings, and if you mention them to renew their support they can kill you.

I value the time spend on a support (other authors should too), it’s 2018, no one works for free, I really can’t understand what the buyers expect when they buy an item for less than 60$, with unlimited updates, that you should deal with them for years?

Why when an author decides to give support via external support system, the buyers are still asking questions in the comments section?

IMO users that bought the item should not be even allowed to comment on the items section if the author is offering support via external support system, so in this case, if the buyers are not satisfied from the support they can still give ratings no matter if the comments section is disabled for them.

And about the checkbox, this still won’t work, they don’t actually care about checked checkbox field, they will check and post the comment.

Thanks for your input. Sure, checkbox itself won’t provide the results authors desire, but if such a checkbox affects at least 10% of clients (which is realistic, I think), it’s still good for authors (less irrelevant comments), buyers (faster support for all their issues) and Envato itself (better overall experience because of less false complains “I buy from Envato and can’t get any support”).

I was also thinking about an option to disable comments for buyers completely, but that might be an overkill. However, if someone (especially from Envato team) has any more suggestions on how to deal with this issue, that would be nice to hear.

I think there are a few issues at play.

  1. Many authors do willing support their themes via the comment section, so it creates the impression that it is a valid way to ask for support. It basically conditions users to ask for support via comments. Whether that is the most effective strategy or not, is a different debate.

  2. There is a benefit to support requests in the comment sections. I can easily search via keyword and solve problems based on the solutions provided to other users. I have done this many times. Often, developer specific support doesn’t have any sort of public search. The result, I can’t fix the problem myself, I have to ask the same question to the developer that someone else may have also asked.

  3. There are bad developers out there. Posting the support request in the comments is an easy way to expose this. For example. I purchased a really buggy theme. Out of the hundreds of themes I have purchased, I have never seen a theme so buggy. I had 18 support tickets open with the developer and very few of them were being addressed. In fact, the developer deleted some of my support tickets and accused me of support bombing. The sad reality was, I had so many tickets because the theme really was THAT buggy. So I posted to the comments section of the theme airing my troubles and support issues. I had other customers PM me to see if the theme was worth purchasing. Probably saved other customers time and money. I just did a quick look at the comment sections and it looks like other customers who did order are having similar problems.

  4. It also doesn’t help that Envato allows you to use the “code” markup in the comment box. It almost invites users to post code snippets and questions. Why else would they allow it…

Maybe this could be a better solution.

Comment categories. Pre-sales question, support request, refund requests, compatibility questions, etc.

Then, users could filter the type of comments they see to get the best experience for their needs.

The negative reviews can be a problem but if you provide great customer support and consistently point users to your support site and NEVER answer support questions in the comments, I would think the positive comments would overcome the negative. I never based a purchase decision on a single bad review unless it is very detailed. Because developers will always have someone who has a bad experience no matter how good the theme is. My favorites are the bad reviews because customers don’t receive support within 6 hours on a holiday weekend…

But if you answer one support question in the comments, you set the precedence for others to ask for support as well.

You got some great points here, I didn’t think about them…