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:
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.
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?