In case you hadn’t noticed, Twittercism has been down the last few days.

A lot.

It’s been up some of the time, too, but that was only through sheer perseverance on my part. You see, the problem was caused entirely by my web host, 1&1 Internet UK.

On Tuesday, this site suddenly went dead, with no obvious reason. The blog couldn’t connect to the database that powers it, and when I checked my control panel, I was informed that this was because the database had been closed.

So, I called 1&1. 1&1 are notorious for their bad technical support, but in case you’re not familiar with the process, I’ll lay it out for you here.

There are three tiers of customer support found in most technical organisations. The first level deals with the high-frequency but basic queries that can be solved fairly easily. If level one can’t handle the problem, they bump it up to level two.

Level two represents a smaller but more technically-proficient team than can provide more in-depth support.

Level three is the technical support cream of the crop; there might only be a handful of these guys, but they know everything.

At least, on paper. That’s the system. It’s flawed and ugly but it works for most of the people most of the time, simply because something like 70-80 per cent of all technical problems are solved by the team in level one. Why? Because they are predominately dealing with queries such as, “Does Google have a website?”

It gets awkward when you have a level three problem. It gets really awkward when you know it’s a level three problem, but you still have to start with the people in level one. Here’s what happens:

  1. You spend 20 minutes on the phone with level one, explaining your problem
  2. They can’t handle it, so they transfer you to level two
  3. You spend 20 minutes on the phone with level two, explaining your problem
  4. They can’t handle it, so they transfer you to level three
  5. You spend 20 minutes on the phone with level three, explaining your problem
  6. They (hopefully) fix it

All this on a premium line. But what if they can’t fix it? What if they won’t, because they were the ones who caused the problem?

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