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Help me draft this letter.

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Help me draft this letter.

Postby moduspwnens » Thu Oct 02, 2008 12:26 pm

Here's the background:

I go to a small private college. The enrollment is around 1250 for undergrads. Ever since I started going here, the connection has been bad. Originally, it was kinda slow sometimes. It has become steadily worse to the point that now I can only get a ping below 1k ms if I play during common meal times, after 1 AM, or am very lucky. Anything aside from basic web browsing and email is ridiculously slow. It led to me leaving a guild I had just joined on Mannoroth (hi Elsie!) and I've just been kind of PvPing during those few OK times since school started, but with WotLK on the horizon, I may as well make every possible push to get this fixed.

Anyway, so I've talked to the guy in charge of the network. He's a gamer himself and is doing all he can. I've talked to the VP in charge of IT, and he's dragging his heels, admitting it should be better, but limited by funding, so now I'm emailing the VP that's in charge of who gets what money. As far as I know, he's a normal older guy, so I have to think of a way to express how important this is without coming across as, "need moar money for video game lawl" that he can blow off easily.

So, here's the email as it currently stands. Any input on how things could be worded better or better-phrased would be appreciated:


    Mr. [VP of Finance],

    I sent you an email earlier last year about this issue, and it has become steadily worse. I’ve been in contact with [IT VP], who recommended that I contact you.

    When I was touring colleges, one of the things that impressed me most as a Computer Science major is that [this college] touted that it was the first college in the state to require laptops of all college students. I thought to myself that such a school must be on the leading edge of technology! After all, that wasn’t long after laptops first had color screens. Choosing here as a place to earn my college degree would be a good choice. I still believe it was a good choice, but the bandwidth situation is becoming more than just bad. As a Computer Science major here, I can tell you: it’s embarrassing.

    It works for very simple web browsing and email, but it’s 2008! The very basics aren’t enough! As an admitted computer nerd, I like to play online games with my friends. Specifically, I enjoy games that stress social interaction and require teamwork. For a more accurate analogy, I play online “football,” and I like to be the quarterback. I’m one of the best team leaders, and my friends trust me to help them play against other teams. In order to play, we have to set a time to play online that each and every team member can be there. With this connection, I effectively can only come to games occasionally (when the speed is tolerable), and a lot of times, even when I do, I cause the team to fail because the unpredictable connection tends to disconnect me at the least opportune times. Luckily, many of these people are friends with me in real life, so they allow me to stay. It’s a bad situation, though, because what I really need for my team is another quarterback. This terrible connection forces me from playing this game and spending time with some of my friends from home.

    I’m not the only one, though. Recent studies (link) show that over half of college students play online games! Over half! Yet, here at [this college], the first school in the state to make the jump to require laptops for students, it is flat out impossible to play realistically except during common meal times and after 1AM. I’d be willing to gamble that nearly all students on campus utilize streaming media (for example, YouTube), and this outdated connection makes dynamic media (like internet radio) impossible and static media (YouTube) take unnecessarily long just to watch. This is something that needs to be addressed, and can’t be allowed to be pushed down the road any further. This is 2008, and I don’t want to be embarrassed any more.

    While this is an issue that is very important to me, it isn’t something over which I would transfer to a different school. It is, however, something that can influence other students’ decisions, as well as prospective students’ decisions. I’m always very proud to tell prospective students how excellent my professors are and how much I enjoy the academic part of my experience here and the small-town environment, but I don’t mislead them about those other issues they care about. If you’re coming to [this college], you may as well give up any online game you play, because juxtaposing your eating and sleeping schedule around that of campus just to play is only going to lead to frustration, and there’s no sign of the bandwidth getting any better.

    So, please do something. It’s not an option to leave things as they are.

      1. Until a cheaper solution can be implemented, more bandwidth needs to be purchased.
      This is important. Bandwidth that’s worse than dial-up connections many times is an embarrassment to the college and shouldn’t be tolerated. It’s true that it’s expensive, but I hear complaints from students who don’t even play online games about how slow the Internet is. If this drives up fees for each student by $50 or so, then so be it. As an online gamer who’s never been adept in sports, my dollars still indirectly pay for students to play sports. Everyone suffers when the Internet is embarrassingly slow. Nearly all students utilize online media, and over 50% of students play online games. The speed of Internet has a higher priority among students than it appears to have among the college administration, and if these were more in-line I believe more students would enjoy their experience here.

      2. After the solution is temporarily solved by purchasing more bandwidth, look for a more cost-effective, permanent solution.
      I have confidence that [IT VP] and [Network Guy] are always looking for a partner to help solve this issue permanently. As a small college, [this college] will probably always be in the limbo of not having enough bandwidth and needing to buy more. Especially with the introduction of YouTube and Peer to Peer downloads, the average bandwidth use per student will continue to rise. The only two possible permanent solutions I see are:

        Dedicated Bandwidth option for students.
        Purchase additional bandwidth, and then offer dedicated parts of it to specific students at some fee. This way, students who enjoy these activities have some option to pay more for the opportunity.

        Partner with a provider that can sell bandwidth to students.
        [IT VP] tells me this was the plan for this summer with [Provider 1], but it fell through. There may not be too many more options in [this small town], but I believe [IT VP] mentioned the possibility of [Provider 2].

    The problem now truly is that as a student with a residency requirement, I have no option. I’ve tried every other possible way for a better connection, including an actual dial-up connection, Sprint Mobile Broadband, Satellite Internet, and even a $170 Wi-Fi antenna for RVs in hopes it would pick up a network in the nearby houses. It didn’t. I’ve taken every step possible to solve this personally without pushing the college for action. Please allow for more funding and effort from the college administration to address this issue. The current situation is not acceptable.

    Please let me know if/when changes can be made.

    Thanks,
    [Me]
    [My Email Address]


And uhh... I don't have a link to that survey yet. All my googling powers were able to turn up was a study from 2003 saying just less than 50% of college students play online games. While that study would work (surely the number has increased over 5 years), I'm still looking for something better. I know it's a little long, but I see some very well-written posts here so I thought I'd float it by anyone willing to check it out. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
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Postby Invisusira » Thu Oct 02, 2008 12:36 pm

What do you think you're blizzard posting in blue like that
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Postby moduspwnens » Thu Oct 02, 2008 12:41 pm

Invisusira wrote:What do you think you're blizzard posting in blue like that


No, I just realize that it's a lot of text and thought I'd differentiate the letter from the rest of the text to make it easier to read. The formatting above of the letter is the same, so any advice on formatting is also welcome.

Invisusira will be banned with 3.0.


[ Post edited by Ghostcrawler ]
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Postby Invisusira » Thu Oct 02, 2008 12:43 pm

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Postby Lore » Thu Oct 02, 2008 1:01 pm

ghostcrawler's just popping up everywhere these days
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Postby Invisusira » Thu Oct 02, 2008 1:11 pm

I kno rite
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Postby Lore » Thu Oct 02, 2008 1:17 pm

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Postby moduspwnens » Thu Oct 02, 2008 1:20 pm

STOP DERAILING THREAD KTHX
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Postby Shirak » Thu Oct 02, 2008 1:40 pm

From an IT professional, asking for bandwidth for youtube and games = epic fail.

As the VP I would laugh as I throw this letter in the trash.

Your are college to learn not to play games and watch videos.

You need to take a completely different approach from the aspect of learning and education.

What educational and monetary value will the school get from increasing the Bandwidth?
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Postby aranil » Thu Oct 02, 2008 1:45 pm

moduspwnens wrote:STOP DERAILING THREAD KTHX


You put this in AA, you have only yourself to blame
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Postby moduspwnens » Thu Oct 02, 2008 1:47 pm

Shirak wrote:From an IT professional, asking for bandwidth for youtube and games = epic fail.

As the VP I would laugh as I throw this letter in the trash.

Your are college to learn not to play games and watch videos.

You need to take a completely different approach from the aspect of learning and education.

What educational and monetary value will the school get from increasing the Bandwidth?


They don't get an educational value from it, and the only argument I make for monetary losses are from prospective students being swayed not to come here because of it (in conjunction with whatever other problems they have).

I realize I'm at college to learn and not play games, but dang. The college probably spends a few hundred thousand dollars on athletics coaches for games. Either way, I don't need to make the argument to you, I suppose, I need to make it to him.

Anyone else have any thoughts? Does it seem like he's just gonna reply with a politician response and be done with it? I mean, I think it's quite valid to want my college to have fast internet. How do I convey that if it's different from above?
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Postby Doogiehowser » Thu Oct 02, 2008 1:49 pm

Modus

I applaud you taking some initiative with those fat cats in the Ivory Tower. Hehe.

The only thing I would do is take a little initiative on your part on calculating the costs of the possible upgrade. I'm not saying to go do a feasability analysis of the project, but go get some estimates for upgrading bandwith from x to y for 10 users.

Also, your tone about being embarrassed and demanding comes off a little harsh. These deans/VP are very sensitive people. They feel that it is their kingdom and no one should interfere with how they do things. Also, feed his ego a bit. Tell him how grateful people would be if they knew who would be behind this upgrade.

Try to make it more "diplomatic". I understand your need for a better system, bandwith, etc. BUT DO NOT BRING UP GAMES!!!

This is an educational center. These people are here to "enlighten the youth". Not give you access to porn, kazaa, and games. Tell him how hard it is to do your research for your history paper. Give him data on how long it takes to download documents from the Library of Congress, Harvard, or the Smithsonian.

Go do a poll of 200 students and ask them to rate the bandwith/IT (Go talk to a senior or junior that is in a statistical class/math class that might need to do a poll like this. . . you think I'm crazy, but they do these tests all the time. They'll help you with your regression analysis, standardizing your questions so they aren't "leading") Instead of just guessing about the YouTube streaming video, put that in your poll.

Also, talk to some professors. See their opinion of the IT capability of the school. Not to be mean, but you are just the funding for this school. If they feel they can get away with it while you are there for 4 years, they won't do anything. But the moment you have a tenured professor(s) saying that it isn't adequate (especially if they have won awards/highly distinguished), they will have to listen. They love seeing where they stand on rankings and what not. You lose a preeminent professor of Egyptology/Biochemistry/WWII history, they will be very concerned.

Make it a project. The more "data" you have, the more inclined they will be to act. It seems whiney and demanding.

Just my opinion.
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Postby Zappi » Thu Oct 02, 2008 2:00 pm

It reads like "need moar money for video game lawl".

I wouldn't focus on online games and explain them. I would focus on everyday issues like ip telephony, youtube, downloads (well not edonkey, but the newest linux iso, java/c/.net runtime, IDE, <whatever you actually study there>)
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Postby Dorvan » Thu Oct 02, 2008 2:08 pm

Indeed, whether you like it or not it's important to play to your audience if you want to get something done. "I want better internet so I can play video games" isn't likely to carry much weight with an administrator. Citing potential academic issues from it as well at competitiveness with peer institutions (and not in terms of their ability to deliver entertainment) is much more likely to be persuasive.
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Postby Losbullitt » Thu Oct 02, 2008 2:13 pm

Agreed with most parts.

Do you know your school's financial situation?

For instance, Cameron University (a school I went to) spent an enormous amount of money in the Science Building and the Residence Halls, thus had no money for any significant upgrade to any other part of the school, infrastructure or otherwise. Knowing how much your school generates in cash/income and how much they spend and being presenting them with a valid opportunity to save and/or improve the college experience will definately improve your chances.

While I applaud the idea that was thought of by the necessity to play games, you're not going to win on the game basis alone. You need to prove that there is a deficiency in the system, that the performance lags behind the other colleges.

Just my .02
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