General inquiry procedures

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General inquiries come to the info@scrabbleplayers.org email address, and many can be handled in a routine manner as described below on this page.

This is a living document; the contents are updated as procedures are refined and developed.

General guidelines

When responding to info@ email, always be sure to Cc: the info@ address, so that the other responders will know that the issue has been addressed. Likewise, before responding, always check to make sure that no one else has claimed the issue.

All email should receive at least an initial reply within 24 hours of receipt.

When interacting with members, keep in mind that their computer literacy is generally low. If they were able to accurately describe problems and consult the FAQ, they wouldn't be emailing for help, so it's up to us to work politely within their limitations.

Instructions

Follow the first applicable instruction below.

  1. If the inquiry is answered in the FAQ, reply by politely quoting the relevant question and answer, and referring the inquirer to the FAQ URL for further similar questions.
  2. If the inquiry can be addressed using one of the procedures described at the bottom of this page, do so.
  3. If the inquiry can be delegated to a committee as described below, do so.
  4. If not, reply to the inquirer acknowledging the email and saying that someone will respond within 24 hours.

Delegation

If the inquiry is technically specific, then it should go to the appropriate Committee. In this case, reply to the original sender and Cc: both the committee mailing list and the info@ address. Here are some examples:

I'd like to report a problem concerning a tournament.
Tournament Committee
I think I set a new record.
Ratings and Recognition Committee
I have a question about a game rule.
Rules Committee

Procedures

Here is a list of currently documented procedures.

Cannot log in

  1. If a member does not have their ID or password, see the Lost NASPA ID or Lost NASPA Password section.
  2. Otherwise, ask the member for their NASPA ID and password and proceed with the first of the following subprocedures that applies, listed in decreasing order of observed frequency.
    Member has given you an incorrect NASPA ID.
    Follow the Lost NASPA ID procedure.
    You have verified that you can the username and password successfully yourself. (It's helpful to keep a second browser on your computer, so you can keep your own session active.)
    Ask the member to enable cookies in their browser. Here is one of many sites that give browser-specific instructions on enabling cookies, and here is one of many sites that test whether or not a user has cookies enabled.
    The username and password do not match.
    Follow the Lost NASPA Password procedure.

Cannot make payment

  1. If the inquirer is trying to make an online credit payment, use the CyberSource website to determine why by clicking on Transaction Search, finding their transaction and then the error message and subprocedure below.
    “The following request field(s) is either invalid or missing: bill_state”
    The payment form asks for two lines of street address (the second may be blank), and then one line giving the city, state and “postal code”. People get confused and enter their city as the second line of the street address, and the state as the city. Or they enter a non-standard abbreviation for their state or province, like “Ont” for “ON” or “Tex” for “TX”. See if they are willing to enter the information correctly; if not then follow the procedure to accept a credit card payment by phone.

Lost NASPA ID

  1. If the inquirer says that they do not know their NASPA ID, first see if you can find it.
    • Look them up in the internal membership database. Search as flexibly as you can (give minimal information, use pattern matching), because players are not always sure of their own names (Dave/David, John/John Q, Smith/Smith-Jones)
  2. If you find them, check to make sure that the email address in the database matches the email address of the inquiry.
    1. If it matches, continue with step 4.
    2. If it does not match, ask them if they used to use the old email address, and if the database should be updated.
      1. If they say the old email address was theirs but is no longer, update the email address in the database, and continue with step 4.
      2. If they say the old email address was theirs and they should still be listed with it, continue with step 4.
      3. Otherwise, continue with step 3.
  3. At this point, you have been unable to find the player in the database, and need to determine why. Email the player and ask if (1) they have changed their name recently, (2) were perhaps an NSA member (NSA membership numbers were 1-6 digits, occasionally with a letter appended) and never a NASPA member, or (3) have ever played in a sanctioned tournament listed on cross-tables.com.
    • If (1), then start over with their old name. If you find them, send them their ID and ask John Chew to change their name in the database.
    • If (2), explain to them that the NSA and NASPA are separate organizations and that if they want to play in their first sanctioned tournament, they should join NASPA, and are eligible for the $15 six-month trial rate. (If they had ever played in a tournament, they would have been in the database.)
    • If (3), find the tournament, find the player's real name there, and start over.
  4. At this point, you have found the player in the database, and their NASPA ID. Email it to them, explain that they can find it in future in the public membership database at http://www.scrabbleplayers.org/cgi-bin/members.pl and finish.

Lost NASPA Password

  1. If the member does not know their NASPA ID, follow the Lost NASPA ID procedure first.
  2. If the member knows their ID, they should be able to enter their ID and email address in the login box on the website to receive a new random password. In order of decreasing frequency, here are observed reasons for which this can fail, with recommended remedies.
    Member cannot reliably enter their ID.
    Ask member to copy and paste ID from your reply.
    Member has never given us their email address.
    Use membership editor to enter email address, ask them to retry.
    Member has changed email addresses.
    Ask member if they would like their address of record changed.
    • If yes, change it and ask them to retry.
    • If no, ask them to retry with the email address we have.
    Member does not have computer skills to enter two pieces of information and click a button, would like someone else to do it for them.
    Tell them that you cannot reset their password for them, ask them to try again. This is true by design, as if a member cannot do this, there's no point in issuing them a username and password to connect to the website.
    Member actually has correct password, but is using a browser that does not support cookies, and is returned to the login window even after a successful login.
    The only common browser that does not support cookies is the crippled one that comes with AOL. AOL users should download and use Firefox to connect to the large number of websites that require cookies. Others should enable cookies in their browser preferences. If they aren't sure, there are lots of websites (Google: cookie test) that will help diagnose and correct the problem.
    Member belongs to NSA, has never belonged to NASPA.
    Explain to member that NASPA took over responsibility for competitive SCRABBLE play in 2009 and that players must reapply for membership with the new association.
    Committee member is confusing NASPAWiki password with NASPA password.
    Explain to them that they are different passwords, refer them to John Chew if they really need a NASPAWiki password.
    Member refuses to do anything to obtain password, saying that all website content should be available without one.
    Explain that we provide some member-only services in exchange for a membership fee, and the only way to ensure that those services are accessible only to members is password protection.

Profile photo updates

Profile photos are also used to respond to media requests, and therefore have to undergo a quality control process before being posted. If anyone complains about a delay, the current procedure is to nudge John Chew to review recent submissions.