[Virtual_reference] Problem patron: "Stop people from screaming..."

Matthews, Judy matthe20 at mail.lib.msu.edu
Tue Mar 27 21:54:08 EDT 2012

I'd got a step further, and tell this, ahem, person, that we don't have time to waste on prank questions.

From: Tobias, Christine
Sent: Tuesday, March 27, 2012 4:30 PM
To: Realtimeref
Cc: Virtual reference (Virtual_reference at mail.mlcnet.org) (virtual_reference at mail.mlcnet.org)
Subject: Problem patron: "Stop people from screaming..."

Hi –

Please excuse any duplication…I wanted to be sure that both MSU and RHN librarians received this message.

I’ve noticed that we have been getting a lot of chatquestions about “how to stop people from screaming.” The email address used is often a Yahoo address and the patron claims they need to know this information for a book they are writing. Quite often, there is little or no response from the patron beyond the initial question. Since the IP addresses of these questions are coming from Denver, Colorado, I’m certain this is a reincarnation of the “pinching cheeks,” “duct tape,” “hand covering mouth” patron from a few months ago.

If you see such a question come into the queue when you are monitoring the service, please pick up the question (so our answering percentage isn’t negatively affected), but refrain from spending a lot of time with the patron. Since the service is very busy this time of year, it will be sufficient for you to let this patron know that we have already answered the question and then politely end the session.

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.


Christine Tobias
Reference and Technology Librarian
Liaison to James Madison College
Michigan State University Libraries
100 Library
East Lansing, MI 48824-1048
tobiasc at msu.edu<mailto:tobiasc at msu.edu>
Twitter: @ctobias27

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