Check Point is watching me
Someone at Check Point is all of a sudden interested in what I am doing with my FireWall-1 Gurus Mailing List. I’ve been doing it for four years, I was wondering when I might get some attention… The gist of the message was basically: what can Check Point do to help? It might be a good idea to describe what it is I’m doing.
Aside from the technical information I provide on phoneboy.com (which I’ve done for a number of years), I run is a mailing list similar to the one Check Point runs for discussion. To quote myself:
“[The FireWall-1 Gurus Mailing List] is a moderated forum, which means all submissions are reviewed by human beings before they are sent to the list as a whole. The moderators will approve posts that meet certain criteria. The criteria is designed to promote useful technical conversations and reduce redundant questions and answers (i.e. those covered in other areas or answers recently posted).”
I also recently started a web-based forum version of this (minus the human intervention needed for posting messages), which is going slowly.
The FireWall-1 Gurus Mailing List has people on it from many different countries. In fact, just in the moderator group (there are five of us), three different countries are represented. I’d say all regions are adequately represented on the mailing list.
At my peak, I had something on the order of 4000-5000 subscribers (realtime and digest). Right now, it’s down to about 3100. While I don’t track individual participation or subscribes/unsubscribes, there is definately a core group of people that participate on the mailing list. I’m sure people come and go as they please.
I think the main reason people subscribe to this list is because the moderators tend to do a good job of filtering out “easy” questions (stuff answered in FAQs, etc) and ensuring people include the right information in their first post about a problem. Sometimes they do a little bit too good a job at filtering and I hear about it.
One of the things that I think would benefit Check Point immensely is actual participation in these forums. I know people from Check Point are reading — there’s about 10 different Check Point people subscribed including an email address I know goes to an internal newsgroup or something like that. I even get comments about stuff on my website or posts I make from time to time.
From the conversations I’ve had with various people inside of Check Point, there are some policies that seem to forbid public participation. I think it would do a great deal for Check Point’s image to participate — more than the “harm” that might occur from someone not speaking the company line. First, it shows everyone that Check Point is, in fact, listening. Second, I think that it shows that Check Point cares about the customers and wants to see them succeed. It doesn’t mean solving everyone’s problems, but it
does mean occasionally providing a nugget of information every once in a while to help solve a particularly nasty problem. Look at it this way: a problem solved on the Gurus list is probably several less support calls that are registered.
I’d love to hear what the rest of you think.