The UserGroup FAQ

What is PUG?

The Plusnet User group (PUG) is an independent and officially recognised focus group, created to benefit both Plusnet and its customers. Although Plusnet already openly communicates with its customers through several mediums, PUG is intended as a formal method of getting further assistance from customers with the aim of improving services for everyone. The main purpose of the group is to promote and facilitate the exchange of knowledge, ideas and experiences relating to all Plusnet group products and services.

Since its inception the UserGroup has evolved through many stages to arrive as you find us today. The original group was formed in October 2004 when 18 customers with a history of providing constructive feedback and demonstrating a willingness to improve the PlusNet service for other users were approached by the Plusnet Comms. team. The group was made up of people with a wide range of experience and skills. PUG members are not necessarily technically skilled and there is no formal level of qualification or participation required.

How is the UserGroup structured?

There are currently three categories of member:

  • Full member
  • Responsible for the general organisation and operation of the UserGroup activities and liaison with Plusnet. Members in this category are required to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) to protect Confidential Information which may be disclosed by Plusnet to the member.
  • Supporting member
  • Providing assistance in website development, administering news, PUGIT, beta testing etc.
  • Forum member
  • General members, numbers limited only by the need to register on the PUG web site.

NOTE: Apart from being subscription members, there are no restrictions on members progressing through the categories provided that they

  1. Want to and are able to devote the time.
  2. Have the support of the membership

How do I become a member of the UserGroup?

To become a Forum member of PUG only requires registration on the PUG Home page for you to be able to take part in discussions and votes on the main PUG forums.

Supporting membership is generally offered to PUG Forum members or members of the Community who by their contributions have displayed the aptitude to take a more central role.

Full membership may be achieved by two routes:

  • Co-option by a consensus vote of the Full members
  • Nomination and voting by all of the PUG membership

How can I contribute to PUG?

There are many different levels at which you can get involved with PUG. Contributions are welcome from all customers and it is certainly hoped that via the forums as many people as possible will contribute articles or issues or raise any topics that you may feel will help your fellow Plusnet users. Regular contributors to issues and matters, and those who provide constructive feedback will get the opportunity to take part in more in-depth discussion and testing relating to Plusnet’s products and services. Some of these roles may require a certain amount of commitment on your part, whilst other roles will allow you to come and go as time permits. Some members may just visit the forum when they have a problem that needs solving. How much you put into it is entirely up to you.

Do UserGroup members get a free connection?

No. Members of the Plusnet UserGroup give their time and advice freely. The services and answers they provide are therefore not unfairly biased towards Plusnet for any financial reward.

Does the UserGroup include any PlusNet staff?

No, no current employee is a member of the PUG Full or Supporting member groups. PUG does however work closely with Plusnet and have confidential discussions on a regular basis about various matters with Plusnet employees.

Why do UserGroup members sign an NDA?

Occasionally, Plusnet will be able to share advance notice of product changes and other information which may be commercially sensitive. By signing a Non-Disclosure Agreement, PUG is able to have visibility of these details and provide feedback in advance of roll-outs.

A UserGroup member gave me an answer which made me make a wrong decision. What redress do I have?

UserGroup members provide advice based upon their own and collective experiences. This advice is given freely and without compulsion on either side. Recipients of such advice must make their own decision as to the use of the advice provided. UserGroup members cannot be held accountable for any problems subsequently caused. The views expressed in any email / forum communications represent the views of the individual and not those of the Plusnet UserGroup or Plusnet plc.

A UserGroup member gave me information which seemed to be correct, but conflicted with that from a member of PlusNet staff. Who is right?

Whilst UserGroup members try to keep as up to date with Plusnet developments, there may be an odd occasion whereby they are not aware of all of the facts.
The UserGroup strives at all times to give accurate information and its members give their time and information freely to try and assist Plusnet users. (See also FAQ: A UserGroup member gave me an answer which made me make a wrong decision. What redress do I have?)
However, if you should feel that there is a conflict, you should note this via the communications medium that you obtained the information from, where it can be investigated as appropriate.

A UserGroup member was behaving inappropriately in a non-Plusnet forum whilst "representing" the UserGroup. What should I do about it?

The majority of posts made by PUG members are likely to be made in a non official capacity, don't forget the UserGroup members use and advise in forums / Usenet on a personal basis and not usually in an official capacity.
If however you do have a complaint to make please make it directly to the UserGroup via the PUG Forums.

Products and Services

Where do I find information about the latest Plusnet products and services?

Information about the latest PlusNet latest products and services will usually be posted in the Announcements/Service Updates forum on the Community site. The complete list of current products and services available is also on the portal. The UserGroup also provide some product information in the Product Info pages on the PUG portal

Network and Technical

Who do I contact if I have problems with my connection, or any other of Plusnet’s services?

Before reporting a problem you should (if possible) check the Service Status page

and then the Help Assistant on the Portal

or the Priority 1 problems page

If it is not a known problem, then in the first instance you should raise the issue through the official Plusnet channels, either by Help & Support on the portal or calling one of the Telephone Support numbers:

Customer Support and faults  0800 432 0200
Support telephone

A complete list of support telephone numbers for all PlusNet VISP’s can be found here

If you are not satisfied with the response from Plusnet it is suggested that you raise the issue in one of the customer feedback channels PUG  or on the Community forums or plusnet.service.customer-feedback on Usenet.

If it emerges from discussions in the customer feedback channels that the issue affects a number of users, it is highly probable that the members of the UserGroup monitoring the customer feedback forums will raise the issue with Plusnet.

Customer Facing Issues

I raised a Query and am unhappy with the response. How do I escalate it?

If you are dissatisfied with initial response on a Query you should "action" (respond to) the query explaining why the answer given was not satisfactory. If you are still unhappy the Plusnet Code of Practice has a section on Complaint Resolution which explains how you may escalate your complaint.

Beta Testing

Doesn't Plusnet employ people to do this?

Plusnet has a Quality Assurance team who perform testing at all phases of the Plusnet development lifecycle. Invariably though things get missed and like many companies PlusNet and its customers gain much benefit from customer beta testing programmes. It is also impossible for Plusnet to test all possible user configurations such as different Operating Systems (Win9x/Me/XP/NT/2K/2003/Vista, Linux, Mac etc) and browsers (IE5/IE6/IE6SP1/IS6/SP2/IE7/Mozilla/Firefox/Opera/Netscape/Safari and many variations of those listed) so while the core testing is done internally by Plusnet, problems encountered with other setups can be identified much quicker and thus help produce a much better product for everyone when it is eventually launched.

Are there any benefits to being a Beta Tester?

Beta testers are not rewarded directly, but they do get early access to the tools or features being tested. Beta testers also have an opportunity to ensure the solutions being developed are the ones that will help them the most and can suggest additional features they think would benefit the product being tested. Plusnet welcome all feedback given by customers and where possible will incorporate the suggestions made in the current or future products. Making suggestions at the beta stage often means features can be incorporated more easily and thus have a better chance of getting into the final product when it is released.

Where do I post my results?

Initially this will be in the UserGroup forum. The Beta Testing sub-group aims to collate as much of the reports and feedback as possible given by testers and pass them on to Plusnet. The UserGroup has set up an independent bug/feature tracking system that allows problems and features to be recorded and made available to the Plusnet developers. It will also allow everyone to see details of bugs/features already reported and allow the Beta sub-group to track such items through the various Beta phases of a new/update product.

I installed/used a beta product and it crashed my computer. Have I any redress?

In a word? No. Beta testing by its very nature is a risk because the product being tested has not yet reached a state where it is ready for a full public launch. As such it may be unstable or contain bugs and features that are not complete or may cause problems with your system. A disclaimer will always be visible indicating you use the Beta software/product at your own risk and PlusNet or the UserGroup accept no responsibility for any loss or damage that running such software may have on your system. In practice the chances of such software causing major problems is small as internal testing by PlusNet will have already been done by the time it is made available for public beta testing, but the possibility still exists and that is the risk you take.

Article last edited on Monday, 01-Aug-2011 21:00 PM