how to escalate a problem

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Wed Aug 31 18:03:36 UTC 2005

I say it's a SOTA, and I say to hell with it !


Orion Montoya <gorion at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: Orion Montoya
Subject: Re: how to escalate a problem

> It might just be a metaphor, not an error.

It's pretty well-established tech support jargon, going back to at
least 1984 in usenet: ("escalate * problem" and "escalate * issue")

net.decus - Jul 5 1984, 1:55 pm by r... at lanl-a.UUCP
I have ordered a DEC Rainbow 100+, and am having trouble getting it.
Is there anyone out there (preferably from DEC) who can tell me who
to write to or call for help? The DEC sales offices that I have
talked to are of little help, and I was told in a DECUS meeting long
ago (by DEC field service) that, if you cannot get satisfaction,
then escalate.

net.followup - Feb 1 1985, 3:30 pm by Ron Natalie
Digital Equipment Service(DEC): Is it as bad elsewhere?
... Secondly, DEC seems to be slow to escalate the problem if a
solution is not readily apparent to the personnel on site. .. - Feb 16 1990, 6:56 am by David Chinn
strange support of OSF/Motif
... One may report bugs without a support contract of any type. ...
this service gives you the right to escalate an issue. ...

Contemporary usenet hits also escalate issues in the usual non-jargon sense.

I don't think this is enough evidence to say that it originated as
DEC-specific jargon, but that might be worth investigating. It's
amusing that most of the early results are really discussing
non-escalation of support issues -- I guess, like other things, you
only notice support escalation when you're not getting any.

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