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If your product has as many users as Thunderbird and you get 80 new (or more! ) support topics per day through Get Satisfaction, then using the Get Satisfaction interface "as is" is too slow. The GS web interface is great if you deal with less than 10 (in total! the amount of new topics, replies to old topics and comments Thunderbird receives is about 300/day) topics a day but it breaks down after that. Too much scrolling and clicking.

This page is an attempt to develop a specification for software (e.g. Firefox extension, Thunderbird extension, but it could be anything that accelerates support using Get Satisfaction). It originally stated off as a thread on Get Satifasction at:

I have asked for input from Other Get Satisfaction Community managers to develop this spec and welcome more! Please edit this page!

Deal with the 80% known first

Flag Duplicates

Most topics are duplicates of previous topics (guesstimate would be over 50%) so it would be great to have a way to easily and as quickly as possible:

  1. reply with some boilerplate text (e.g. "This is a duplicate of topic x, your problem is solved in topic x, please read the solution in topic x at the following link") and then
  2. close the topic (set to Answered or Solved)
  3. Auto-tag it with "duplicateofshorturl" e.g. "duplicate of"

Roland's note: a mobile version of this that worked in Mobile Firefox on an N900 or Safari on an iPhone would allow me to eliminate duplicates on the weekend while waiting in line at the grocery store and other "interstitial" times

Ask for missing information

Another 20% or so of our topics do not have enough information in the title and description to help the user. e.g. missing Thunderbird version, Operating system, mail provider, ISP, etc So need a way to as quickly as possible

  1. reply with a boiler plate e.g. "The Community needs more information to help you. Please reply with your Thunderbird version, Operating system (Windows 7, Mac Leopard), ISP, incoming and outgoing mail settings etc"
  2. Edit the title to make sure it clear what the problem is (In Thunderbird's case, i.e. make sure the title has the Thunderbird version and Mail Provider and Operating System in the first few words i.e. Problem A with Mail Provider B with Thunderbird version C on Operating System D)
  3. Set the topic to Problem, Acknowledged (it's usually erroneously set to Question)

Split into sub topics

Finally about 10-20% of the time the user instead of creating a new topic, finds an existing topic which is NOT the right topic (e.g. cannot send email with Comcast) and adds their information to the old topic (e.g. cannot send email with AT&T Yahoo) and then once 1 user had done this then other users do this. So over a few days we have 3 or more off topic replies (some threads have over 60 :-( ! ).

Not sure how to speed up dealing with this. I think this is where ideally we would have the Get Satisfaction "close topic" or "split topic" feature

My approach to this is to formulate a "super reply" i.e. one giant reply where I try to solve the original poster's problem and then for the off topic people, give them a brief i.e. 1 line solution and ask them to open a new topic if the 1 line solution doesn't work. And now that we have knowledge base (on a multi-lingual wiki not GS), I am also going to post a reply with links to relevant knowledge base articles.

Not sure how to design or spec this case for the accelerator other than perhaps having a way to quickly create the "super reply"

Deal with the 20% unknown

  1. Reply to the topic (I hardly ever use comments because they are not 1st class citizens in the API, i.e. you cannot retrieve comments separately in the JSON API and the box is too little and you can't mark comments as "answering the question")
  2. Edit the title to make it more descriptive (unfortunately over 50% of the Thunderbird Topic Titles are not helpful e.g. "help", "ramblings" so I re-title to enable quick scanning of the titles from the management view or by normal GS users)
  3. Add tags so I can find it later (and so users can find it later via google or a GS search)
  4. Delete noisy tags that don't make it easier to find this topic in a search like e-mail, thunderbird, email, mail, annoying (or any other emotion, GS has a dedicated field for emotion!)
  5. Do a Moderator Update (usually set it to Answered or change to Problem, In Progress or Acknowledged)

Would be nice

  1. Tag auto-complete
  2. Suggested Tags
  3. A way to auto-complete for a "moderator taxonomy" i.e. if moderators tag in a certain way which I will call the moderator taxonomy, have the auto complete only suggest tags in the moderator taxonomy, this would be easier if GS's "user defined codes" feature allowed more than one code per topic. If that were the case the user defined codes could be the moderator taxonomy.
  4. When mousing over a user, display last 3 replies, new topics or comments in order to quickly see if a user has duplicated their topic, reply or comment in another topics
  5. remove the prompts for removing tags, other GS moderators remove all tags and then add their own i.e. don't use user tags
  6. search by user or easily find things by that user (probably on mouseover)
  7. Make GS into a fun game for users and those helping users in the spirit of Ribbon Warrior, how about Support Warrior :-) ?:


Arielle's Implementation Ideas

Roland's note: no time to edit this, so I just copied it in, Arielle, feel free to add your further thoughts of course)

Arielle wrote:

I agree - waiting for the page to load and scrolling up and down for each change is time-consuming. I think it'd be ideal if the logged-in state for moderators displayed pages similarly as the new topic form, with all fields editable prior to saving. Even better if the page displayed in a more condensed, less stylized format.

  1. only click "save" once after making all edits (including replies, comments, moderator updates, tags, user defined code)
  2. able to tab through each editable field/moderator options sequentially to avoid scroll

Implementation for Roland and Thunderbird

The first implementation of this spec will be for Thunderbird, specifically, Roland Tanglao, because I simply don't have time to wait to get consensus and implement something that will work for everybody, i.e. I need this yesterday. It will be open source so feel free to enhance, modify and copy !

Bryan Clark, Lead UI Designer has written (in about 2 hours at an airport, thanks for taking some of your precious time!) a "flag duplicate" prototype in the form of a Firefox Jetpack extension which is very very crude. Crude meaning it doesn't work :-). It does add a link for "duplicate" and then try to read a list of common topics but that part doesn't work. It doesn't do anything else i.e. it doesn't implement "Ask for information" or "Split into Subtopics" or "Deal with the 20% unknown"

The code is here (and it's MPL licensed so you can do whatever you want with it :-) !):

  1. Version 0.3 - - based on code from Bryan Clark and Mark Banner
  2. Version 0.2 - - has a drop down and inserts a link, progress, thanks Bryan!
  3. Version 0.1 -