Github Helpdesk Working Document

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Revision as of 15:40, 31 July 2013 by Pdavis (talk | contribs) (Shuffled content and modified to make a little clearer.)
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What this document should be used for:

  • Define the responsibilities of the staff member on helpdesk
  • Define how user responses can be professional/avoid unprofessional multiple responses etc.
  • People should add their experiences and any tricks they learn about how to bring together the and WebForm Help submissions so that future helpdeskers can work with the current system in an efficient manner.

The Help Desk officer is responsible for:

  • Ensuring that emails to wormbase-help/The github ticketing system are responded to in a timely manner
  • Preparing the agenda for the conference call
  • Acting as moderator during the call.
    • Following the Agenda
    • Taking minutes
  • Keep track of unanswered tickets and hand over to next officer.

User requests should be:

  • Replied to within 48 hours of a business day by a staff member with expertise in that area.
  • !!!! It's ok to leave the response until the appropriate curators are available to respond !!!! (within the 48hr period)
  • if not, the Help Desk officer is responsible for tracking and the initial answer.

User request Routes:

  • Website form submissions
    • Staff get 2 emails (if you are subscribed to github notifications which you should be)
      • One from the user to (This is useful as it contains the users email address)
      • One from (this is useful as it contains the github unique ticket email address)
    • Staff get a single email from the user
    • If the issues has been reported directly to
      • Create a github ticket by following the "If a user emails" section below and reply to the user. (The url to the ticket can be provided as it's an open resource)


Issues should now be tracked in the Issue Tracker on GitHub (

A guide on using github.

If a user emails

Staff should either:

  • Create a github ticket directly in github


  • Satff can forge a help request through the website (if you are not logged in you can enter the user's email) so that a github ticket is generated and the user gets an email to track the issue.

This reduces staff to a single point of user help requests and allows users to follow the course of issue resolution (they can see all the comments).

  • Generates a unique github email to allow you to email the user and the ticket simultaneously.
  • good for staff in general.
  • Not so good for helpdesk.


  • Respond to the user
  • Assign the Issue

The helpdesk person should either assign the ticket to a curator if it is clear cut


assign the consortium partner manager:

OICR - Todd

Hinxton - Kev

Caltech - Nomination please


failing that them self so that they can keep track of things that aren't answered.

How to reply to the user and update the github ticket

  • Take the unique github email address assigned to the ticket
  • Reply to the original user email submission cc'ing the github unique ID (replace the and



Body: Thanks for your email, you can find the data on our ftp site

On 12/12/2012 06:02, John Smith wrote:
> blah blah blub
  • Any comment that is not intended directly for the user can simply be sent to the github email address or entered on the github web UI.
  • If the user request has been helped then the issue can be closed or the "helpdesk" label flipped to "helped" and other labels added if further development is required.
  • Helpdesk should make sure all issues are tracked on github (including those immediately resolved so we have the records in github), assign them when possible, merge or close when appropriate.

How to get the unique email address for email/git interaction

Staff with high level preferences get notification of all new by default they get a unique address for all tickets.

This can be used when replying to the user to get the reply added to the ticket automatically.


When handing duties to the next officer, a summary of unanswered issues should be passed on in an email.

Help Email Archive

--Possibly not needed in this section?--

To view the Help Desk Archives click here (requires login and password): Help Desk Archives