Discourse as a private email support portal


(Allen - Watchman Monitoring) #23

Some of those Professional Support Apps are expensive, especially at scale. Paying for a hosted copy of discourse can pale in comparison.

I agree that features supporting discourse as a private support portal help the core, and I’m glad to see them.

(Tobias Eigen) #24

This is a shaping up really nicely. Nice work! I just read through this whole topic for the first time in a while. Once the functionality settles down, it would probably be a good idea to start a howto topic to explain how this all functions, in clear language. This will be really useful for us and having all this in discourse, together with our community discussions, will be valuable.

Question: did anyone ever create the functionality to convert a message into a topic?

(Tom Newsom) #25

Our Discourse is for the members of a real-world club which has a very flat hierarchy - we make decisions collectively. There are about 100 Members. (>50% of all registered users are in the Members group and >90% Active users are Members.)

When 3rd parties want to talk to us, they tend to email the trustees@ email account, and we say “well that’s interesting but you’ll have to put it to our members - here’s our forum” and they never post.

With this system, we could create a members@ email address, which 3rd parties could email and from there be involved in a <=100-participant email conversation, using Discourse as an intermediary. Am I getting it right?

(Ian Landsman) #26

Thanks Sam! I definitely see the need for support tool like features in some communities and it’s obviously something you guys are going to use yourselves. Mostly my concern is around how much that need to add features for people using Discourse for private support start to pull Discourse away from it’s core mission.

This update definitely makes more clear how you’re doing it via improvements in the core (though it still seems like a pretty heavy update!) vs appending on support tools. I’d just hate to see Discourse become less focused and the burden of maintaining a lot of support specific features. As a company that uses Discourse for the public support of our support app I know how much work a support tool is :wink:

I’ll trust it to your guys capable hands to keep things going as well as they have been!

(Erlend Sogge Heggen) #27

I’d say the main point of confusion here is caused by the words “support portal”. If we had announced this as three different feature announcements like Sam mentioned above - “Making groups first class entities”, “Improving private messaging UI”, “Improving incoming email handling” - I doubt there’d be much unrest to speak of.

Using this bundle of features for support purposes just happens to be our use case, “eating your own dog food” and all that. The biggest win here is still deeply community-centric.

(John ) #28

I also felt some concern when I saw this direction, it felt like a case of dog-fooding taken too far, to the point that the product is being used beyond the bounds of the expected use case for most instances.

I mean, I just want to feed my dog with the product, it doesn’t need to feed my whole family.

This is much more palatable. Specifically the private communication element. Improving whispers so that they don’t increment the post count, and send unintentional notifications to non-staff users would be a step change in usefulness for us. For example, we would use private message on topics to share things like:

  • links to our internal issue tracker
  • background information on a given forum users to inform other staff about about how to respond
  • communicating to other staff that a topic is one we should observe, but leave to the community
  • internal feedback on staff’s responses to ensure consistency and a high quality of response.

(David García-Navas) #29

Super excited about this feature, we find an interesting use case for this in order to manage communication with clients via auto-categorised messages instead of very long email threads, some of them with 0 interest for some coworkers :smiley:

Only one question: What will happen with emails with more than one recipients out of the community?

For example, client1 asks for support with an email to the specified address, but he copies another people: client2 and client3. So, could client2 and client3 see the topic in the Discourse instance? or only view the replies by email? I think if they view only the messages via email would be enough, but i was wondering about this.

(Régis Hanol) #30

If they don’t already have an account on Discourse, we’ll create a staged one based on their email address. They’ll then be able to see all the topics they’re in once they create an account using the same email address :wink:

(Anton) #31

So at this stage is there a way to turn the staged users ON and let people create support topics from unregistered emails?

(Sam Saffron) #33

Yes this works now and we use it in meta, @zogstrip we really need a #howto on this.

(Tobias Eigen) #34

I am quite keen on this as well. Look forward to seeing how this can work for us.

(Carlo Kok) #35

It’s working very well for us already. (http://talk.remobjects.com, support@ is hooked up to a private group)

(Michael Downey) #36

How does this work with SSO (e.g., external user management systems)?

(Carlo Kok) #37

@downey the staged users get hooked up properly as long as the SSO hands you back a matching email address.

(Philippe Rollin) #39

@sam @zogstrip was an #howto made for this? I can’t find any information about how to setup this feature

(Michael Downey) #40

… And if they don’t match?

(Carlo Kok) #41

Afaik thats currently an unsolved issue

(Robert) #42

Is this whisper in support-category already implemented? How can I turn a category into a support category?

(Sam Saffron) #43

There is no support category, what we settled on was using group messages as the “support-category”

@zogstrip is working on a howto which will clarify how everything works now and is configured.

Sending automatic replies to private messages for a specific user
(Robert) #44

Thank you. I think I will figure it out then.

Last question: Is whispering working for communication within non-staged users
in group messages started by staged accounts?