Handling support requests appropriately

Our forum was created with a few specific categories for discussion in mind, but we inevitably get users who create topics with support-related questions. These are questions that don’t fit any of our categories and would require opening a ticket with our Support team, outside of the forum.

My question - Have you guys encountered similar issues on your forum? How do you typically handle it? We want to ensure we’re handling these cases appropriately while 1. Making it clear that the forum is not meant for these types of questions, 2. Directing users to the appropriate Support team, 3. Not angering the users in the process.

Our current solution is to explain to the user that their question would be better suited for our Support team, and either direct them to that team or open up a Support ticket for them. It would also be nice if we could “mark” the user’s post as “support ticket opened” - very similar to the Solutions plugin that marks a post as resolved. Any idea as to whether such functionality (or a rough equivalent) exists, either in plugin form or as a native Discourse feature?

Anyway, it’d be good to get some general feedback around situations like this one, since we’re still learning as our forum and its user base grows.


If this happens ofen enough, maybe a support category or tag would be helpful, and someone could watch that tag and use that to notify your support team?

Because at the end of the day, your community is a channel, and leveraging it might help in more ways than you know.

Or maybe I should ask …

… why is the forum not meant for these type of questions?


Because the forum was created for a specific purpose, and support for these particular product questions is out of scope in relation to that purpose. Our company has an array of products and services, and this forum is meant for a particular segment of those. It’s difficult to explain without detailing what we do, but essentially the forum is for the discussion of building/creating/extensibility, and not at all for support of these other products that we’re getting questions on.

Turning it into something support oriented would require heavy investment from our Support team, given their current workflow and usage of other tools to handle cases. Tickets can live for months on end due to complexity and other issues, and that doesn’t necessarily fit as well within the quicker pace that the forum provides.


Why have one site for support and then another as a forum?

You could try to make a support category, add the solved plugin, tags and add a dedicated support group where users can send their info they don’t want shared publicly. This can be done… Isn’t the whole point of a forum to bring communities together so you’re basically sending them away when it can be dealt with in one place. See the #support category here for inspiration. Additionally, Discourse customers get support via private message. Imagine if you asked Discourse a question and they sent you to a freshdesk support ticket site. It’s not a ‘welcoming’ approach to users as they are being turned away.

It’s no different to another site?

Just my thoughts.


I answered this above. Additionally, we have thousands of customers, and support cases would overwhelm this forum and drown any of the other types of discussions we have - the discussions that are intended to occur within this community and the categories/themes we’ve created.

Overall, our customer numbers combined with the types of products we have, the tools required for support, and the current support team configuration wouldn’t make it a feasible switch in the near future.


I think that all you can to is to reply to the message and say “please file a ticket” and close the topic (maybe delete it after a period?). You could also tag those as “support-ticket-required” or something like that.

I suspect the problem is that probably none of these users uses the forum except to ask for support, so it’ll be impossible to educate them.

You could try a pinned topic, but no one will read that either.


We use a separate category for support questions - aptly named “Meta”. :wink:
Users create a topic with any question/problem they have and this is where the mods/admin take care of them. Everyone can see this.

We also have a category called “Forum Workings” which is visible to everyone. It details different aspects of Discourse and yes, people do ask and get questions answered there. We also use it to announce any new features graciously given to us by Discourse. :smiley:

Thanks for the honesty. I do agree that these would probably not be our typical forum users, so it’s hard to provide a forum-based resolution.

That’s interesting, never thought about having a category dedicated to Discourse stuff. We do have a couple topics floating around for things like badges and announcements, so it could be good to consider something along these lines.


I get this a lot as a retail site. There’s no way to stop them. I think you apologize that they’re having an issue and refer to them to the proper channel.

You could close the topic so it will drop off the grid. Many of our customers will search for a place to complain and post in dead topics.

There might be a way to get a message to pop up in the preview pane if they use certain words, similar to the one that shows up if you’re repeating something that’s already been posted in a thread. Not sure on that but seems like it could be done.

For my particular case, while I’m not CS, I do have access to their tools and am notified when there are issues. Often times, these posts are the first indication we get that there’s an issue with a sale. I forward these on the the proper teams. For some quick/minor issues, I help them if I can.


Canned replies, and maybe make those posts private messages or auto-delete (you could have an otherwise hidden category that mods can move them into, which can be configured to auto-delete posts there).


One tool to make things easier on your forum support staff would be the “Canned Replies” Plugin. This plugin you can create message template that your forum staff can use to quickly post about where to get support with links to the appropriate support site.

Without having to manually type things out each time.