Hi Angus! Thanks for asking - I’d also be interested in knowing who else is using it and if there is wider demand for improving it.
My organization uses this plugin very actively and depends on it. The primary use case is starting ticket PMs for various helpdesk related purposes. It is super handy to be able to quickly give tickets priority, status and reason tags and add them to a helpdesk team group. If follow-up is required, tickets can also quickly be assigned to someone. As tickets are worked on or age out, we change the status, unassign them, and archive them in the group inbox. We’ve turned on weekly email notifications about assigned tickets, and regularly check in with each other to make sure we don’t drop the ball. To give more insight, I shared our procedure below.
I also use tickets on my personal forum in combination with kanban to create and work on a backlog of personal projects. Geeky, I know, but it has been super helpful in helping me move forward on many different priorities without having to set up another system and allowing me to spend more time in discourse! As I move along, I am able to leave notes for my future self, update tags, and unassign when done. I also am able to loop in family members by mentioning them and getting their input quickly by email, though I have not been pushing them to log in.
I do not use the tickets dashboard on my personal site and discourage my work colleagues from looking at it because the filters and pagination do not work well - in fact, a setting to disable it would be welcome. I think the OP describes the roadmap quite nicely to create a tickets dashboard that would make this plugin highly valuable for many, not just my own organization - and I’d like to see it happen!
That said… it was interesting to lose access to the ticket tags pulldown for a few weeks - my team did not seem to miss it that much. Given that we do not have a well functioning tickets dashboard now, the ticket system is not as useful as envisioned for prioritizing and handling tickets, and for helping each other as a team. It’s quite possible that we could get by without the tickets plugin altogether and just rely on core discourse features (e.g. canned replies, reminders, whispers, solved, assigned). The ticket tags for priority, status and reason might also be streamlined - given that we do not have a tickets dashboard that lets us use them properly, it’s overkill to have so many options.
Tickets Procedure at my organization
No balls are dropped when handling correspondence with a ticket system, because each unresolved ticket is assigned to someone, and is given priority and status. All moderators can create tickets, but only admins can see personal messages. The helpdesk team is tasked with monitoring tickets and ensuring follow-up occurs with appropriate speed, so include @helpdeskteam in any tickets that need follow-up.
Procedures for oft repeated tasks include tickets, especially procedures with many steps over a period of time such as core membership, webinar planning, and inviting people to join the network.
Using the ticket system
As a moderator, you can make any topic or message on the forum into a ticket by editing the title and then selecting the big blue
TICKET button. Tickets can be given priority, status, reason and assignee. By default, the @helpdeskteam group is included in all ticket messages so you can work together with the helpdesk team. You can directly add more users and groups here as well.
Once a ticket exists, its status and priority can be updated, and it can be reassigned or unassigned when it is resolved and there’s nothing left to be done.
Make strategic use of discourse features as you create and follow up on tickets:
Title - indicate what ticket is about in as much detail as possible
Canned replies - insert a prepared message and then personalize it
Tags - further categorize what ticket is about (e.g. country or theme)
Reminders - remind yourself to follow up (only visible to you)
Whispers - discuss privately with colleagues to ask for advice and update them
Solved - choose a reply that contains/summarizes the solution for the ticket (do not select whispers as only moderators can see them!)
Follow up on tickets assigned to YOU
Please follow up on tickets assigned to you on a timely basis. Once you have completed a ticket and there is nothing remaining for you to do, go ahead and unassign it.
You will be notified by email when a ticket is assigned to you by another moderator, and receive monthly reminders of pending assignments. Look for the link to your assigned tickets on your profile menu - see screenshot.
Tickets in the @helpdeskteam inbox
We mostly use tickets to ensure message followup directly with members. You can see all of them in the @helpdeskteam group inbox. Typically we leave messages that need handling in the inbox, and archive them when they do not need handling or when they are resolved. That way the inbox remains a good place to look for messages requiring replies.
- archived messages return to the inbox when someone replies
- you can unassign and reassign messages anytime as needed
- messages must include @helpdeskteam in order to be visible to everyone on the team
Tickets in the forum categories
We also use tickets to ensure follow up on topics in the forum. This includes topics we create regularly such as #memberspotlight #featuredresource #introductions etc. Also flagged topics in the review queue can be assigned for followup.
Improve the ticket system
The ticket system status, priority and reason options can be gardened and improved to streamline how we prioritize tickets and move them through to resolution.
The tickets currently in the system have a mix of status, priority and reasons because of our evolving system. As we work through the backlog of existing tickets and create new ones, we can update them.
@angus has created the ticket system plugin, which he can extend and improve for us based on our feedback. So feel free to give feedback below on new ideas for features or improvements. See Tickets Plugin 🎟 on meta for the latest info.
List of Ticket reasons
Reasons fall into the main categories below. If a specific reason does not exist within that category, just use the category itself as the reason. If you think a new reason should be added, reach out to the helpdesk admin.