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Re: helpdesk@debian.org

Hi Frank, 

First off: Thanks for thinking this through and answering.

On Tue, Oct 03, 2006 at 09:33:52AM +0200, Frank K?ster wrote:
> Maarten Verwijs <maarten@projectie.com> wrote:
> > Since this is an ongoing problem, how about the following:
> > helpdesk@debian.org
> We already have the users lists.

The users-lists do provide a lot of the functions of a helpdesk.
They also miss a few things a good helpdesk has: 

* Prioritization: Important issues will get addressed first. Unimportant
  issues will still get addressed, only later.
* Commitment to report bugs after prying the end user for all the
  information he has available.
* Status within the official Debian hierarchy (status is a reward.
  Rewards generate motivation). 
* A person who manages them. Who can take their status away when emails
  become offensive.
* A single point of entry for questions. Ubuntu (and others) have
	official forums. We'll have an official mailbox.

(Accountability, user-friendlyness-guarantee, acknowledgement within the
community, ... )

> > What could be possible if Debian had an official Helpdesk Department?
> > * End-Users could ask *any* question and actually get a nice answer. 
> > * End-Users can report bugs, but these are first checked by helpdeskers,
> >   before they are commited.
> > * Bugreports would end up more specific and detailed
> > * Developers would only have to communicate with Knowledgeable Helpdesk
> >   Users.
> Also developers are only users of packages if they have no idea of the
> internals.  

I don't see the problem in this. Questions the helpdesk can't answer,
they'll pass onto the developer. Questions the developer can't answer,
they'll pass onto upstream. If they do not have the time, they could ask
the Helpdesk to do this for them. 

Route Of An Issue:
End-User -> Helpdesk -> Developer ->   Upstream
  |            |          |  \                /
  \-<------Feedback---<---/    -<-Feedback-<-

And if we get flamed upstream for asking a silly question, well, we
could suggest they install an official helpdesk to filter those
questions out. ;-)

> > What might a good helpdesk need?
> > * Good software (Request Tracker anyone?)
> So we get a BTS and a first-level-Request Tracker?

Maybe? Maybe BTS could be extended to do the things Request Tracker
can? There are bound to be more possibilities. Anyone?

> > Tis just an idea, and it may have it's do's and don't's, so please:
> > what are the general thoughts on this?
> I guess what we should do is rather improve the users' lists.

Possible improvements: 
* Moderation on the lists
* Give moderators a status within debian as an insentive.
* Management: if someone is offensive (destructive), take away
  moderation status. 

Kind regards, 


Maarten Verwijs <maarten@projectie.com>

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