What strategy and constrains for efficient support



Over the last few weeks I’ve been setting up a few things to encourage (…or force …) users coming to the forum for support request to better describe their issues, such that the whole thing can be more efficient than constantly asking :

  • what’s your setup (hardware / internet connection)
  • what are you trying to achieve
  • what do you mean it doesn’t work
  • can you please show the log
  • are you able to connect through SSH

The following actions were taken, each time in a naive incremental manner as I found that the previous steps alone were apparently not enough :

  • improve the topic template for the support category to ask for more and better info + trying to give advices such as not just saying that “it doesn’t work” …
  • realizing that the topic template was not automatically encountered (it only appearred if you select the support category before starting to write) I enabled a discourse option to force users to first choose the category before starting to write
  • apparently people kept ignoring the topic template, so I added a more clear warning with caps at the very beginning that this should not be ignored …
  • and seeing that this still did not work (understand : people keep posting issues without using the template) I added this banner globally : Asking for support / Demander de l'aide

And still, users don’t seem to really want to follow the topic template. So it really sounds like a huge failure. There’s probably some discomfort about the template being too long and complex (and there’s the whole internationalization thing …), and yet there’s not even the slightest feedback about it either …

There is clearly a lot of information to tell and ask to the user, so probably the ‘topic template’ strategy is not the good one. So now I’m trying to think about other strategies, and what I have in mind would be to create a custom form for support requests using this discourse plugin, giving advices on how to describe the issue, and asking details. Basically same stuff as the current template, but should appear “more organized” and “less scary” than having to read a wall of text before starting to write.

Any thoughts on the whole thing is welcome, about the topic template thing, what alternative strategy you’d suggest, or support handling in general ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


I do not ask for support myself, so hard to say what would be the best.
However, this idea of having a form looks like a good idea.

Also, another thing would be simply to not answer the request when the template isn’t used. And ask to fill correctly the template to expect any answer.

I like the idea of the wizard, especially if you can have drop down lists when possible rather than free text.

I don’t know how much can be done in Discourse, but making this form easily available from the home page of yunohost.org, and from the forum would be useful - a big button “Open a support ticket” or something similar. And still not knowing what can be done, but if you could even create a support ticket from a button on your yunohost, gathering some of the form information automatically, that would reduce I think the effort to properly create a support ticket.

I’m being the devil’s advocate here because I try to use as much as I can the actual template, but here are my 2 cents anyway :slight_smile:

In a framatelier, I discussed the support issue and they have people dedicated to the support that are not “too technicals”. They sort issues and deals with time consuming questions and they forwarded “important stuff” to the right people. So “devs” can have more time to code and are less “tired/exhausted” by support. “Devs” don’t come to the support forum.

I can ask for more information next time I see some people from framasoft.

I find the page inspiring https://contribute.funkwhale.audio/ to “guide” people and not allow too much “freedom”

Do we have people willing to dedicate their time to support ? (Do we have people as crazy as that !?)

Also, I’ve encounter the same kind of support recently for a device I bought, a robot vacuum cleaner.
The guys were so much not technical that they never understood the situation, never gave the info to the devs. So it’s never going to be fixed…
I’m not saying that we shoudn’t think about it, but we should be careful about such problem.


I find the top banner too much long to attract people’s attention (myself I did not read it before reading the information in your post). Here is a proposal:

:uk:/:us: If you ask for help, then please do carefully read and use the topic template of the support category :+1: !
Please, don’t waste volunteers’ time by not following the guidelines, else the team reserves the right to close your topic without a warning.

:fr: Si vous souhaitez obtenir de l’aide, veuillez lire attentivement et utiliser le modèle de sujet de la catégorie support :+1:
Merci de ne pas gaspiller le temps des bénévoles en ne suivant pas les guides mis à votre disposition, autrement l’équipe se réserve le droit de fermer votre sujet sans préavis.

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From my investigation, the custom-wizard-plugin seems to be the only viable option here. I haven’t tried it out but if you can 1) have a field that allows to pick language and from there, specify which fields show up (eng/fr) 2) allow to make fields required so that the bug report cannot be skipped - then it would be a good step forward!