Problem: How to avoid being too helpful, Discuss

Actually, the situation is more one of:

Helpdesk
	Helper Foo
	Helper Bar

Ticket comes in.  Helpers respond via Email

	Helper Foo responds.
	Helper Bar responds, not yet seeing Helper Foo's response.

Requestor receives:

	Foo: Hi, whats the specifics of the problem?
	Bar: Looks like X, whats the specifics?

Just a little bit awkward for the Helpdesk. :wink:

So, what do people think should happen at this juncture to avoid the
situation?

What I’m wanting to happen is:

	Helper Foo responds.
	Helper Bar responds, not yet seeing Helper Foo's response.

	RT_System: Bar, Foo has already responded within the
	timeframe set for delaying responses.  Your response
	will not be sent until time X.  It can be revoked, or
	sent immediately, by using this URL.

I have a few ideas on how to do it, but I’d like to see comments on what
Would Be A Better Way before I implement something :wink:

                         Bruce Campbell                            RIPE
               Systems/Network Engineer                             NCC
             www.ripe.net - PGP562C8B1B                      Operations

So, what do people think should happen at this juncture to avoid the
situation?

Also, to clarify the situation, most of the Helpdesk’s work is done via
email, not the WebUI. We do have policies indicating that Foo and Bar
should take the ticket before responding and to check for conflicts,
however long, ingrained habit prohibits this (ref AutoTake).

                         Bruce Campbell                            RIPE
               Systems/Network Engineer                             NCC
             www.ripe.net - PGP562C8B1B                      Operations

Bruce Campbell wrote:

Also, to clarify the situation, most of the Helpdesk’s work is done
via email, not the WebUI. We do have policies indicating that Foo and
Bar should take the ticket before responding and to check for
conflicts, however long, ingrained habit prohibits this (ref
AutoTake).

Your original suggestion sounded OK to me, but your saying the above
prompted another idea:

1 Foo responds to a ticket.

2 AutoTake changes the owner of the ticket to Foo.

3 Bar responds to the ticket.

4 RT notices that the owner of the ticket has changed since Bar wrote
his response, so then does the quarantine cancel/send thing that you
previously suggested.

So, how to do step 4? It seems reasonable to assume that if Bar had
seen Foo’s response and Bar was intentionally adding her/his own message
then Bar would’ve replied to Bar’s message rather than the requestor’s.

Bar’s MUA will include an In-Reply-To: header with the message ID of the
mail to which Bar responded. From a brief look at how RT forms message
IDs, the transaction number is in there. So find that, then look to see
if there have been any transactions since then on that ticket which
change the owner[*0]. If so, then do your quarantine thing with URL for
cancelling or forcing the mail to go.

It seems ‘cleaner’ to check for a (possibly) conflicting event actually
to have occurred rather than to have some threshold guessing that it
might have done. (Of course, parsing message IDs in this way is far
from clean … you win some, you lose some.)

The trouble with a threshold, as I’m sure you’ve realized, is that
setting it too low means the problem is still there – personally I
don’t check for new mail while in the middle of composing a mail. If
somebody interrupts me right now, it could be half an hour between when
I started writing this and next see my inbox – and setting it too high
just gets annoying – often I read mail within seconds of its arrival,
so if I think somebody else’s mail needs clarification I might send out
a follow-up within a couple of minutes. I can’t think of what interval
would be appropriate.

[*0] Or change the status. Or possibly just any transactions at all.
or any transactions which do anything other than adding a comment. Or

Good luck, with whatever you decide upon.

Smylers
GBdirect

Actually, the situation is more one of:

Helpdesk
Helper Foo
Helper Bar

Ticket comes in. Helpers respond via Email

  Helper Foo responds.
  Helper Bar responds, not yet seeing Helper Foo's response.

Requestor receives:

  Foo: Hi, whats the specifics of the problem?
  Bar: Looks like X, whats the specifics?

Just a little bit awkward for the Helpdesk. :wink:

So, what do people think should happen at this juncture to avoid the
situation?

What I’m wanting to happen is:

  Helper Foo responds.
  Helper Bar responds, not yet seeing Helper Foo's response.

  RT_System: Bar, Foo has already responded within the
  timeframe set for delaying responses.  Your response
  will not be sent until time X.  It can be revoked, or
  sent immediately, by using this URL.

I have a few ideas on how to do it, but I’d like to see comments on what
Would Be A Better Way before I implement something :wink:

We use pine and have a handful of scripts that you can ‘pipe’ the email
through to take ownership etc. The script barfs if someelse already
has ownership. Provided people have the discipline to always take ownership
and all helper use a mail client capable of do this (gripe !) it works a
treat.

It has reduced these clashes by 95+ %.

Steve

Steve Harris
Senior Computer Officer
School Of Computing, The University Of Leeds

Also, to clarify the situation, most of the Helpdesk’s work is done
via email, not the WebUI. We do have policies indicating that Foo and
Bar should take the ticket before responding and to check for
conflicts, however long, ingrained habit prohibits this (ref
AutoTake).

Your original suggestion sounded OK to me, but your saying the above
prompted another idea:

1 Foo responds to a ticket.

2 AutoTake changes the owner of the ticket to Foo.

3 Bar responds to the ticket.

4 RT notices that the owner of the ticket has changed since Bar wrote
his response, so then does the quarantine cancel/send thing that you
previously suggested.

step 4 could be greatly simplified by saying either only allowing the
ticket owner and the requester to correspond on the ticket; or only
allowing them to correspond without the quarantine period.

seph

seph wrote:

4 RT notices that the owner of the ticket has changed since Bar wrote
his response, so then does the quarantine cancel/send thing that you
previously suggested.

step 4 could be greatly simplified by saying either only allowing the
ticket owner and the requester to correspond on the ticket; or only
allowing them to correspond without the quarantine period.

It still needs logic to allow anyone to reply if the ticket has no
owner, otherwise you need to “take” the ticket from the web UI first,
which is a pain if you predominantly correspond via email.

I agree. that was implicite in step 2

  1. Foo responds to a ticket.
  2. AutoTake changes the owner of the ticket to Foo.

Phil Homewood pdh@snapgear.com writes:

It still needs logic to allow anyone to reply if the ticket has no
owner, otherwise you need to “take” the ticket from the web UI first,which
is a pain if you predominantly correspond via email.

you could use the enhanced mail gate which is in contrib
it allow you to use commands via e mail

computers are not intelligent. they only think they are

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