11. User Support

Support for the METplus components is provided through the METplus GitHub Discussions Forum. Discussions is a collaborative communication forum, where the METplus community can ask and answer questions, gather feedback, and share tips and tricks. Discussions are categorized to help community members find related discussions and begin conversations in the right place.

11.1. Support Responsibilities

Five staff members take turns monitoring Discussions each day of the week.

Each day, all support members should follow up on existing Discussions in which they are assigned (i.e. tagged).

The responsibilities for each daily assignee are described below.

11.1.1. Review the Tips/Tricks Page

Review the Tips/Tricks page.

The Tips/Tricks page is for discussion only and does not have the ability to have an answer assigned to it. Check for any new dicussions that have been added by users that are actually questions. If there are, move the discussion to a more appropriate category so that it can be found when filtering for unanswered discussions. Please note that if the discussions have been filtered by “Unanswered” and the Tips/Tricks category is selected, no results will be found because these discussions are not answerable.

If a new tip or trick has been added, please review the addition. Consider adding any comments to add detail or clarify, and thank the user for their contribution.

11.1.2. Review the Unanswered Discussions

Review the unanswered discussions.

  • For new discussions that have been posted on the current day (i.e. since last midnight):

    • If the issue is time sensitive (i.e. related to an upcoming training series session) or from a user with priority support, take action. See Actions for Handling New Discussions.

    • Otherwise, leave the discussion unanswered until the next day to allow the user community time to respond.

  • For new discussions that have 0 responses and were posted the previous day:

  • Remaining unanswered discussions:

    • Review the latest on discussion history to see if any additional action is required.

      • If an obvious answer exists, consider marking it as the answer and locking the discussion to prevent future posts. See How to Lock a Discussion.

      • If the user has not responded in 7 or more days, consider following up to see if the user’s issue is resolved or if they need more assistance.

      • If unsure how to proceed, post in the User Support Slack channel of dtc-metplus.slack.com tagging the person who has been assisting the user.

11.1.3. Review Answered Discussions that are Unlocked

Review anwered discussions that are unlocked.

If there is any recent activity on an answered question that indicates the questioner is satisified with the response, click on the button to lock the discussion to prevent future activity. See How to Lock a Discussion.

11.1.4. Actions for Handling New Discussions

  • Check to see if the discussion should be reassigned from its current category to some other category.

  • Review the labels and pick at least one of the blue ones (“component:” and/or repository-specific - e.g. “MET:”, “METplus:”, etc.) to further categorize it.

  • Ensure the discussion is answered:

    • If you can answer it yourself, do so.

    • If you can answer it with help from someone, post to the User Support Slack channel of dtc-metplus.slack.com, asking for advice.

    • If it would be better to have someone else answer, coordinate in the User Support Slack channel of dtc-metplus.slack.com or comment on the discussion with something like:

      @<fill in username> would be the best person to address your question and should respond within a couple of days.

      If it is obvious that test data will be needed, please ask the user to send that data, pointing them to the How to Send Us Data discussions post and asking them to let you know once they have uploaded it.

11.1.5. How to Lock a Discussion

If an obvious answer exists and it is apparent the questioner is satisified with the response, consider posting something like the following before locking the discussion:

At this point I’m going to LOCK this conversation to prevent future posts. Our team has decided that once discussions have been answered, and the answer has been confirmed, we’ll lock them. We want to encourage users to ask new questions in new discussions rather than posting to old ones. Hopefully that’ll make the questions/answers easier for other users to follow. So if/when more issues/questions arise, please feel free to start a new discussion.

If there is no answer selected and no indication that the questioner is satisified with the response, follow up, requesting that the user mark the best answer so we can lock the discussion. The following text may need to be modified to match a specific situation, but this is a good starting point as an example:

I’d like to mark this discussion as being answered and “lock it” to prevent future posts. That’s how we encourage users to create new discussions for new questions. But I wanted to give you an opportunity to comment on it before doing so. Please feel free to select one of the responses as being the best answer to your original question. That’ll help future users with similar questions find answers.

If following up on discussions where the user hasn’t responded back in a while, consider posting something like the following before locking the discussion, filling in the MONTH and DAY below:

I wanted to check in with you about the initial discussion you submitted. We were able to provide some guidance for you on <MONTH DAY>, but haven’t heard back if the suggested actions helped. If it did, or if you found a different way of accomplishing your goal, we’d appreciate hearing from you. If you have additional questions on this, we can try to find a solution; otherwise we’ll choose an answer and lock this discussion due to inactivity.

GitHub users with sufficient permissions in the METplus repository should see a “Lock conversation” link on the right side navigation of each Discussions page.