help desk vs bug tracker

Boudewijn Rempt boud at
Mon Oct 29 14:31:35 GMT 2018


Right now, we're getting lots of user support questions in bugzilla, and at 
the Krita sprint we were discussing whether it wouldn't be better to have a 
kind of in-between system. Either something that works like a proper helpdesk, 
or something like askbot, or both. But we just cannot handle the need for user 
support with our existing tools anymore.

Askbot would be a replacement for user support questions in the forums, 
something the forum isn't really suited for since it makes it extremely hard 
find questions that were already asked.
questions/ shows how that would work. Problem is, we cannot have a single ask 
site for all of KDE, there would have to be specialed sites like, which might be a whole lot of work to maintain. 

As for a helpdesk system vs bugzilla: we get too many user support questions 
in bugzilla, like or  https://

Making bugzilla user-friendly is a laudable effort, but it still leads to 
reports that are useless for developers: and answering questions on bugzilla 
is a lot of effort because there's no real flow of question, asking for info, 
giving an answer. There are no canned repsonses, and no "smart" system that 
would suggest the canned response for frequently asked questions, or an easy 
way to link people to the documentation.

We discussed mitigrating strategies for bugzilla, like including a reporting 
wizard in the application itself, but the problem remains: bugzilla is not 
helpdesk software, but a bug tracker. It's a developmen tool, not a user 
support tool.

A good helpdesk system would have:

* no reporter login
* scriptable "wizards" to get the basic info
* canned responses
* ideally, machine learning to suggest the right canned response for faqs
* a knowledge base where reporters can search (replaces FAQ pages)
* a q/a site where users can help other uses (included or separately: askbot, or stackexchange)
* easy conversion from a helpdesk ticket to a bug report
* easy conversion from a helpdesk ticket to a kb entry

We looked at vailable open source solutions:


All of them are open-core opensource solutions :-(. I wonder whether we've 
missed any options. I'm also wondering whether other KDE projects have the 
seem need as we have for Krita, of separating support questions from bug 
reports. If that isn't a big issue for other projects, maybe we should start 
with an instance and see what happens then.

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