User support, decision on which system to use

Teleconference with Torsten, Wim, Fokke and Maarten.


  • ESGF Askbot is running again and maintained by Stephen Pascoe:
  • Discussion on confidentially (e.g. in case of insurance company's etc...): Is it needed or not? Decided was that at his moment it is not needed.
  • We have reviewed the following possible options:
Askbot PhpBB Best Practical RT at DKRZ JIRA xGUS
Web Forum Issue Tracking System
Users side
Web based, searchable for users + + - + +
For searching login is not required + + - + -
OpenID login + + - - -
Notification on answer provided to a question + + + + +
Admin side
Users need to be logged in to be able to ask questions + + questions by email + +
Assign questions to staff people - automatically by moderator
Tracking - +
Users can only use existing keywords - + + + +
Statistics of staff response time - ? + ? ?
Refer to existing answers + + + + +
Remarks running in ESGF free + open source running in IS-ENES developed and run by KIT, manual
  • First decision is on Web Forum or Issue tracking system: Decided was that a Web Forum is suited for climate4impact.
  • Askbot is the best fit to our needs:
    • Users can use the same OpenID login
    • For searching login is not required
    • Notification on answer provided to a question
    • Users and admins can refer to existing answers
    • Users need to be logged in to be able to ask questions
    • It is already running and maintained in IS-ENES2 for ESGF
  • Requirements Askbot does not fulfill:
    • Assign questions to staff people; can be covered by 1st line support sending an email to 2nd line support
    • Tracking: it is not a tracking system, but we do not need a tracking system.
    • Users can use both, existing keywords ("tags" in Askbot language) and new ones but admins can create trees of keywords, which may serve as a recommendation
    • Statistics of staff response time: timestamp of post and timestamp of answer are listed at the question (however, last edit of question presumably results in new time)
  • We discussed briefly if we would need our own Askbot instance or that we could integrate with ESGF Askbot instance: Decided was to use a new instance.

Next steps

  • DKRZ will install Askbot for climate4impact
  • A separate new instance for climate4impact will be realized, but referring to ESGF Askbot is possible.
  • Workflow: Look into integrate the site search interface and user support system (KNMI)
  • Propose a list for 1st and 2nd level support people (KNMI)
  • Generate questions for the user support system for testing and demonstrating purposes, based on FAQ (WU, KNMI, SMHI, CERFACS)

Goal: Working (prototype) version of the user support system: 11 June 2014 (to show at GA)

Later: organize a test group for this (WU), discuss at next telco.

Telco for discussion on a user support system selection: Monday May 19th, 10:30h.