The Help Desk - A Guide for the Perplexed

Sat 6 Jan, 2007 08:49 am
So, you say you've heard of the Help Desk, but it's confusing or unfindable or seems like too much trouble.


Not to worry. I'm here to help you.
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Sat 6 Jan, 2007 08:54 am
Where the heck is the Help Desk
Scroll down. Yeah, down. Now down more. Further, further. Consider it to be like going to the Antarctica part of every page on A2K. Look on the right.
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Sat 6 Jan, 2007 09:02 am
You should see this (note the cursor arrow):


That word it's pointing to is Help.

Click it and you'll get to the next screen.
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Sat 6 Jan, 2007 09:08 am
Well, lookie what we have here.


Oh, and click where I'm pointing (the part where it says Submit a Ticket).
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Sat 6 Jan, 2007 09:13 am
Here's the next screen.


Note (and it may be tough to see this on the image, even when enlarged), there are several categories of ticket to submit (the list is on the left). In the next post, I'll explain the categories.
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Sat 6 Jan, 2007 09:21 am
This is a piece of the last screen.


Here's an explanation of what goes where.

  • General - as you'd expect, select this if your inquiry doesn't fit anywhere else
  • Toolbar - for questions about the toolbar
  • Advertising - for questions about advertising other than on the Portal
  • Account & Log In Problems - to help people with passwords, name changes or log in issues
  • Portal - for help with the Portal (not the same as advertising)
  • Contact Webmaster - say hi to Craven or me (I'm not the Webmaster, but I will pass messages along) and ask about the site from that standpoint. We may end up directing you to Forum Help or Announcements.
  • Abuse - a link to this section is provided if a member is suspended. But unsuspended members can submit tickets to this section as well. However, you are more likely to get faster service if you submit a moderation question to the Moderators section, as tickets sent to this part of the Help Desk can only be seen by the Administrative Team.
  • Moderators - for moderation issues. All Moderators can see this section and help out.
  • Featured Topics - for issues where you'd like to suggest a topic be featured or defeatured, or if you see a topic in the wrong place and are requesting that it be moved. Also, if you want a topic cross-posted (we call it leaving a "shadow topic"). We'll take those on a case by case basis as we do not do them very often.

One issue with this use of the Help Desk is you'll need to know the link of what you're talking about, if it's something about the forums. Don't know the link? There's another method of passing a link straight to the Help Desk and I'll get to it soon.
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Sat 6 Jan, 2007 09:24 am
After you've clicked the "Next" button on the last screen (here, I chose Featured Topics as a for-instance), you'll get to this screen.


Fill in the form and Click "Submit". That's it? Yeah, that's it. Don't bother with the login on the right side, that's just in case you're not currently logged into Able2know.
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Sat 6 Jan, 2007 09:30 am
Oh, by the way, we answer all of the tickets we get (we might merge similar ones). So, if you didn't get a response from us, it's because of one of these reasons:
  • You gave us an incorrect/nonexistent email
  • Your email program is binning our response (if so, add *@able2know.com to your whitelist. If you don't know how to do this, ask how in the Computers forum and be sure to indicate the type of mail system and program you are using, e. g. Hotmail online, or the Outlook program with your account at your Internet Service Provider, or whatever, as the instructions will vary)
  • We didn't get to your response yet (we do not have a guaranteed turnaround time as the Help Desk is staffed by volunteers. I can tell you, though, that we attempt to get out a response within a week and often it's a lot earlier. A moderation issue might involve some Moderator discussion so that can add to the time.).
  • The world has been taken over by apes. And the apes do not have passwords into the Help Desk
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Sat 6 Jan, 2007 09:34 am
Responses to your ticket are received via email (in case that's not clear from my last post). And, of course you can respond directly back by just replying using your email program.
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Sat 6 Jan, 2007 09:42 am
Remember when I said you could add a link? Here's how.

For every post, you'll see http://www.able2know.com/forums/templates/Able2Know/images/icon_report.gif.


Now, that image shows someone not signed in.

When you're signed in, of course, you also have buttons for http://www.able2know.com/forums/templates/Able2Know/images/lang_english/icon_quote.gif, http://www.able2know.com/forums/templates/Able2Know/images/lang_english/icon_edit.gif and http://www.able2know.com/forums/templates/Able2Know/images/lang_english/icon_delete.gif (delete the post; as you know, this button disappears after a while), but I'm sure you get the idea.

Just click http://www.able2know.com/forums/templates/Able2Know/images/icon_report.gif.
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Sat 6 Jan, 2007 09:48 am
A small screen will pop up. If it doesn't, your pop up blocker is engaged (just click on the control key while hitting http://www.able2know.com/forums/templates/Able2Know/images/icon_report.gif and it should pop up.

Here's the screen:


  1. Your screen name is included (this is hard-coded).
  2. There is a comments section. You don't need to paste in the post as this type of reporting does that for us automatically.
  3. Below that is a drop-down menu that says "Please select"
  4. Pull on the drop-down menu and you get these choices:
    • SPAM - Promotional Post
    • Attack on a Member
    • Move/Feature/Defeature
    • Other
    Choose one.
  5. There is a place to click that says, "I am reporting the above policy violation(s) or move/feature request to the moderators." I don't believe this has to be clicked. It does not seem to matter either way.
  6. Click "Send the report"
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Sat 6 Jan, 2007 10:03 am
What happens next?

We read the report and decide what to do.
  • Feature, defeature and move requests are easy for us and require no discussion.
  • Spam reports almost always require no or nearly no discussion by us.
  • Questions about advertising or the toolbar go to the Webmaster and will be answered on his schedule.
  • Questions about the Portal go to either the Webmaster or the Portal Manager and will be answered as their schedules permit.
  • Logins have to be handled by an Administrator. This is usually me as I do the password resets and name changes. Hence, they are handled as my schedule permits.
  • Nonspecific general questions can result in a response if we are unsure what you meant, and then we will dialogue back and forth until we can give you an answer to your inquiry or point you to where on the site you can get that answer. If it is a nonprivate question about how to use the site, we will nearly always point you to Forum Help so that your question and its answers can be read by all so that all may benefit.
  • Reports to the Moderators can take longer as we may need to investigate and discuss the matter amongst ourselves. You will generally not be told what we have done, but it's usually obvious on the forums (e. g. a topic may be locked, trimmed or pulled, that sort of thing).
  • Reports to Abuse can only be handled by Administrators and so that is dependent upon our schedules. These reports often require that we investigate and discuss it amongst ourselves. These things can take some time but we do make an effort to answer as quickly as we can. As with all of the other aspects of moderation, we have offline existences and many other posts to check. We do our best to minimize delays, but sometimes they are unavoidable.
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Sat 6 Jan, 2007 10:48 am
How can you make the whole Help Desk experience better?

  • If you report the first way (by clicking Help at the bottom of your screen), please mention your user name or at least the address you used to sign up for Able2know as otherwise we have to look it up. That can cause a slight delay. This is not the case if you contact us using http://www.able2know.com/forums/templates/Able2Know/images/icon_report.gif
  • Please don't tell us your password. We don't want to know it. If you need a resetted password, we will choose one for you, and then discard our record of the conversation.
  • We love spam reports, but you only need to send in a spam report once. And, don't worry if someone has already reported spam. If they have or they haven't, so what? And, bottom line, the more reports we see re a particular post, the faster we will check it out.
  • If you're reporting a particularly long post, and are only pointing out a part of it, please tell us what portion you are reporting (e. g. fourth paragraph or the words in blue or whatever). That's a big help.
  • If it's a name change, give us a list of three choices, in order of preference. This is in case the name is already taken. A name cannot have anything but letters, numbers, single spaces or single hyphens in it. Also, don't ask for more than one name change. This is an act that can only be done by an Admin, and Admins also have to work with suspended members, so our priority is there. Thank you for understanding our desire to limit these requests.
  • If you can't get into the site, you'll only get a suspension notification if you've been suspended. That is, if you are suspended and try to sign in, you'll be told of your status. Hence, if you can't get in and don't get a suspension notification, it's probably a password issue.
  • We will never tell anyone if you've reported anything, unless you give us permission (which we rarely ask for). Your reports are confidential among the Moderating or Administrative Teams (depends on the nature of the ticket). But we won't talk about your ticket(s) on the forums.
  • If the site is down, so is the Help Desk.
  • Asking Moderators -- or people who you think are Moderators -- for help directly (usually through PM, but I've also seen it via email), rather than going to the Help Desk, will result in us telling you to, you guessed it, contact the Help Desk. Why? Because we can spread the work around a lot better that way. Because you would not be beholden to only one person's schedule. Because we have tools on the Help Desk that show us the aging of a ticket and a calendar to help us keep track of things. The PM System does not have that. Because the matter may have to be discussed among us anyway. If it's truly and completely and utterly private, be upfront about that. We are not without understanding about such things, of course. But we want to give you the best and fastest service possible, and the Help Desk is the best way we know of how to do that.

Oh yeah, if the planet's been overtaken by apes, it'll take longer for us to respond. Thanks for your patience.

And, thank you all for using the Help Desk. Our experience has been that it's about the fastest, best organized and easiest way for us to work on issues with A2K. The Help Desk is for you.
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Mon 14 Jan, 2008 05:46 am
One more thing about getting help.

Passwords and access issues have to go through the Help Desk, and they have to come from the person affected, not a middleman!

What does this mean?

It means that using the Forum Help forum is a waste of time. It means that having a friend send in a ticket is another waste of time.

What if you absolutely, positively, cannot get into A2K in order to even get to the Help Desk?

Not to worry. Just email us. What's our email address? Well, I'm not going to lay it out here because the Help Desk is spammed constantly (in fact, when people lay out the address elsewhere, we pull that information). However, it's easy to figure out. The end part is @able2know.com. The beginning part is obvious. Obvious, as in, if you go to any typical site other than A2K, the beginning part is usually this five-letter word. Too obscure for you? Ask a friend.

Or, send in a ticket for some other purpose and check out the email we use to send you a response. We use different emails depending on the particular Help Desk department but if you're in the wrong department, we'll transfer it to the right one.

What if you really, really want someone else to send in the email?

Please don't do that. Why? Because it adds confusion to the process. It makes the process take a lot longer (due to the middleman having to talk to you, and to us, and that's messy) and it compromises your security. What if we have to change your password? No matter how wonderful and trustworthy your middleman is, we are not going to work on a password change through a third party.

If you cannot use your computer to send us a ticket, then you don't need us. You need someone to fix your PC. Smile

A lot of access issues are transient and a lot are completely outside of anything A2K is doing. If you have trouble getting in, ask your friends if they can get in, in order to make sure it's not an outage (which would affect everyone). If it's not an outage, consider what you may have done with your computer (or may have been done to it) that could have changed things. As in, is there a new ISP? A new antivirus program? A new browser? Are the cookies corrupted (if so, delete the A2K cookies and then try again)?

If all of these things don't fix the problem, send us a ticket and we'll do our best to help you, and to do so as quickly as possible. But we need for you to meet us halfway. Thank you.
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