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This forum software is NOT a match for a support forum

Joel mentioned this forum software doesn't have e-mail notification.  Then in a thread here he mentioned a possible use for this forum in FogBUGZ as a support forum.

He mention a truely great idea which is a one click button for moderators to add an issue to the FogBUGZ DB.  That part is great.  Unfortunetly I'm not sure the this forum really fits what's needed for a support forum or even beta test forum

While no notification may work fine for this casual discussion board it's a BAD idea for support forums.  As a customer trying to get work done I don't have time to go check the forum daily to see if someone has replied to my question.

I would not do business with a company that required me to manually go to their forum to see if someone had answered my support questions.  Using a support forum is something I do often.  Examples. Maya (, 3D Studio Max (, Virtools (  In those cases I NEED EMAIL NOTIFICATION.

The Social Interface Engineering of a support board does not match that of an informal discussion board.

To reiterate, the idea of connecting a support board into FogBUGZ is an AWESOME IDEA.  The idea of a **SUPPORT** board with no EMAIL NOTIFICATION is a very Very VERY BAD idea.  We're talking about support, not discussion.  The social engineering of promoting good support for you product is not the same as promoting discussion.
Gregg Tavares Send private email
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
I think this has been mentioned before.

You know, a bug wouldn't really be closed until you'd notified the customer who brough it up. Send private email
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
*brought Send private email
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
Which raises the question, when is a problem reporting system not a support forum?

True, it might reduce the amount of tickets raised that are just reiterations or better handled with reading an FAQ (and if you run a system where its the originator that closes issues and not the responder that might reduce a lot of traffic) but then that argues for an FAQ and search before add issue automation.

Otherwise, if it relates to the problem report then all the comments, back biting, evangelising and what have you belongs close to the original issue and so my favourite problem management systems look like blogs with notification as well as all of the properties you want associated with an issue.
Simon Lucy Send private email
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
Nobody had problems with this being a support forum *before* he mentioned the FogBugz thing.

How is this any different from the way it used to be? All it does is make creating a bug a few clicks less than before. The user never needs to know a thread is tied to a bug. Send private email
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
> The user never needs to know a thread is tied to a bug

No, but he does need to know that there has been a response to his thread, which I think was the OP's point. Yes, he can sit there and press Refresh every few minutes, but it is not very productive and not terribly friendly.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004
And as I pointed out a bug wouldn't be closed until the user got a response.

Do you think the user should get ALL the responses to the tread, including the ones from other users that may be no help at all? Send private email
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
++The idea of a **SUPPORT** board with no EMAIL NOTIFICATION is a very Very VERY BAD idea.

I'm guessing that if you have a question that needs an immediate response, you could email support staff directly...

I doubt that they ignored this feature by accident as it would be assininely easy to implement...
Kenny Send private email
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
Many good points here.

In my view good customer support includes a variety of options. Our customers get support from us by calling our toll free number, or by sending an email, or filling out a web form support request, or by posting something to the forum.

The forum gives us, as a company, some benefits:

1) other people with the same question might search the forum before they ask their question, and find the answer, saving us from getting involved
2) other customers hanging out on the forum might leap in with an answer before one of our team has a chance to answer, saving us from getting involved

I think we're all in agreement that in a social/discussion forum it's OK not to have email notifications, because in a social/discussion forum that's would be, well, antisocial.

In tech support forums, the question is whether you prefer to build up a group of people who hang out, thus making benefit #2 more likely to happen, or whether you prefer to make sure that customers get prompt replies to their posts, at the cost of sacrificing benefit #2.

This is really a decision for each vendor to decide. In the case of Fog Creek, we're all about excellent customer service and you've convinced me that we should have a notification option for our tech support forums. Other companies might choose differently. For example, typically shareware/one-man-shop software publishers often discover that if their 1.0 product is even reasonably successful, customer support takes up all their time, leaving them with no time to develop 2.0. Such a vendor might decide that it's better to develop a self-supporting community around their software.
Joel Spolsky Send private email
Tuesday, September 14, 2004

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