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Support, no longer a pain in our ass

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you guys are a pain in the ass. We love our users. Didn’t you get the box of chocolates we sent you? Blasted post office…

The pain has been how we’ve handled support. We’ve tried to give you many ways to get help, perhaps too many. None of them have been as easy to use as we would like. So today we’re going to set things right. Today we’re launching support.github.com, powered by entp’s new app, Tender

But, why?

Over the past weeks we’ve identified these major problems with support:

  • Too many options - So you have an issue, where do you report it? The Google group? IRC? Lighthouse? Should you email support@github.com? What if it’s an account issue or a private repo? You don’t want that out in the open. Which place do you go for the fastest response?
  • Too many steps - If you go to the group or Lighthouse, you have to make an account. To get to IRC you have to install a client, log in, and hunt down someone who is paying attention to the channel. For email you have to launch up your client and fire off a message. It shouldn’t take this much effort!
  • Snowball effect in Lighthouse - Many users have submitted their ideas and issues to Lighthouse. We want to hear from you, but the massive number of tickets in Lighthouse has become unmanageable. The things we want to add and need to fix get lost in the flood of tickets. Most days we receive more new tickets than we close in a week! This is not good for us or for you.

The first step in making support better was taken about a week ago. We added a contact form, a fast, one-step means of contacting support. Support requests nearly doubled. Quick and simple access to help, just what we wanted.

However, there are tons of helpful people in the Google group and on IRC that can help too. This form doesn’t put you in contact with them. The solution to this comes from the wonderful people at entp, the same people that made Lighthouse. They saw the same issues we saw, and they created Tender as a solution. Tender disguises itself as a discussion forum, but it’s much more than that. Issues can be opened without logging in, they can be made private at any time (so only GitHub staff and the submitter can view them), and users can help each other out. On our side of things, we have fast access to all outstanding issues and we can link Tender reports to Lighthouse tickets. In short, it gives users a one-stop shop for all their support needs, and it frees Lighthouse up to do what it’s intended to do, track the things we need to get done.

The public Lighthouse tracker has been made read-only, we will be migrating tickets into the private tracker as we see fit. support@github.com will of course remain active, but will likely be forwarded into Tender sometime in the future. The Google group will remain open for general discussions, but we ask that support issues be directed to Tender instead.

Have feedback on this post? Let @github know on Twitter.
Need help or found a bug? Contact us.

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