New posts to the GitLab forum are brought in to the Forum Issue Board automatically with Zapier via the GitLab Forum Bot account. Information for this account is stored in 1Password. A new issue for each topic will appear on the board, and posts to that topic will appear as new comments on the issue. All activity is also posted to the
#gitlab-forum channel on Slack.
The best place to provide responses and other helpful information is directly in the forum platform, Discourse. You will need to create an account to participate; please use your GitLab account to sign up. GitLab Team Members are autmatically added to the Staff Group, and get a Staff Title, and Staff Badge.
The goal of this board is to more easily collaborate on forum topics and posts across the wider Forum Contributors Group. An issue board is more inclusive of our cross-org forum contributors and was specifically requested over Zendesk as a way of collabroating and researching forum requests.
Due to limitations in Discourse, it is challenging to privately communicate thought processes and loop in experts via the forum platform. The issues in this board, even though it seems duplicative at times, will provide our forum experts a more private and instant way to troubleshoot.
Due to limited internal communication resources in Discourse, we use issues on the Forum Issue Board for collaborating on new forum topics and posts. Via Zapier, any new topic—or new post on an existing topic—triggers the creation of a new issue on the board. New topics and posts do not show up on the issue board until they are more than 24 hours old, in order to give our community a chance to engage first.
There are six working columns on the Forum Issue Board: Open, Moderator, Work in Progress, Work in Progress: Waiting for an Expert, Code Of Conduct Violation Review, and Closed.
Every new and outstanding topic and post that needs GitLab's attention will appear in this column. You can click into the issue, @-mention experts, open the topic in Discourse, and collaborate in the comments if you need time to troubleshoot.
Move issues into this column if you feel that the associated topic or post is easily one that a forum moderator or Community Advocate can answer. A few examples are: technical low-hanging-fruit type questions, code of conduct violations, asking for screenshots and error messages, or specific questions about the forum platform.
Use this column to signify when a topic or post is being worked on by yourself, but hasn't a response, or is in the process of troubleshooting. There is no way to mark a topic or post as WIP in Discourse, so to avoid another person doubling the effort and working on an Open topic, claim ownership by using this column.
Use this column as a holding place for those times we reach out to others in the company for help answering in the forum. This could include, but is not limited to, Product, Communications, Support, Engineering, Security and other teams at GitLab. Posts in this column have likely utilzed our Engaging Experts Workflow.
Move issues into this column when a topic or post violates GitLab's Code of Conduct. A moderator should feel encouraged to handle these in Discourse as soon as they can. See this section on Code of Conduct violations for details on how we handle this in the forum.
Drag issues over to this column when there is no longer any action needed on a topic or post. You can also close issues right in the issue by clicking
Close Issue at the top, and they will automatically be moved to the Closed column.
Community Advocates can utilize the Support Zendesk instance and existing GitLab issues to find resources and solutions for questions posted in the forum.
The following categories can help identify key information that can be pulled from a forum post and used in a Google or Zendesk search.
The best case scenario result from these searches will be to either:
Pulling keywords from posts can be used to search either Google, existing GitLab issues, or the Support Team's Zendesk instance
Tags are specific to Zendesk searches and can be used to narrow down tickets based on the product (GitLab.com or self-hosted)
Users will often post screenshots or copy in their log history into their forum posts. Use these key log elements to uncover solutions.
Purpose: traces the code most recently ran before it failed, top to bottom, to show what actions led up to the error.
Search Strategy: Search using the top 1 or 2 lines of this section of the logs
Purpose: provides context or information causing the error
Search Strategy: Combine extra response context with keywords to find relevant issues
A lot of times users will post screenshots or copy/paste what error they are seeing.
Search Strategy: Use this context clue to search Support's Zendesk instance, the forum itself, or slack in order to follow up with an expert.
GitLab Support Forum. This is a deprecated internal service desk that used GitLab to process support issues. Information and solutions to these lives in issue comments, not the ticket.
Most administrative tasks will be done from the Discourse Admin Dashboard
To add an Admin:
Admin?section on the user's profile admin should read
Note: we would like to reserve only one or two Staff spots for forum Admins within our existing 15 total Staff spots.
If you want to add an Moderator:
Admin?section on the user's profile admin should read
Note: we only have 15 Staff spots available with our current Discourse subscription. Please check with an Admin (Lindsay Olson) if you want to grant, or want to receive, moderator status. Right now, the Advocates team + four others have Moderator status.
This guide explains Moderator permissions, expectations, and best practices.
Welcome new members
Check forum threads for an existing answer: if there is an answer already, consider liking it or marking as solved
Reassign categories on the forum
Add or create appropriate tags
Look in the forum for answers that may have already been supplied in an existing thread
Look in the Support Zendesk instance for answers that may have already been supplied in a ticket from Support
Ask the poster initial troubleshooting questions like screenshots, error messages, etc.
Keep the Forum Issue Board tidy for the Forum Contributors Group to work off of.
Leave all interactions and replies open-ended. We want our forum users to feel like they can always come back and pick up the conversation.
Consider gifting swag to forum users that contribute a lot or in a really exceptional way! Do this via a DM/private message.
Below is a list of actions only forum Moderators can take in the Discourse platform. For this reason, at this time only GitLab Staff members are granted Moderator status. Specifically those who are part of the Forum Contributors Group.
Only the original poster and moderators have the ability to mark an answer in a forum thread. Please do this freely! It helps with SEO, and it helps our users know what questions have been answered.
Click the ellipsis in the small grey toolbar on the post > click the checkbox.
Sometimes users will accidentally post private information like license or API keys, emails addresses, etc. Publicly identifiable information needs to be redacted from the forum. You can also use this tool to redact inappropriate language or other Code of Conduct violations.
If you need to edit a user’s post for whatever reason, please private message the user in the forum letting them know that you have done so, and the reason why.
Click the ellipsis in the small grey toolbar on the post > click the pencil icon.
Instructions For Sending a Private Message
messagebutton on the user card to draft private message
For the sake of anonymity, only Forum Moderators can see the email address associated with a forum user’s account.
showbutton in the user’s profile
This is not exclusive to Moderators, but you can use the Staff Category to draft new knowledge share articles, initiatives, whatever you need! You will notice the little lock symbol next to private categories.
We do not delete topics and posts in the forum, mainly due to the fact that this action can destroy trust. There are always exceptions to this rule- a good example is when spam posts sneak in. If you feel something needs to be deleted, you can always reach out to me (@lindsayolson) and we can talk it through!
Click the ellipsis in the small grey toolbar on the post > click the trash can icon.
It’s not uncommon that moderators will feel the need to move new posts out of old threads, or move posts to their own topic altogether. Please move new posts out of old topics when users try to bring topics a year or older back to life.
select postin dropdown
selectdepending on how much of the conversation you want to move
moveto Fill out the popover accordingly
move to new topic
How to respond in the GitLab Forum:
Moderator(or other appropriate) columns
Closedcolumn, (or close the issue at the top) once a response has been provided.
Whether you work through forum posts via the Forum Issue Board, or the forum platform, consider using some of the following resources to help get answers to questions:
How and when to edit forum posts.
Generally, we do not edit other peoples' posts. If we see something that can be improved, we should reach out to them privately to ask them to change it. This helps us build trust with our community and with the GitLab team, since it shows them that they have the creative freedom and autonomy to post what they like on our forum.
That being said, there are instances when moderators can edit posts directly. Here are some examples and how to do it:
How and when to mark a solution in a thread.
How and when to delete a forum post or topic.
Follow the relevant workflow depending on the question:
Engagement drives engagment, so the more the GitLab team engages with our wider community, the more they are likely to engage with us, and with others. By setting the example of providing thorough answers, we can build our forum up as a place of knowledge share and collaboration. See the Forum's 2020 strategy slide deck for more.
We hold weekly Office Hours to talk about all things Forum every week! We use this time to talk through tricky topics and posts, discuss best and proven practices, and also forum strategy. Join us!
The Forum Slack channel includes Community Advocates and the entire Forum Contributors Group: #gitlab-forum .
New mentions are brought into Slack and Zendesk via Zapier.