Why hasn't my HelpDesk query gotten a response?

Helpdesk is a place to report problems and issues, but it is not staffed 24/7 nor is it checked on a minute by minute basis. Typically, staff checks it a few times a day on weekdays. Weekends and holidays are not generally covered, though sometimes you may get lucky.

Helpdesk is covered by several DK staff, including real DK tech people who normally write code and keep servers running, and is not outsourced in any way. It is no one's primary or exclusive responsibility and sometimes other issues are higher priority (including vacation time). The wait time can also be affected by how many other queries appear that day.

It is also possible that your requests have been captured by the support spam filter, which is entirely different from DK's. Staff tries to check that filter regularly for real replies.

We try to get to issues by the end of the first workday after your request.

What can you do to help get your issue resolved quickly?

  1. Write a very clear subject line
  2. Use the help link in the upper corner of the DK site, rather than the contact form. It gives staff useful links and diagnostics. It does help, however, for you to confirm the Operating System and browser through which you encountered the problem.
  3. Include URLs of a page that caused you problem, or a direct link to a comment or diary that is presented for moderation.
  4. Reply to your issue on the first workday morning, if it is urgent and has not gotten a reply.

Creating clarity and simplicity in your request increases the likelihood that it will be read and dealt with immediately.

Helpdesk Triage

First priority is technical issues, which can be resolved quickly and only by staff.
1. Can't login/spam trap/etc
2. Technical issues that may indicate a bug or issue that needs to be addressed by the tech staff.

Second priority is spam/zombie type issues, and copyright and privacy issues. Again, these are fast to resolve and can be handled only by staff.

Third priority is instruction/tutorial help. We are grateful that often other DK users pipe up and direct people to the answer.

Moderation is last. Some of these are forwarded on to the moderation team and some are triaged out because they are obvious (either way). Often to truly understand a situation requires quite a bit of time, and intervening without reading the entire thread does more harm than good. It is often hard to tell what is simple and what is messy from the subject line. Subject lines that look like more straightforward issues are handled first.

We are trying to be better about making sure that all threads that have been examined get some kind of response if anything can be said. (The people who write asking us for help because a shadowy organization is reading their mail and following them tend not to get a reply... sadly, no joke.) It may help you to realize that only about 1/4 of the messages that come to Help Desk are public - the rest are viewable by admin only. So to your eye, only a few requests may appear to be handled while we've actually handled quite a bit more.

It's worth knowing that Markos' patience for very complicated pie fights is low and when in doubt, if he acts at all, he tends to bring down the hammer on all participants rather than trying to spend hours and hours of time trying to figure out who said what to who in what context. So, sometimes it is better not to have your moderation issue addressed.