Adding volunteers to the helpdesk

Hi @dkayiwa

Seems like we don’t have enough volunteers at the help desk. I would love to help out with request for contribution. I don’t have any experience with managing servers and all the other technical stuffs at the infrastructure but responding to contribution request should not be hard and I may give a shot. :slight_smile:

A lot of new contributors come with high spirits and eager to start interacting in the community but when their first impression is a delayed response, they start having second thoughts. We wouldn’t want that.


Thank you so much @ivange94 :smile: @burke are you the one in charge of adding volunteers to the helpdesk team?

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Myself, @pascal, @surangak, or @maurya can add flex agents to given full name, email address, and the area(s) you want to help (e.g., general community, guide new volunteers, or infrastructure).

We don’t have a formal on boarding process, but I know @terry, @jeffneiman, and @maurya were looking to develop some SOP’s.

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We could/should also add volunteers to the community or infra Telegram groups so that they can ask for help there.


What they really need is somebody willing to join the on-call rotation so that @pascal and @maany can actually detach.

Being on call constantly sucks. I know it burned me out(not the work, just being constantly responsible if things went down. It’s not horrible when there’s > 2 people (There’s always two people on-call). HOWEVER there’s a caveat: you need to be proficient with Linux and know when you need to ask for help. Production systems aren’t a place to make mistakes, especially when others need to clean up after you!

I can’t volunteer to be on call but, I been able to help whenever I noticed jira or confluence having issues.

This is true.

At the same time, not everyone is in a position to be on-call, and when someone, like @ivange94 in this thread, volunteers their efforts we should take advantage, even if they can’t be on-call!

Bringing this back to @ivange94’s request: how do we let him help triage and respond to incoming requests? (Have we done this yet? I can’t tell from the thread…)

Someone needs to add him as a Flex Agent and add him to the proper groups. There are requests which need access to the production server for OpenMRS ID (whitelisting ips) that needs to be handled by the infra team…other cases can be handled without server access. I’m not even sure if I still have admin access on Desk anymore.

Hi @darius

I have been added as a flex agent to I am currently acquainting my self with how things work there. I was added to the guides team and general community.

@r0bby I get your point. Unfortunately I cannot be on call due to my internships. Also at the moment I don’t yet have the skills to do what you are doing on the infrastructure but am sure I’ll try and learn soon so I can help there too.

Right now I just want to help guide our new contributors. Not long ago I was a newcomer too and I benefited and learned a lot from the community. I just want to give back and make sure other newcomers get to enjoy the help that was giving to me by other guides.

Good and what happens when person on call has a poor connection

This is an important discussion. There are multiple needs that the help desk addresses- including tech infrastructure, support for technical problems but also the increasing number of volunteers that introduce themselves and then reach back out to us to figure out how to be effectively involved. We haven’t figured that out yet, IMO.

we do respond to their enquiries, but i actually dont know if the best response is to tell people to post to Talk. We are going to have this as a topic on the Leadership call this week if people want to join ( those are always open calls).

i personally think that we need to figure out how to ‘pair’ people during their first forays into our work with someone that can help guide them ( tech, dev, implementation, volunteers for education and/or other areas).

We definitely need to make sure that there is adequate tech support but the issue is bigger than that. Would be great to have peoples feedback on what they think would work best


Thank You Terry for the Info

My recommendation is that, let them post some where publicly visible to any one who can help. In other words, any volunteer should be able to get in and help. One does not need to first go through a process of being added to help desk, etc, in order to guide the new comers. :slight_smile:

+1000, though, if we post something publicly, then it gets a bit tricky, since not everyone will think they are making a public post when filling out the form.

Maybe we could post to a semi-private Talk category – i.e., only visible to a “community greeters” group that anyone can join.

One big problem though: at the Point that someone is filling out the contact form, all we have is their email address. They don’t have an OpenMRS ID yet. Even if we could get their post to Talk, there wouldn’t be an easy way for someone to reply to them within Talk.

Oh that is a blocker! I had not thought of it. :wink:

Your backup takes over for you. As I said, there is always 2 levels of support on-call at any time, with the exception of the vacation I took where @maany took over as the only person on-call so I could recharge my batteries so to speak(I am so grateful for him doing this!) Ideally – we should have one experienced devops person as a 3rd level of support at all times(@michael served as this during his tenure)

So long as you communicate, we’re fine supporting you. We just need you to be reliable and know good practices with Linux systems. Knowing ansible is a plus. I’m not involved too much with the infra team these days, I’ll be less involved over time.

Iam availale for any slightest duty

I’m however not the point person to onboard you.