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    Unveiling the BZPower Tracker
    BZPowerFriday, November 16th, 2012 at 5:53pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager

    We are always looking for new ways to improve BZPower - by no means do we think that we're perfect. Internally amongst the staff we often bring up things we'd like to fix or change or improve, and over time we try to get some of those things done. But you guys, our members, have your own ideas, and while we always try to look through the topics you start on the subject, it is often difficult to keep track of everything that's brought up. It's with this in mind that today I announce our newest feature, the BZPower Tracker. Read on to see what that means and what it can do for you and the site.

    The short and sweet is that the Tracker is a tool that allows everyone on BZPower to point out bugs and make suggestions to improve the site. Discussion can take place for each ticket opened, and based on the feedback the Administration can make an informed decision on what the top priorities are that need to be addressed. It helps you help us help improve the site.

    In showing this tool to the staff there was a lot of initial confusion, so I'm going to try to explain things for everyone to avoid the same from happening.

    The tracker uses projects to organize the tickets that are filed. There are currently two main projects. The 'Front Page' consists of everything you see when you first visit BZPower. If the URL starts with anything other that ',' we're considering it the front page. The 'Community' then, is everything whose URL does start with ',' including the Forums, the Blogs, the Gallery, the Calendar, the Store, PMs, and more. There are three sub-projects for 'Community,' 'Forums,' Blogs,' and 'Gallery.' Tickets that are directly related to those three belong in the sub-projects, everything that applies to different parts or the entire community goes in the Community section.

    When you start a new ticket, you will have several options, the first of which is the Issue Type:

    • Issues are problems with the site, things that are broken that should be fixed.
    • Suggestions are things you think should be changed, or new features that you would like to see.
    Please try to make sure you select the right type, as once selected it cannot be changed.

    There are other fields such as Status and Severity that will be set by the staff.

    When you write a ticket, please try to be as specific as possible. If you write a new issue and say, 'the content blocks don't work,' we won't know what about them doesn't work, which makes it harder to fix. Similarly, if you make a suggestion and say, 'make the gallery better,' we don't know what it is about the gallery that you don't like. All users should be able to attach files to tickets, so feel free to add screenshots to help explain the issue or suggestion.

    After a ticket is created, there are several ways to give feedback. For issues, there is an 'Issue Confirmations' section - after you read a ticket, please select 'YES' or 'NO' to let us know if you are experiencing the same issue. This will help us know if it might be related to the software or if it is browser-related. For suggestions, in the top right of the post, you will see a green number next to a red number. This allows you to give feedback as to whether or not you like the idea. The more feedback we get for issues and suggestions the more help we'll get in determining which tickets need to be addressed sooner.

    Q: Does this replace the "report" system?
    A: No. Reports are for rule violations and inappropriate content. The Tracker is for fixes and improvements to the site's code.

    Q: Does this take the place of the Q&A forum?
    A: Not directly. There are some instances though where people have found bugs and posted Q&A topics about them. Moving forward, members will be encouraged to open tickets for such things instead. The Q&A forum will still exist for questions on how to use BZPower, its policies, and its culture.

    Q: When will [insert ticket here] be fixed?
    A: The BZPower staff are all volunteers, and real life and other priorities come first. I feel the Tracker will help us focus our energy on the things you guys want to see the most, so we can get those things done first.

    Q: Why did you change the severity of [insert ticket here]?
    A: The severity of a given ticket will be set based on how the staff sees it as a priority and on the feedback we get from the members. Severity may change over time as the situation we're in changes.

    Q: I have a great idea - should I PM it to you?
    A: If it's for a new feature on the site, no, you should open a ticket. If its an idea regarding a specific forum, maybe a change to the rules or a contest, you should contact the Leader of the forum directly.

    A final note: all tickets must still follow BZPower's rules and guidelines. The Tracker is still part of the site and should be treated as such.

    If you have any questions about this new system, you can post them in the Talkback or send me a PM with them. I hope you all make good use of the Tracker and I look forward to seeing how it can improve BZPower!

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