[Rt-devel] RT for helplines

David Barnard david at didactylos.net
Sat Jan 12 01:04:25 EST 2008

I am considering adapting RT to manage an email helpline. Not a
technical helpline, but a crisis / mental health / support helpline.

Volunteer helplines don't have the funding for a fancy commercial
solution, and of all the free/OSS possibilities I have researched, RT is
the best fit by far. It's not an exact fit, though.

I would like your opinions on whether there is more suitable software
than RT, and whether RT can be customised for my needs without rewriting
a significant fraction of the code.

Here are some details specific to the situation: instead of the
issue/ticket being central, the whole thing revolves around the actual
email conversation.

Conversations will never be closed (except in very tragic
 - This won't be a problem if I map each email to a separate ticket,
resolved by sending a single reply.

Responses must be approved before being sent.
 - I'm guessing I can suppress any emails when the reply is created, and
raise an approval ticket instead. Approval will send off the email. (The
goal is to have the reply seen by two people, so responses can't be
approved by the same person who created the response.)

I need to track some user metadata. Can I add custom fields to users?

Confidentiality. Ideally, I would like to hide contact details such as
the requestor email address.
 - I can think of a couple of ways to do this. Removing data from the
UI, or creating dummy users. This may make searching difficult.

I need to link new conversations with past conversations from the same
person. This one should be easy.

Emails should be answered in FIFO order.

I may need to simplify the interface and terminology. Helpline
volunteers will include total technophobes.

Can anyone see any major flaws in my plan? How significantly will this
diverge from the standard RT?

Many thanks

David Barnard

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