Howdy everyone!

Today I would like to highlight two updates we deployed to the Knowledge Base in the past few weeks.

Versioning

KB articles are now versioned. You can see changes between versions, restore versions, and see who made the changes. This should make it safer to update your articles regularly and allow you to recover from mistakes more easily :)

You can see the versions on the KB list:

Showing the number of versions in the KB listing

On the KB page:

Showing the number of versions on the KB page

And look at the history:

Showing the versions history

Export

On the KB admin page, in the left sidebar, there is an option to export your whole KB as an HTML page:

Export your KB

We just improved this feature to add a Table of Contents, and fix all links between the different articles. This means that if you use the same anchor names in different articles, they will now work flawlessly in the exported file. If you moved or renamed articles but still have links to the old address, the export will take care of that as well.

This change will allow you to export your entire KB in one page, and print it as a PDF, and you have a complete manual for your application/service. Some of our customers do just that!

This last part is a bit experimental (the re-linking of everything), so if you experience any issue, just let us know.

Enjoy!

On Monday April 7th, a vulnerability in OpenSSL was disclosed as CVE-2014-0160, also known as Heartbleed. This is a serious vulnerability as OpenSSL is widely used to secure HTTPS traffic, and so it affects a large part off the internet.

All our services have been patched and secured: Tender was never vulnerable but Lighthouse was partially vulnerable through our use of Amazon Elastic Load Balancer. Our load balancer runs on a dedicated instance, which limits the data that could have been exposed. On Tuesday 8th, Amazon issued an update to their services, and we immediately updated our certificates and moved to a new load balancer.

What do I need to do?

If you are a Tender customer: nothing. Tender was never affected.

If you are a Lighthouse customer we recommend:

  • Sign out and back in
  • Change your password
  • Update all your API tokens

No malicious activity has been detected, but given the nature of the bug, and the amount of time it existed, it is better to err on the side of caution.

As usual, if you have any question, comment or concern, feel free to reach out to us at support@lighthouseapp.com or support@tenderapp.com.

Be safe.

Howdy.

Today we are deploying some changes to Companies. Companies are groups of users that have access to each other’s private discussions. This is often used when your product/service is used by multiple people inside a company, and they all need/want to participate in discussions/issues. This is a helpful system, but it was missing one big feature: notifications. So today, we are introducing Notifications for Companies.

So what are the changes:

  • By default, all members of a company will receive notifications about any discussion started (or replied to) by someone else in the company. This will help reduce duplicate reports, and keep everyone in the loop about what’s going on.

  • While “notifications on” will be the default, it can be turned on/off for each company individually. Small companies may want to know about everything, while larger group might just need access. You can change the default on the company page.

  • Each user of a company can set their own preference regarding notifications. This means that if the default for a company is “off”, one particular user may still decide that they want to be notified about everything. On the other hand, if the default is “on”, one or multiple users might not need to be involved all the time and can decide not to receive notifications. We feel that this offers the most flexibility, both for the support site, and for the individual users.

  • Finally, if a user is subscribed to company notifications, they can still unsubscribe from a particular discussion by clicking the “unsubscribe” button or replying #ignore by email.

While notifications are the biggest change, there are also a number of smaller improvements across the board:

  • You can now add/remove a Company as a watcher. When a user who is part of a company creates a discussion or replies to a discussion, the company gets added as a watcher. So if you need to keep the discussion private with only this user, you can simply remove the company and the original user will be the only one with access/notifications.

  • Adding watchers now autocompletes on the “add watcher” widget, as well as on the “new discussion” page, both on the frontend and on the dashboard. And you can add companies directly (or you can add a member of the company, both will work).

    Adding a watcher

  • Users get notified when they are added to a company, and will get links to update their notifications and access all the company discussions. This should make onboarding of new members easier.

  • It is now easier to add an existing user to a company: just go on their profile and select the company in the dropdown.

    Selecting the company

  • You can now see if a user is part of a company in the discussion header: John Doe (Company).

That’s about it. Hope you enjoy the changes! You can find out more about companies in the knowledge base.

Cheers.

Howdy!

While Tender is a great support platform, sometimes all you need is a simple Knowledge Base. So we just deployed an option to do just that. You can find out more in the knowledge base article.

Cheers!

Howdy,

Today we deployed a number of improvements to our spam engine. As a result you should see a big decrease of false positives (real discussion incorrectly marked as spam). It is possible that you will also notice a slight increase of false negatives (real spam, not caught). As you continue marking those as spam the situation should rapidly improve.

We also added a new option: you can now ignore spam checking for a particular category. This is useful when you receive emails from an automated source (form, etc), which contains a lot of (sometimes malformed) HTML which may trigger some of our spam rules.

You will find this setting when editing a category:

Don't check for spam

As usual, if you have problems with spam on your site, please contact us. This includes:

  • Emptying a very large spam folder
  • Too many false positives
  • Too many false negatives

Thanks!

Hi all,

Tender will be offline for 5-10 minutes tonight, Thursday 1/9 at 9pm PST, while we perform a maintenance operation on one of our database servers. Emails coming in during this period will be slightly delayed.

We apologize for the inconvenience.

If you have any question or concern, drop us a line at support@tenderapp.com.

Thanks!

Happy Friday,

We have been a little quiet lately, mostly because we have been busy. We are in the process of upgrading a lot of our infrastructure: we bought shiny new servers, with lots of RAM, SSDs and myriad of other goodies, and we are installing them in our datacenter, configuring them, and slowly moving our different services to them. All of this takes time, as we are also upgrading our deployment process (we’re moving to Docker, for those interested). So there are a lot of balls in the air and this work will continue way into January. This slows down the development of new features and bug fixes, but it’s all for the best, I promise!

With that being said, we haven’t been idle on Tender proper either.

Elastic Search

We recently spent a few days optimizing our search cluster. There were a couple of low hanging fruits and we got a 100% improvement: not too shabby!

Graph of the performance improvement

Assignments

Some teams are really busy, with dozens of agents buzzing and humming at any time. If that’s your case, distributing workload can be challenging. So today, we are introducing a small change that should bring happiness and joy to those hard workers: in the assignment dropdown, next to the name, you will now see the number of discussions open assigned to this supporter. This way, if Tom is under water, but Marry ahead of schedule, you know who to give the next one too. It is a small improvement, but it should definitely help.

Screenshot of the new dropdown

Spam

We also deployed a couple of improvements to our spam engine that should reduce false positives.

While we are on the subject of spam, I have a couple of public announcements:

  • If you have issues with spam or false positives on your site, please let us know. We have full control over our spam engine and we can usually improve things for you. Sometimes it’s just bad configuration, but sometimes a rule needs to be tweaked, and we can do that too. Many people contact us after months of suffering, when we could have fixed their problem the day it happened.

  • If your spam folder has grown to unspeakable proportions, we can empty it for you. The best way to keep spam in check and customer happy is an empty spam folder. We recommend that you go through it regularly (every day if you can), restoring false positives and deleting the rest. By keeping it empty, you can make sure you never miss anything. You can also get a better idea as to whether the spam engine is doing its job correctly or not, which leads back to point 1. So if your spam folder is not empty, contact us: we’ll empty it for you and you can start fresh and renewed. You know 2014 is coming: let this be your new year resolution! (Well, one resolution at least. Enjoying life a little more should be on top of your list).

Happy Holidays.

Ho Ho Ho

When creating a new profile in Tender, the email preferences default to notifying the user of changes in the issues/discussions they have participated in (either by creating or commenting on), but you can curate your notifications for any given category or (if support staff) queue that you’d like.

Just go to Edit Your Profile and scroll mid-page where you’ll find Email Preferences. Select as you see fit and Update Permissions.

image

*Tender Tip: Choose your notifications wisely, young Jedi. If you get click happy, you may find your inbox quickly becomes inundated with things you don’t really want to know about.

Here’s more on Notifications in our Knowledge Base article.

Hi everyone,

Time flies it seems, and while our little hands are never idle, we don’t always share what we are working on. This is unfortunate as many bugfixes and features, big and small, go into production every day. So let’s mix things up a bit and showcase this week’s changelog.

Bugfixes

  • When posting a comment to a discussion that had changed category since the page was opened, the comment would seemingly disappear (it still existed, but not at the right place). This is now fixed.

  • Tender always had a “duplicate” detection mechanism that trashes multiple copies of the same message (people hitting the form a little too much, or sending the same email multiple times). The detection was a little too eager and would look for messages in a large timeframe. We reduced this timeframe to 2h which is what feels reasonable to catch those accidentals duplicates, while still allowing some customers to keep you on your toes.

Visible Features

  • The sticky queue now provides pagination:

    You can choose which queue you want to always have around in the dashboard:

  • The miniprofile now shows the number of replies:

  • The “attached files” section doesn’t show the C:\fakepath\ anymore:

  • You can now press ? on a discussion page to get a list of available shortcuts on that page.

  • We added some basic validation of all fields when creating a discussion or posting a comment. When you click the submit button, fields are checked and focus will be put back on incorrect values. Fields will turn a light green or red to indicate where the error is:

Invisible Features

  • Improved spam detection for certain types of evil emails.

  • Improved failover mechanism for some of our servers. We had a few minutes of disturbance last week because of a connectivity issue in one datacenter. If this happens again we should now automatically switch to a different server in a different datacenter.

  • Ongoing sysadmin work to improve our infrastructure.

Mobile

The move to mobile is still ongoing.

You can now create new discussions and browse forums:

Only the discussion page is left, but it’s a big chunk. We want to provide all or most of the current functionality to supporters. This will give you more time to adjust the CSS of your site :)

As we make progress on mobile, we are rewriting a lot of the frontend code from Prototype JS (I know…) to Knockout. This is overall a good thing as it will make a lot of things faster and allows us to iterate more quickly in the future. But if you use custom JS, this may break things. So please be on the lookout for errors in your JavaScript console. If we removed code you were using, we will provide you with an alternative.

Finally, still as part of the move to Knockout, we introduced jQuery in mode no conflict to the front part of the site. So $ and $$ still refer to Prototype, but you can now use jQuery. Once the rewrite is complete, we will remove Prototype entirely.

Conclusion

I hope this changelog is helpful and provides a better insight into what keeps us busy. As usual, if you have comments, ideas, hit us up at support@tenderapp.com or post a comment on the discussion.

Cheers!

Tender has an awesome feature which allows you to merge users and discussions. We are often asked why this feature is not always available, so here’s the breakdown:

Merging will become available to you when someone replies by email to a discussion they do not have access to. This typically happens when someone uses two email addresses; they start a private conversation with one, but then reply from the other one (like work and home).

image

Since the conversation is private, and the new email address has not been authorized on that discussion, we can’t add it to the discussion, so we split that comment into a new discussion. We do recognize that it was a reply to the original discussion though, and that’s when we offer you the chance to merge it. This allows you to validate that the comment is legitimate before granting access to the private discussion.

image

Voila! The two discussions have now been merged.

image

Down the road, we’d like to expand the feature to enable the merging of several discussions from many different users. This would come in handy when replying to several users experiencing the same issue.

Merging users

When the merge dialogue comes up, you may also be given the choice of merging the users, in which case the two users mentioned in the dialog box become effectively one and the same. This will occur when an unregistered user replies to a discussion started by a registered user.

image

**Tender Tip**: BEWARE!! While the ability to merge users is particularly useful, it can indeed lead to some weird stuff when they are not the same person. We’ve made sure you can’t merge your support staff and Jane Doe user profile together, but just keep an eye out when clicking that merge button to ensure two unconnected user profiles aren’t merged unintentionally.

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