Using The Request System
Reporting Normal Computer Problems
In general, always send mail to email@example.com
It is helpful if the subject line is pertinent and contains somewhat detailed information about the request being submitted. This helps the Systems Staff delegate the request and assist you faster!
You should include the following information in the body of your message:
What were you running?
The command name, or the software. Perhaps even the entire command line. It's often useful to tell us
what time you were doing something. If you are sending mail long after the problem happened, tell us
when the problem happened.
What machine are you working on?
If you are using X Windows (or eXceed) we need to know what interactive server you are working
on. (e.g. mamba, cobra, viper).
If you are working under Unix, you are probably sitting at a PC or X terminal. We need to know
the name of that machine, too.
What did you expect?
We don't always know what your command or program is supposed to do. Tell us what you were expecting.
What did happen?
Tell us the output, or the error message, or the behavior that was wrong. If there is an error
message, it's always good to send it.
The Request Queue
When you send us mail, a ticket is created in our request system. A request number is assigned
to the ticket, which helps us keep track of the correspondence between you and our team; this
number appears in the subject line of our replies to you.
When you open a request by sending us the initial message describing your problem, you will receive
an automated reply to let you know we have received it. This also notifies you of the request
number associated with your ticket, so you can keep track of the requests you have sent and track
our progress in resolving your problem.
Example automated reply:
Greetings. (This is an automated response. There is no need to reply.)
Your message regarding:
Krakatoa is down
has been received and assigned a request number of 37970.
In order help us track the progress of this request, we ask that you
include the string [Req #37970] in the subject line of any further mail
about this particular request.
Subject: [Req #37970] Krakatoa is down
You may do this simply by replying to this email.
When a request is received, it can be viewed by all members of the systems
staff. One of our staff members will then take responsibility for resolving
your request. The pairing of requests and staffers depends on the nature
of the request, as some requests are best suited for a staff member with
certain skills or experience, as well as the availability of each staff
member. Because each staff member's workload varies throughout the year,
all initial requests for help should be sent to the entire staff for us to
delegate out among ourselves. Sending a request to an individual staff
member will decrease the likelihood that your request will be handled in
the most efficient manner and make it harder for us to track.
Ask not what the queue can do for you, but what you can do for the queue:
So we can help you best, we ask that you keep in mind a couple of things
that make our job of tracking and handling your request a little easier:
- Use a descriptive subject line when submitting your request.
Describe your problem in detail in the body of your message to us,
and summarize it in the subject line. Sometimes we find it helpful
to go back through our records to see how a particular problem was
solved, so descriptive subjects help us. "Create e-mail alias,"
"Cachefsd process on cobra" and "Request file restoration" are much
more descriptive than "Hello," "Help with my computer," "E-mail
problem," or blank subject lines.
- If you wish to reply to us regarding a particular request, include
the string "[Req #requestnumber]" in the subject line. You can do
this by simply replying to the automated reply you receive. If you
leave out the above string, a new request ticket will be generated.
- Open a new request for each separate problem.
This helps us track each distinct problem.
View Our Queue!