Tip The fewer custom areas you create the more reliable the Auto Sort function will be

If you are trying to sort messages into different areas, you will have the best luck if there are obvious clues in the message. For example, if you make an area for accounting, various words like "Invoice" and "Receipt" and "Payment" may be good clues that an incoming e-mail goes to the accounting area, and AutoSort will pick up on these clues automatically as you train it.

3 FogBUGZ: Filter: All open cases in Inbox - Microsoft Internet Explorer

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Figure 5-11. Messages waiting in the FogBugz Inbox

■Tip When you first set up AutoSort on a mailbox in FogBugz, FogBugz will create a project named Inbox and add the areas Spam, Not Spam, and Undecided to the project. But you're not limited to this default inbox. You can turn any project into an inbox by telling AutoSort to start placing mail in that project. As soon as you do, the Spam, Not Spam, and Undecided areas will show up in that project too.

However, all artificial intelligence algorithms have their limitations, and there may be cases where AutoSort simply can't figure out a good enough clue from the message as to which area it should go in. For example, if you try to train AutoSort to separate messages based on Republican customers versus Democratic customers, it might never be able to do this because there are no consistent clues in the message to do this sorting.

To make AutoSort useful, you need to train it. To train AutoSort, you need to teach it about every message in the Undecided area, either by flagging it as spam or moving it to the appropriate area if it's not spam. There are two ways to move a case to the Spam folder. First, you can select as many cases as you like in the list view of the Inbox and click the Spam button beneath the list. This will mark all of the selected cases as spam and get them out of your sight forever.

But if you're not sure, go ahead and open the case by clicking its title. This will open it in the regular FogBugz editing screen, as shown in Figure 5-12.

Figure 5-12. Spam or ham?

If the message is spam, click the Spam button to get rid of it. This will return you to the list of messages in the Inbox. On the other hand, if the message is something you actually need to deal with, you can move it to the correct area by editing the case, just as you would with any other case, or use the Move button at the bottom of the Inbox.

■Tip For safety, FogBugz never displays HTML mail as HTML—it always shows you the plain text version. Merely viewing an e-mail can never run scripts or otherwise compromise your system's security. However, as with all e-mail, use extreme caution when opening or saving any attachment unless you know who it is from and you were expecting it.

After you've classified all of the messages in the Inbox, your screen will look something like Figure 5-13. Note that the spam messages aren't shown here. After a few days, the system will delete them entirely so that they don't clutter your database. Also, if you've moved any cases to another project, they'll no longer be listed in the Inbox.

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Figure 5-13. Inbox with sorted messages

After a few days, you should notice that AutoSort is correctly sorting most messages. In the first few days, there is a small chance that a few messages will be mistakenly flagged as spam. Don't worry about this, but do move them into the Not Spam area to help train FogBugz AutoSort. In fact, any time you see a message in the wrong area, take the time to move it to the right area. The more accurately you classify messages, the more easily AutoSort will take over the job from you.

After you've received a bunch of spam and a bunch of good messages, typically after a couple of days or about 100-200 messages, you'll find that AutoSort is doing a really good job automatically sorting messages. But no matter how good it gets, it will always be undecided about some messages and you'll have to decide those cases yourself. That's because AutoSort tries to be conservative to avoid accidentally flagging a message as spam when it's not really spam.

■Caution It is extremely rare for FogBugz AutoSort to accidentally mark something as spam that is a legitimate e-mail. In fact, our experience is that it's more common for humans to mistake a real e-mail for spam than for FogBugz AutoSort to make this mistake! Unfortunately, there's always the possibility that a legitimate e-mail from a customer will look so "spammy" that it gets deleted accidentally. If you are concerned about this, set aside some time to review the spam messages every few days just to be certain nothing legitimate is getting lost.

Replying to E-Mail and Sending E-Mail

FogBugz also lets you communicate directly with customers via e-mail. By keeping customer communications in FogBugz, rather than in your own mailbox on an Exchange or other e-mail server, you can make them available to the entire team. Think of this as creating a repository of knowledge that everyone can draw on. It's much easier to discover if a problem has already been solved for another customer, for example, if all e-mail about customer problems is kept in one place.

It's easy to contact a customer who has submitted a case to FogBugz via e-mail. If you open such a case in FogBugz, the action buttons at the top of the case include Reply and Forward. If you click the Reply button, FogBugz will open a special editor in the case, as shown in Figure 5-14.

You can choose whether the reply should come from the default name for the mailbox or from your own name, and you can edit the message header and message as you like. Remember, you should leave the case number as a part of the subject so that FogBugz can automatically attach any customer reply to the same case. You can also attach a file to your reply if you like. Click the Send & Close or Send button to send the mail. In either case, your message will be saved as part of the notes on the case.

Clicking Forward opens the same form, except that it does not automatically grab the e-mail address of the original submitter as the destination for the e-mail. This lets you use e-mail to get a copy of the bug to anyone on e-mail (perhaps an executive for whom you haven't bothered to buy a FogBugz license, for example).

Regular cases (those that did not come into the system through a FogBugz mailbox) don't have the Reply and Forward buttons. Instead, they have an Email button, which opens up an e-mail form in the notes for the case, similar to the one you'd get from forwarding a mailed case.

3

1] FogBUGZ 19: Monitoring remote machines? - Microsoft Internet Explorer

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Figure 5-14. Sending a reply to a customer

Figure 5-14. Sending a reply to a customer

You can also send e-mail to a customer without having a FogBugz case already open. To initiate e-mail to a customer, click Send Email in the main toolbar. This does two things. First, it creates a new case, just as if you'd clicked the New Case link. Second, it opens an e-mail form as the first note on the new case, as if you'd decided to e-mail it after you opened it. So the Send Email link doesn't do anything that you couldn't do otherwise, but it lets you skip a few manual steps. As with any other e-mail exchange, any replies from that customer will automatically be appended to the end of the new case so that everyone else on your team can see the entire history of the e-mail transaction.

When you've got a team of people replying to customer e-mail, there's always a risk that two people will try to respond to the same message at the same time. At best, this can make you look unprofessional; at worst, it can severely confuse your customers. FogBugz prevents this in two ways:

• As soon as you hit the Reply button, the case is assigned to you. That way other people can see that you're working on it.

• If somebody else dashes in and sends a reply anyway while you are in the process of composing your reply, FogBugz won't actually send your reply when you click Send. Instead, it will warn you that somebody else has changed the case and let you decide if you still want to send your reply or cancel it.

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