What’s the best way to learn about upcoming changes to Ask Extension?
Please join the Ask Extension Experts group in Connect Extension. We will use that group to post updates about Ask Extension.
Questions are automatically assigned to non-vacationing group members who have opted to be available for auto-assignments. Ask Extension uses a round-robin method, selecting the expert who was auto-assigned a question the longest ago, and then updating that expert’s “last assignment” timestamp to the current time. The round robin auto-assignment does not take the number of currently assigned questions or manual question assignments into consideration. Experts do not receive more auto-assigned questions by answering questions faster than their colleagues.
If a client replies to a question it will be assigned back to the last expert, even if the expert has vacation mode turned on.
The new system does not offer a button like the old system, but it does allow an expert to “lock” a question for up to 24 hours. To initiate this lock, enter some text into the response box. This entry is automatically saved after a few seconds, so you can close that window without clicking the “Reply” or “Post” buttons, and return to this question later. If another expert tries to reply to the question during this 24 hour duration, they will get an alert indicating the lock and can see which expert is currently working on it. Note: once you actually post the reply, the lock is released.
Experts can reassign a question to other non-vacationing members of the question’s current group, or to any expert in the assigned expert’s state.
Questions can be assigned to groups with the same state as the currently assigned expert, or to groups without a state (i.e., National expertise-based groups.)
In Ask an Expert, it was possible for people from out of state to submit questions, but experts had a personal profile setting through which they could specify they would only accept questions from certain states/counties. That did not stop questions from out of state from being submitted; they were just handed off to other Experts who were willing to answer them. Ask Extension has no such mechanism. However, being implemented very soon is a group setting which will prevent users from selecting a state at all, should the group decide to exercise that option. The selection of counties will be locked into whatever state is associated with the group. You might consider adding some verbiage to your website that explains the limitations on questions your group will answer. Beyond that, if out of state users totally ignore those constraints, feel free to use the Out of State/Country canned response as a means of rejecting the question.
Questions can only be assigned to experts in the current group, or to experts from your own state. This is by design in order to give states and institutions more control over their questions.
You may select a canned answer to say that you are not able to answer the question because of their location, but gives them a suggestion on how to find their local Extension office.
The question form will be replaced by the text below and the group name will reflect the name of your group.
Ask Extension displays your Gravatar avatar if you have one. Gravatar is owned by WordPress, so it’s possible you set a profile photo in a WP site and also saved it to your Gravatar profile. If you want to change your avatar and don’t know your password, you can get an instant login link to sign into WordPress. Once you are signed in, you can change your Gravatar settings.