Frequently Asked Questions

How do question assignments work?

Questions are assigned to active group members using a round-robin method. The expert who was assigned a question the longest ago will get the next one, regardless of their currently assigned questions.

Why did I get assigned a question when my “Vacation Mode” is turned on?

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.

Where is the “I’m working on this” button?

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 either the response box or an internal note. This entry is automatically saved, 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 or post the internal note, the lock is released.

Who can I assign questions to?

Experts can reassign a question to other members of the question’s current group, or to any expert in the assigned expert’s location.

Which groups can I assign a question to?

Questions can be assigned to groups with the same state as the currently assigned expert, or groups without a state (i.e. National expertise-based groups.)

Why are we receiving questions from out of state?

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.  So people browsing the web are finding the website hosting your Ask Extension widget and submitting questions through it.  You might consider adding some verbiage to your website that explains the limitations on questions your group will answer.  Beyond that, feel free to use the Out of State/Country canned response as a means of rejecting the question.

How can I assign a question to an expert in another state?

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.

What if I get an out-of-state question my group is not able to answer?

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.