Debian Integrated Support System (diss) is a project with the aim to integrate all of debian's support options (IRC, Mailing Lists, Forums, BTS) and produce a client similar to reportbug with a GUI and text-mode interface for users to seek solutions to issues with Debian systems. This will require not only development of such a client, but also an IRC bot, a centralized issue tracking server system, as well as diagnostic tree templates and possibly IRC client scripts to simplify interfacing with the system.
Aim is to code these things in Python (up for debate) and package them in Debian. The project is currently in pre-alpha scouting phase looking for interested parties and ideas. Project home will be here on github and #diss on chat.freenode.net
This system should be implemented as complementary to existing systems and in a synergistic fashion in order to put users of all skill levels on the same terms and to make sure that issues are properly tracked and documented. It is easily observed and understood that users have a self-interest in issues and stop when they are resolved which can easily lead to the issues and solutions not being well documented and resolved. This project is to see that this problem does not occur, and that solutions are readily available and that issues are well documented to aid our fine developers in ensuring our stable releases are well tested and bug free. I believe such a system will really shine in allowing less experienced users to aid in testing our future releases while providing more quality feedback and cutting down on redundancy. The frontend/client program would operate much like the help center in commercial OSes in a tiered fashion trying to automatically resolve issues with current known issues and solutions, automate compiling of logs and running diagnostic commands similar to reportbug, and ultimately providing the user with an integrated client for posting the issue to the BTS, Mailing Lists, and IRC, while maintaining the support chain on the issue even if they lose interest in it, allowing them to provide an email address to CC resolutions to, and a tracking number to reference it later. Thus resolving the issue of someone asking a question then leaving a support channel leaving others still interested in the issue. There should also be a feedback loop in the form of a rating system like you see on popular open forums for support, where solutions are rated by other users finding them useful. This should not be mistaken to work like a typical help desk which has the flaw of one-on-one support, it should still encompass the open support model with multiple solutions and input on the issues at hand.