Using the KBase Help Board


KBase is committed to helping all our users to utilize our tools and datasets for their computational biology research. To make our support process more effective, we have launched a new Help Board that allows you to not only submit bug reports or questions, but also to monitor the current status of your inquiry, see what other users have asked and engage in conversations with them and with KBase staff.

The KBase Help Board uses a popular issue-tracking system called Jira. Jira is easy to learn and you will quickly see the benefits of being able to communicate with KBase staff members and other users directly without revealing your email address. The new Help Board is also helping us more rapidly improve KBase for all our users.

To get into Jira to use the KBase Help Board, go to Log in with your Google account or click “Sign up for an account”. (Note that your KBase user account credentials will not work in Jira,)

If you click “Sign up for an account”, you will be asked to supply your email address to sign up for a Jira account. Your email address is used internally by Jira to send you responses to your Help Board inquiries, and will not be visible to anyone.

Look for email from Atlassian (the company that makes Jira) with a link to confirm your signup. After clicking the link, choose a username and password, and enter your full name. Once you do that, you will be directed back to the kbase-jira page to sign in. When you sign in the first time, you will be prompted to choose an avatar (an icon to represent you in Jira). Choose one of the default images or supply one as an image file.

You will then see the following options to get started with the KBase Help Board:

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The best way to get started is to click on the “Search for issues” link. A Jira “issue” represents a particular bug report, question, suggestion or task. In the KBase Help Board, you will be able to see the issues submitted by other users, comment on them, and add your own issues. When you enter Jira via the “Search for issues” link, you will see a list of all open issues, with the most recent first, on the left, and to the right of that, a detailed view of the most recent issue. If you just want to see issues that you reported, click Reported by Me in the left column.

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Some of the most useful functionality is up at the top of the screen: the search box, to look for existing issues that may relate to what you’re interested in, and the Create button, to create a new issue. Jira has extensive documentation about this and other topics.

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If you click “Create”, a window pops up to gather information about your issue (see below). Required fields are marked with a red *; the other fields are optional. You can choose the issue type (Bug, Question, or New Feature), enter a short summary and then a longer description. If the issue you’re reporting concerns a specific KBase app, please choose it from the pulldown App list. In the Environment field, let us know which operating system you’re using (e.g., Mac, Windows XP, etc.) and which web browser (e.g., IE 10, Chrome, etc.), along with any other information about your setup that you think might be relevant to diagnosing the issue. You can also attach files such as screenshots or small data files that demonstrate the problem. Remember, the more information you give us about what went wrong, the more efficiently we’ll be able to reproduce and resolve the problem. The KBase Troubleshooting page has some pointers for creating an effective bug report.

If you see an issue that someone else created and you have information that may help that user, or help us diagnose the problem, please feel free to add a comment by clicking the Comment button at the bottom of any issue page. Even a comment such as “I had this problem too” can help us identify and prioritize a problem. You can also add attachments, such as screenshots, to another user’s issue. This can be particularly helpful if KBase developers are having trouble reproducing the problem.

When adding comments to an issue, you can address a comment specifically to another Jira user by tagging them with an @. When you type @ followed by the first few letters of a user’s first or last name, you will get a dropdown list of matching usernames (see screenshot above). Choose the correct one and hit return. The tagged user will then receive a notification.

Please be aware that there are a few features in Jira that will not be useful to you. These are the Agile menu, the “Agile Board” button, and the “View on Board” link under “Agile” in the issue view. You can safely ignore these.

If you have questions about KBase’s Help Board, please don’t hesitate to ask us! If you’re having trouble getting into Jira, you can use our old Contact Us form to reach us without using Jira.