Best practices: Training Answer Bot to find the right articles more easily

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  • Matt Petersen

    I would like to learn more about how the "Improve" option in the agent interface works. In my testing it doesn't seem to have any effect on the articles that Answer Bot suggests - even after marking an article as off-topic for a particular question, Answer Bot will suggest the same article again after re-submitting that question. 

    Does an article have to be marked as off-topic a certain number of times for Answer Bot to stop suggesting it for similar requests? Or is there a more effective way of "teaching" Answer Bot not to suggest these articles (aside from manually limiting results via labels and triggers)?

  • Keran McKenzie

    Something that would be super helpful in training Answer Bot is when I click Improve Answers, don't just let me "remove" answers, let me find and mark the correct articles

    We have a heap of articles that, for whatever reason, Answer Bot is just ignoring. We don't have the time and resources to go an re-write all these - but we do have the 30 seconds it would take to find the 2 or 3 recommended articles that Answer Bot should be using.

  • Nicole - Community Manager

    Hi Keran - 

    Thanks for that feedback; I've flagged it for the corresponding product manager to read. 

    You may also be interested in reading his response to a similar request in this thread in the product feedback topic: 

    Telling Answer Bot which articles should be recommended


  • Russell Dunn

    I'd like someone at Zendesk to provide expansion/clarification on what Matt Petersen touches on above.

    I have an email from Zendesk support telling me that marking articles as unhelpful does not prevent them from being served up again for the exact same search terms. And I quote:

    In regards to marking Answer bot articles as unhelpful by end-users, this will only flag the concerned article as unhelpful but will have no effect on Answer bot to suggest same article again in the future.

    So basically, even after marking an article as off-topic for a particular question, Answer Bot will still suggest the same article again after re-submitting that question unless the article has been completely deleted or removed from your Help Center. 

    If this is correct - what is the point in being able to mark Answerbot articles as unhelpful? And further to that, how do we ensure useless articles don't get served?

  • Brett - Community Manager

    Hey Russel,

    As mentioned in this article, while the "not helpful/improve" button may not have an immediate effect on the underlying model that Answer Bot uses, it does help define where the threshold is placed for articles that are relevant or irrelevant. So I wouldn't say it doesn't have any impact on articles that are displayed. Apologies for any confusion there :-/

    Let us know if you have any other questions!

  • Russell Dunn

    Thanks Brett, that does clear up some confusion.

    Can you tell me what that threshold is? Is there anyway we can manually affect that? Our answerbot is performaing so poorly, we'd like to understand it better to make it more effective.

  • Brett - Community Manager

    Hey Russel,

    I check on this internally and it doesn't look like there's a way to tell where this threshold is unfortunately. The best option here is to go through our Answer-Bot best practices articles to make sure your getting the most out of this feature. I've attached some additional documentation for you below:

    If answer-bot is performing poorly it may be worth looking at the content as well as the labels included in these articles since that could be a determining factor.

    We also refer our customers to our Advice and Troubleshooting portion of our Help Center as this is a good example of format that should be used alongside answer-bot.

    I hope the above information helps!


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