Help Center - improve 'was this article helpful' and allow user to leave reasons


  • Maggie St.Clair

    Yes this would be a big help for us. We have a handful of articles that someone has rated as not being helpful. I don't know who rated it this way so I have no way of contacting them for more info. Just seeing that they voted NO is not helpful to us as we have no idea what we need to change/add to make it helpful. It would be great to be able to collect info from them when they rate it.

    Showing these "rating" to our customers is also a negative for us. Just because one customer found it unhelpful doesn't necessarily mean the whole article is unhelpful. When they see the -1 in the search results it turns them away from that article. This article below goes over the correct process. While it may not have provided an answer to the specific question the person was looking for, this article is useful. Unfortunately, when they search and see the -1, most users will move right past it and submit a support ticket.  


  • Watchman Monitoring

    Great feedback, nicely laid out. 10/10 would vote for

  • Dan Ross
    Community Moderator

    Agreed. Another vote here! We're just finishing our Help Center deployment and this would be really helpful to our Tech writing team. 

    Maggie's comment hits the nail on the head too, this is the problem we're finding with articles as well.



  • Christian Colding

    Hi Joel and all,

    Thank you so much for some very elaborate feedback. I definitely appreciate that.

    We have been thinking in very similar lines and there are at least a few things that we are working on:

    1. We will allow for anonymous voting. We are still developing this, but it's currently activated on this site. So if you try and log out, you can still vote on articles in this Zendesk Support Help Center.
    2. We are working on greatly improving our metrics. That would help in showing you who has voted. While it might not be part of our very first version of our new metrics, it's something that we want to add and something we expect that you can create a custom dashboard from. That at least helps in understanding who has voted (if it's not anonymous).

    Besides those two things, we are actively researching being able to both give a reason when you vote, but also removing votes from Help Center entirely. While it will still be possible to customize your way to show the votes, we could remove it from the standard Copenhagen theme. We won't be doing that until we at least have better reporting, as showing it on the theme is the best way for you to see if an article has votes today. Once we have better reporting, then we can consider to remove it completely.

    As we progress in doing research for this feature I'll post here to set up some time to talk about it. We would love to learn more, once we have understood a bit more around this.

    Thank you again for contributing your feedback and don't hesitate to continue the discussion in this thread.

  • Joel Hellman

    Thanks Christian for explaining how you're approaching this. 

    Most important to us is to have our visitors help us better complete our help center articles content and give us actionable data about particulars, and we believe a key to do this is to make it as easy for our visitors to provide this feedback as possible.

    If votes on helpfulness can power search engine ranking and suggested articles etc. in an accurate way, anonymous voting is very good news! If it's just raw vote numbers and not powering anything else (which I doubt), I don't see how we would benefit from it unless combined with reasons.

    The ability to remove the vote count on the public side are important to us, as we believe it can opinionate readers like Maggie says, and it also doesn't look good unless you have a very large visitor base voting on articles, because articles with no votes or single votes are not sexy. Reading your answer about ways to show the votes or removing it from the theme, it seems were are aligned in our thinking here.

    I forgot to mention we run a public Help Center but don't allow users to publicly comment on our articles. Having users publicly commenting on articles are not suited for every business of course. We still want our visitors to be able to easily leave us feedback if they want to.

    Overall, it sounds like your things 1&2 combined with your research into 'reasons to vote' might cater to our needs, but if I misunderstood the meaning of 'reasons to vote' here and it's not applicable for our use case, let me know. 

    If we do get these anonymous votes combined with optional reasons (and it sounds like you are considering all of this), we would be very happy campers! It would offer our customers a really easy way to feedback both general and particulars to us, with a minimum of effort on their part. 

    Again what is currently most important to us is to gather particulars from our casual visitors, and report-wise, we'd like at the minimum something like this (with the feedback length having no or a generous cap to avoid preventing useful feedback submittions):

    We also like the possibility to follow up feedback left by visitors that an optional email field would open up, though that is more nice-to-have.


    Workaround to gather feedback without public comments

    For anyone reading this article, I can think of one way currently to collect feedback from users, without allowing public comments by doing this:

    • enabling comments on your articles
    • setting the Help Center to require approval on all comments
    • 'Follow' the manage content page for email notifications (documented here)
    • periodically clear out these items
    • finally you might want to customize your theme a bit to change the wording on 'article has 0 comments' to something else

    The (very) big downside of this is that to comment, end-users must first login. 

    It's not currently possible to collect info about these unapproved comments through the API, because they hasn't been added to the article yet (and in our case, never will be, as we don't want to show public article comments created by end-users). 

    Regarding using public comments as a feedback tool on particulars vs using the article helper on whether the article was helpful, we recognize not all visitors are comfortable leaving public feedback, whereas voting on an article's helpfulness / leaving feedback is more of an anonymous action. So if anonymous voting with reasons is implemented, we expect to get more feedback on particulars than if just public comments was the offered channel for this type of feedback, and we'd like that.

  • Christian Colding

    Thank you again Joel. I do think we are thinking in the same direction and this definitely helps me in understanding how this could help.

    Regarding how to collect feedback. Did you consider allowing customers to create a ticket for feedback instead? It could perhaps be a lightweight ticket form that you use, so people don't have to enter a lot, but you would receive them in your Zendesk and could create a view for them. I am most likely missing a use case here, so if this is something you've thought of before I would love hear whether that could work in your organization.

  • Joel Hellman

    I've updated the request since we have since got a new feature that supports anonymous voting. Voting with reasons is still not implemented though, which is the gist of this request. 

  • Joel Hellman

    I think it would be pretty neat, given this was implemented so user could leave an optional email address if they left a comment, that this would actually create a Zendesk ticket too (in addition to adding the reason and vote data for analytics). 

    Then we could create a separate ticket flow (if we wanted) to respond to this feedback. It would be a great tool to surprise the customer by exceeding expectations, and require little effort if it was already a ticket. 

    I imagine we wouldn't respond to all requests, since the quality of the feedback would vary greatly, but we could just close tickets where we didn't feel we need to respond, and don't use any auto-response notifications for tickets created through this feedback channel.

    Still, that's just a nice to have, and maybe would be best as an option per Help Center. 


  • Jamie Bradnam

    I'd like to echo Joel's feedback. Happy to have received anonymous voting recently but then next logical step is to allow them to give feedback if they would like to.

  • Cedric Lemaire

    Yes, this is the next step after allowing the anonymous voting a couple of weeks ago.
    Great post, Joel. Hope this can be implemented soon. :-)



  • Kaitlin Hunter

    Would love to see this added as a feature!

  • Peter Siri

    +1 for this simple, but impactful feature!

  • Daniel Gould

    +1 this would be so useful to us! One of our article has got quite a few down votes but we're not sure whats missing or how we really need to improve it

  • Nick Frazier

    Daniel, we have a similar situation. I would love to see a feature like this. 

  • John Meyers

    Are there any updates on adding a comment option for article votes?

  • Biscuit

    I'd love to see anonymous customer feedback on articles so that we can pinpoint where we need to improve

  • Stephanie Petersen

    Also looking for an update on this. We would also find this additional data very useful!

  • Nicole Saunders
    Zendesk Community Manager

    Hey Stephanie - 

    Which pieces of information specifically? 

  • John Meyers

    Hi Nicole,


    I know for us (and I'm guessing for most everyone else here), it's not helpful to have users simply upvote or downvote an article.  That gives us no actionable information.  What was the customer expecting?  Why didn't it answer their question?  Etc.  Letting all users, whether logged in or anonymous be able to leave a comment with their vote is the only way this feature becomes useful and allows us to improve our documentation.

    I believe that's the data we're all looking for - the customer comment on *why* they voted the article the way they did.

  • Stephen Belleau
    Community Moderator
    Zendesk Luminary

    John hit the nail on the head - that's exactly what we would like to see as well.

  • Stephanie Petersen

    Hi Nicole,

    John is perfectly captured the issue for us here. The up votes or down votes on articles are currently not useful data to us to use to improve any articles. We have no feedback from an up or down vote that will allow us to improve an article in any way.

    As an example, our help center is a public facing tool that provides documentation, tutorials and troubleshooting information for a particular line of consumer electronic products. One of those products has an activation process to use the device following purchase. There is one help center article that describes how that process works, why its required and what to do if the user needs help. This article regularly gets many down votes. With the current system, we are spinning a lot of cycles on revisions based on pure guesses as to why the article may be down voted so often. 

    Are our customers having trouble executing the activation process with the instructions provided? Do the customers not like the activation code process in general or find it difficult to execute? Would they rather see a quick video on how this process works and do not want to read the instructions? Are customers that are coming to this article ones who have missing or incorrect activation codes and they aren't getting the help on this page to get their devices activated? Or, are the down votes resulting from units that are stolen and cannot be activated?

    In addition to the collection of feedback for the up or down vote, we would like the ability to hide the up or down votes on specific articles. This would be specifically useful in cases like the article I mentioned above, where we may determine over a period time collecting this feedback that the down votes are the result of frustrated users trying to obtain activation codes without purchase.

  • Sean Needham

    We would also find this feature very useful!

  • John Meyers

    I'll second Nicole's suggestion to be able to manually hide/disable the voting on any given article.  I'd actually love to take this a step further and add this option at the Help Center level (apply voting on/off to all articles), the category level (apply to all within category), the section level (apply to all within section), and the article level. 

    Managing this individually for every article would be cumbersome, but having the highest level group setting inherit to the children groups would make it really easy to handle while still giving you all the control you needed.  I'd suggest adding a "vote" column with a status indicator on the Guide admin page to show whether an article is inheriting the flag from a parent or it's been set manually for that article.

    Hope that makes sense!

  • Yeny Rubiano

    Any news about this useful improvement? :)


  • Nicole Saunders
    Zendesk Community Manager

    Thanks for the detailed responses, all. I'll ping the product team to see if they have any updates. 

  • Chipper Digital

    Just to help others, I believe there are two solutions:

    1. The first one solution was actually another community post: Request feedback after negative article vote (summarized from original thread). It's not quite what Joel posted, but it's a good way approach without having to hack around in code too much.
    2. Alternatively, I decided to see if I could replicate what Joel originally posted and I think I was to accomplish it or at least something relatively close. It's my workaround based on his workaround in comments except that my workaround would allow for public comments IF you want.  

    If you are interested in solution 2, a couple of notes to keep in mind:

    • I haven't done any live, rigorous testing beyond some commenting in a sandbox
    • This requires commenting to be enabled for an article (however there is a coding workaround if you don't want comments for any articles at all)
    • This assumes that anonymous commenting is not a possible but if it does eventually, I'm sure the code can be modified to accommodate to make sure these comments 

    Given all that, the solution I came up with was just to utilize the built-in commenting system of Zendesk by inserting an additional input box after the voting feature that appears after you click the Not Helpful icon and leveraging the Moderate Content feature to call out these feedback comments.

    At a high-level, here's the workflow:

    1. Logged in user clicks on the thumbs down
    2. Once they do, an input box appears below the thumbs that asks, "How can we improve this article?"
    3. User types comment and clicks Submit. NOTE: If you are testing this, make sure you are leaving a comment as an end-user. IF you are leaving it as a manager or higher, it will automatically approve the feedback as an article comment.

    4. In the backend we append some text to his comment before actually submitting
    5. User sees this as a comment to the article, but optionally, it will set to disappear after a few seconds.
    6. Due to moderation settings, our filter recognizes the appended text as article feedback and pulls those comments for review. From what I found, you can enter a phrase so I just added the phrase, "we appreciate you voting and writing feedback", which is also part of the text I appended to the feedback.
    7. As an admin, you now can either: 1) approve the comment so it's now public 2) go to the actual article and convert the comment into a ticket or 3) note the feedback somewhere and delete the comment.

    As I said before, this is just in my sandbox right now, so use the code below only after careful review. Also, happy to discuss what I did if anyone has questions. I probably added extraneous code that wasn't necessary, but some of it is in anticipation for anonymous commenting in the future and/or just being extra cautious.


    Edit article_page.hbs (find "#with article" and edit the code accordingly) :

     {{#with article}}
    <div class="article-votes">
    <span class="article-votes-question">{{t 'was_this_article_helpful'}}</span>
    <div class="article-votes-controls" role='radiogroup'>
    {{vote 'up' role='radio' class='button article-vote article-vote-up'}}
    {{vote 'down' role='radio' class='button article-vote article-vote-down'}}
    <small class="article-votes-count">
    {{vote 'label' class='article-vote-label'}}

    {{#form 'comment' class='comment-form' id='vote-feedback'}}
    <div class="comment-container">
    <p class="comment-callout" style="margin-top:0px;">How can we improve this article?</p>
    {{textarea 'body' rows='4'}}
    <div class="comment-form-controls" style="display: block;">
    {{input type='submit' name='submit' id='submit-button'}}
    <script type="text/javascript">
    //Add identifying text to comment for content moderation to catch
    window.onload = function() {
    document.getElementById("vote-feedback").onsubmit = function() {
    var msgElement = document.getElementById("comment_body");
    msgElement.value = '<p class="vote-comment-success">Thank you. We appreciate you voting and writing feedback. We will do our best to improve your experience</p><p class="vote-comment-subtitle">You wrote:</p><p class="vote-comment-quote">&ldquo;' + msgElement.value + '&rdquo;</p>';
    return true;


    Edit style.css ( I just appended to the end):

    /*hide vote feedback box*/
    #vote-feedback {
    display: none;
    width: 70%;
    /*style vote comment success message*/
    .vote-comment-success {
    text-align: center;
    width: 50%;
    margin: auto;
    /*style vote comment success subtitle*/
    .vote-comment-subtitle {
    width: 75%;
    margin: 0px auto;
    /*style vote comment quoted message*/
    .vote-comment-quote {
    width: 75%;
    margin: 0px auto 10px auto;
    padding: 10px;
    border-radius: 3px;
    background: #eee;
    font-weight: 100;
    font-style: italic;


    Edit script.js ( added within the within the document ready function):

     //Show feedback box when No vote button clicked AND article noted as not helpful
    $('.article-vote-down').click(function() {
    if ($(this).attr('aria-selected') == "false") {
    else {
    //Change pending approval tag to more tailored message based off of identifying text set on article page
    $('.comment-body:contains("We appreciate you voting and writing feedback")').parents('.comment-info').find('.comment-pending').html('<p>Feedback Submitted</p>');
    //Remove feedback submissions from anonymous users which unfortunately means they do not see a success message. I actually do not know if they even have the option to leave comments
    if (HelpCenter.user.role=="anonymous"){
    $(function() {
    $(".comment").filter(function() {
    return $('section:contains("We appreciate you voting and writing feedback")', this).hasClass('comment-body');
    //OPTIONAL: Remove ANY feedback submissions from appearing in comment section for end users, but briefly show receive success notification for your submission based off of identifying text set on article page. As agents and managers, this also allows you to convert the feedback into a ticket on the article's page by clicking the gear icon next to the pending comment since these submissions are visible to you.
    if (HelpCenter.user.role=="end_user"){
    var userid = $('div#user-menu').find('a:contains("My profile")').attr('href');
    console.log(userid, "User Profile URL");
    var commentauth = $('.comment-meta').find('a').attr('href');
    console.log(commentauth, "Author Profile URL");
    if ( userid === commentauth ) {
    $(function() {
    $(".comment").filter(function() {
    return $('section:contains("We appreciate you voting and writing feedback")', this).hasClass('comment-body');
    } else {
    $("span.comment-pending").filter(function() {
    $(this).closest('.comment').find('section:contains("We appreciate you voting and writing feedback")').remove();
  • Jbgallimore10

    Has there been any update on this? From Zendesk?

    Is this something you guys are building or perhaps found a way to add without having multiple forms and totally changing the JS?


  • Jenna G.

    We would love this feature as well! Has there been any progress on implementing the ability to add comments or feedback with an up or down vote for articles?

  • Yeny Rubiano

    Hello all, we were able to accomplish this feature using the code provided above. Thank you very much Chipper!

  • Chipper Digital

    Thanks, Yeny! I use that too for my site now so it's good to see it work for others. 


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