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Guest tickets

Akeeba Ticket System allows, under certain conditions, Guest users to file tickets. Guest users is Joomla! lingo for site visitors who are not logged in, i.e. they do not have a user account yet. Please make sure you understand the "How does this feature work?" section below before trying to use this feature. It tells you how this feature works and which settings, in ATS and Joomla! itself, will conflict with it and make it not work as you think it should.

If you do not want this feature, you don't need to do anything. Guest tickets will only be allowed if you set up one or more ATS categories to allow Guest users to create tickets.

How does this feature work?

Unregistered (Guest) users can create tickets as long as the ATS category has the Create privilege for the Guest user group. Joomla's user registration must be enabled in the Options of the Users component in the backend; or the Force user creation when filing Guest tickets option in Akeeba Ticket System's Options page must be set to Yes.

The users will need to provide an email address, a name and a desired username when filing a ticket from the web. You can optionally tell Akeeba Ticket System, through its Component options, to show a CAPTCHA for Guest users. This is a good idea since it will cut down on spam ticket submissions. Please note that you must have one or more plugins in the "captcha" group activated in Joomla's Plugins page and select the CAPTCHA plugin to use. If either of these conditions is not met a CAPTCHA will not be shown to Guest users trying to file a new ticket. Also note that, obviously, the CAPTCHA will not apply to tickets created by sending an email!

When filing a ticket by email we obviously already have their email address. If they have provided their full name as part of the From address of their email we will use that. Otherwise we will also use the email address as the user's full name. Akeeba Ticket System will create a Joomla! username derived from the user's full name or, if that's not possible, their email address. Users can change their email address and full name in Joomla's user profile edit page whenever they want, as long as you've provided such a page in your site's frontend. Users can optionally be allowed to change their username themselves if you enable the respective feature in Joomla's Users component's Options page. By default, this feature is disabled. Do note that this is a feature of Joomla! itself, not a feature of Akeeba Ticket System.

As implied above, a new user account is created for the guest user and assigned to the ticket. That user account has a random password. The username and the password are both emailed to the user by Joomla! itself. If you have configured Joomla! to not send the password to the user then the user will very obviously not receive their password which makes it impossible for them to log in. In this case they will either have to use the Forgot Password feature of Joomla! itself or contact you and ask for a password to be issued. For this reason we recommend that you configure Joomla! to send the password to new users over email.

A special note about what happens when the user submits a ticket but required fields are missing or the CAPTCHA check fails. Akeeba Ticket System needs to create the user before checking for required fields and CAPTCHA (CAPTCHA is technically a required Joomla form field). This is a limitation of how Joomla works. This means that in this case a user is created and immediately deleted. If your site is configured to send an email to the user on new user registration (default Joomla behavior) your guest user will receive a confusing email telling them a user account was created but no such user account exists on your site until the finish submitting their ticket. This is NOT a bug, it's the only way this can be implemented. We strongly recommend NOT using Guest tickets. Instead, let the users register a user account and then let them file tickets. You could even use something like Akeeba SocialLogin to provide frictionless registration with the users logging in (and automatically creating a user account) using their social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, GitHub, Google account, Microsoft account or Apple ID.

The user account created for the guest ticket may need to be activated by the user, per the Options in Joomla's backend. If, however, you have enabled Force user creation when filing Guest tickets the user registration settings of Joomla! will be ignored and the user account will be activated. As noted above, enabling this option will also allow Akeeba Ticket System to create new Joomla! users even if you have disabled user registration in the Options page of Joomla's Users component.

The user will need to log into your site with the created user account to reply to the ticket or file more tickets. If they try to file a ticket as a Guest with an email address already in use by a user account on the site they will be asked to log in to file a new ticket.

Why not implement guest tickets just by email address?

Because it's woefully insecure.

Email addresses are supposed to be handled as public information. You do give it to people you know or even people you don't know, e.g. printing it on your business card. Anyone who knows or guesses your email address could access your guest tickets and reply to them as if they were you. This is ridiculously insecure.

That's the reason why commercial helpdesk SaaS like ZenDesk require people contacting you to create a user account to view the entire ticket thread and/or send their replies by email. Akeeba Ticket System also does the same, the latter if you enable the ticket replies by email feature. It's the only way to have a modicum of assurance that the people who view or reply to tickets are those who are in control of a specific email address.