How can we make Microsoft Teams better?

Remove Bot Mention Requirement

It seems as though currently all bots only work if you @mention them, so my assumption is that this is a requirement of the api used to develop the bots.

Many people from my organization are used to IRC/Slack style bots where an explicit @mention isn't required for bots to parse a message and respond.

Sometimes there is fun functionality that can be added for a lot of bots and having to @mention a bot really detracts from the user experience of some bots.

I can also see this getting out of hand when using a lot of bots, so this would probably be something that would go well in tandem with this suggestion: https://microsoftteams.uservoice.com/forums/555103-public/suggestions/18646108-bot-permissions-contract

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    Austin Brown shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

    12 comments

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      • Andrew L commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Is there an update or prediction of when this feature will come off of the backlog list? Slack and a number of other chat programs have this feature. We've moved from slack to teams and now have lost a fair amount of bot functionality as we've now had to try to retrain the users to @mention the bot. As you can imagine it's easier to retrain a bot than a person.

      • Gabe Williamson commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        holy cow yes, several of our in-house bots on a different chat system listen for sale ids or jira tickets and add links to the correlated page. This extra bit of context was super helpful and fairly ingrained in our daily workflows. We'd love to be able to reimplement this bot on teams but can't right now. Threaded conversations make this format even better!

      • Justin Lynch commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I am part of a team that provides real-time support for representatives at a call center. Most of the time, we provide url's to our knowledge base system that resolves their issue. I want a bot that can track what url's we share to help find trends. It would be great if the bot could "watch the conversations in the channel" so we could use that to track those urls and provide us with that data.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        The lack of this feature is currently stopping us from adopting Teams for a Not for Profit Organisation's project.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        We really need a way for a bot to connect to a team/channel without having to expose a public callback. We would prefer the support of a chat client so that we can use hubot completely inside our firewall and can see all messages.

      • Olivier Jacques commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Indeed. Multiple use cases to allow bots to listen to activity in a room:
        - Augmented conversations - add details when a bug or user story is mentioned
        - Conversational User Experience: with the current implementation, I am not sure that conversational user experience (https://docs.botframework.com/en-us/, https://www.luis.ai/home/index) can actually be implemented. I have not tried though.

      • Mike commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        We currently use this in mattermost for integration with our ticketing system. For example, a mention of #ticket_number pulls metadata from our request tracker.

        Its also a requirement if you want to bridge channels with external services. For example, we use matterbridge to connect a private channel to a partner's slack instance in order to have cross-site communication w/o creating accounts in both systems for every single person.

      • Jim Pruetting commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        With the mention requirement in place, bots are basically just custom slash commands. The real power of bots is when they can read, understand, and add value to conversations as they happen.

      • Caleb Meyer commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        You can get into an infinite loop with this (we had some good times on IRC back in the day playing our bots off of each other), but not if you only let bots hear real people.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Agree. Can think of so much more use case on real intelligent and automated bots of they can 'trigger' on text instead of mentioning.
        I believe Slack does the same.

      • Colin Zhang commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Agreed. This is a functional requirement for many Bot use cases. For example, my org has an internal Bot for Slack that copies conversations on bugs into our issue tracker as comments. This is currently not feasible to replicate in Teams (despite the threaded chat being better suited to issue-specific conversations!) due to the requirement of mentioning the Bot on every reply.

        I've also noticed that this requirement limits the usefulness of some third party bots like the Meekan scheduler.

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