Ask user input for rules

Continuing the discussion regarding asking user input for rules, I thought this probably deserves its own feature request.

Currently, asking for user input is only available for button automations. However, as was discussed in the topic, it would be very useful to have available as part of automation rules. There are quite a few instances where this might be useful, for example:

  • When a new item is created (in a view or inline in rich text fields/documents), there are often some important fields that should be filled in quickly. Being able to ask user input for select fields as part of on creation rule would be a great way of doing this. Currently, you have to click (or Alt+click) to open the full entity view to be able to enter this data. A simple example of this would be when creating a new task during a meeting, you would want to capture things like assignee, due date, priority, etc right away. This is also extremely useful when the name of the entity is formula-based.

  • As part of a particular workflow, there is often a need to capture bits of information as you go through the workflow. So It would be helpful if you are able to define rules when a particular update to a workflow/single-select field would trigger a rule and ask for particular information to be added or updated. An example of this would be approval process for vacations/purchasing/expenses where in the multi-step process, the individual decisions might need to be captured.

@Oleg identified some challenges with this, in particular since rules can be triggered by a variety of situations where there is no user to ask for input. There were a number of interesting suggestions:

  • Setting up default values (which is already possible for drop downs but might be useful for other fields) that would be used when input is not available
  • Applying the rule to situations when the action is triggered as part of a user UI action

I also have tried to automate setting up “intelligent” default/initial values for Tasks when created from within a Rich Text field. The main problem for me is that I haven’t found a good way for a Rule to determine the context in which the new entity is created (i.e. the RichText and its containing entity).

I agree that it would be very useful to be able to prompt the user for more info situations like this, to save them from having to explicitly open the new entity and navigate through all its fields to find the ones that should be set. It is much more efficient if the user is simply presented with all the fields that need to be set.

If a “new entity created” Rule could be triggered/selected by specific circumstances of the entity’s creation – e.g. “Fire when a new Task entity is created inline in a Rich Text Field” – and if the Rule could also ask for user input like you suggest – that would be a neat solution. Especially if such a Rule also could use the entity’s creation context (i.e., in which Rich Text field it was created, within which entity). That context should actually be something that the Rule can test as part of its criteria; e.g., “only fire if the new entity is being created in a Meeting Notes Description field”. Then the rule could intelligently use the creation context to set up some default field values (e.g. assign the Task’s Project, via the Meeting Notes entity), as well as prompting the user for initial values like Assignee and Due Date.