Building an Action handler

Revisiting the earlier post on non-blocking options. One of the issues that comes up is that it can be messy to have multiple actions for a single function. The other issue is that user inputs can accidentally trigger such survey events. So you want to prevent that.

So the first part is simple. You just move them into one single action. You can even have the sub-action be the handler for the responses.

Within the json the label is what is shown to the end user. The text piece is what gets sent silently to Assistant. Swapping out the thumbs for UUIDs allows you to create training data that can never be triggered by the end user. To make it easier I put a word tag on the end so I remember which is which like so:

Now in the training data of your sub-action you add the UUIDs you created.

Lastly you want to have the steps to look for these in your first steps. Those steps should have a condition statement using the expression editor like so:

Once captured, ensure you finish on that step. Lastly you want to switch off “Ask clarifying question” and “Change conversation topic”.

You now have a poor mans callback. 🙂 I’ve attached the sample skill for you to review.

Time for an update

I keep meaning to get back to this blog but various things continue to block. So it’s 4am and I’ve nothing to do, so time to put in some updates.


The main reasons to why I am so quiet.

  • I am much closer to the magic of how watsonx Assistant is made. So it’s harder to find stuff to blog about that I know will end up as a feature later (case in point, my earlier blog post).
  • My current work carries more potential commercial value, adding another layer of complexity to what I can publicly share.
  • The latest version of watsonx Assistant is designed for non-technical people to do much cooler stuff easier than before. Trying to find anything useful rarely warrants a whole blog post. So I’ve been posting to Stackoverflow as needed.


Earlier in the year I received the IBM Tech 2023 award. It’s awarded to the top talent in IBM. I got a chance to go back to Dubai and meet many exceptional people in IBM across the world. That event really puts in perspective of how many moving parts there are in IBM and how there are numerous people excelling in those parts.

More recently I was humbled to receive the Culture Catalyst Award for my work on and watsonx Assistant. Helping others to build solutions that matter. The award is given to culture leaders and role models who exemplify our purpose, values, and growth behaviours, working to activate our culture and drive growth.

I’ve also helped build a worldwide program focused on helping existing customers fix gaps in their Assistant and migrate easier to the latest version. Helping to oversee numerous experts in different Geos execute this for customers has been very rewarding.

On the personal side I got to visit Japan for my son. A fantastic country, but I was more impressed with how fluently and relaxed my son was there. His self study of Japanese and culture paid off for his first visit.

What now?

I’ll try to add updates as I can. If there is something in particular you want let me know (or just post on Stackoverflow or TechExchange. I can also be found on Bluesky.