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I'm designing an application to handle requests from users. Requests will be assigned to all kinds of people. For instance, a "Request for vacations" would be handled by someone in HR. But a request to repair a door lock would be handled by someone in facilities management. In some complex cases, multiple people could work on a single request.

I'm looking for a noun to describe someone who works on requests.

A general term that means "someone who does something in a process" would be fine too.

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  • This is related to my other question: english.stackexchange.com/questions/35596/…
    – Sly
    Commented Aug 1, 2011 at 13:33
  • Also, processor.
    – Mitch
    Commented Aug 1, 2011 at 13:57
  • @Mitch: I thought about processor too, but 1. it's been canibalized by its meaning of CPU; 2. dictionaries seem to say it applies to machines exclusively.
    – F'x
    Commented Aug 1, 2011 at 14:53
  • Expeditor, maybe.
    – mkennedy
    Commented Aug 1, 2011 at 15:28
  • I need a word that is user friendly and that I can use in email messages sent to the requesters. For instance: "Dear Jenny, Your request number is 1788726. The <<insert word here>> assigned to your request is Mike Brown."
    – Sly
    Commented Aug 1, 2011 at 15:34

3 Answers 3

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In the abstract, I would go with operator. If you wish to put this together with the type of requests that the person has to answer to, you could probably say handler.

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  • +1 for "handler", which is often used in a programming context to identify "service routines" that [asynchronously?] deal with specific events/requests arising elsewhere within a system. Commented Aug 1, 2011 at 14:24
  • I would say handler, too, though I'm not a native speaker.
    – kovalad
    Commented Aug 1, 2011 at 20:34
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We had a similar situation in an IT department where I once worked. Requests for help would be placed in a queue, and any of several people with various job descriptions might handle a specific request. The person who actually did handle a given request was the responder (similar to handler, as proposed by F'x).

In some cases, multiple responders were needed, or the first responder might clarify the problem and then pass it on to a second responder, possibly a specialist (who only worked on a certain type of problem) or a domain expert (who might handle several types of problem but had special expertise in a certain subject).

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  • We had people who used "Responder" as the person that the Handler talked back to, following the idea of Stimulus and Response. Then that code met someone like you who thought of it the other direction. Since then, we eschew Responder in this type of naming.
    – SRM
    Commented Aug 26, 2021 at 16:43
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In use case analysis a general term for "someone who does something in a process" is the actor.

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