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Welcome to the official blog for the WordPress Support team.

This is where we discuss issues related to providing support. You can follow our discussions and weekly chat updates here.

If you want to help make WordPress support awesome, we would love for you to help out!

Need help with a WordPress issue?

You can find help with your WordPress problem by posting in the support forums or asking on the #wordpress IRC channel.

Want to get involved?

Answering a question in the support forums or on IRC is one of the easiest ways to get started. Everyone knows the answer to something!

We have a detailed handbook to help contributors learn how to work with the forums and IRC.

Weekly Meetings

As well as discussing support issues here on the blog, we use IRC for group communication.

Our weekly team meeting is on Thursdays at 16:00 UTC in #wordpress-sfd IRC on Freenode.

If you don’t have an IRC client, there is a web interface you can use to join in.

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  • Jan Dembowski 9:56 am on July 30, 2014 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    Team chat agenda for week #31 

    A little on the late side this week but for any items that you may want discussed in this week’s #wordpress-sfd meetup please reply in the comments below.

     
    • Jan Dembowski 4:12 pm on July 30, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Here’s 2 items I’ve missed.

      • WordPress 4.0 Beta 2 on going testing (of course)
      • Closing topics too early in the forums? Not early enough?
    • MacManX (James Huff) 7:06 pm on July 30, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Not necessarily a priority (or is it?), but if we have any time left over in the hour, let’s talk about Section 3, and anything else that’s mostly empty in the Troubleshooting Handbook.

      I get the feeling that some people have ideas, but either need a push or could benefit from collaboration, and if not “some people,” then at least me. :)

      • Jan Dembowski 1:49 pm on July 31, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I think it’s a priority. I’m hoping that at WCNYC Contributor Day tomorrow I can spend sometime giving that section must need love and attention. ;)

    • Marius Jensen (Clorith) 8:30 am on July 31, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Users who run businesses but utilize our free support as their own personal “get out of jail free” card. I’m sure this happens on the forums as well, but I see the regulars on IRC getting rubbed the wrong way more and more by the same people running WP businesses but not knowing what they’re doing and using us to do their jobs over and over.

      • Jan Dembowski 1:30 pm on July 31, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        When a user seeks support in the forums for code in the WordPress repo such as core, plugin, theme or something in the Codex like actions and filters then it ought to not matter if they’re a business or not IMHO. It should be the same reply to them for support.

        Now when a plugin or theme author use the free forums for their paid product support then that will get them a shoulder tap.

        We’ll touch on that more at the meetup today. ;)

  • Jan Dembowski 12:13 am on July 25, 2014 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    Support Team Update for July 24th 

    Items discussed at today’s #wordpress-sfd meetup:

    WordPress 4.0 beta2

    The second 4.0 beta is going smoothly. All the media related issues have tickets and is being worked on and the two holdouts are considered minor.

    There was a question from the week before if the Alpha/Beta sub-forum shows up in no-replies and all topics; it does.

    The handbooks for support

    The support handbook really is for moderators and the troubleshooting handbook is for everyone. That doesn’t really explain it clearly but at some time soon the troubleshooting handbook will be linked in the blue welcome box when you visit make/support.

    Upgrading plugins will protect you. Honest.

    In the recent past a certain popular plugin had an exploit that permitted Bad People™ to install code and backdoors onto your WordPress installation. If you were not compromised and upgraded the plugin then you were not impacted by this exploit. If you were exploited prior to the patched version of the plugin being released then you have to clean out your installation.

    However if you did not upgrade when the update arrived or continued to run the vulnerable version then your installation was a prime target for bots and most likely was compromised as a result of that.

    Please keep your plugins, themes and WordPress versions up to date and patched. It can protect you and save you hours of grief down the line.

    Speaking of exploits, there appears to be an uptick in XML-RPC brute force attacks. While some hosts may recommend that the users delete that xmlrpc.php file that will likely break things. The best reply to those topics really is “Please speak with your host.” Real firewalls that can rate limit http requests from attack hosts from ever reaching your installation can be the best way to solve it. Using .htaccess won’t really help as 10,000 404 pages will bring down any host.

    The transcript for today’s meetup can be read at this link.

     
  • Jan Dembowski 12:12 pm on July 22, 2014 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    Team chat agenda for week #30 

    For any items that you may want discussed in this week’s #wordpress-sfd meetup please reply in the comments below. I will be unable to participate in this week’s meetup but I will do the write up afterwards. If something changes then I’ll attend.

    • WordPress Beta 2 and the Alpha/Beta sub-forum – User feedback and any possible gotchas identified?
    • Updates on the new troubleshooting handbook? – There was some confusion last week about the Support Handbook and the new Troubleshooting Handbook. Has that been cleared up?
     
  • Jan Dembowski 10:30 am on July 18, 2014 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    Support Team Update for July 17th 

    Items discussed at the #wordpress-sfd meetup:

    Status of the handbooks (not just the Troubleshooting one)

    @samuelsidler (sams) asked about the difference between the handbooks and the organization of them. He was at WCKC and there was some confusion when trying to locate items in the handbooks.

    The Support Handbook really is for moderators and people providing support in that role. For example many of the pre-defined replies in that handbook deal with managing topics. That’s for solving forum problems. It’s written for moderators.

    The Troubleshooting Handbook in development is for people who want to assist others with WordPress problems. It’s a different audience and is definitely needed.

    This item neatly segued into the next topic of

    The Troubleshooting Handbook status

    It’s looking good and parts of the new handbook are fleshed out. It still needs content but as @Ipstenu reminded me release and iterate also applies to documentation too. Contributions don’t have to be perfect but they have to be started or things will never get done.

    That last sentence was more of a note to myself but all contributions to the handbook are welcomed. ;) If you want to contribute but don’t have access then contact me via the comments and we’ll figure something out.

    There was discussion of how and what belongs on the new handbook and the consensus was to keep it basic and inviting to new users.

    Portions of the new Troubleshooting Handbook that do a deep dive into setting up things like WAMP, LAMP, MAMP, VVV, etc. will be directed to other more technical resources. Their will be technical details there (see the break/fix examples) but the goal is to get users started and invite them to provide support.

    We all want to get more people helping and keeping it basic may get that started.

    Section topic titles

    The sections and examples were obtained from @Ipstenu‘s Break/Fix site. The titles work with the content of the article but some of them may be unclear when people are looking around. Those titles are fun though and when you get into the examples you’ll understand Mika’s gift for titles. ;)

    If you have a suggestion for modifying a title in the handbook please ping the gang here.

    BETA!

    I couldn’t figure out a good way to type that title with a Kirk “KHHAANNN!!!” effect.

    The WordPress 4.0 beta1 is out and please test and beat up. There are some nice enchantments (the media library made me yell “Oh that’s cool!”) and feed back is needed and bugs should be reported to the Alpha/Beta sub-forum. For a good status or progress on the beta consider subscribing to make/core.

    When you see topics in the Alpha/Beta sub-forum that have a ticket assigned and posted in that topic please mark that topic resolved. Don’t close the topic unless it becomes a run-away train or off topic in a bad way. Then the usual applies and that topic can be closed.

    The transcript for this meetup can be read at this link.

     
  • Jan Dembowski 10:21 am on July 16, 2014 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    Team chat agenda for week #29 

    For any items that you may want discussed in this week’s #wordpress-sfd meetup please reply in the comments below.

     
    • samuelsidler 12:41 pm on July 16, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Can you add the support handbook (not troubleshooting handbook) to the agenda? Just a general checkup.

    • MacManX (James Huff) 2:44 pm on July 16, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Sadly, I am 98% sure that I will have to miss this week due to an all-day meeting (insert witty comment here). I am holding out for the 2% that things will magically start an hour late over here, which is definitely a possibility, but will otherwise just catch up with the transcript.

    • Drew Jaynes (DrewAPicture) 4:29 pm on July 16, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’d like to propose that we start leveraging the Support P2 for more day-to-day use. The wp-forums list is nearly the last of the mailing lists to survive and it’s not been the greatest outlet to get input from multiple voices (back and forth email conversations make for a poor replacement for comments, for instance).

      • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 4:58 pm on July 16, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        That said, reporting things like “mod-watching user X” is … kind of better over there, and non-authors can bring up topics. Now… Should we bring that back here? Yes! (I really get grumpy at people who email me offlist about stuff that should be public chattered in the official places).

        We really need a better, sadly semi-private, way to talk about those things. It’s just too volatile.

        • Drew Jaynes (DrewAPicture) 6:41 pm on July 16, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          It’s more that there should be fewer general discussion topics on the list, and more on the P2. That’s what it’s for.

          • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 7:22 pm on July 16, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Sure, BUT non-authors can’t post here. They can reply, so they’ll always be at the behest of people who CAN make a new post. So the barrier to get in a conversation is lower on a mailing list.

            And then of course the question is do we give access to everyone to make new posts? (I don’t feel we should)

            • MacManX (James Huff) 9:47 pm on July 16, 2014 Permalink

              do we give access to everyone to make new posts?

              [pretend this is an embedded Buzz Lightyear meme which says "Spam! Vast fields of spam!"]

  • Jerry Bates (jerrysarcastic) 12:40 am on July 15, 2014 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment
    Tags:   

    Troubleshooting Handbook – Progress Update 

    TL;DR The Troubleshooting Handbook is off to a great start and trucking along, but is also in need of your help. Contributors welcome!

    Why do we need a troubleshooting handbook?

    Whether energized by a local WordCamp or driven by their own desire to help others, many volunteers come to the WordPress.org Support Forums to show their WordPress love by giving back in the form of solving other’s issues.

    However, giving support is not something that we are all born with; If anything it is a learned skill. A desire to help goes a long way, but what about the other things that go into giving good support, such as:

    • Helpful tools and strategies for troubleshooting WordPress sites
    • Exercises on how to break a site (and then fix it) to gain a firsthand understanding common issues seen in support
    • Advice on effective communication styles and approaches to use when helping others
    • Tips and trick for working with the forum software (as a volunteer rather than a moderator) to make life easier.

    Currently, there is no go-to guide that collects all that information in one place for anyone starting out to benefit from; the Troubleshooting Handbook aims to fill this gap.

    Where we are now

    Work has finished on building the initial Handbook structure, as well as an import of content from Break/Fix (the inspiration for this project) which completes the first phase of this project.

    Many sections of the handbook (See spreadsheet) have pages that are in various stages of completion, and could use help to get the rest of the way. Here is a breakdown of were we could use your help.

    Section 1 – Getting started

    Ideally, this section should read like a “quick start” guide to volunteering in the forums, but it’s too disjointed to function that way currently. You can help by expanding content on the following pages:

    Section 2 – Break/fix lessons

    This section is meant to be a hands-on set of exercises on how break a site, with info on how to troubleshoot and fix it. This relates to common issues seen in WordPress support.

    Content in this section is fairly complete, owing to having been largely imported from breakfix.elftest.net but if you have an idea for an exercise you would like to contribute to expand this section or ideas on how to make the existing exercises better, let us know!

    Section 3 – Giving good support

    Most of the topics in Section 3 are without content, having only placeholder pages or article stubs. Feel free to check out any of the pages in this section to see if any interest you. They are all open to your contributions.

    Also, props to MacManX for kicking off the pre-defined replies page: http://make.wordpress.org/support/trouble/section-3-giving-good-support/pre-defined-replies/

    Giving Credit

    We have also added a credits page, which will expand over time, but for now reflects the hard work that has gotten us here so far. We’ve also including a shout-out to the original rockstar contributors to the Break/fix site this project derives it’s inspiration from. Check it out, and if you’d like to contribute, let us know in the comments.

     
    • samuelsidler 12:44 am on July 15, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      One of the things I noticed at the WCKC contributor day this weekend was that the predefined replies there are different than the ones in the support handbook. If we’re merging everything into the troubleshooting handbook, can we move it out of the support handbook and perhaps link to it in the support handbook?

      • MacManX (James Huff) 7:29 pm on July 15, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        The Stock Answers in the Support Handbook were geared towards Moderators and also include things only a moderator would need to post, so I wrote the predefs in the Troubleshooting Handbook to be more geared towards non-mods (like “This topic has now been closed . . .” in Stock Answers vs. “This topic will be closed . . .” in the Troubleshooting Handbook) and left the moderator-only stuff out.

        The Stock Answers section of the Support Handbook has stated the following at the top ever since the predef section went live in the Troubleshooting Handbook:

        Please note the following list includes common replies for forum moderators. Perhaps you were looking for common general support replies instead?

        Since this is designed to be used by everyone, it’s probably best to keep the moderator-only predefs out of this Troubleshooting Handbook section, but we also probably won’t make a firm decision on that until we’re done with everything.

      • Jerry Bates (jerrysarcastic) 8:04 pm on July 15, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Regarding merging the two, that was my original suggestion (to expand the existing Support Handbook, not create a separate one) but that was not seen as a good solution by everyone. I can see the point, as it does make some sense to keep them separate (as James suggests) but I think the naming really fights this.

        Perhaps calling it the “Moderator Handbook” would help eliminate some confusion here? It’s probably hard to understand the distinction between a Support Handbook and a Troubleshooting Handbook. They both really sound like they would deal with the same thing.

  • Jan Dembowski 2:36 am on July 11, 2014 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    Support Team Update for July 10th 

    Items discussed at today’s #wordpress-sfd meetup:

    WordPress 4.0 Beta1 has dropped this morning

    Early today the release announcement for the next beta was posted. Please test and report any issues. You can install the WordPress Beta Tester plugin to do that easily.

    Forum moderators: if you see a topic in the Alpha/Beta sub-forum and a ticket has been created in trac then please mark that topic as “resolved” and post that link.

    Contributing to the Troubleshooting Handbook

    The troubleshooting handbook needs contributions and the topic was raised for how that can be accomplished. There’s not really a method to grant that access in a good way. If someone has some content they would like to contribute then perhaps posting it on their own site first may be how to get started.

    It’s easy to grant access to someone who has been collaborating with the different teams for years but granting that access to new people is delicate. It’s an idea that needs working on.

    Status of the Troubleshooting handbook

    @jerrysarcastic has generously offered to post a separate status update on that topic. ;)

    The transcript of today’s meetup can be read via this link.

     
  • Jan Dembowski 1:26 am on July 10, 2014 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    Team chat agenda for week #28 

    For any items that you may want discussed in this week’s #wordpress-sfd meetup please reply in the comments below.

     
    • Jan Dembowski 10:20 am on July 10, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Adding this item to the agenda…

    • Jan Dembowski 11:49 am on July 10, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Adds topic about how others can contribute to the Troubleshooting Handbook as asked about in this comment.

    • Matthew 2:28 pm on July 11, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I would be nice if it was easier to find the Handbook.

    • Matthew 12:58 pm on July 12, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Lately I have noticed that lots of people have been posting their support topics in the main support area instead of the individual plugin support forums. Because of this, the plugin contributor(s) can’t see the topic to help fix the persons problem.

      • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 3:54 pm on July 13, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        This has always been a problem.

        Short of hiring someone to sit by people when they post and yell “WROOOOOONNNNG” I really can’t think of anything more to to about it.

        When you find them, tag the post with the plugin slug and reply saying “I’ve tagged this for the developer…” GOOD theme and plugin devs suck up the spam and watch those tags :)

  • Jan Dembowski 2:01 am on July 4, 2014 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    Support Team Update for July 3rd 

    Items discussed at today’s #wordpress-sfd meetup:

    Domain trademark violations

    This comes up from time to time in the forums. Someone (well meaning I am sure) uses WordPress in their domain name and posts that link in the forums or in their forum profile. When that happens they usually get a reply such as “Hey, could you please stop using that domain name? Here’s some links explaining it better.”

    Volunteer support is not trademark police and I’ve not seen a case where someone didn’t correct that when pointed out. Support volunteers are there to help people and not really get into topics like that. But if necessary this link can be used to report that to the WordPress foundation.

    http://wordpressfoundation.org/contact/

    Again it’s not that support is to tell people right and wrong but if an instance needs to be escalated then that link should work.

    Troubleshooting Handbook status

    The new Troubleshooting Handbook is making progress and both @jerrysarcastic and @podz (Markr) have been working on it. It still needs contributors so please take some time to look it over and contribute where you can.

    https://make.wordpress.org/support/trouble/

    Section 3 can use some attention and would really benefit from some content.

    For examples of good (and not so good) support it was discussed to possibly take topics from the forum and modify/anonymize the text so that the examples remain just examples. It’s important that the handbook doesn’t seem to call out people for their behaviour. It’s a handbook after all and everyone should benefit from the verbiage.

    Expiring topics earlier than 1 year?

    When a topic is a year old it gets expired meaning no one can reply to those topics anymore. Moderators can still edit the posts in the topic but not reply either. This morning on the wp-forums list the idea came up about the possibility of reducing that time.

    Expiring topics around 3 months was well recieved in IRC and that became 6 months after some talking it out. I suggested sending an email to the list asking Otto about it. His reply on the list touched on something important: what is the best experience for the users?

    Topics are expired because after a time they’re no longer useful. That time is currently 1 year but more or less could be a tough thing to nail down. It’s something that will continue to be discussed on the wp-forums list.

    This really isn’t a critical item (it only really came up today) and I think the 1 year age out will stay. Moderators can still close topics that have gone off the rails and are no longer productive.

    The transcript of today’s #wordpress-sfd meetup can be read at this link

     
  • Jan Dembowski 9:34 am on July 2, 2014 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    Team chat agenda for week #27 

    For any items that you may want discussed in this week’s #wordpress-sfd meetup please reply in the comments below.

     
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