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  • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 5:18 pm on July 27, 2012 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    From Bluehost 

    Bryan Petty posted this to the wp-forums list:

    Hi,

    I just thought it would be helpful to inform the forum mods here that
    Bluehost is working on a large push for customers to get their WP sites
    upgraded to the latest version.

    We have a list of about 150k customers with WP installations that are
    older than 3.3 which we are currently focused on, and have started the
    first batch of email notifications for those customers. 30k emails went
    out yesterday, and we will likely continue with another 15-25k every day
    through next week until everyone has been notified.

    Right now this is just a friendly reminder for our customer to upgrade
    their own WP installs, but we will be pushing even harder on this in the
    coming weeks.

    So if you start to see a large increase in support posts, don’t be too
    alarmed. We have informed our customers to contact our support team with
    any questions or problems of course, and hopefully very few spill over
    into the forums here unless they do have very legitimate problems that
    should be addressed here so others with the same problem can find the
    solution as well.

    As a reminder, if you see these posts, make sure they’re tagged ‘bluehost’ :) Anyone can tag any post!

     
  • Andrea Rennick 10:44 pm on July 26, 2012 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment
    Tags: ,   

    Codex work 

    We should probably get a conversation going not only about needed Codex work but *how* to approach a better structure and how to get the work done.

    I’m leaning towards a re-org and maybe a bit of a division between users docs and programmer notes. A good example of this the Pages page. It starts out as a user doc then jumps right into code.

    Things like Handbooks need to be sorted out and linked to as well.

    I think if we could sort out the right approach first and focus on specific pages or topics later, then we’d start making big progress. Possible if we even approached it like a WP dev cycle, with clear targets and a deadline.

    Possibly a mentorship program as well, wehre we could round up people to help and start handing out assignments and being there to keep people on task and for any questions they have.

    All thoughts welcome here. :)

     
    • Siobhan 11:08 pm on July 26, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I would love to be involved in a re-organisation of the Codex. Building documentation projects from the ground up is something I’ve been involved with a lot recently. This is both for documenting new projects from scratch and coming on board when documentation has become a mess and totally reorganising it.

      A division between developer docs and user docs is a great place to start. Users are freaked out by developer stuff, and developers don’t need access to user stuff (at least not when they are developing). I think the WordPress Lessons section of the codex is a great start for user docs but I’m not sure if users are actually going their as their first stopping point for help.

      Something I’ve found immensely useful when thinking about how to restructure documentation is carrying out a content inventory. Basically a spreadsheet with a big list of titles and locations and maybe some comments. For the Codex the thought of this kind of scares me because it’s such a massive beast, but yeah, it’s a really useful exercise.

      On a more general Codex related note, I’ve spoken to a lot of people about the Codex recently. At WordCamp NYC we got people to come along to the hack room and we took over it and talked to people about writing on the codex. We did try to get some writing done but we actually found the learning curve for mediawiki was too difficult to tackle in that sort of environment. i.e. people had to learn mediawiki from scratch + codex styles & conventions, which meant sitting reading stuff when they actually wanted to be practically doing. However, what was heartening, was that so many people came along (I met @zoonini there :) ). There were about 20 people who came in and out, and at least half of those had no idea that you could contribute to WordPress by contributing to the Codex. It’s not really something that people think about.

      At WordCamp UK we did a panel on contributing to WordPress, and almost everyone agreed that the WordPress Codex is the area most in need of some love and attention. I think part of the issue is that people either a) don’t have the time to write technical documentation or b) don’t enjoy it. Also, a major issue that was discussed is that there is nothing on users’ WordPress profiles to acknowledge that they have written in the Codex. So if you write a plugin or theme it’s on your profile, you get props and acknowledgements for contributing to core, support threads appear on your profiles, but there’s nothing about Codex activity (or for translations, I think? and probably other things). So, in some ways it feels like a thankless task. You’re not a “rockstar”, you don’t get “props”, you’re not a mod or anything cool like that. And for a lot of people that doesn’t matter, but for others it does and some form of acknowledgement may encourage more people to get involved. I think there’s something in the works related to this, but am not sure of the details.

      Anyway, +1 codex organisation. I’ll help whatever way I can. I did have other thoughts but it’s gone past midnight so will see what comes to mind again in the morning.

    • Christine 11:30 pm on July 26, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’m just going to come out and say it, and I’ll make enemies, I know… but if the folks at Automattic are serious about this, they need to hire someone. The codex needs way too much work to put this in the hands of volunteers.

      I’ve edited a few pages and I was really scared. I’m just not confident enough to put code snippets — which I use all the time — but I’m just not sure if they are used correctly. I only posted my snippets after having asked a couple of people on twitter to confirm that what I was saying was indeed accurate.

      • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 1:31 am on July 27, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I agree about the hiring.

        The code snippets aren’t as important as getting the right information. I mean, we can come up with examples later, but some of that data is downright incorrect :/ I get the fear. MediaWiki is a hefty hungry hippo, but it’s really good.

      • Siobhan 8:49 am on July 27, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I also agree that someone really needs to be hired to fo it. However, I’m not sure if Automattic is the company do to it. It’s sensible for them to hire people to work on core, ui, even accessibility, as those things affect the core product at WordPress.com, and at WordPress VIP – improving them makes what they have to offer, but the Codex has no effect on their business so investing in a person working on it makes no sense. After all, they have their own docs at wordpress.com (http://en.support.wordpress.com/) so why do they need the Codex?

        Many of the people I spoke to, development shops, businesses using WordPress, even individual freelancers, wanted to find a mechanism to give back to WordPress but couldn’t do it in terms of time. One idea was for groups of people to get together to pay for a dedicated person to work on WordPress (there are companies, like Automattic, who do this) but there are obviously logistics that need to be worked out to do with paying and managing a person.

        For the Codex, specifically, we had the idea of crowd sourcing the funding (using something like Kickstarter) to pay for a person to completely work over and renew the Codex. Where people are often unwilling to give time, they are willing to give money (or to be part of the project and give away something relating to their business). This would mean that the person who actually took the lead on the codex would be community generated, as opposed to coming from Automattic (which anyway is extremely unlikely). Logistically, once enough money was raised, then I have no idea what would happen with it, who would sort out the hiring, or manage the person or whatever – maybe the money could be donated to the Foundation to take someone on.

        Anyway, it’s a bit out there, but I certainly think it would be possible. If Chris Coyier can get $90,000 to screencast his website redesign (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/150422311/screencasting-a-complete-redesign) then a group of us could probably get double that to pay for someone to work on the Codex for two years, and also pay for any logistical management stuff around that person.

      • Andrea Rennick 10:45 am on July 27, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I can agree to a point, but Automattic is not in charge of wordpress.org. ;)

        Some of the most needed work is for *users* and not code based at all.

        • Lorelle 5:24 pm on August 1, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Some fantastic suggestions and ideas.

          1. The http://wpdocsteam.wordpress.com/ to do list has an ongoing list of things to do.

          2. The Docs Team Things to Do List also includes ongoing work on a document inventory and cross checking.

          3. Attempts to separate development information from programming (theme/plugin/tweaking) has been ongoing for years and continues to be a critical area of development in the Codex.

          4. I’d really like to see all the international language support pages on the Codex separated in some way so they do not appear in the general Codex or do – with intention and clarity. Right now, the mix of the languages are causing confusion on multiple levels. Wikipedia is doing it by sorting by language code in the URL, and I think that would be smart for us. It would also give polyglots team members a chance to call parts of the Codex their own in translation.

          5. The success of WordPress Support is tied closely with the WordPress Codex, especially now that the two are grouped together here on this site. Thus a hiring a documentation coordinator is a natural idea. It is also natural that they would be hired by the Foundation. It is a community project, little different from WordPress Support and WordCamps.

          6. The person behind the design aspects and database control of the Codex must also step forward or be assigned. There is much that can be fixed with some simple search and replaces (changing WPMU to WPMS – with redirects, too) and design tweaks. I think that visually identifying pages that are developer versus WordPress Lessons versus general documentation would also be sweet.

          I’m thrilled with the work Daniel and others are doing to bring over handbook documentation to the Codex and expanding upon it. I’m delighted that the Codex is getting energy thrown at it after years of lack of attention for a variety of reasons.

          For those that want to jump in NOW, until someone contacts me about porting over the to do list, head to it and tackle something. http://wpdocsteam.wordpress.com/ The list is extensive and action items are right there, and it’s a great way to keep the discussion going on how some of the documentation elements should work and be structured, sticking specifically to articles and not general topics.

          Thanks.

    • esmi 11:57 am on July 27, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’d suggest that hiring someone really is the last resort. The problem with documentation is that everyone assumes someone else is doing it. Unless of course they come across a gap when they needed info, do the research and have the community spirit to take time out to add the missing documentation.

      I’d argue that some of the user-focussed could (should?) be initially handled by the UI and Dev teams. If a new feature is added to the UI, then surely the UI team should ensure that there’s a basic page explaining how to use it? Once there’s something in place, I think you’re more likely to get random people updating/improving it. Creating a brand new Codex page is a far more daunting task (from a confidence pov) than editing an existing one.

    • esmi 12:01 pm on July 27, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      +1. A separation of user v. coder documentation is a great idea. Could a top level split into 2 distinct streams be a practical option?

      • Andrea Rennick 12:09 pm on July 27, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        That’s what I’m leaning towards. Maybe the front page be even more simplified into User / Dev much like we have splash pages here with English / French.

    • Thomas Scholz 11:30 am on July 28, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      The Codes lacks gamification. Give contributors some public visible feedback on their profile, and they will come. Maybe a golden badge for 1000 unreversed edits or something similar.

      • Thomas Scholz 11:30 am on July 28, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Errm Codex. With X. (:

      • andrea_r 8:47 pm on July 31, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Been discussed before in different contexts (contributions, etc) and shot down.

        • Thomas Scholz 1:32 pm on August 3, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Sad. I strongly recommend to reconsider that.

          • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 3:11 pm on August 3, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            The feeling has generally been that if you’re going to help, you’re going to help, and what are, essentially, meaningless rewards like ‘karma points’ won’t help. While we all help for our own reasons, the fact that we do it for no rewards is a powerful factor in our work. We do these things to make WP better and to learn :) Pretty awesome, IMO.

            • Thomas Scholz 11:00 pm on August 4, 2012 Permalink

              I agree, the main motivation should not be bound to a reward. But it might work better with some gamification – I have seen this in other places, and I think it is worth an experiment.

    • Daniel Bachhuber 12:48 am on July 31, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Howdy! I work on Automattic’s WordPress.com VIP team and I’d love to contribute to Codex efforts on a regular basis. We sometimes often receive complaints about the lack of quality technical documentation — it seems like the Codex is the best place for that.

      Here’s one piece I’ve already ported over from our internal documentation.

      There are a couple feature requests I have to make the Codex more useful:

      • Email notifications for changes on pages I’m watching
      • An API (with corresponding WordPress plugin) so I can make Codex documentation embeddable in other sites.

      Other than that, I’m happy to help out with the more complex technical documentation — it’d be great to have a bit of help figuring out what is needed.

      • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 3:52 pm on August 2, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Email notification doesn’t come with MediaWiki (boo). RSS does, though.

        API… Didn’t @rarst have something? I don’t think anything is APId like that by default for MediaWiki.

    • coffeemanmatt 3:27 pm on August 2, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Hi all – along with Daniel, I also work at Automattic, but I’m on the Happiness team.

      Part of my job is to maintain the WordPress.com support docs, and I’m *very* interested in helping out however I can with the Codex. After all, WordPress is WordPress.

      • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 3:51 pm on August 2, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Y’know… most of the time, the info on the .com pages can be lifted wholesale to .org, with only a couple tweaks. And I know Matt already said we were allowed to do that, so maybe if we could find a way to parallel some of the information (automagically would be great but unlikely), that could help for @andrea_r‘s idea of developer vs user.

        • Andrea Rennick 3:59 pm on August 2, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Yeah I think it;s more an issue of where do we stuff them and how best to link fro the front page.

          The WP LEssons are fine – but they also dive into more of a philosophy of writing. That’s good for going deeper!

          New users need the instruction manual, the step-by-step thingy of these are the menus, here’s what they cover. I had to dig up something or a user yesterday and finding it from the front page or using search *when I knew what I was looking for* was painful.

          As a new user who has no clue? Impossible.

        • Lorelle 4:57 pm on August 10, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          We’ve discussed this before and agreed that the dot com Learn docs are a starting point for us to expand upon with Codex articles that link to the Learn docs then take them several steps further.

    • Hanni 6:43 pm on August 4, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Heyo! Fantastic!

      It’s been too long since I’ve touched the Codex, and I’m looking to rectify this ASAP! So, @andrea_r, please count me in for any and everything you need. I was sitting in @siobhan‘s fantastic panel at WCUK, and am so darn excited to see wheels moving here.

      The separation between user and developer does indeed sound both inherently sensible, and arguably a necessary step on the path towards reducing the barriers to entry as far as possible.

      Looks like the first thing to do is set out perhaps (for example) 3 clear goals, followed by some kind of roadmap, to encompass the fantastic ideas above, (and others!), perhaps?

      (entirely co-incidentally, I’m Happiness Lead over at Automattic, but I’m very much volunteering as me, as I did (too) long ago.)

      • Andrea Rennick 9:47 pm on August 4, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Whoooooooo! Hanni in the house! :D

        • Siobhan 8:00 pm on August 5, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          I’ve been working on building some doc projects for some pieces of software recently so thoughts of structure are very much on my mind. I thought that if we’re going to talk about structuring the Codex, it might be useful to tell you guys a bit about my workflow see if that generates any discussions on how we can attack this beast. When I think of the Codex I think of a ball of spaghetti, all twisted up in knots. This scares me in terms of figuring out what to do with it. I’ve been working on another open source project that has similar problems. The documentation has been just added to over time as it is needed and so it hasn’t got any real structure. With that I was able to do a content inventory but I suspect that the codex has too many pages for that.

          I conceptualise doc project content in two main ways:
          1. How to? i.e. tutorials, troubleshooting, FAQs
          2. What is? i.e. glossary, references, user guides

          Both of these are needed for complete documentation. The How to stuff is needed for new users, or current users who want to learn new things – if we just have What is docs they won’t have a clue where to get started; and the What is docs are for people who are already used to using the software but want to look something up – it would be a nightmare to have to look things up in a tutorial.

          We have all of these different docs, and the WordPress lessons are split off, but it’s still difficult to know where to go to learn things and where to go for reference stuff. And if you are going for reference stuff it’s difficult to know what is developer and what is user.

          As Andrea has pointed out, we need to split things up into user docs and developer docs. And then for each of these two types of people we need to have “how to’s” and “what is” docs.

          I get the impression that what needs tackling most urgently is the user docs.

          The first thing I do when planning a doc project is ask “What is the novice level of user?” This let me come up with a list of assumptions about who they are and what they need. The entry level of WordPress is pretty low so we can probably assume things like they can use the internet, they may use IE, they probably don’t have in depth knowledge of HTML and CSS. That gives a basic level for where to start off from.

          Then I try to put myself in the head of a user and try to figure out what they will be looking for when they land on the website, and how best can I deliver that information to them. When users go to http://codex.wordpress.org how are they best directed to the information that they need? What questions will they ask? Here are some things I would imagine someone visiting the codex would be thinking:

          I’ve just installed WordPress, how do I get started with it?
          How do I build my awesome WordPress website?
          Someone built a WordPress website for me, how do I use it?
          What do all these thing things do?
          How do I fix this problem I am having?

          That’s pretty much the basics – then you get into developer stuff like developing plugins and themes, but general users probably don’t need to know that.

          If you visit the codex at WordPress.org at the minute, there is a box that says “What You Most Need to Know About WordPress”. These are (along with my comments):
          WordPress Features – doesn’t need to be on the front page of the Codex, would work better on the about menu
          Download WordPress – should have done this by now, doesn’t need to be here
          Installing WordPress – important
          Current WordPress Version – users don’t care about this, and the info can be linked to from download page
          WordPress News – this is linked to on the nav so doesn’t need to be there
          WordPress Support forums – important but also linked to nav
          Troubleshooting – important, but perhaps could be phrased differently
          About WordPress – users don’t care. They’re not going to start looking at this when they arrive
          Glossary – important but doesn’t need to be the first thing users are directed to.

          So out of all of those things that are featured, probably the only one that really needs to be featured so prominently is installation. And arguably that should be linked to mainly from the download page.

          The next section is “Learn How to Use WordPress”. This starts with “getting started with WordPress” and “New to WordPress – Where to Start.” That is kind of crazy. My brain hurts thinking about which one to go to. Both of them are valid, but it’s really a case of too much information. Users shouldn’t have to make these choices. Then there is “WordPress Lessons” and “Learn WordPress” which is also confusing. Part of the problem is that we have too much information, and if we do have the correct info users can’t find it. We should be able to say to them “you want to build a website with WordPress – go here.” You have a problem: go here.

          Anyway, I’m not going to go through the whole page and do an analysis :)

          In terms of the basics of using WordPress, we could probably do pretty much a straight port from wp.com. We’ll need to add some more WP.org specific stuff but most of the basics are covered.

          @hanni suggested coming up with some goals. In an ideal world with infinite time, these would be my goals:
          1. A clear division between developer docs and user docs
          2. A user-friendly landing page that gets users to exactly what they need
          3. Plot a useful journey for different people who want to learn WordPress, from beginner to ninja/rockstar/whatever

          I guess the question is, do we decide on a structure and then slot what we’ve got into that structure, or do we look at what we’ve got and try to reorder than?

          (that was a much longer comment than I intended it to be!)

          • Lorelle 5:00 pm on August 10, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Excellent. I spent several years mulling over the table of contents for the Codex, and the front page of the Codex is set as it is based on a ton of research and development and just asking at WordCamps and all over. So far, the response has been good and it helps direct people to where they need to go without a lot of clutter on the front page of the Codex.

            The same theories for funneling people need to be applied to ALL of the table of contents.

            The confusion over Learn WordPress and WordPress Lessons is now an issue, I agree. WordPress Lessons have been around since 2004, long before WordPress.com. Same with the the other articles you mention, so inheritance of old material and retitling (that gets crazy when there are so many incoming links to these – have we tracked down who is in charge of redirects and Codex design and management yet?) will be an issue.

            I’m so excited to see these issues that have plagued us so long be cleaned up. YEAH!

    • Anca 2:50 am on August 14, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’d like to help out with this as well. As someone who teaches WordPress to people who are just users and also to programmers, the Codex is a great, if frustrating resource. I have limited time to help with this, but I look at the Codex all day long so I’d be happy to tag or propose corrections or questions on discussion pages for review.

      • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 3:12 am on August 14, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        While we’re hashing out layout (and I need to nag @nacin again to read his email, he gets a lot), if you guys see stuff in the codex that’s outright wrong or needs explaining more, just edit it. The majority of the ‘content’ pages, I suspect, will stay the same. Like the functions etc.

    • Darren Meehan 12:40 pm on August 15, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Hi. Helping out with the Codex is something I’m interested in. I’ve been looking for a way to start properly contributing to WordPress and I feel this is it. I’m used to writing guides, and helping people with WordPress, though the workflow and finer details of the Codex is something I’ll need to get used to. Where can I start?

      I hadn’t seen this post, but I made a ticket this morning about the Codex’s header not being updated. http://core.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/21588 I’ve proposed porting the Codex to WordPress. This is also something I’m keen to help with.

      • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 1:36 pm on August 15, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        That’s … well. That’s a small part of what might go on here.

        I suspect the Codex, in so far as a repository for what all the various code bits are, will remain as it is. After all, it’s a great coding resource. But the handbook, in whatever form it takes, will be the first run up for ‘How?’ without all the coding.

        For now, go ahead and edit the codex with impunity, especially if you see functions and all that missing info.

  • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 5:04 pm on July 26, 2012 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    Copy/Pasta vs personal responses.

    I was mulling over this on the flight home (because I’m a big old nerd) and it fell into the realm of how people get so frustrated when we just paste a link. Now. I know that we often paste links because it really is the right answer, and the users get mad because we’re not being personal. In many cases, they should RTFM, but also so should we.

    I think the main reason people can’t find the answers when searching isn’t so much that search sucks on .org (it does), but that learning the right terminology to get the right answer takes time. So if we go in assuming the new guys don’t speak the lingo very well, would that change some of our standard responses?

    The other factor is that different people learn different ways. I detest video training, my wife loves it. I like clear directions, screenshots if needed, a coworker of mine cannot cope without screenshots for all the things ™. How do we take into account different learning methods when triaging support?

     
    • andrea_r 5:38 pm on July 26, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Better and longer Copy Pasta answers, personalized where needed. ;) It’s the difference between Chef Boyardee canned spaghetti and ordering it at your favorite Italian restaurant.

      Some of it does depends on the user’s knowledge level, but it also depends on the question too. I Have to start out now assuming they are brand-new. The questions I answer now help with that.

      For example, I do have a standard response on how to add a widget area, but now I include a *lot* of links to various sources covering different ways.

      Then personally point out to the user which one might be best for them. At least then I’ve given them as much background as they need to know.

      And I really do think we could expand our copy-pastes to be a little more friendlier in some cases. After all, other than the initial change it;s no more work on our part to insert, plus it may leave a first timer with a better feeling.

    • Michael 5:54 pm on July 26, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      With WordPress appealing to a wider audience, the number of people with little or no knowledge or history of WordPress or coding will increase. The “newbie” will always be among us.

      Start by having a more defined way of identifying a persons level of knowledge which means having a posted description of levels of knowledge. People are smart enough to placed themselves if they know what the term means. Currently a lot of people see themselves as beginners but no one really knows what that is. It’s a catch-all phrase. At what point do you go beyond beginner.

      Supports answers can then be geared to that level and fewer assumptions will be make about knowledge level. For instance, pasting a link for a new person is frustrating since to get to the point of asking for help they come in frustrated and want “answers”. To a new person most of the codex is intimidating and frustrating and is not the “answer” they want.

      While posting a link to more advanced person may be appropriate. I do believe however that most of the support requests are to that new person.

      I also believe posting a link to a video for a new person is not as intimidating. Hearing someone use the terms and seeing is important for a new person (a picture is worth a thousand words).

      Bottom line – short descriptive videos for support FAQ with more detailed videos for complicated topics.

      Yes, it is like starting the codex all over again.

      Also a simple phrase like ‘I found this – take a look” or “This may help” before the link feels supportive and not as off-putting.

      • Siobhan 7:35 pm on July 26, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        If there are support issues that come up again and again that anyone thinks would warrant a video, I’d be happy to shoot some screencasts. Can these be embedded in the codex yet? Maybe we could have some sort of WordPress screencast project?

        • andrea_r 7:36 pm on July 26, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          i think when anothe rguy asked a while back they were welcome but only as long as nothing business identifiable was visible. it should be a naked fresh install.

    • masonjames 7:25 pm on July 26, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      “I think the main reason people can’t find the answers when searching isn’t so much that search sucks on .org (it does), but that learning the right terminology to get the right answer takes time. ”
      Bingo. This is what the whole “let me google that for you” fails to recognize. I’m amazing at googling things… but really I’m amazing at it because i understand the context well enough to know to search for. A newbie by definition does not.

      “I Have to start out now assuming they are brand-new.”
      Yep. Agreed here as well. Most forums show some sort of counter as to how many posts a user has made (reputation, how long they’ve been a member, etc).
      If I see someone who’s obviously posting their first question or two, my primary job is to reinforce that it’s ok to have questions and that I’m totally comfortable with answering them and assisting in any way possible. This way, down the road, when I need to say RTFM or “here’s a link to the codex”, we already have the previous experience to assure them that I really am providing a solid solution.

      And I totally agree with using as many various methodologies as possible for providing solutions. FAQs, Videos, webinars, Q&As, codices and wikis are all valuable ways to convey information. My hang up with providing all these resources is that it has to be maintained. Ugh! Can be a lot to maintain. How does everyone handle keeping screenshots, videos and copy up to date?

      • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 7:39 pm on July 26, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I try to keep the pages about my … uh… obsessions (multisite) under control. Or when I go to look at one for reference and think ‘That ain’t right…’ But yeah, updating and maintaining is an onnerous chore.

    • andrea_r 7:35 pm on July 26, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’m only for videos of really BASIC stuff, and only after we’re sure the related codex pages are full of info.

      Like for example – there’s NO PAGE on how to use the custom menus. There’s a page on how to use them in your themes and how to customize them but nothing I could find for the user.

      And a video for that would brighten the bulb. After the codex page….

      • masonjames 7:49 pm on July 26, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Great example. A video totally makes sense in this space. In fact, when I get someone who doesn’t understand the idea of custom menus I always point them to a youtube video. It’s just much easier to follow.

    • Diana 4:40 am on July 28, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      “…learning the right terminology to get the right answer takes time. ”

      Yes, terminology! I miss a very strict terminology on some UI, while WordPress panels are quite consistent, some plugins and themes messes all up. This leads to misconceptions , frustration and all that forum topics :D

      By the way I had some time crafting our Codex pt_BR (http://codex.wordpress.org/pt-br:Página_Inicial), quite an assumption but the articles I provided simpler and shorter info decreased a lot of related forum topics.

  • Andrea Rennick 5:24 pm on July 19, 2012 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment
    Tags: advice, responses   

    Standard responses 

    In order to get the ball rolling, how about we all chime in with our most-use responses?

    Some tools you may wish to use to make answering posts easier/faster:
    TextExpander
    Popcrom
    Lifehacker list of alternatives for Macs

    Please feel free to use and adapt these to your own needs. Personally, I find it nicer for the users if each mod has a slightly different phrase. ;) Otherwise, we’re just support bots. :D

     
    • Andrea Rennick 5:28 pm on July 19, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Here’s some of mine:

      Great since the issue is resolved, I’ll close the thread. If you have more questions, please open a new thread.

      Please post at the http://studiopress.com forums for this. :)

      Please deactivate all plugins first to see if any of those are interfering.

      WordPress has this new feature where it tries to place widgets for you when you switch themes. It stuffs some default ones in the first widget area it finds. In this case, the header right.
      Go to Appearance -> Widgets.
      Remove the widgets from the header right area.

      Acces the child theme functions.php file using FTP or your webhost control panel. Then you can either fix the code or remove the bit you added.

      See Nick’s Site Recovery tips:
      http://designsbynickthegeek.com/tutorials/site-recovery-tips-and-tricks

      See this handy tutorial. :)
      http://wpfab.com/how-to-customize-a-specific-wordpress-widget/

      Please try and stick to one question or issue per thread. :) It really does help us help you better.

      Can I get a link to your site, so I can go look?

      For general WP help, see these:
      http://wp.tutsplus.com/sessions/wp101-basix-training/

      On the upper right of the screen, click the Screen Options tab. When it opens, check all the boxes. :)

    • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 6:41 pm on July 19, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I slapped the basic most stock ones up on http://make.wordpress.org/support/handbook/stock-answers/ – I actually still write/copy pasta mine, since I use too many different computers to rely on one tool!

      • Andrea Rennick 6:44 pm on July 19, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Ooo you made pages…. I had some thoughts, we should discuss those. Like, “common problems”, maybe split into technical and judgement calls (what to do when someone flames, how much help should you give, when to close a thread etc…)

      • esmi 7:03 pm on July 19, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Email addresses: Where some people are posting these as a way of trying to get emailed responses, I tend to use:
        [email address moderated - this forum does not provide support via email]

        Generally speaking, if I’m adding a mod comment to a post (eg as above), I’ll place it in square brackets and italics.

        Bumps:
        I have 2 answers here. If someone bumps after more than 6 hours, I’ll use a response similar to Mika’s. If it’s less than 6 hours, I’ll use:
        [No bumping. If it's that urgent, consider hiring someone.]

        Most commonly this is for people bumping after less than an hour or so (had one today bumping after less than 30 mins). I do think this kind of bumping deserves something a little stronger.

        Hosting:
        At a slight tangent, I had an interesting exchange with Matt last week about hosting issues. Apparently, all of the hosts listed on http://wordpress.org/hosting/ are supposed to be patrolling the forums for any topics tagged with their name. That was news to me! So, if host-related topics aren’t tagged with the host name, we should add it. And if the hosts aren’t chiming in, Matt wants to know about it.. He also implied that this should be extended to other hosts such as MT and GD. Again, if they are not making at least the occasional appearance, he’d like to know.

        • Andrea Rennick 7:15 pm on July 19, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          “So, if host-related topics aren’t tagged with the host name, we should add it. And if the hosts aren’t chiming in, Matt wants to know about it..”

          That is excellent news.

    • Christine 7:06 pm on July 19, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’ve been using Mika’s stock answer from day one and it’s been very useful. Thank you.

    • masonjames 2:58 pm on July 20, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I totally love textexpander and probably can’t finish a real sentence without it anymore… Great resource. At WPMU DEV we have times where a user has not come back to let us know whether a particular solution has worked for them or not. At some point (normally 5 days to a week) we go ahead and mark it resolved for them.

      Resolved:
      Hiya,

      Just checking in to see if this ticket is now resolved? As we haven’t heard back, I’m hoping it is and am marking it accordingly, but if you have any questions on this in the future, feel free to re-open it and let us know.

      Thanks!

      • Andrea Rennick 3:08 pm on July 20, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        That’s actually really helpful, as it staves off people coming by 3 months later going “I have the same problem! what’s the fix???”

        Or at least I hope it does.

        • masonjames 12:49 am on July 23, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          That’s definitely the idea. We have a specific feed for tickets (bbPress threads) that have gone longer than 3 days without a response (staff or member).

          The support staff monitor this feed and do ‘triage’ where we close up any tickets where members have failed to come back or escalate a ticket if it’s waiting for a staff response.

          And yeah, we always encourage folks to open their own unique threads – esp 3 months down the road :)

      • Sheri Bigelow 5:30 pm on August 24, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        This ones great. Thanks masonjames!

    • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 12:15 am on July 21, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

    • Lorelle 5:28 pm on August 1, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Are Codex shortcode links still working in the forum? I couldn’t get them working recently.

      If so, how about a list of your most linked to Codex and Learn Pages?

      That would help both teams to know which pages you link to the most from the forums to keep them updated and protected.

      Thanks.

      • Andrea Rennick 7:20 pm on August 1, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I can rattle off a short list of the codex pages I refer to most, when replying to users in the SP forums. :)

        • Lorelle 5:03 pm on August 10, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          I don’t see this answered. We had shortcode links that went directly to the Codex like [Template Hierarchy] which would resolve to the article on the Codex. Are those still working?

    • Chris Olbekson 12:56 pm on August 5, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      One thing that is very helpful when giving support in the #WordPress IRC channel is doc-bot. Maybe some of the commands could be integrated as short codes.

      I’m sure it would be pretty easy to convert Sivels bot command responses. http://codex.wordpress.org/IRC/wp-doc-bot

    • rachelbaker 1:58 am on August 14, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Does anyone have a stock answer for questions that clearly would require hiring a developer/consultant to resolve? I hate leaving the questions open and unanswered, but seriously questions like this are beyond a support forum response:
      http://wordpress.org/support/topic/how-do-i-make-my-portfolio-look-like-the-demo-instead-of-static-posts?replies=1

      • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 2:35 am on August 14, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Oooh that one. I was thinking just a normal ‘This problem is above my pay grade’ sort of thing, not a ‘You bought it’ one. We should have some standard ish “Dude, you bought a premium theme…”

        “Themes and plugins which provide their own support in return for the purchase of their product are best supported on their sites. In order to support the community, as well as provide the best help possible, it’s in your best interests to go to the source for this sort of thing.”

        Anyone have standards to add to it?

        • rachelbaker 2:38 am on August 14, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          That question was just a particular example, but even when the question the question isn’t related to a premium theme (such as twentyten or twentyeleven) but does require css/template editing… is there an acceptable/standard response?

          • Andrea Rennick 11:54 am on August 14, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            I’m thinking it may be a good idea ot have such a response, explaining their request was reall yinvolved and since we’re volunteers, they may not get a steo by ste tutorial for anything that is more than a 15 minute change (for example).

            This way we;ve set the expectation that they can;t show up and expect someone to help them code their entire site for free and all they need to do is blind copy pasta.

            We use somethign like this:

            “This level of coding is beyond the scope of the support we are able to provide in the forum, as it requires custom code to be written and tested, but I will leave this thread open in case a community member is able/willing to assist you.”

            It will help knock down the list of unanswered threads (people will know for sure someone saw it) and will set some realistic boundaries.

            If it;s basic css, i leave an example, a link to a Firebug tute and sometimes a link to somewhere (I guess not w3 schools any more) explaining the css property.

    • esmi 2:25 pm on August 14, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      If it’s a CSS issue, I usually point people towards http://www.css-discuss.org/ Their Wiki is pretty good and there’s always the mailing list if they want to get some CSS advice.

  • Jen Mylo 3:43 pm on July 10, 2012 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    Hello world! 

    Welcome to make.wordpress.org/support. This is the new blog for the Support contributor team, made up of support forum moderaters and documentation contributors, as decided on the mailing lists. Anyone helping in the #wordpress IRC channel is included as well. @Ipstenu is the team rep for this group, with @esmi and @andrea_r as the backup reps per the votes we took a while back from members of the two mailing lists. I’ve added them and a couple of other people as editors on this site, and they will be adding the more active contributors in turn.

    I think it would be good for us to set up a weekly IRC chat time to get things started, gain some momentum, and round up some new contributors in the process. We can identify some common goals among the more active contributors to focus on at first, and put together a schedule for how to move forward.

    I have several goals for this group based on the surveys and feedback from the community that I’d like to see accomplished over the coming months:

    • Create a guide to contributing to WordPress support.
    • Start a mentorship program for potential support volunteers to help them ramp up with confidence.
    • Handbooks! Field Guides! Whatever we call it, discrete, targeted pieces of documentation tied to specific releases and each curated by a single editor for the sake of consistency and accountability (separate from the ongoing wiki that is the Codex), that can be viewed, downloaded, or printed. This will take a lot of discussion, so we should schedule a chat about this sooner rather than later to get started on the one for end users. Other contributor groups will also be tackling handbooks specific to their areas (core contributors, etc.).
    • Start tracking stats around support activities and sharing them with the broader community.
    • Make a plan for improvements to the support forums.
    • Make a plan for how to best bubble up support issues to the core development team.

    What are your goals for this group? Introduce yourself so everyone knows who everyone else is, say a little bit about your background and your general activity level as a WP support volunteer, and let us know your goals for the group are and what you think we should focus on first. Also mention your location/time zone, for the sake of being able to set up an IRC chat. Thanks!

     
    • Rev. Voodoo 1:24 pm on July 17, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’m pretty excited about this! Great idea! I’m a support forum mod… I try to be active. The past coulpe of months has had me really tied up at work and school. So my participation comes and goes. I try to keep the forums clean when I have a moment, and answer questions when I have more moments! I’m on the forums at least 5 or 10 times a day I would say. Something that would be cool, although I don’t have a mental picture of what it would look like, is some sort of mod log…. what sort of actions are happening on the forum, and why? It’s hard to know who is being blocked, bozoed, etc. Dunno if that’s possible, or even desired? I’m in OHio, Eastern time… although I do the majority of my modding from work, don’t think I can even participate in any chats from work. All kinds of computer restrictions. If I can though, I will!

      • Kathryn Presner (aka zoonini) 12:51 am on July 18, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Something that would be cool, although I don’t have a mental picture of what it would look like, is some sort of mod log…. what sort of actions are happening on the forum, and why? It’s hard to know who is being blocked, bozoed, etc.

        I really like this idea too. I’m a mod in a different forum (not WP-related) and we have exactly that in place, and it can be very useful to see who did what, when, and why. For every moderator action (i.e. delete, thread split, close, lock) a comment is required, and the whole lot is tied to a mod’s user ID, so there is always an easy-to-follow trail of explanations/accountability for every action.

        • Rev. Voodoo 11:17 am on July 18, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Right, that’s what I was thinking. The mailing list is great, when it’s used. I have an absolutely terrible memory though, and surely can’t keep track of actions related to various user names.

    • Andrea Rennick 1:39 pm on July 17, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Mmmm, stats….. :)

      I’m in the forums less than I was a year or so ago. Mostly I stick to multisite issues, but have been veering off to theme issues now that I do support for Studiopress.

      Some other users and I have collab on a doc on how to answer threads. I’d like to see an official doc here too – not as a “these are the rules” but general guidelines on How To Answer Posts for those who are new and unsure of the best way to go about it.

      In general, I’d also like to raise the attitude level of some responses to be nicer. :) Some responses by old timers or frustrated people can be oft-putting for new users. It’s way better than when I first showed up, but there’s still room for improvement.

      The biggest support forum improvement I can think of right now is improving the search. That’s a big job tho.

      Oh, I’m also in the Atlantic time zone – 1 hour ahead of Eastern (hi from the future!). Anything that hits the evening meal time usually leaves me out.

      • Jan Dembowski 1:58 pm on July 17, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Nuts, you posted re stats before I could. :-P

        Stats would be cool but I think a low priority item compared to tough problems like improving the forum and codex search functionality.

        The barometer for the WordPress forums has always been the general volume/noise/attitude regarding a topic. Look at how successful the 3.4 upgrades went, that’s a great indicator of success by the low volume of OMGWTFBBQ.

        I’m in NY and I get a kick out of when I see regulars chime in to provide support. It’s almost like watching the next shift start. ;) Having some sort of stats may be interesting just to gauge activity vs the release calendar, time of week etc.

        Not sure if it would add an immediate tangible value but it would be interesting and may help illustrate gaps in support (if any).

        • Andrea Rennick 7:50 pm on July 17, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Actually some stats about the *kinds* of threads being posted would be really helpful. Are we getting a ton of empty threads being posted about installation? Then we know to make docs better / easier to find. (for example)

    • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 1:40 pm on July 17, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I can probably shorthand a lot of my intro ;) Chicago/Central Time US, I mod from home and work (the latter while I watch servers reboot etc, in 20-minute chunks).

      IRC is problematic, as I can only hit it after work hours (freenode, in its entirety, is blocked via my office firewall), but I’m usually home weekdays from 7pm ET onward, and Sundays.

      A guide! I have a compilation of little notes, I’ll clean them up and add them as pages here to get things started. (They actually include the how and why we do some things) Any guide would have a lot of overlap into a handbook, but the general draft of the OMGWTFBBQ? upgrade posts I was doing could stat here too. “How to handle the upgrade kvetchfest.” ;) This though would be my first target. Once we all get in a row and Gandalf the crazy (you shall not pass!) we may be able to speed up the rest. Also a central place for the boilerplate replies ‘When someone brings up paying, copy/paste and close…’

      Stats would be kind of amusing. How many posts do we close and resolve a month, how many people get bozo’d (knowing that counts for spammers), how many become blocked…

      Also reminds me to pester @otto42 about things I’d like to see ;) Like that spam hammer to click on someone, delete their posts, and block their account. For the actual spammers.

      • Jane Wells 2:30 pm on July 17, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Part of the intent of this blog is to reduce the number of individual pings we throw at Otto and to have an official list of things we agree we want to do to improve. That will also make it possible for members of other contributor groups to weigh in when we propose changes so that it will be more inclusive.

      • kmessinger 2:50 pm on July 17, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        The guide and boiler plate replies would be great. I have been to lazy to set up some cut and paste replies to common problems.

        • Andrea Rennick 7:52 pm on July 17, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          There’s an extension for Chrome that I use called popcrom. That allows you to hotkey or marco whatever you like with common responses, like this:

          cl + ctrl+space get me
          “Great since the issue is resolved, I’ll close the thread. If you have more questions, please open a new thread.”

          :D

          • rachelbaker 7:21 pm on July 18, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            I use the Mac app TextExpander for the same thing. Really helps with common replies like: “Please include a link to your site” which I seem to use all the time

            • Andrea Rennick 2:41 pm on July 19, 2012 Permalink

              Yeah I have one for that too. :D Also for “Please deactivate all plugins first to see if any of those are interfering.”

    • Andrea Rennick 1:42 pm on July 17, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Oh and I’m getting an error trying to sub to the feed for this site. I want it in my feed reader, not my inbox. :P

    • Remkus de Vries 1:45 pm on July 17, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Hadn’t realized that there even was mailing list :)

      I’m the admin/moderator of the Dutch WordPress forum so that sets me in the UTC+1 timezone. I am mostly active on the Dutch side of WordPress things.

      My biggest gripe is also the search in general results, but more importantly the (lack of) localized search result. That and the fact that we’re still not on the bbPress plugin (although I’m told that’s going to be fixed soon.

    • Ze Fontainhas 2:08 pm on July 17, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’m the admin/mod of the Portuguese support forums (both Portugal and Brazil), and am located in Lisbon (UTC).

      I like this a lot better than the mailing list and looking forward to help out making moderators of forums not in English feel more like part of the family. Despite the fact the nearly all of them already talk to each other over at Polyglots, they have much to gain by taking part in the conversation here.

    • esmi 2:59 pm on July 17, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Timezone: GMT/BST here. I work from home, so I tend to drop in & out of the forums all day (with the exception of weekends). Since I’m “The Boss”, I can IRC whenever, so I can act a central point to pass on messages for those who can’t IRC if needed.

      I’d love a mod log if that’s possible. Or at least some sort of “notes” field attached to user profiles that we can use to indicate reasons for mod actions or highlight any concerns.

    • Rafael Poveda - RaveN 3:21 pm on July 17, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’m the admin and a moderator for Spanish (es) support forums. Also the maintainer for es_ES versions and translator. Located in UTC+1.

      I have the same request as Remkus about localized search results :)

    • Christine 3:23 pm on July 17, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’m on the west coast, so just woke up and got this from @zoonini. I wasn’t on the email list for some reason. I’m not as active on the forum as I would like to be. I might be on there only two or three times a week. I do find bogged down, by really basic questions these days, like “help, I can’t change my font colour”. I don’t mind answering these, but sometimes I would like to have a standard… “have you google it?” answer. At times, I feel as though people have lost the ability to seek out and search for stuff and they just want others to do it for them… This is off topic and I have no idea how to resolve that on the forum. Hopefully some css/html tutorials will solve that. Perhaps compiling a list of some sorts for beginners would be helpful.

    • raggedrobins 3:43 pm on July 17, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’m at GMT/BST and, like Esmi, I work from home/am the boss, so can attend an IRC chat most times.

      I help out with the WordPress Codex and, more recently, with writing the docs for bbPreaa. Also, I spend most of my time writing documentation for different WordPress stuff.

      I think it’s really cool to see the support and documentation teams merged into one. Something that would be really helpful is to figure out a way for the support team to flag issues that are recurring again and again. This would enable the documentation team to update where there are any holes in the docs.

      I’m also happy to help out with any training guides etc.

      • Andrea Rennick 8:01 pm on July 17, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        “Something that would be really helpful is to figure out a way for the support team to flag issues that are recurring again and again. This would enable the documentation team to update where there are any holes in the docs.”

        Yeah, that’s what I’m hoping some (even rudimentary) stats would help.

    • mrmist 3:51 pm on July 17, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’m pretty much constantly on irc as mrmist (currently groupcat). Ping me on there if you need me to join a different channel from one that I’m already in for a meeting. If it’s at a reasonable time, I’ll join in.

    • Lorelle 4:00 pm on July 17, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Thank you.

      We have some guides for using the forum, for volunteers as well as general public, on the Codex. See Support Forum Volunteers to start.

      I think that would serve best as a starting point and would love to discuss how to expand it.

      With so many of the international forum/independent site mods and coordinators here, it would be awesome to have a reference Page on this site listing who’s who doing what with some time zone references.

      The same applies to documentation. There are some amazingly generous folk out there supporting the WordPress Codex and documentation and it would be good to highlight who they are and their skill set for reference.

      As discussed on the docs mailing list, there is some concerns about blending forum support with docs. One of the big issues is reporting on spam and out of control topics. As the P2 Theme makes categories a little more challenging to use, we need a way of not letting such reports flood the site. They are critical and require immediate attention. They came through the mailing list for the forums before. Is there a best practices for such reports to mods?

      I’ve done some successful Codex recruiting in the past, and now that there is a better communications spot, I’d love to see these restored and new strategies in place for getting more people involved, and better yet, support continued involvement.

      I’m on PST time zone.

      The old IRC was freenode #wp-docs if memory serves. I’m sure it is still up and running as it was last time I checked.

      For those unfamiliar with me, I’m one of the original editors of the Codex from “way back when” it all started. I’ve been contributing to the forums and Codex since 2003.

      I started the WordPress Lessons section on the Codex and continue to support it, thanks to the continuing enthusiasm and contributions of so many for basic lessons in how to use WordPress. It still serves as a helpful resource along with the great work of the Learn WordPress.com team. We’re working on taking the WordPress Lessons section a step further than Learn WordPress offers, going into more detail and supporting their efforts.

      I also host the WordPress Documentation Team Task List which has served as a to do list for getting things done and taking on tasks in the Codex for a couple of years. Please have one of this site’s admins contact me so we can transfer content and to do lists here.

      Thanks!

      • Michael 5:45 pm on July 17, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I been around WordPress for about a year and a half now.

        I got hooked when I attended a WordCamp in Savannah while doing research on a WordPress project. I’ve attended a couple of other WordCamps and started going to the local meetups.

        I did theme reviews for the theme review team for awhile but I felt my PHP knowledge level was not adequate to do a good thorough review so I backed off from that.

        I do contribute to the forums when I can.

        Trying to find a place to contribute.

      • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 5:54 pm on July 17, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I think spam and that sort of drama can keep to the email list (at least for now). Spam in forums should be reported via the modlook tag, and discussion about said spammers would stay on the mailing list. (BTW if you see a spammer, you only have to tag one thread with modlook ;) When the spammer’s obviously trying to sell Viagra, we delete all the posts)

      • Andrea Rennick 8:00 pm on July 17, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        “We have some guides for using the forum, for volunteers as well as general public, on the Codex. See Support Forum Volunteers to start.

        I think that would serve best as a starting point and would love to discuss how to expand it.”

        Yeah that’s definitely super skimpy.

        I’m envisioning things like:

        • guidelines for mod behaviour (Don’t be That Guy, for example)
        • common responses
        • tips on what to do when things get out of hand
        • where to send people for help on things outside the scope of WP (general css for example)

        I have talked to people who have read that, know their way around the forums, but are lost when it comes down to actually *how* to answer the thread while being helpful. That’s where they get stuck.

        For some people, it does come natural, but it can also be a learned skill.

      • Mercime 3:43 am on July 18, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Hi Lorelle. Just wanted to thank you for your contributions to the Codex, among other WP stuff, “way back when” to present. Kudos. The Codex and your blog were my top resources when I started out with WP back in 2007 :-) Thanks again.

        • Lorelle 5:30 pm on August 1, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Somehow I missed this comment. Thanks for the kind words. I’m so lucky to have worked with some of the best folks in the world that give so much of their time on the Codex, Support Forums, etc. for the love of WordPress. For me, it is a never-ending source of joy and reward.

    • Kathryn Presner (aka zoonini) 12:43 am on July 18, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Glad to see this project happening and great to see everyone here!

      I’m a WordPress designer/developer currently running my own business, working from home in Montreal – Eastern time zone. I also do a lot of public speaking, giving talks on WordPress at WordCamps and other events, most recently at WCNYC where I had the pleasure of hanging out in the hackers’ room with Siobhan (aka raggedrobins). I’ll be giving two talks at WordCamp Montreal on August 18-19 so if anyone will be in town for that, please let me know as I’d love to meet you.

      My time in the support forums is sporadic, depending on what other projects I’ve got going on.

      For me the priorities would be:

      1. creating a bank of standard responses we can all share and adapt to prevent reinventing the wheel when answering common forum questions
      2. adding essential forum tools such as the ability to add notes to both users and threads, with the notes only visible to mods
      3. developing a set of more fully fleshed-out standard procedures on handling common (and less common) forum issues – aka moderator’s handbook

      I look forward to seeing how this develops.

    • Sergey Biryukov 3:35 am on July 21, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Howdy!

      I’m an admin/moderator of Russian WordPress support forums (also a maintainer of ru_RU releases since 2007). Located in Rostov-on-Don (UTC+4).

      There were times when I could easily spend the whole day answering questions :) Last year I’ve shifted most of my activity to Trac, but I’m still on the forums several times a day.

      So far my biggest concern regarding the forums is that topics with Cyrillic titles cannot be found via Google: http://core.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/19011

      As a workaround, I was able to switch the search form on ru.forums.wordpress.org to use a Russian search engine (which works great). However, as Remkus and Rafael noted earlier, there’s no way to get localized search results using the “Search WordPress.org” form in the header (the trick from comment 14 didn’t work for me, probably for the same reasons as in the ticket above).

      It would also be nice if WP profiles included volunteers’ activity on local forums as well: http://core.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/17917

      The handbooks, stats and improvement goals outlined in the post all sound great, looking forward to contribute wherever I can.

    • Michael Beckwith 10:35 pm on August 5, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I can jump in here. I’m Michael, I am a freelance web developer slash theme developer with occasional personal dabblings in plugins. You can find me as “tw2113″ pretty much everywhere online. I have spent most of my “support” time in the IRC channel. It’s been long enough that some consider me some sort of “guru” which I try to deny all the time.

    • hanni 9:32 pm on August 8, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      OK! Let’s do this thing!

      We need to be clear of other chats, including UI (Tues, 11AM PST) and Dev (Weds, 1PM PST) chats, and make the time as friendly to the greatest number of people as possible so… Thursday sounds like a plan.

      Starting next week so: Thursday, 16th August 1800 UTC will be the inaugural chat, we can always adjust for the future, but let’s plan on making this time slot – have discussed with @nacin, who is kindly helping out- we’re still figuring out which channel would be optimal. TBA!

      But, yay :)

      • Jane Wells 9:37 pm on August 8, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I’ve already talked to @sivel about setting up a permanent channel for this group. Main issue is choosing a name for it that people won’t see and think means “come here for support” instead of “come here to join the support team.”
        #wordpress-support (no way, they’ll show up in droves)
        #wordpress-support-team (kind of long, but works)
        #wordpress-support-group (ha, couldn’t resist)
        Suggest away, and we can set up the new channel before the inaugural meeting. Speaking of which, @matt would like to be included when discussion on handbook kicks off. I’l leave it to you guys to coordinate with him.

        • hanni 9:39 pm on August 8, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Yeah, @nacin was mentioning that the jQuery guys use #wordpress-meeting, but… You’re absolutely right about #wordpress-support being a bit of an uhoh invitation to uhoh.

          • Jane Wells 9:41 pm on August 8, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            The idea of having dedicated channels for each contributor group is mainly based on being able to log them so differently-time-zoned members (and new additions later on) can read logs without having to wade through other stuff.

        • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 12:15 am on August 9, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          #wordpress-ms (make support). Hidden rather well. Or #wp-make-support if we don’t mind a drop back?

          As I mentioned to Hanni, I don’t get Daytime (US) IRC back until August 27th.

      • Hanni 5:06 am on August 16, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Something fairly sad, necessitating immediate time and attention and therefore somewhat taking me away from the internet has come up in my personal life. It’s highly unlikely that I’ll be able to make tomorrow. I apologise.

        IRC channel: looks like there is a consensus around #wordpress-sfd, however it’s late in the day for tomorrow and setting this up on time requires asking a bit much of @sivel and @nacin so late on. So.. perhaps #wordpress-dev for the initial chat, if this isn’t possible?

        @andrea_r, @esmi, and gang looks like things, as per email, are in your more than capable hands, given @ipstenu‘s absence.

        I will be “back” in full, the week of the 27th to help out wherever the need arises.

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