Hi support team. I would like to include Support in our Gnome participation this summer if there are any applicants interested in working in the forums etc over the summer. @ipstenu and/or other experienced team members: Head over to http://codex.wordpress.org/Gnome_Summer_Program_for_Women#Support and fill in project ideas (optional, I made a default idea that basically covers answering questions and beefing up support docs) and info on whoever from this team is willing/able to mentor an intern (ideally we put more than one mentor with each student so the time commitment isn’t too heavy). No idea yet how many student slots we’ll get.
Updates from April, 2013 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts
Hi Support Team! A bunch of things today….
Welcome Training to Support
At the community summit, we went a little bit team-creating-crazy. As such, we splintered people into groups (like docs out of support) rather than splintering into projects within larger teams. For Support, this meant that electing team reps was especially hard, since the people getting votes were repping other teams.
One of these new teams, Training, started with excitement but then petered out with no activity for a couple of months. The solution to these two issues seemed pretty clear: merge Training back into Support, and have Christine Rondeau serve as the 2nd team rep. @ipstenu was in favor, so there we go. Welcome Christine back to the fold!
Christine will be working closely with the Community Outreach group, and we’re starting to plan our first training project already. It’l be focused on Troubleshooting WordPress, aimed at leveling up people to the point that they can do more with WP professionally, and could be more confident contributing to forums. She’ll undoubtedly be asking you all for ideas and help. Note: in line with the diversity initiatives, we’re going to do this first workshop for women, a la railsbridge. It’ll also get posted online for all and sundry.
I’ve been scouring every open source project’s community sites to see how they approach things, and one had a great concept that I want us to
stealmodify, use, and redistribute. The idea was this:
Weekend Project: Become a Contributor
We’ve done things like this at WordCamps (usually on dev day, and mostly focused on contributing to core), but what I was thinking of for support was something not too intensive: 20 Questions.
20 Questions Proposal:
- Publicize the weekend project to become an official wp forums contributor, called 20 Questions.
- People can sign up to be part of the weekend contributor drive. Current volunteers (approved as knowing their stuff) will be the mentors.
- Their goal is to answer 20 questions successfully (mentor says yes, good answer) during the weekend before the cutoff time.
- Keep at least 1 support person in IRC channel for team at all times during the weekend (make schedule in advance).
- At cutoff, tally the results! People who got at least 20 right are officially congratulated and welcomed as support contributors. We can make a graphic they can put in their sidebars or something maybe. People who didn’t make it are thanked for their efforts, and pointed to resources to help them level up. The person with the most questions answered gets a prize. The person who answered the hardest question gets a prize (so they aren’t incentivized to just do easy ones). We can do wp swag and/or WC tix for prizes.
What do you guys think? I think it would be super fun.
We had a really productive chat about the WordPress Handbooks over the weekend, and I’d love to see a push on them. It’ll be a long term thing, no doubt. The aim of the handbooks is to provide useful guides and references for people who want to contribute to WordPress. You can already see an example of the beginnings of one on the WordPress Core Contributor P2.
The handbooks will be:
- Theme Review
- Developing WordPress Themes (in adherence to the theme review guidelines)
- Developing Plugins for the repo
Tell me if I’ve missed anything!
I don’t think Systems need a manual. I spoke to @helenyhou and for now UI will be part of core. If, as the content progresses, the UI guys feel that they need a handbook we can help them to put that together.
I’d love it for the handbooks to be written as a collaboration between the support/docs team and the various contributor groups. That means corralling people from across the community to get involved. There’s already a lot of content that we can work with, and we can create more. Here are some resources for finding the current documentation:
- Core – http://make.wordpress.org/core/handbook/
- Support – http://make.wordpress.org/support/handbook/
- Docs – http://make.wordpress.org/support/doc-handbook/
- New Users - http://make.wordpress.org/support/user-manual/
- Polyglots – http://make.wordpress.org/polyglots/handbook/
- Theme Review – http://make.wordpress.org/themes/ (see pages nav) Also, http://codex.wordpress.org/Theme_Review
- Developing Themes – http://codex.wordpress.org/Theme_Development
- Developing Plugins – http://codex.wordpress.org/Writing_a_Plugin
- Events – http://plan.wordcamp.org/
At the summit we discussed creating these as a set of educational resources for contributing to WordPress. Rather than just diving in and creating a whole bunch of content I think the approach to take is to start off with a schematic structure. It would be great to start off with the intention of creating a set of documentation that is coherent – kind of like a set of Cliff Notes books that you get for studying at school. This means that if someone has become familiar with one handbook they’ll be familiar with the structure of the next. This is a great aid to learning. To achieve this, we could do the following:
- come up with a schematic content template that will be used for each of the handbooks. This will have to be done by looking at all of the content that we think we’ll need and building up the content template from that. It shouldn’t be too prescriptive as every group has its own needs, but an underlying structure
- use a schematic template for individual doc items.
- use the same tone of voice and language across the docs.
- use coherent styles for different elements in the docs. For example, having call out boxes that have the same styles for tips, or other important information.
Every guide will include best practices.
Anything else that anyone thinks that would help to achieve consistency?
Once we have a structure then we can start to think about content. I’ve had a number of people say that they would like to get involved with this project, particularly with events and plugins. If anyone else would like to help then leave a message in the comments.
Ideally, we should divide the workload as much as possible. We should also make best use of everyone’s expertise. I was thinking that we could create a workflow that went something along these lines:
1. Volunteer from contributor group produces the content. If the person is unable to create the content themselves, this could be a recommendation for what they want, or a link to a blog post or another article that has the information required. This doesn’t need to adhere to the voice and style guidelines.
2. Volunteer from the doc team edits the content to get it into house style, make sure everything is clear, and add any content as needed.
- gather volunteers from the various contributor groups, or from people who are working in the different areas who would like to be involved.
- get suggestions about the content that should be included in the handbook.
- come up with some mockups of how users can navigate and use the documentation. I can start a project in Balsamiq and we can collaborate using that.
- come up with the content structure
- develop a workflow to ensure that:
a) things get done
b) we keep on top of updates
- write, bother people, nag, edit
- drink beer
I read a great quote when I was doing some research on docs for a client. It said ” User documentation should be considered part of the user interface for your system and therefore should undergo usability testing.”
I’m not sure if we need to concern ourselves with usability testing (though we may want to in the future) but we should keep clarity, usability, and user experience in mind at all times throughout the process. We want awesome handbooks that are useful and that help us to grow the contribution community.
Phew – that was a lot! They’re all the things on my mind right now but let’s have a discussion.
One of the things discussed was ‘Action Items’ which are simple tasks we need to do, as a group or individuals! Support’s are interesting. Support is bigger than just Forums/IRC/StackEchange (where I feel I excel). To that end, we’re going to branch out and people will become the lead for subgroups. First up?
General Support Lead: Mika
- Forums: Mika & Jan
- Codex: Andrea R
- Handbooks: Siobhan
- Teach: Christine
Now don’t panic. I’m not leaving, but one of the many issues with the team reps is we’re spread too thin, and I need to do a little less to get more done. Anything not named directly falls under ‘support’, so even though I consider Rarst to be the StackExchange lead, it’d probably go through me for now.
These people were picked based on current activity in their fields, as well as their passions. This is our first step, however, and by no means the only or the final, so I’m sure things will continue to grow and change. I’m still the ‘lead’ here, so if you need a big stick, I’m a tweet/email away!
Also leads is really not the right word here. They’re just ‘People who are going to seed groups as they branch off into their own.’ Obviously teaching and documentation aren’t ‘support’ and really don’t belong here at all. More sites coming soon? Oh yes.
To Do List
- Moving the Handbooks to learn.wordpress.org – Yeah! That’s the new home! As soon as we have learn sorted out (@nacin knows) we’ll get this going.
- Videos, videos, videos! This will probably branch off on it’s own, but we want to include videos. If you’re interested in reviewing videos, we’re going to be collecting names etc soon to help out on wordpress.tv – Be aware, this will be a lot of work, but even if you can view one or two videos a day, we’re golden. Andrea M will be in on this, don’t worry.
- Teaching. For this we have Christine, who will be in charge of our collecting, reviewing, and posting on learn. More on that as soon as we sort out the learn sites with @nacin (probably learn.wordpress.org/teach)
- Pulling in info from the codex to learn, and leaving the codex as more ‘for developers’ and learn as ‘how to’ will be lead by Andrea R, and to that end I added in a ‘Hey cool person!’ message at the bottom of every codex page when you edit it.
Attribution (Credit, Etc.)
I sat in on ‘Non-Code Contributions to WordPress’ and took notes about the different ways people contribute to core (of which the folks here are a major one). Nacin and I also sat down and banged about the best way to separate the people who code from the people who are awesome in non-code ways, because they are different and deserve different recognition. First of all, we’re going to clarify the ‘Credits’ page on WP installs to make it clear that’s for code contributions — this is in-line with how other Open-Source products handle that. Then we’re going to sort out the best way to do an ‘about’ page to include the community.
Rest assured, you are all really hugely important, and if you every feel like you’re not valued, know this: Thank you. All of you. Even if you did one thing this year, you helped. I appreciate you all.
Some of the topics you asked me to bring up I did, and they will show up in the other Make Blogs, so stay tuned to how we change up the front page of Make. Don’t forget to check out Make Meta while you’re at it!
I may be missing things, and
someALL of this is in flux. Remember, release then iterate!
The awesome Jerry is taking on Gravatars because it fits with the user section he has just completed.
HTTPS is still up for grabs.
Some proofreading going on and we’re wondering if we can un-techie “install on your own server” for newbies. Maybe soften it to “your web host”.
Jerry has moved “your Profile” from chapter 7 and put it under “Managing Users on your WordPress Site” in Ch06.
Also we noted about being careful with internal linking in the manual, depending on final home.
Fastest meetup ever! There were only 3 of us.
In keeping with my whirlwhind crazy, I may miss today’s meetup (there was a baby born!). In case I miss it, here’s a quick update of who needs to do what
@jerrysarcastic – You’ve got ‘Adding Users’ which needs to get done.
@ericlewis – It looks like you finished comments (yay!) so remember to check it off on http://make.wordpress.org/support/user-manual/
@andrea_r and @ipstenu – Multisite, you lazy moving pair!
I cannot express how awesome you all are for getting us this far so fast!
We did a lot in an hour!
The ‘user handbook’ is now at http://make.wordpress.org/support/user-handbook/
However this is temp! We’re going to build out at http://make.wordpress.org/support/user-manual/ starting with a more clear Table of Contents. Once we have that done, we can bring pages over one at a time. In the mean time, edit in http://make.wordpress.org/support/user-handbook/ and when you’re done tag the page (oh yes, we haz tags!)
We’re going to try to split the handbook into ‘weeks’ with the goal of being done by WPCS. So two months! (possibly get this so it can be used by http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-help/ or something similar for end users on their own WP installs?)
Week One: TOC! Let’s sort out the best way to present the basic info.
Please go to http://make.wordpress.org/support/user-manual/ and weigh in (yes, comments r good). We’re not doing a straight copy-over, but as we find pages that are relavent, we’ll sort ‘em that way. Come up with what sub-topics we should have in each section. We’re trying to KISS, so think of the least technical person you know and start there. Where would they start.
The TOC will drive the next weeks topics.
The mod handbook – http://make.wordpress.org/support/handbook/ – needs your love too.
@nacin’s to do
Post hoc ergo propter hoc: approaching and defining support goals
Breaking out from the Codex thread below – and using, inter alia, Siobhan’s comment as a starting point, let’s get some outlining goals going on:
- A clear division between developer docs and user docs
- A self-contained, concise yet complete landing page for the user coming in
- Plot a useful journey for different people who want to “learn WordPress”, from beginner to ninja/rockstar/whatever the individual wishes to be - (imho this needs to both respect that not everyone will want to do everything, nor indeed have the nouse (everyone is unique, and has their own strength), whilst respecting and encouraging the learning process – it’s a balance to ensure that eveyone gets to where _they_ want to be, with the best tools and information not where we, or anyone thinks they should be. Without passion, we’d not be here – I think at this point I’m merely restating what everyone thinks and goes without saying, but, let’s just get it documented.)
So, there’s some overlap and a meeting point with the core contributors‘ handbook, and this is where we need to be super disciplined. I know so many of us, @ipstenu, @andrea_r, @lorelle, @esmi (and everyone here, and more!) have been mulling this over for a good deal of time, so I’m just very much about grouping the discussion and the years of thought and care into a thread.
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!