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  • Jen Mylo 7:22 pm on January 7, 2014 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment
    Tags: bbPress,   

    Howdy support folks I was just talking to… 

    Howdy support folks! I was just talking to @coffee2code about .org profiles, and one of the things I’d like to see happen this year is for there to be one .org profile instead of 2 to reduce user confusion. To that end we’d need to be able to do all the current support profile stuff, and to *that* end, I think we’d need to be on up-to-date bbPress.

    We’ve talked about updating a number of times in the past since the plugin came out. The last time we had this conversation, the high-level agreement was that yes, running current software is good, but the current bbPress plugin has changed some of the workflow stuff that would be annoying for the support team to have to work around. Let’s kick this off!

    @ipstenu: you ran down the things that made you say no to bbPress upgrade last time, could you repeat them so we can identify the things we’d need to discuss and/or put in a plugin to make upgrading bbPress on the support forums feasible from the team’s perspective? Let’s not talk about infrastructure stuff here, that’s the /meta domain. Just want to identify any features/workflow changes that would be a problem if we upgraded, so we can spec out a plugin to address those things before we do anything else.

     
    • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 8:14 pm on January 7, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I don’t know if these are still unable but… (oh good, of course I can’t find my list from yonks ago and I don’t use bbPress as much as I once did). What we need:

      • Be able to bozo people (that is make all their posts moderated)
      • Block people from posting (a ‘blocked’ role)
      • Dropdown selector of WP version

      At some point we would also want/need to go through the forums and determine WHAT sections we should recreate, since we’re not really going to want to port everything over (I think locking it as we did the old wpmu ones would be fine).

      Also we have our tools wishlist: http://make.wordpress.org/support/2013/01/what-forum-tools-would-make-support-better/ (I still want that Kill it With Fire button to ban a person and nuke all their posts, for those Ugg boot spammers)

      And then what I remember being sticking points with @otto42:

      • Integration with theme and plugin SVN for support
      • Integration with plugin SVN for reviews
  • pixolin 10:16 am on December 15, 2013 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment
    Tags: , , , warning   

    Hello. I often talk to people that are confused by the message that shows for plugins and themes that haven’t been updated within the past two years. They seem to ignore the fact, the message says the theme or plugin MAY have compatibility issues.

    I suggest the word “may” be set as emphasized or even in bold letters:

    This theme hasn’t been updated in over 2 years. It may no longer be maintained or supported and may have compatibility issues when used with more recent versions of WordPress.

     
    • Samuel Wood (Otto) 10:39 am on December 15, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      What is the confusion? I would say that that message is there specifically to tell them that they should probably look for a different plugin or theme. If an author can’t be bothered to even update the version compatibility in the readme.txt for a couple years, then the plugin isn’t one I would recommend using.

      Also note that plugins and themes with this 2-year-mark on them do not show up in searches, except for exact name matches, so one would hope this issue doesn’t crop up a whole lot.

      The plugin may actually work fine, but a plugin that is not well supported is not a good plugin to choose or recommend.

      • pixolin 11:46 am on December 15, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        The confusion is a lot of users seem to think a plugin generally doesn’t work if it has this warning. If it were so, we could have them deleted right away.

        I’m only saying the term “may have compatibility issues” is often read over. Yet we find plugins that do a particular job great since ages and there is no need to update or change stuff.

        (Example: http://wordpress.org/plugins/simply-show-ids/ by sivel. Very simple plugin that just shows the ID’s of posts and pages in the back end lists. Certainly won’t harm if installed. May help beginners to spot ID’s easily.)

      • Chris Dillon 12:23 pm on December 15, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        The key word there is “should.”

        Perhaps they are confused because they are only getting the facts (“…hasn’t been updated in 2 years…”) and not getting the message it is trying to infer: they should probably look for a different one, as you noted.

        Perhaps these users have not learned the hard way about plugin and theme compatibility so the facts have no context. “Hey, it’s free, it’s worth a shot!”

        Perhaps they don’t understand that one criterion for being a good plugin is good support, and good support includes current compatibility checks.

        Bold lettering may increase the read percentage but it does not provide context.

        Hoping this issue doesn’t crop up is not a solution because (a) Google still includes them in search results, and (b) they are listed on a plugin author’s profile page.

        More should be done:

        1. Educate. Instead of a notice, make it a warning. “Use at your own risk.” Then explain why abandoned plugins are potential problems.

        2. Train. By providing a link to search results for better alternatives (no cherry-picking, just the results they would get having searched themselves) you train end users to use your search before Google.

        3. Qualify. Give the rating system a shelf life. 4.5 stars for WordPress 3.2 should not carry the same weight as 4.5 stars for WordPress 3.8. Two years is arbitrary; compatibility with WordPress 3.5 and up is not.

        3. Be not afraid of ruffling the feathers of absent developers. Allow someone to function as a user advocate in order to recommend a better plugin.

        We compile best practices because they prevent problems.

        • Samuel Wood (Otto) 11:08 pm on December 16, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          (a) Google still includes them in search results

          That I can darned well fix.

          That message is *supposed* to be scary. People are *supposed* to not use plugins with that message. If plugin authors cannot continue to update a readme.txt once every *2 years*, then the plugin isn’t reliable.

          Plugins are about more than just code. If an author ceases to support a plugin, ceases to update a plugin, ceases to use their own plugins, then we should either remove them or find a way to get some other author to update them.

          The message is a compromise solution. If I had my way, plugins not updated in over two years would be automatically removed from the listings entirely. No exceptions. Maybe that is a bit harsh, but it’s just my opinion. Two years is a *long* time to ignore a plugin completely.

          • Robert Chapin 6:57 pm on December 18, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            As a plugin author, I would be interested in an option to delete or request deletion of obsolete plugins. They are not being updated for good reasons.

    • rclilly 11:02 pm on December 16, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I agree with @otto42 that, at the very least, the readme.txt needs to reflect the fact that the author has confirmed the plugin’s compatibility with the latest version of WordPress. There are some plugins that are, in effect, “evergreen”, meaning the code rarely, if ever, needs to be updated. However, that does not mean the readme.txt doesn’t need to be. If the author doesn’t keep that up-to-date, then as far as I’m concerned, the plugin has been abandoned, whether the code continues to function properly or not. I hope the warning message scares people away from using potentially abandoned plugins.

  • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 9:54 pm on January 17, 2013 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment
    Tags: , questions   

    What Forum Tools Would Make Support Better? 

    Today in IRC we discussed what tools might may supporting in the forums better. For those

    We started with this scenario: You’ve written a theme or plugin.

    • How do you handle the forum posts today?
    • What do you wish was there that isn’t?
    • What annoys you about the forums the most?

    The goal of this is to get an understanding of how you, as a person who supports your own work, uses the forums, and what pitfalls do you see.

    From IRC:

    Reply-by-email: You can already get emails of any new post in your plugin threads (Go to http://wordpress.org/support/plugin/PLUGINNAME and here’s a link for “Subscribe to Emails for this Plugin”), so what if plugin authors could email back?

    More obvious subscription tools: Speaking of the “Subscribe to Emails for this Plugin”, it would be nice if that was on the http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/PLUGIN/developer page, as a list for the Subscribe links like this:

    • Development Logs (commits) [RSS|Email]
    • Support Posts [RSS|Email]

    “Warnings” – so if someone’s being bad, moderators (and plugin/theme devs in their support forums) can click +1 or -1 on their name and set a ‘mood.’ or warning level.

    Plugin Version: A way to list plugin version (can be auto-populated from the broken form?)

    Throttle: A button to ask for the 30-second block to be lifted. Or automatically do it based on time served/products released/general coolness.

    More ‘Support Type’ options: This is a feature request, this is a support request, this is a you-suck.

    Flag POST as spam: We can do topics, but not posts (or Flag Topic vs Modlook). Imagine emails to wp-forums “JerrySarcastic has flagged the following post as probably spam… {link}” This would have to be limited in usage though. I would say plugin/theme authors in their threads only.

    For moderators in general we came up with these:

    Better Profiles: If you click on the IP, you go to the backend of bbPress and see all posts by IP. It would be nice if we could do that with usernames too.

    TacNuke: One click to delete all posts and ban the account (for spammers)

     
    • Daniel Bachhuber 10:07 pm on January 17, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      ++ to reply by email. We have some code on WordPress.com that can probably serve as a basis.

      Can I get past the 30-second throttle please?

    • keesiemeijer 10:28 pm on January 17, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      @Daniel Bachhuber
      Done.

      For moderators in general:
      +1 for one click to delete all posts and ban the account
      +1 click username and see all posts of the user in the backend of bbPress

      And maybe someway to leave a note we can use to indicate reasons for mod actions like b-coding.

    • toscho 10:38 pm on January 17, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      What exactly is the 30-second throttle? Does it mean I cannot edit my own posts after that?

      • keesiemeijer 10:52 pm on January 17, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        It means you can only post a new reply 30 seconds after your last reply. You can edit your own posts up to an hour.

    • esmi 11:17 pm on January 17, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Reply-by-email: Not one I’d touch with a barge pole myself!

      Warnings: I’ve tried this in another forum I admin and it was nothing but a recipe for disaster, complaints and general bad feelings. So much so that I was asked to remove it after about 12 weeks. I don’t see this working at all well on support forums where 5/10 posters are already bad tempered, upset or otherwise frustrated.

      Plugin Version: That might be a nice addition.

      Throttle: +1 for the button. Can general coolness be derived programmatically. ;-)

      More Support Type options: Don’t see how this would really help plugin or theme developers really. Not unless there were associated filters.

      Flag POST as spam: Don’t see that this would cause any harm but not sure how it would differ from the modlook tag? It would be just one more feed tag we’d have to watch.

      Better Profiles: +100

      TacNuke: +1000

      • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 11:26 pm on January 17, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        The flag post as spam would let us know which post, exactly, was the problem (and thus I don’t get an RSS feed of 70 posts when a spammer hits up an old, long, thread). Also what if that emailed the wp-forums list? “Esmi has flag this post as spam: ##LINK##”

    • Diana 4:14 am on January 18, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      +1 for one click to delete all posts and ban the account
      +1 click username and see all posts of the user in the backend of bbPress
      +1 better profiles (I would like to keep rss feeds from users activities on forum)
      +1 status, add tag and move topic with one button click or remove/add tag without page refreshing.
      +1 batch move and delete
      +1 manage actions should stay at right, close to add tag, status
      +1 can add replies to fixed topics no matter how old they are, at least to the fixed ones (because they keep read me first, notes etc)
      +1 can change permalinks

    • Frumph 5:31 am on January 18, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I would like it that if I DO get a message about one of my themes that I actually get notified by email that there is a support question I need to answer (new one)

    • Bryan Hadaway 5:58 am on January 18, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      If we’re totally just abandoning the idea of http://make.wordpress.org/themes/2013/01/13/theme-support-link/ (which is the most ideal solution) then plugin and theme authors need to be upgraded to at least mod permission level so that we can properly manage our own .org forums.

      Thanks, Bryan

    • Bryan Hadaway 9:06 am on January 18, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I don’t think plugin/theme authors should have forum wide modding privileges either, that would indeed be awful. Just for their own forums.

      There’s already a check that recognizes the plugin/theme author in the specific forums, you’ll see next the username “Plugin Author” or “Theme Author”. If that same check could also give the user at least somewhat higher privileges that would be awesome.

      Now, that I think about it, it’s not really a suggestion anyways because if we’re going to get improved tools, those would obviously not be available to just everyone anyways, correct?

      Also, you bring up another excellent point to why a Support URI would be helpful. If authors intended on supporting their own users/customers then that would become obvious with those authors that are using the Support URI and general forum mods could focus just on the other .org forums instead.

      Here’s the ultimate issue:

      1. I would like to support my users/customers on my official forum (I don’t I’m even close to being alone on this one).

      2. If I can’t do just that and also need to try and keep up with odds and ends that end up in the .org forums, then I at least need the control and not other mods.

      While the idea on paper sounds great, general forum mods helping out on ALL .org topics wherever they’re found this actually becomes problematic if they’re closing topics, giving directions or answers to my users/customers that I don’t feel is the best quality or best interest of my users/customers.

      I include customers in the equation because I really have had customers show up asking questions in the .org forums because of this fragmentation.

      Before someone brings it up, of course closing our official forums and directing all customers to one unified forum on .org is not the answer. I’m sure most authors have had fully established websites, blogs and forums well before submitting to .org.

      Plugin/theme authors contribute plugins and themes to the WordPress community abiding to the GPL and other requirements, end of obligation. Let’s not split hairs here, the 23,152 plugins in the plugin repo and the 1,667 themes in the theme repo have a huge impact on the success of WP overall.

      Like Chip brought up, there’s no requirement for authors to provide support on .org itself. That doesn’t mean that we just don’t care, but many of us already have official forums where we have full control and all the tools we’ll ever need.

      Frankly, I don’t think all the tools in the world are going to solve these problems (certainly not the redundant forum issue), that a basic freedom like a Support URI would solve.

      But, I digress… if we HAVE to put up with the auto-creation of plugin/theme forums every time we want to submit something, it’s an absolute must that we be able to freely close, open, sticky, edit or delete topics/replies in our own forums. Before someone jumps all over the “we don’t delete” policy I mean in the rare event of spam, or personal attacks or duplicate topics by the same users getting in etc.

      • Samuel Wood (Otto) 11:49 am on January 18, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        it’s an absolute must that we be able to freely close, open, sticky, edit or delete topics/replies in our own forums

        Stickies, maybe. Edit/delete/open/close: absolutely not.

        It’s not that I don’t trust you, it’s that I don’t trust anybody. Not really. Too many theme authors would simply abuse such power and delete any questions they didn’t like or remove any bad reviews they got, etc. Same goes for plugin authors.

        You don’t have to support your plugin/theme on .org if you don’t want to. But you deal with the results of that.

        Part of having your code hosted by .org means that people are going to come here and ask questions about it, whether we make those forums more visible or not. People were asking questions about your code in our support forums before we made that support tab on your theme/plugin page. Now you have the opportunity to see those questions more easily. Telling us to hide them again in favor of giving you additional offsite linkage isn’t solving the problem, which is that your users are not getting the help they need.

        • John Gardner 1:57 pm on January 18, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          what about the ability for plugin/theme authors to delete their own posts?

          • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 4:36 pm on January 18, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            You mean posts they made vs posts, say, I make in their sections? That would make letting them have a local sticky easier…

            • John Gardner 4:40 pm on January 18, 2013 Permalink

              Correct… If I make a sticky post, for example, it’d be helpful if I could delete it should the post no longer apply

        • Bryan Hadaway 7:17 am on January 19, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          I think there are points for both sides, but much stronger points for the Support URI for an overall best well-rounded solution.

          The rebuttal against the Support URI/official support forums situation is ironically the same argument for those of us that have good intentions at heart that want a Support URI.

          Let me try and show you my side of what should get priority (being a bit extreme to paint a very clear picture). WordPress, who cares. Me/my company, who cares. We’re ONLY talking about what is ABSOLUTELY BEST for the user and NOTHING ELSE.

          Yes, many users will end up back on .org looking for help, BECAUSE THEY DON’T KNOW ANY BETTER. They’ll ask for help and it might be tumbleweeds in the forum. I see so many theme/plugin authors ignore their duplicate .org forums because they have their official forum already.

          Now, I’m not one of those people. I’ve signed up for 3rd party RSS feed to email notifications so I can get alerts instead of manually checking everyday on .org. This has worked okay. And I’ve tried educating people to use the official forum where I have much better tools and means to help them including the exchange of sensitive info.

          I can sticky topics and make sure they get their eyes on documentation, known issues and other important updates. In the .org forums I’ve made important notes about how to seek official support and that will get buried eventually even though we all know people don’t read the fine print anyways.

          So, for those of us that actually have official support forums and even our own knowledgeable communities dedicated to specific themes and plugins with the creators/developers right there ready to help with all the tools they could ever need, THAT IS the very best place for users to get help, hands-down.

          So, putting aside WordPress’ interests, putting aside author’s interests and let’s not even remove, obfuscate or redirect the auto-generated forums or the “View support forum” button, but why not create a Support URI option that will place, in addition, above that “View support forum” button, perhaps as an orange button, “Official support available” (or something to that effect) that links to the official forum?

          There is absolutely no downside to that, in fact in only manages to inform the users and give them more options and make them aware, especially for those that ask questions in ghost town forums, never get an answer and never even knew there was somewhere better they could ask for help. This is about user-friendliness and ease of use and nothing else after all, right?

          Thanks, Bryan

          • Samuel Wood (Otto) 7:00 am on January 20, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            If people get their software from WordPress.org and get the plugins from WordPress.org and see the forums on WordPress.org, then saying that they should have gone to your other site for support isn’t them “not knowing any better”.

            If you want to put all the support and community and information on your own site, then you should put the primary location for the theme/plugin downloads from there too, for consistency. Otherwise, you’re the one confusing your users by having the plugin available somewhere where you do not also support it.

            • Bryan Hadaway 12:10 pm on January 21, 2013 Permalink

              Of course I’m not saying people should just magically know there is an official forum for them to use, that’s the point. Naturally, they will return to .org for support. That makes sense, no one is arguing that. And at this point I don’t think anyone is talking about eliminating plugin/theme forums or redirecting them anymore (though that was basically Emil’s initial idea which started this ultimate discussion).

              All that we’re saying now (yes we, the majority of authors I’m sure have official forums for their software where they can provide endlessly better support) is how about adding a feature that informs them that there is actually an official forum specifically for the theme/plugin they’re using where they can get the best and quickest support?

              And that is the question that Chip has posed, are we moving towards a place in which just to contribute something to .org we also have to provide support there too, mandatory?

              That’s what it feels like you’re saying without really saying it and it just doesn’t feel like the right move. I mean there are only about 2k themes in there as it is (that’s really not very many for the years that have gone by). I agree with Chip that this would seriously put a brake on the frequency of theme submissions to the free repo, which are pretty low as it is.

              The thing is most authors did host their own software and forums ALREADY, well before ever submitting something to .org. And a lot of that stuff wasn’t even GPL. They made the effort to GPL it and get it ready to submit to .org. Why? To share their works with as many people as possible, making it easier for users to find what they need.

              I don’t think everyone who submits to .org even realizes that a forum will be auto-created for it. And I doubt there were any who ever had the mindset that once they submitted to .org they were going to shut down their official forums and redirect people to .org. Official forums were always there first.

              The theme/plugin forums on .org really only serve a purpose to pick up slack for authors who are either negligent, never intended on providing support in the first place, officially or otherwise or I’m sure the rare occasion where they don’t even have their own website so that is the only place for them to use to support their users.

              The specific auto-created forums for plugins/themes will never be the dominant place for support because they usually come after, which naturally makes them redundant in many cases. This really isn’t a subjective opinion. This is just a basic fact. Look at the most popular themes, then checkout their website where they all have thriving communities with forums, documentation where more times than not there are even paid employees there answering questions every single day, maybe even in shifts and doing so professionally, let alone all the extra features and archived topics for them to look through to find their answers. The official forum will always be the best place for a user to get support.

              To even suggest anything along the lines of “Well, don’t contribute themes/plugins here unless you’re also going to use the forums here to support them.” (paraphrasing) isn’t good for users (not sure who that’s good for?).

              The moment of possible confusion where a user realizes “Oh hey, this isn’t the official place to ask for support?” (and learning there is somewhere better) is infinitely better than putting a new filter/rule in place that will slow the progress of new themes and plugins being added in one searchable place or the ability to find them directly through their WP admins.

              An author contributes a plugin/theme to .org where it is reviewed and filtered to the specification demanded by WP. End of obligation. They’ll gain more recognition for their works and WP just got stronger as a more popular CMS platform that offers thousands of plugins and themes. It’s a fair trade already.

              Of course we all hope that authors will take care of the users that use their stuff and that they’ll keep their works up-to-date and working for users and WP. This isn’t a debate about whether to support users or not, it’s about the best way. Since you’ve made it clear that authors will never have mod rights for managing their own forums on .org, then that’s just one more reason that official forums are the best place for specific theme/plugin support, though that never changed anyways. That’s always been the case.

              Just take a look at the most used themes, then compare the official forums with the .org forums and ask yourself where you think the average user would prefer to ask for help, given the option. Try this out as an experiment. I can almost guarantee when looking at the data you’ll see a lot of clicks on the “Official support available” button and authors will see an increase in more questions on their forums and less straggler questions on .org that go missed altogether sometimes. Better organization and response time for users and authors, win win.

              It seems pretty black and white what would be best for users. But, we’re only talking about the compromise of informing them and giving them the option. I say this as politely as I can, it kind of seems like you have tunnel vision over .org when WordPress, its users and the many developers by a great length transcend the actual wordpress.org website. If we’re not discussing simply what’s best for users regardless, what exactly are we discussing? Perhaps I am indeed misunderstanding something.

            • Bryan Hadaway 1:09 pm on January 21, 2013 Permalink

              Also, point and case:

              http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/bbpress/

              Redirects people to the official forums:

              http://bbpress.org/forums/

              Makes perfect sense as those forums were already established. Well, many other themes and plugins also already had forums established.

              In fact the bbPress plugin page really is doing exactly what Emil’s initial idea was and not even compromising and informing the user that there is an on .org forum solution as well:

              http://wordpress.org/support/plugin/bbpress

              So, it’s already being done, yet in a less user-friendly way than even I’m suggesting at this point. This needs improvement. Then, everyone needs fair and equal access to this same feature.

              Does that not sound fair? Is this not something you’re willing to explore? If it’s a simple no, well, then there isn’t anything more to discuss. But, it still doesn’t answer the valid points people have been making.

              Thanks, Bryan

            • Chip Bennett 1:24 am on January 22, 2013 Permalink

              Except, the vast majority now get WordPress via one-click installer from their host, and they get Themes and Plugins from their own WordPress install’s WP-Admin dashboard. So, I’m not sure that the underlying assumption here is still valid.

              (p.s. “Notify me of follow-up comments by email” still isn’t working, network-wide for all the Make sites, as far as I can tell.)

            • esmi 3:23 pm on January 22, 2013 Permalink

              Plugin and theme authors can add details of any 3rd party support forums to their readme.txt file and Theme Description if they want to point users in a specific direction. I also add links the the Help tab in my theme’s options pages and in plain text on the same page. As result, about 75% of my users go to my own forum. But I still think that anyone hosting an add-on on wordpress.org should offer some forum of support there too. Even if it only to point people to the right places. Forum regulars will happily do this too if you let us know where to point people to.

          • Samuel Wood (Otto) 7:02 am on January 20, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            In the .org forums I’ve made important notes about how to seek official support and that will get buried eventually

            The mods are more than happy to sticky the posts into the view of the forums for your theme/plugin. Have you asked them to do so?

          • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 6:19 pm on January 21, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Most plugin authors do not have their own method of support if they host on .org. Most plugin authors did not host on their own sites.

            Four or five years ago, that might have been the case, but it’s not anymore.

            So with the understanding that the goal of this discussion is to make the .org support forums better for

            a) The user who posts in .org
            b) The developer who hosts their plugin on .org
            c) The volunteers who moderate .org

            Can you help with that? Can we please, for the purpose of this post, stick to just that?

            We can’t handle everything all at once, and I tried to keep the scope small so we could look at one part at a time.

            • Bryan Hadaway 9:53 pm on January 21, 2013 Permalink

              I’m primarily referring to themes.

              There are a lot of differences between the theme and plugin sides, so yes… it’s a bit difficult to talk about them both in the same general subject.

              My suggestions (as well as others) are that we need more control if we’re going to embrace on .org support (should we or users be left with no other options), there really is no other bell or whistle that will replace that, but we’ve hit a brick wall on that subject.

              Anyways, I’ve definitely exhausted all the points I wanted to make on this subject, nothing further to add.

              Thanks, Bryan

      • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 4:42 pm on January 18, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I have to second Otto on this, and I wish I didn’t.

        If you saw the volume of, well, whining brat emails we get over ath plugins for people who are pissed off that (a) someone didn’t like their plugin and left a bad comment and (b) they responded with insults and vitriol which (c) make them look bad…. Well.

        The only way around that would be to limit the plugin/theme devs to people who aren’t going to have stupid days and act like over-entitled children. That just won’t fly. We’re trying to let anyone in who wants. So while we want to be welcoming, people have proven we can’t do things like just accept any code without review, and also that the majority aren’t mature enough to handle that responsibility. If you ARE and you’re active, you may get mod’d anyway just because we like that :)

        But. You don’t have to support your code in the forums! I have always said that, unless other wise DOCUMENTED, however, users have a reasonable expectation that they’ll get support here. So how do you get around it?

        1) Put it in your readme. At the top so it’s the first thing a plugin sees. “This plugin is supported at…”
        2) Have it in your FAQ
        3) Put it in your plugin’s admin page if you have one.
        4) DO follow the forums, and reply with ‘I offer minimal free support on the forums…’ (for things like “How do I activate it…” when your answer is “Put in your API key. If you need more help…”).
        5) Be honest and firm, without being mean.

        Is this more work? Yes! But in return, you don’t have to handle hosting or distribution or server security :D

        Even if you’re not hosted here, you’ll still get asked questions here (see StudioPress, or every single webhost), so yes, you end up spending time keeping tabs on it.

        • Chip Bennett 7:23 pm on January 18, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          But. You don’t have to support your code in the forums!

          This statement is in direct contradiction to Otto’s statement, here:

          In my opinion, if they want to provide support on their own site, then they should host their theme there as well.

          You’ll find Theme developers coming to comment here under the assumption that the WordPress project is expecting them to provide support for their Themes via the WPORG forums, based on the outcome of the Support URI thread over at Make/Themes.

          So, are we sending mixed signals to Theme/Plugin developers?

          1) Put it in your readme. At the top so it’s the first thing a plugin sees. “This plugin is supported at…”
          2) Have it in your FAQ
          3) Put it in your plugin’s admin page if you have one.
          4) DO follow the forums, and reply with ‘I offer minimal free support on the forums…’ (for things like “How do I activate it…” when your answer is “Put in your API key. If you need more help…”).
          5) Be honest and firm, without being mean.

          So, if all of these means are acceptable, why the resistance to a Support URI as the canonical means by which a Theme/Plugin developer declares their support medium?

          The end result of this dichotomy is that we are essentially telling developers: sure, you can support your code on your own site, but we’re intentionally going to make it difficult for you to do so.

          • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 7:52 pm on January 18, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            You don’t have to support your plugin/theme on .org if you don’t want to. But you deal with the results of that.

            Otto said that too.

            It’s not that you hate to, it’s that you’re expected to. And if you don’t, you accept the consequences of these missed expectations.

            Everything I described would, I think, mitigate them.

            We’re saying this “You don’t have to support your code here. People will expect you to, however, especially if your code is hosted here, so you should have a sensible plan of action if you chose not to, and accept that not everyone will be happy with it, no matter what you do. Not that they would be anyway.”

    • Ricardo Moraleida 3:09 pm on January 18, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Talking about general forums, not specific plugin/themes, something i’d love to see is some kind of sorting for “popular” questions/answers. IMO, one of the biggest problems we face on answering questions is the amount of repeated exact-matches on the same topic.

      Repeatedly answering the same questions takes out some of the joy/energy of crafting better answers for the unique ones. And the current search mechanism is somewhat inefficient when looking for quality answers.

      If we could somehow highlight best answers, maybe per topic, as some sort of collaborative FAQ, we’d be able to focus more on unique questions.

      As I imagine it, this process could be semi-automated by auto-selecting the most-viewed Q/As and letting forum MODs select which ones get fixed to this “special” section (the FAQ), where we could direct OPs. This, combined with a new status type, say, “Redirected to FAQ”, could clear up the queue quite a bit.

      • Abhishek Ghosh 8:33 pm on January 18, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Fully agreed. In many cases the question is an old question, asked and answered at least 4-5 times. Many never runs a search to find it.

        • toscho 8:46 pm on January 18, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          On Stack Exchange we close these questions as Exact Duplicate with a link to the original.

          • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 9:16 pm on January 18, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            I half like that… The problem is that (at least on the forums here) people don’t have the exact same problem a lot of the time. Similar, but not the same. Mind you, I also don’t use predefined replies most of the time, since I like to read what the person said, and how, and reply in their language as best I can.

            I’d rather have a ‘Codex Answer’ so we can like to not another post, but an ‘official’ answer, and they can easily reply “Tried that, got this…”

            • Ricardo Moraleida 6:24 pm on January 19, 2013 Permalink

              A Codex Answer seems to be a good fit, I think. Makes me wonder if we’ll be able to find enough hands to do that on localized forums – which brings me to the problem of not having enough active moderators, who could solve things by closing and pointing duplicates like in WPSE.

              At the same time, closing the question just doesn’t solve the problem on WP forums, because it only makes sense if finding good anwsers (not just any answer) to the same problem is a no-brainer.

              Thinking about how the forum search works, it occurs to me that maybe we could try something different, by improving good anwsers based on raw SEO:

              This is a wild (and spam-risky) guess, but if we implemented something like the WordPress SEO meta box (http://s-plugins.wordpress.org/wordpress-seo/assets/screenshot-1.png?rev=609774) to the forum answers – mod-only, perhaps? – we might be able to better sort questions/answers while sticking to the Google search tool (and also improving general Google searches).

    • John Gardner 4:38 pm on January 18, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      This is not completely related, but on the plugin review screen, I’d love a drop down that would allow the user to select the plugin version (or default to the latest release) in addition to the WP version. That would give some potential context to negative points in some reviews where those issues may have been addressed in later releases.

    • EnigmaWeb 2:12 am on January 19, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      +1 for Warnings
      +1 for implementing some sort of method to better manage duplicate posts
      +1 for higher privileges for plugin developer on their OWN plugin forum

      + 1 for Plugin Versions….
      My biggest frustration is users who don’t do basic troubleshooting and/or who don’t provide basic information that I need in order to provide good support.

      I find myself constantly asking users to post a link to the affected page, post what version of the plugin they are using, and do basic troubleshooting steps (like deactivating other plugins) before I can help them… and this takes a great deal of time!

      Obviously we can’t force people to isolate the error themselves as many don’t have the knowledge to do so, but we could encourage users to select plugin version, WP version, and field for ‘Affected URL’?

      …while we’re at it, maybe a checkbox ‘yes i checked the FAQs and looked for existing posts on this topic’?

      • Ian Dunn 5:52 pm on February 4, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        +1 for asking users to post the URL to the page on their site where the problem can be seen, and for encouraging them to check the FAQ and forums before posting.

    • Jeremy Herve 8:35 am on January 19, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Reply-by-email: It could be useful.
      More obvious subscription tools: I like the existing Subscription link, but I noticed that it doesn’t appear until somebody posted in your support forums for the first time. That means that I cannot actually subscribe to the support posts for my plugin right after releasing it. I have to wait until someone starts the first thread.
      Plugin Version: I like the idea.
      30-second Throttle: that would be nice. It can be annoying at times! :)

      I would also add:
      Merge threads: mods can do it I guess, but I feel like it would be nice if plugin authors could do the same in their own forums.

      Moving threads from the general Plugins forum to our own dedicated forums: would it be possible to automatically move a thread into dedicated plugin forums when that thread is tagged with the plugin name?

    • Chip Bennett 1:30 am on January 22, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Some tools that would be especially helpful, as someone who supports both a Theme and Plugins:

      1. A way to attach and display screenshot images
      2. A way to upload/attach files
      3. More-sophisticated inline code, including line numbering and syntax highlighting

    • esmi 1:02 pm on January 24, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’ve been thinking about the “Warnings” idea and I’ve got another suggestion. What about having positive(+) flagging on topics posted to theme & plugin forums? That way, users could “rewards” devs for good support. I have to say that I get a little tired of many theme authors apparently not supporting their themes whilst those that do usually offer sterling support. I know that people can assess support levels over the past 2 months via a theme or plugin’s page but it would be nice to see something in the forums as well.

    • Griden 1:05 pm on January 25, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      In many (if not most) cases, “Support” appears to be a misleading title for that tab. The first time people see it, they get overexcited and expect that there is always someone there waiting to help them build the website of their dreams. 24×7. For free.

      I enjoyed providing free support, reading feedback, and all this communication, but only for the first couple of months. I won’t go into much details and examples – I think most developers know what it’s like to deal with demanding and abusive users. So I decided to invest more time in writing more detailed (free) documentation, and placing a paywall between me and the users who need individual help in addition to that. This is a way to “filter” them, so I have to deal only with those who value my work and my time.

      This is why I don’t provide the expected “support” for my themes here. Not because selling support for my free themes is a major revenue stream for me – it’s not. Very rarely someone would want to pay only to get support for a free product. And I’m sure I’d get way more people interested in my other products if I did provide free support here. I don’t do it because it simply isn’t enjoyable experience 40+% of the time.

      Now, some (hopefully) constructive suggestions:

      1) A “FAQ” page for themes would be great. Just like the way it’s for plugins. This may not be the case for other authors, but I’d love to post additional info there and reduce the need for “support” in the nearby tab :) .

      2) The theme “Reviews/Rating” section might need some attention from moderators. Example: a theme user (quite a few actually) rates my theme as low as he can (1) with the sole purpose to “punish” me somehow because I haven’t delivered the support he expected. But he happily continues to use my theme, so he/she actually thinks it’s awesome. The low rating isn’t helpful for other users though. So would you not agree that badly argumented reviews that lack any sense should be moderated?

      3) A separate “You SUCK!” button would be a great alternative for all who want to express their anger, indeed :) .

      4) As a theme author, I don’t want moderator privileges. I admit that I’m not mature enough for this job. So I, just like the rest of the community, rely on the moderators and their judgement.

      5) If you want me to spend more time interacting with my users, I’d need some guides, tutorials, and psychology consultations on “How to deal with annoying individuals in a calm and mature manner”. I’ve watched some of Ipstenu’s videos, but more is needed I think :) .

      • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 4:03 pm on January 25, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Is there a better term than ‘support’? Forums seems too… meh. And believe me, the regular mods know just what you mean about abusive, entitled, harassing, annoying, users ;) Which is why I wanted to ask people how we could make it more enjoyable for you (filter out the bad people etc) and the users (get them where they need to be without fighting).

        1) We have a FAQ of sorts. http://codex.wordpress.org/Forum_Welcome but you mean for themes? Yes, you should have one!

        2) Tag them modlook (or maybe we should have modreview so we know that’s it? Hrm. I hate ‘more’ tags). I do want a button so you can flag a review as suspect. Right now the only person who seems to be able to sort when it’s someone having a legit gripe vs a troll is @otto42 :/ Legit unhappy reviews should stay, though, IMO. Trolls/abusive/scummy ones should not.

        3) *ponder* That seems wonderful and dangerous.

        4) Are there extra powers you would like? No shame in not wanting mod-powers, lots of people who are forum regulars don’t either! Not having them is a lot more freeing that having to be ‘good’ all the time ;)

        5) Challenge accepted :)

        • Samuel Wood (Otto) 4:06 pm on January 25, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Reviews are new, and we’re still thinking about them.

          Consider Amazon’s review style, where reviews can be marked as helpful/not-helpful by others. Might be an idea. Or something similar. Best to think along lines of community-sourcing information like that.

          But at present, there’s not enough reviews to make this a general-issue. Quantity first. Then we can deal with quality. :)

          The best way to respond to a bad review is with useful information. Remember, you’re not necessarily replying to the review itself, but also to other people who will read the review later. A moderate and thoughtful reply goes a long way.

    • esmi 2:57 pm on January 25, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      a theme user (quite a few actually) rates my theme as low as he can (1) with the sole purpose to “punish” me somehow because I haven’t delivered the support he expected.

      They do that for plugins too. Even when you have provided free support. Bottom line: there’s just no pleasing some people.

      But realistically, I don’t see how mods could sort these out. I think the best things you can do is respond to the critical review pointing out exactly what you’ve said here — that they’re still using your theme so you can only assume that they are still happy with it.

    • Jason Penney 7:16 pm on January 25, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      One thing that I miss is the automatic tagging of posts in a plugin’s support forum with that plugin’s tag. When you have an issue with plugin interoperability people will often tag a post with both tags. I really like this, but to see all my plugins forum posts I need to look at the tag, and the support forum. It would be nice if the tag grabbed the superset.

    • esmi 9:31 pm on January 25, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Or the other way around? Have all topics in the plugin’s support forum tagged appropriately.

    • Ian Dunn 12:17 am on February 2, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      +1 for getting rid of the 30 second throttle, at least in my own plugin forum. After I release an update I usually reply to 5-10 threads letting people know that a feature they requested was added, a bug they reported was fixed, etc. I always get slowed down by the throttle, though.

      +1 for more support type options, too. Literally 90% of threads in my plugin’s forum are requests for new features, or people asking “how can I make it do *this*” (where *this* isn’t something the plugin was intended to do).

  • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 11:56 pm on November 21, 2012 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    No Meetup Tomorrow 

    If everyone wants to meet and hang out, they can, but the US folks (hi) will be off eating turkey. :D

    For next week, since 3.5 RC should be coming out soon, everyone should think about putting the RCs on their site and helping us test ;) After all, you’re support! You gotta know what’s coming. Also I’ll be putting up the OMGWTFBBQ! post for review, and suggestions, early next week, and I’d love it if everyone came up with a list of weird things in 3.5.

    Oh and don’t forget to update your plugin readmes with ‘compatible up to…’ if they are.

     
    • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 12:06 am on November 22, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

    • esmi 4:29 pm on November 22, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I think we should push for a similar “compatible with” for themes – especially since there’s no mandatory obligation to support older versions of WP in the theme review guidelines. I seem to have seen quite a few forum topics where people with old versions of WP are installing new themes. wp_get_theme() seems to be the real killer.

      • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 4:30 pm on November 22, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        If it was as easy to update that in themes ( @chipbennett is it? ) I would, but IIRC you can’t just edit the readme like you can with plugins.

        • Chip Bennett 3:13 pm on November 23, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          No, it’s not. The infrastructure is entirely different. I’d love to see a way to update Theme metadata easily (such as compatible-up-to/tested-up-to/requires), but how to implement something like that would be a question for @otto42

    • esmi 5:43 pm on November 23, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Maybe we could persuade him to add something to the theme template tags – maybe something along the lines of Min WP Version? There’s already something very similar being used for child themes to indicate the appropriate version of the parent theme.

  • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 11:51 pm on November 15, 2012 Permalink  

    Is your Forum ID a company rep account? 

    When you use the forums, are you doing so as your company?

    Let me know your forum ID and I’ll make your Title “Company Rep.” (or anything else officialish you want). This way folks in the forums can see you’re legit :) And yes, I’ll check on you guys first ;)

     
    • Pippin 12:36 am on November 16, 2012 Permalink

      I’d love to use “Pippin’s Plugins” :)

    • masonjames 12:39 am on November 16, 2012 Permalink

      We have a few on our staff who help out on occasion. Would you prefer them to leave a comment here or contact you via a different method?

      Also, hey Pippin!

    • Lee 7:31 am on November 16, 2012 Permalink

      Hi – great idea, but how about a more blanket change – defaulting the user’s description to “Plugin Author” automatically if they’re the author of the plugin that that forum relates to? Possible? Useful?

      • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 3:16 pm on November 16, 2012 Permalink

        If I could automate it, I would ;) Since that’s a bit beyond what we can do (it’s on our list of forum improvements now), and since not everyone actually posts in the right place, I figured a change to what you guys want will inspire some people ;)

        Yes, that’s my evil ploy. Get you all helping outside of your plugins/themes threads and people will go “Oh, she writes plugins. Maybe she kinda knows her stuff.” It should help (I hope) the credibility issue.

      • Brandon Kraft 3:16 pm on November 16, 2012 Permalink

        The only thing I’d worry about is if I post in a different author’s plugin’s forum having “Plugin Author” would be confusing. If there was a way to highlight that the poster was *that* plugin’s author would be nice, though.

        • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 4:38 pm on November 16, 2012 Permalink

          That got me to think of an idea. I passed it on to Otto. If it’s what I think it is, it’s possibly very trivial. Of course, I’m often wrong ;)

    • Brandon Kraft 3:14 pm on November 16, 2012 Permalink

      Would you be so kind to add “Coffea Web Services” to mine? User kraftbj. Much appreciated!

    • roblagatta 4:36 pm on November 16, 2012 Permalink

      Hi there Mika. Thanks for the offer here; I’d love to have my account on the dot-org forums (roblagatta) tied to the Modern Tribe brand. If there were a way to just get “Modern Tribe Support” added (and the “Slow down!” limitation removed) it would be fantastic.

      Let me know if you need anything else from me to make this happen. Thanks again.

      • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 4:39 pm on November 16, 2012 Permalink

        Your wish is granted :) (I’ve been removing the Slow Down! limit too for folks who do support. That always annoyed me when I tried to help ;)

        • roblagatta 4:45 pm on November 16, 2012 Permalink

          That is fantastic! Thanks so much for the quick turnaround on this Mika. I definitely appreciate the removal of the Slow Down as well (in my blog post recently I noted that as a time sink for me too).

          Just got word that Shane, Peter & Reid (the principals of Modern Tribe) would like to receive this as well. Is that possible, to give them the “Modern Tribe” – without “Support” – label? Their dot-org names are shanepearlman, peterchester and reidpeifer.

          Let me know if that’s possible. Sorry I didn’t do this in my first request, and thanks again.

          • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 5:27 pm on November 16, 2012 Permalink

            The field is free-form text, so if you wanted to be Modern Tribe Monkey Manager, that would work too ;) (I mean come on, I’m Half-Elf Support Rogue…)

            Done :D

    • roblagatta 6:39 pm on November 16, 2012 Permalink

      Awesome! If I had more creativity I’d go with something cool or otherwise unique for the name there…but I’m boring :)

      Thanks again, Mika.

    • aecnuorg 9:08 pm on November 16, 2012 Permalink

      Greetings :-)

      Handle aecnuorg – authority WPMU Dev Support Staff

      Joe :-)

    • Timothy Bowers 9:25 pm on November 16, 2012 Permalink

      Hey there.

      gmax21 = WPMU DEV

      Cheers :)

      • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 9:28 pm on November 16, 2012 Permalink

        Do you want WPMU Dev Support Staff like Joe? I think that might lessen the confusion with the formerly known as WPMU Multisite :/

    • pcwriter 9:48 pm on November 16, 2012 Permalink

      Hey Mika,

      Handle = pcwriter
      Auth = WPMU Dev Support Staff

      Thanks!

    • James 12:06 am on November 17, 2012 Permalink

      Hey Mika,

      Cool idea!

      These days we generally go by ‘WPMU DEV’ rather than ‘WPMU Dev’ (I know how much you guys like correct capitalisation ;) and we’re more than happy to have stuff setup as ‘WPMU DEV Support Staff’ or whatever you prefer (there are a bunch of us and more coming) – although I don’t see how ‘WPMU DEV’ would be at all confusing these days, it’s been WordPress Multisite for aeons now.

      BTW, I’m user ‘Farms’, but not support staff, can I be ‘WPMU DEV CEO’ or something?

      Cheers, James

      • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 12:10 am on November 17, 2012 Permalink

        I just went by what your other guys typed in :D

        I can easily make them all ‘WPMU DEV Support Staff’

        although I don’t see how ‘WPMU DEV’ would be at all confusing these days, it’s been WordPress Multisite for aeons now.

        Come, my friend, and see how many posts a day I have to correct people in ;)

      • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 12:14 am on November 17, 2012 Permalink

        Oh and done ;) (Sure you didn’t want WPMU DEV God?) I kid!

    • PC - WPMU DEV 5:27 am on November 17, 2012 Permalink

      Hey Mika,

      pranayachaudhary – WPMU DEV Support Staff

      Cheers, PC

    • Tom Willmot 6:27 pm on November 22, 2012 Permalink

      Hey Mika,

      Could we get all our staff listed as Human Made?

      Our handles are joehoyle, mattheu, tcrsavage & willmot.

    • Sol 8:10 pm on November 28, 2012 Permalink

      Hey Mika, could the AddThis Team get “AddThis Samurai” (I was talked out of AddThis Ninja). Our handles are:

      srijith.v, solchea, _mjk_, addthis_paul, joesullivan, vipinss

      Thanks.

      • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 9:19 pm on November 28, 2012 Permalink

        Samurais support with honor. Much like Kligons. ;)

        Done. Also lifted the ‘Slow down!’ flag.

        • Sol 7:32 pm on December 7, 2012 Permalink

          Thanks. We will serve with honor :-)

    • ellbristow 7:53 am on March 4, 2013 Permalink

      Hey Mika,

      I’m a new guy at WPMU…

      handle = ellbristow
      title = WPMU DEV Support Staff

    • aristath 5:02 pm on March 4, 2013 Permalink

      Hey Mica, that’s great!

      Add me too…

      handle= aristath
      title = WPMU DEV Support Staff

      Thanks! :)

    • tom.eagles 11:18 pm on March 18, 2013 Permalink

      Hi Mika

      Could you set me up also please

      Handle = Tom Eagles
      Auth = WPMU Dev Support Staff

      Kindest Regards

      Tom

      p.s. you normally see me around using the plugin authors user id, but we want to keep the two separate

      • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 12:10 am on March 19, 2013 Permalink

        Done :) Your handle is tom.eagles BTW ;)

        • tom.eagles 2:56 pm on March 22, 2013 Permalink

          Hi Mika

          Still not working as far as i see would you mind checking again please

          Kindest regds

          Tom

          • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 2:57 pm on March 22, 2013 Permalink

            http://wordpress.org/support/profile/tomeagles

            Is too. If that isn’t your ID, you gotta actually give me the REAL profile :)

            • Timothy Bowers 3:46 pm on April 8, 2013 Permalink

              Thanks Mika, Looks to be working from my end for Tom :)

              Just wondering though, we have a number of staff and they are assisting on a number of posts relating to our plugins from WPMU DEV however none can mark those threads as resolved.

              From the project pages it means unless the original poster marks resolved the stats on the project page will continue to show as “0 of X support threads in the last two months have been resolved”

              I know the work around for now would be to use the main author account but that kinda defeats the point of having these markers for rep accounts.

              Is there anything which could be done to allow our own reps to mark tickets resolved for our own plugins? Or maybe something planned?

              Thanks Mika.

            • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 4:58 pm on April 8, 2013 Permalink

              Timothy – Right, only the plugin author can do that. The only work-around would be to give you all Mod Access to the forums, which isn’t going to happen right now. We know it’s a problem, but we don’t have a fix yet. It’s something we’re kicking around, to try and find a better solution than using your author account.

              I do wonder if you added those reps to the plugins if they’d be able to edit it then, but that’s also not a great idea, eh?

            • Timothy Bowers 7:42 pm on April 8, 2013 Permalink

              Hey again.

              Sorry to backtrack, I see what Tom means now. He refers to when he posts:

              http://wordpress.org/support/topic/credit-card-payment-via-paypal-confirm-statement-misleads-users?replies=2

              Where as it works on mine – Shows the custom rep title:

              http://wordpress.org/support/topic/custom-css-12?replies=3

              Probably something we’re missing. :)

              Anyway, good to see you’re kicking ideas around. I’d love to see something happen here. :)

              I don’t know what you’re planning or if you’re open to input, but it would be cool if the plugin author could login, enter other staff usernames, maybe the custom title – both could be moderated for abuse if needed and then those accounts be able to close/resolve tickets – Maybe it lists them as a moderator of those plugins from the project pages.

              I guess by adding those staff to the to the plugin it would give them the same rights and access as being the main author account?

              Thanks Mika! :)

            • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 8:02 pm on April 8, 2013 Permalink

              Seriously….

              http://cl.ly/image/1k1b0I401417

              It works for me. Flush your cache?

            • Timothy Bowers 8:04 pm on April 8, 2013 Permalink

              hmm.. It does now and I didn’t flush cache.

              It works that’s all that matters. Sorry to be a pest on that.

              Anyway, thanks for listening Mika.

              Have a great week! :)

    • m0nty 7:41 pm on April 13, 2013 Permalink

      hey mika

      http://profiles.wordpress.org/m0nty/

      Auth: WPMU DEV Support Staff

      cheers

    • James Laws 3:21 pm on May 2, 2013 Permalink

      I would love to have The WP Ninjas for both jameslaws & kstover. We are obviously active in our plugin support forums and I try to hop on over to the regular forums whenever I get a chance. :)

    • Marvie Pons 5:50 pm on May 2, 2013 Permalink

      Hi Mika, could you add “TutsKid Ninja” to Users: marviepons & Triptripper? Thanks!

    • Marcus 11:41 am on May 3, 2013 Permalink

      This is very helpful… people get confused about who’s an ‘official’ supporter.

      Could you please add ‘Events Manager Support’ to caimin_nwl and angelo_nwl?

      • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 2:52 pm on May 3, 2013 Permalink

        Marcus, is this for a plugin? When answering posts in the plugin threads, they should already be getting green tags saying Plugin Author or Plugin Contributor. Just add them to the readme and they’ll show up :)

        • Marcus 4:56 pm on May 3, 2013 Permalink

          Thanks for the reply, yes, it is for a plugin.

          I’m aware of these readme tags, but since they’re not acutal developers, they’re just there to provide support, I’d rather they have these specific names instead to avoid confusion. That option was my last resort, esmi kindly pointed me here.

          I’m ok with just the green tag on my own account, that works pretty well for me :)

          • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 5:03 pm on May 3, 2013 Permalink

            I understand the confusion, however in this case, since these people (and you) are plugin specific, the right place is to list them as Author.

            Maybe @otto42 can change that ‘Contributors’ and not ‘Author’ on the sidebar (display only, not change the readme), and then it would be more clear?

            • Marcus 5:22 pm on May 3, 2013 Permalink

              Ideally that’d be possible too! Rather than green, something like a yellow label would be great (even for other plugins that have ‘known’ users to pitch in on the forums regularly)

              Since they are employees of the company NetWebLogic, I still think we should apply for this. If you don’t want to make it plugin-specific, how about ‘NetWebLogic Support’ instead? I’d still prefer my original suggesiton, but this would be my second option.

            • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 10:58 pm on May 3, 2013 Permalink

              Can’t make ‘em separate colors, but ‘NetWebLogic Support’ is better since they are company and not just ONE plugin. Done :) (you should still list them as Authors in the readme, so they get extra credits :)

            • Marcus 5:38 pm on May 3, 2013 Permalink

              I may be confusing things here… That yellow comment may be me getting confused… don’t know if adding contributors in the readme results in a green ‘Plugin Contributor’ tag, I assumed they all said ‘Plugin Author’ haven’t seen that label on the forums before.

              They’re company reps though, so my second point above still stands.

            • Marcus 11:28 am on May 6, 2013 Permalink

              Thanks Mika! Thinking about it your suggestion may work better actually (and am thinking about the readmes too)! I’m dusting off a few older plugins that may see them supporting too… then it definitely makes more sense.

    • Michael Copestake 3:50 pm on May 30, 2013 Permalink

      Hi Mika,

      I’ve just started at WPMU DEV so could you set my title too please?

      handle = michael-copestake
      title = WPMU DEV Support Staff

      You can see me here: http://premium.wpmudev.org/#teaser-about

      Thanks!

    • Mike 4:18 pm on May 30, 2013 Permalink

      That was quick! Thanks :)

    • Tom Willmot 2:13 pm on July 22, 2013 Permalink

      Hey Mika,

      Any chance you add stubbs123, noel_tock, pauldewouters & danielbachhuber to Human Made please :-)

    • Jack Kitterhing 8:03 am on July 24, 2013 Permalink

      Hi Mika,

      Could you set my title too please? :)

      handle = jack-kitterhing
      title = WPMU DEV Support Staff

      You can see me here: http://premium.wpmudev.org/#teaser-about

      Cheers
      Jack.

    • acub 11:25 pm on September 30, 2013 Permalink

      Hello, I’d like “Customizr Theme Support” for my account. I am one of the 2 persons granted the permission to post snippets on the theme’s official page. Here’s my author page on that website: http://www.themesandco.com/author/andrei/ (we just started it a week ago). I’d like to state we don’t charge anything for our support and we don’t know each other outside the forums. I personally am doing it because I love the theme. I’m also active on the theme’s WP support forum.

      • acub 11:26 pm on September 30, 2013 Permalink

        • I am one of the 2 persons granted the permission to post snippets – besides the theme author, that is.
      • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 11:52 pm on September 30, 2013 Permalink

        That’s … a little bit of an edge case. You’re not hired by them, you’re just a volunteer. I was intending to do this for companies who have a bit of a need to prove they’re part of the company.

        • acub 12:25 am on October 1, 2013 Permalink

          As of this point (and to the extent of my knowledge) Customizr is free and is trying to stay free. But its popularity makes it impossible for the theme author to answer all support requests, so we do help when and if we can. We’re trying to build a snippets database to answer most of the possible questions. I have found out about this thread from here http://wordpress.org/support/topic/lost-everything-when-updated?replies=17 , but if you’re saying this wasn’t intended for cases like mine or rdell’s, it’s ok. We’ll keep on doing our bits anyway. Thank you.

        • acub 12:27 am on October 1, 2013 Permalink

          On the other hand, if we need the theme author to vouch for us, I’m pretty sure it won’t be a problem. And I guess it’s fair to ask for that.

    • rdellconsulting 7:54 am on October 1, 2013 Permalink

      I’m with @acub on Customizr and had a little problem on the above thread last night! Although not employees of @nikeo, we dedicate a lot of time to the Theme. It was @esmi who directed us here for your kind consideration ;)

    • Bappi D Great 7:08 pm on October 2, 2013 Permalink

      Hey Mika,

      I’m a new guy at WPMU…

      handle = bappidgreat
      title = WPMU DEV Support Staff

      You can see me here http://premium.wpmudev.org/#teaser-about

    • David 8:53 pm on November 7, 2013 Permalink

      Could you set my title too please? :)

      handle = ugotsta
      title = WPMU DEV Support Staff

      You’ll see me here: http://premium.wpmudev.org/forums/profile/dmallonee

    • WPMU DEV 4:00 pm on December 18, 2013 Permalink

      Hi Mika,

      Could you set my title too please? :)

      handle = vinod-dalvi
      title = WPMU DEV Support Staff

      You can see me here: http://premium.wpmudev.org/forums/profile/mozillavvd

      Thanks,
      Vinod Dalvi

      • WPMU DEV 4:03 pm on December 18, 2013 Permalink

        Hi Mika,

        Please ignore it as it is replied using wrong account.

        Thanks

    • Vinod Dalvi 4:11 pm on December 18, 2013 Permalink

      Hi Mika,

      Could you set my title too please? :)

      handle = vinod-dalvi
      title = WPMU DEV Support Staff

      You can see me here: http://premium.wpmudev.org/forums/profile/mozillavvd

      Thanks & Regards,
      Vinod Dalvi

  • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 9:40 pm on October 25, 2012 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    Meetup – Summit Weekend 

    Thanks to your hard work, the Guide is good enough for version one! Every page has something. We know we need to fix images, and some sections need expansion. We’ll live.

    Since this weekend is the community summit, and I am your rep (how did that happen?), is there anything, no matter how trivial, you think we should address?

    I have the following:

    • Make it harder to break home/site URLs
    • Get rid of blogs.dir in Multisite, it makes us cry when we have to explain about /files/
    • More representation/help for Meetups! An official meetup.wordpress.org site? to compete with meetup.com

    And that’s it. So what’s really annoying you about WP, be it the forums (and thank you, @otto42 for the (Bozo) tags!) or IRC or anything in the support world you think is wrong/could be better/is perfect. Hey, may as well think about what’s great too!

     
    • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 10:13 pm on October 25, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

    • JerrySarcastic 10:17 pm on October 25, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      As WP gets used so heavily as a CMS, it would be nice to have a setting that globally “turns off” discussions on Pages. Lot’s of plugins and themes that offer this, but it would be nice to have in core.

      • Jason 12:48 pm on October 26, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Following on your idea Jerry, I’d actually argue that Pages shouldn’t have discussion features enabled at all within core. Of course an individual theme could re-enable them within the context of that theme, but if they’re going to be off in > 80% of cases it seems like they should be set to off altogether.

    • esmi 1:07 pm on October 26, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      @Jason: That would mean a complete reversal of current WPORG theme policy which states that themes must have comments enabled in Pages by default.

      • JerrySarcastic 8:57 pm on October 29, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Not necessarily: “on by default” page commenting can be an ongoing requirement for theme devs, and still be overwritten in core by selecting a “turn comments off on pages” setting of some kind.

        If it’s worked into core carefully, it would not *break* the theme submission guidelines, IMHO.

    • esmi 1:09 pm on October 26, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Nothing else springs to mind – although if the 3.5 static front page config stays roughly “as is”, I can see that causing problems

    • Becky 3:15 pm on October 26, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I would love to see more help/representation from “official” WP people at my meetups.
      However, Meetup.com actually does a great job of promoting my meetup and cross-referencing it with other web related things. If WP sets up its own system, I feel like a lot of this “juice” will be lost and that newbies will never find us at all.

    • esmi 6:47 pm on October 26, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Thought of something!

      Can we ask the core devs (or whoever) to please think very carefully about releasing the next default theme before the next WP update? I’m getting a little tired or warning people not to edit Twenty Twelve because I’ve no desire to face the outraged hordes that might congregate after the 3.5 update.

  • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 8:28 pm on August 30, 2012 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment
    Tags: Chat, write up   

    Chat Recap – Aug 30 

    We did a lot in an hour!
    Handbook Changes

    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.

    Mod Handbook

    The mod handbook – http://make.wordpress.org/support/handbook/ – needs your love too.

    Misc.

    Nacin List

    @nacin‘s to do ;)

    Wish List

    Things @Ipstenu needs to harangue @otto42 about.

     
    • @mercime 11:51 pm on August 30, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      == bbPress/BuddyPress docs need lurve too! ==

      i lurve them both. Wasn’t at the chat so are you referring to http://codex.bbpress.org/ and http://codex.buddypress.org/ or something else entirely?

      • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 12:21 am on August 31, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Their codex’s :) @raggedrobins pointed out they could use some doc attention.

        • @mercime 3:50 pm on August 31, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Thank you Ipstenu. Yes, more lurving needed. Articles in BP codex are updated or added around the time a new version rolls out or whenever needed. Those tasks have been done by BP Core Devs, BP Forums Mods and a few active members of BP community … a mirror to what’s happening at a bigger level with the WP docs I see.

          BP 1.7 is coming up the pipeline with new major theme compatibility features, internal group forums integration with bbPress plugin, new groups panel in wp-admin, among many others. All are welcome to help out now to improve BP docs :-).

    • esmi 11:47 am on August 31, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’m seeing multiple reference to WordPress.com in the handbook. Is this correct or have I missed something (sorry – been out of the loop for a while).

    • esmi 2:49 pm on August 31, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Aha! So would it be OK to start editing the references out and massaging the text appropriately?

    • Siobhan 8:14 pm on August 31, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Now that we have tags for pages how about a simple tagging system for the user manual that we can keep consistent? I suggest using:

      Complete
      Needs input (use the comment form to make a note of what input is needed).

      Erm… dunno what else.

      [P.S. Is it just me that wishes that when I comment on a blog the checkbox that is automatically checked should be "Notify me of follow-up comments by email" rather than "Notify me of new posts by email"? I have to switch them every time]

    • Siobhan 7:57 pm on September 1, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Can we rename the Moderator Handbook as the Support Handbook? Moderator implies forums but the handbook should encompass docs too

    • Siobhan 10:19 am on September 2, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      i have copied over all of the stuff to do with editing the codex: http://make.wordpress.org/support/handbook/contributing-to-the-wordpress-codex/

      However, it needs editing to get rid of duplicate stuff and to make it easier to follow and more logical.

      For the record, I hate MediaWiki – I know that lots of people love it but it’s a serious barrier when it comes to getting people to contribute to the codex. People may be able to edit with just HTML but they don’t know that and people do say that they would help if it was built on WordPress.

      Also, eating own dog food? A beautiful, usable WordPress Codex built using WordPress would be a fantastic way to show of what WP can do.

      Update: Could add another to-do on to that list for me to edit the codex contributing stuff in the SP handbook. Will get on it asap :)

      • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 3:06 pm on September 2, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        The ability to handle linking on a wiki with juste [[pagename]] and the flat-level design there of is much easier than on WP (there, I said it, okay?). I’ve done tons of doc’ing on both (and installing), and there’s a time and a place for ‘em.

        Mind, I think the user manual doesn’t need to be that time or place ;)

  • hanni 11:09 pm on August 5, 2012 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment
    Tags: goals   

    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.

    Let’s go!

     
    • andrea_r 11:25 pm on August 5, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Probably first point is to identify actionable items, break ‘em down into manageable tasks and start the delegating / voluntold process?

      I;d say first thing is to get the wp.com useful docs over here with a first pass at editing to replace terms, then link it up to the main.

      • hanni 11:28 pm on August 5, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        sidenote on wp.com docs – @andrea_r I’ve just grabbed an export of en.support.wordpress.com. Where’d you like to start gathering these? A category here?

      • hanni 11:56 pm on August 5, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        OK, we had some quick ad-hoc “IRL”conversation action going on here with @Ipstenu, @nacin, @otto, @jane and others – noting:

        • Since even /handbook/ etc wouldn’t potentially even be the “final destination for this info, it’s pretty academic where we put them, as long as we keep them as pages (arguably most flexibility wrt simple portability
        • With all of this in mind, we don’t need to ask of anybody’s time (would require a couple of hurdles @nacin‘s part which just make it not worth it) to just create a page and import as a sub of the Handbook page @Ipstenu has already created
        • hanni 12:05 am on August 6, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Done! @otto helped me mass move everything to under “Handbook”. Falling timber, but it’s something.

          • andrea_r 12:14 am on August 6, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Dang, you guys work fast – and yeah, something somewhere anywhere. :D

          • hanni 12:42 am on August 6, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            So, the general principle of restricting isn’t something you’ll ever see me getting behind, and, was careful to only export / import “published” pages so there is no sensitive anything, I have made the pages private whilst we do a very quick _ initial triage – otherwise 340+ pages is a bit overwhelming to just dump out there, so:

            • @andrea_r, @esmi @ipstenu @hanni- let’s grab any and all pages where we can and, without investing the time to reformat it, or whatever (should this be hard), do a quick once-over to see if the actual page itself is something useful for .org and then make it public, if it’s not relevant, delete – I’ll presume, by Wednesday morning 10AM PST that anything still private can be made public.
            • Then, once we have the public set of pages which are, in theory, the relevant ones, we can do deeper triage, updating, and editing – as @ipstenu pointed out, this may actually be quickly done too! :)
            • This is just for 72 hours, whilst we scrub. If we can do it before then, that’s great.

    • Siobhan 3:42 pm on August 6, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Amazing – I go to bed and loads of stuff has happened! Is there anything I can do to help? Have some time to review pages tomorrow if needed.

      • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 5:38 pm on August 6, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        As soon as we can go through and delete the totally non-relevant .com stuff (like how to set up email/domains with .com etc), and remove the links to .com support, I think we can roll the pages out, have everyone comment, and figure out how to structure a ‘user handbook’

        @hanni and I were talking about this with the Core Handbook, and she has a great idea for overviews.

        If we can come up with big ‘header’ sections, like in a book, and lead people through what you need to know, then we can present a guided path.

        So with WP Codex we should figure out what our ‘path’ is.

        1) What is WordPress
        2) Installing
        3) Using
        4) Extending (? Themes and/or plugins … maybe Personalizing)
        5) Coding

        And then the Coding one would be where we’ve got all that advanced function calls etc. Core can link back to the Core Handbook.

    • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 11:49 pm on August 6, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Pages sorted and done. I have a draft post, but since the handbook doesn’t list them all, I asked @otto42 and @nacin if we could have the shortcode for child pages like they do on .com (and like the plugin in the repo) so we could just list ‘em.

    • hanni 11:52 pm on August 6, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      @ipstenu, you are a marvel.

    • Lorelle 4:55 pm on August 10, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Wow, I duck into academia and miss out on all the fun. Is there a place to find all these? What can I do?

      WordCamp PDX is coming up and some people have asked me to do a Codex unconference meeting during it. I’d love to tap into their brilliance and point them at specifics. The WordPress PDX Meetup team also wants more directions when it comes to how they can help with the Codex, especially after the very successful recent Codex events.

      Awesome.

  • 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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