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  • Jan Dembowski 1:37 am on June 20, 2014 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    Support Team Update for June 19th 

    I was unable to attend today’s #wordpress-sfd meetup but there was good representation and a lot was covered. Mika wrote a really good amount of material and sent it to the wp-forums list. I also wanted to thank @Ipstenu for driving the meetup but it’s really more than that.

    Mika? You’re fantastic and inspiring. Some days volunteer work (any work) can be a drag so if that happens just read this: Thank you for everything you do. It’s really appreciated. ;)

    The Troubleshooting Handbook

    Much of the Break/Fix site is now imported into the Troubleshooting Hanbdbook


    This is a work in progress please feel free to volunteer content. This remains a great idea.

    Sock Puppetry

    Sock Puppetry is when one person (or company) makes duplicate accounts to either troll others or bump their own plugin or theme. It’s not cool and those new accounts get blocked when found and their posts deleted.

    When a moderator comes across that and it’s related to a plugin author then please notify the plugin team at plugin [at] wordpress.org with the details. If a theme author is doing that then I think you can ping the theme reviewers list.

    I don’t think I’ve come across a theme author engaging in sock puppetry myself. You can always notify the wp-forums list if you’re not sure.

    How to Pick Moderators and some Handbook Cleanup

    Mika wrote a good and lengthy email to the wp-forums list and I’m going to include that here in today’s update.

    Since this DOES get asked now and then, we banged around an idea to not so much formalize the process, but explain what’s going on.

    That said, before I get to the new thing I’d like to add, I’ve fixed the structure of the handbook so we have forum moderation under the ‘Contributing to the WP Forums’ section. I also cleaned up a lot of the stuff that was in the “I …” format, since that was from my emails ages ago, and needed updating. I also consolidated some pages and added a couple new ones.





    Added: Rule 6: You’re here to help people, not preach about right and wrong.


    Added: We have guidelines, not rules, for a reason: guidelines should be followed, rules <em>must</em> be followed. Never let the literalness of the guideline override your common sense. After all, we’re here to help people, not build a wall to keep people out.


    Added a reminder: We don’t like to call it bozing in public (even on this list) becuase it’s 99.99999% of the time taken the worst way possible. Try to call it b-tagging, and never ever EVER tell them they were bozo’d, tell them their account was set to require moderator approval on posts.



    Forum Moderator:

    If you’re interested in being a forum moderator, that’s awesome! We don’t have a formalized process for getting new mods, but here’s how we handle it:

    We’re a team. We pick people we feel will work well with the current members, uphold the high level of support and friendliness of the forums, contribute with no adverse ulterior motive, and be a polite member of the forums in the face of raging anger.

    What do we mean by ‘adverse ulterior motive’? It’s actually pretty simple.

    • Contributing to the forums to help people while learning more about WordPress is good.
    • Posting replies only to get people to use your plugin/service/product is NOT good.
    • Using your moderator powers to determine a poster is hosted by your company, and asking them to contact you/your company is good.
    • Using your moderator powers to get a poster’s email address to contact THEM about your product/service is NOT good.
    • Asking to be a mod because you’ve been tagging posts for spam cleanup, email/personal information/passwords removal, and make sticky posts for major issues is good.
    • Asking to be a mod because it will make you contribute more is NOT good.

    If you can’t tell, the idea here is to do good for the sake of doing good. It’s not that we’re looking for people who have no higher aspirations, it’s that the aspiration we’re looking for is very self evident when it exists. And certainly you don’t have to be altruistic about WordPress to be a moderator. Some of us are encouraged by our companies to volunteer, in order to help the community. But that’s really the point. We’re looking for people whose goal matches ours: Make WordPress better for everyone.

    Not being asked doesn’t mean you lack those qualities, however, nor does it mean we feel you’re a bad person. There is no magical combination of actions to be picked as a mod, and many people, even those who ask about being one, are surprised the day that they’re asked if they’d like to be one. The reason is that the absolute best moderators are the ones who are just going to do what they do, regardless of formal recognition. They see something that needs doing, and they do it.

    And THAT is what we look for.

    Mika A Epstein (aka Ipstenu)

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

  • Jen Mylo 5:04 pm on June 19, 2014 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment
    Tags: ,   

    WCSF/Team Meetup 

    Howdy again, folks. We’re working on making sure we have enough room blocks to make sure all the contributors who are coming in October can get a decent rate (or have a room provided by us if needed). Some of you replied to my post from last week and filled in the survey so I’d know you were planning to come, but some haven’t. I just want to make sure we count everyone. For example, @jdembowski, @podz, @clorith, and @jerrysarcastic didn’t fill in the survey. Maybe you guys don’t plan to attend due to timing conflicts or other reasons, or maybe you do but didn’t fill in the survey. Help me help you! :)

    Hit the survey if you are an active member of this team so we can count you and see if you’d be able to stay for the whole time etc while we are creating room blocks. If you are not going to attend at all, please leave a comment on this post saying that and I won’t bug you anymore. If you would come but are concerned about the cost, hit the survey to be counted, and then go fill in the application for travel assistance. We have a budget for this, so let’s not allow money to prevent active contributors from attending.

    If you didn’t read the post before, the plan is:
    Sat/Sun — WCSF conference
    Monday — community summit
    Tues/Wed — team meetups (i.e. the support team being together in a place to talk issues, make plans, work together, etc)

    • Jen Mylo 5:21 pm on June 19, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Also: In that survey, a lot of people say they’re active with the support team, but I don’t necessarily see recent activity from them, so I wonder if they checked the box just meaning they’d done support at some point vs being an active part of the team now. One of these days we’ll get around to making team pages for all the teams, but in the meantime, could you folks (esp @jdembowski and @ipstenu) tell me who on this list is actually active in support? It’s not to deny anyone a place at the event, it’s to coordinate our rooms blocks since we’re going to be spread among 3-4 hotels, and if I can I want to put teams in the same hotel to make it easier for them to connect. Some people are or have been active with more than one team, so this is step 1 of figuring out who to put where.

      People who identified themselves as “actively involved with the support team, including forums, irc, etc”:
      Cousett Hoover, Paul Clark,John Jacoby, Chris Olbekson, Drew Jaynes, Asif Chowdhury, Keith Messinger, Scott Wyden, Kivowitz, Valent Mustamin, Christine Rondeau, Jose Castaneda, Mika Epstein, Ed Caissie, Sergey Biryukov, Ayman Al Zarrad, Russell Fair, Otto.

      • Sergey Biryukov 6:43 pm on June 19, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        To be clear, I checked the support box mainly because of my activity on ru.forums.wordpress.org. I also monitor the Alpha/Beta forum, but my main focus is core.

        • Jen Mylo 5:31 pm on June 20, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Cool. I already have you grouped with core on my plan, I just didn’t want to edit the response lists in case there was something I was missing. :)

      • Christine Rondeau 11:07 pm on June 23, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I’ve been active’ish now and again, but not as much as I used to. I’m coming to SF for sure, but I’ll be staying at a friends place.

    • Scott Wyden Kivowitz 12:11 pm on June 20, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I work for Photocrati, so I’m involved with support for NextGEN Gallery.

    • Siobhan Bamber (siobhyb) 9:23 pm on July 19, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Hi @jenmylo: I held back on applying to the Community Summit as I haven’t contributed actively to the Open Source project in the past couple of months, however, this was only due to some personal commitments taking my time rather than not being interested in contributing any more. I’ve filled in the survey to hopefully attend the Summit, I’d be able to fund my own travel and accommodation.

  • Jan Dembowski 10:18 am on June 17, 2014 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    Team chat agenda for week #25 

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

    • Ping @jerrysarcastic about You Know What™ ;) (specifically about importing content from @Ipstenu‘s Break/Fix site)

    I’ll be most likely unable to attend this weeks meetup (What did Mika say? Oh yeah, end of school year “life thing”) but I will post the summary of the meetup online.

  • Jan Dembowski 10:12 am on June 13, 2014 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    Support Team Update for June 12th 

    Items discussed at the #wordpress-sfd meetup:

    The Troubleshooting Handbook

    The discussion was about organizing the ToC and getting the content from @ipstenu‘s Break/Fix site into that new handbook.

    Markr (@podz) had put together a spreadsheet and shared it online that divides the new handbook into section. We agreed that those sections made sense. It’s not set in stone but it’s a good start.

    Once there is content in the new handbook I will add a link to that handbook in the make/support sidebar.

    Contributors wanted!

    Too bad there’s not a “Uncle WordPress wants YOU” graphic lying around. I think grumpy cat is more the support team’s mascot. ;)

    The Troubleshooting Handbook will need content. The posts that @ipstenu has in her break/fix site will be migrated/copied to the new site by @jerrysarcastic and I’m itching to write a post for the “Giving Support” section.

    But there are many examples in the support forums and in IRC that can and should be used in the new handbook. If you’ve seen or contributed a post for plugin or theme support that struck you as a particularly good answer (and I’m looking at @josh401, @jnhghy and @emg as a blatant and not so subtle attempt on my part to get content) then that can be used.

    If you’ve wanted to contribute or have a post for consideration please share it in the comments. Even a link to a support topic or IRC conversations can get the

    The transcript of the meetup can be read at this link.

  • Jen Mylo 11:37 pm on June 12, 2014 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment
    Tags: , wcsf,   

    WCSF 2014 Update 

    Heads up, support team! We’re getting ready to publish details about the plans for WordCamp San Francisco this October (which includes a mini team meetup), so if you’re thinking of attending, please read the post at http://make.wordpress.org/updates/2014/06/12/wordcamp-san-francisco-travel-contributor-days/ and take the short survey linked at the end of it so I’ll know how many team members to plan for (don’t worry, this isn’t a commitment or anything, I just need to get some rough numbers for budgeting purposes). Thanks!

  • Jan Dembowski 2:24 am on June 11, 2014 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    Team chat agenda for week #24 

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

    • The Troubleshooting Handbook and status
  • Jan Dembowski 7:41 pm on June 5, 2014 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    Support Team Update for June 5th 

    Item discussed in today’s #wordpress-sfd support meetup was the Troubleshooting Handbook.

    A few days ago @jerrysarcastic posted a Troubleshooting Handbook ToC in make/support and this was well received. The handbook was declared “a thing now” in the IRC meetup. ;)

    There was some discussion about the names of the support handbooks. The current handbook should be renamed to “Support Moderator Handbook” and the new one should be “Troubleshooting Handbook”. New names would help avoid confusion.

    Please give Jerry’s post a read and contribute if you can. There are several areas in the ToC that can be a place to really contribute and help others providing support. I myself really like “03 Giving Support – How to communicate with and help others effectively” and may post something for review in that area.

    The transcript of today’s meetup can be found at this link.

  • Jerry Bates (jerrysarcastic) 11:18 pm on June 3, 2014 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment
    Tags: ,   

    Troubleshooting Support 

    Recap : Troubleshooting is a Handbook now!

    Since bringing up the idea of having some sort of WordPress troubleshooting guide, we have discussed on IRC and P2 some ideas for what to include, as well as where it would live. As for “where” it was decided quickly that this is best suited as a standalone handbook, rather than a part of the existing Support Handbook (aimed at forum mods) or the User Manual which is out of date and in need of some rethinking.

    So we know where, now let’s talk a bit more about the other W’s (namely who, what, and when) of this new Troubleshooting Handbook.

    Who it’s for: Newly arrived support forum volunteers

    They’re not WordPress rockstars or Moderator material yet but instead a someone who has arrived at the the forums with a real desire to help. Awesome! The problem is that not all of us were born to be support experts, despite our drive to help others.

    So this handbook would be aimed at:

    • Web developers who have core skills from different areas of the web, but are not familiar with WordPress coding standards.
    • Power-users and non-coders who just want to help where they can, or are just trying to up their support game

    What does it include: A starter ToC

    Based on some of the feedback, as well as the original proposal to leverage the Break/Fix website to get us started, the following ToC sound like a good place to start:

    01 Introduction – Basics of troubleshooting WordPress

    Like a quick start guide, this would expand on the idea of having a troubleshooting checklist or flowchart for common issues with WordPress sites. Here is a good example of one to get us started, but I can see the possibility for more than one, perhaps focused on domain issues, server config problems, faulty themes/plugins, etc.

    02 Hands-on lessons – Common hacks and breaks, and how to fix them

    This would be the bulk of the handbook, and starting out would be populated with content from the examples and exercises sections of the Break/Fix site. These would each be created as sub-pages, and could be expanded over time to include other examples of WordPress breaky-ness and how to fix.

    As a reminder, this content was created for a series of workshops, and I think it would be cool to keep the hand’s on feel of these exercises, including plugin downloads, source code, etc. This would also open up the possibility of re-adapting these back into workshops (at meetups and WordCamps) which would also be cool.

    03 Giving Support – How to communicate with and help others effectively

    This section would talk more about the other half of the support equation, and that is about communicating and managing the person asking for help, as well as “helping them help you” so to speak.

    Of all the sections, this is probably the least defined ATM. One route might be to find a way of promoting examples of “support done right” taken from our existing threads—through moderator tagging perhaps? Another idea is to make this more of a “Goofus and Gallant” (#) style guide of what bad support and good support looks like.

    I think there is a lot to be discussed here about what and how to implement this concept, so I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on this important section.

    04 – Appendix – Tools and references for troubleshooting

    The basic idea here it to have this be a place to collect some of the things that are really useful to anyone who is taking on a support-giver role. Sub-pages could cover the following topics (taken from Break/Fix) along with your suggestions.

    A – Tools & Techniques

    • Local installs (MAMP, WAMP, etc.)
    • Using WP_DEBUG
    • Setting up a test site
    • Creating a phpinfo page
    • Browser and OS tools/extensions (expanded from here)
    • Online tools (DNS checkers, validators, etc.)

    B – WordPress standards

    • Don’t hack core and other core principals
    • Editing CSS the right way – Child themes, not theme hacking
    • GPL, OSS, and other community minded standards.

    When should we do this thing?

    We have some great starter content on the Break/Fix site to get us started, so naturally, once we have a ToC we can be proud of, I’d like to propose getting a spreadsheet set up (to track progress and keep organized) and start with a port of that content. So, the short answer is, um, now! :)

    Want to help? Have an idea? Let’s hang out!

    Nothing great is ever accomplished alone, so if you are interested in joining in, or have an idea we haven’t thought of, please speak up in the comments. This would be a great project for anyone who is looking to contribute, but not a coder. Get off the fence and join us! :)

    You can also swing by our weekly team chat (Thursdays at 16:00 UTC) in #wordpress-sfd IRC on Freenode.

    • Josh (WP Edit) 3:58 am on June 4, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Sounds awesome. Regarding “Giving Support”, we have to ask ourselves, can someone be ‘taught’ how to provide quality support? I think it’s absolutely possible. I think back to my grad school classes and all the mock simulations we performed. It was the simulated experience of ‘bad’ situations that taught me how to handle them better.

      So, I feel the same applies here. However the implementation, I think it’s important for newcomers to see examples of ‘bad’ support.. and also examples of ‘irate’ topics. Perhaps even creating a mock forum where we, as mods, can play around with each other, illustrating ‘good’ and ‘bad’ support topics and replies.

      Also… we need a quick access “tab” or something with the most common moderator responses (I’ve been hacked; Please post a new topic, etc.). It would be great if we could open a tab, click the appropriate response, and have it auto-inserted into the editor. Sorry, getting off-topic ;)

      • Mark (podz) 9:36 am on June 4, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        A mock forum could be fun, and would save having to use real people as examples.

        For the ‘quick access tab’ – SupportPress has a dropdown menu which is used for common replies. I guess @otto would be the one to see if that could be pulled from there and dropped into the forum?

        For non-mods though we could suggest tools such as Clipmenu (on mac) and Win/Linux alts so people can rapidly access their own collection of replies. And we could create a txt file they could start with too.

    • Mark (podz) 9:08 am on June 4, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      03 Giving Support – would it be worth creating this using the current forums as the titles?

      This way if someone is keen to offer Theme support then that section could cover best practices, child theme info, troubleshooting themes, useful browser tools. The Installation section could look at issues that commonly crop up there and the same for others.

    • jnhghy 12:29 pm on June 4, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      01 Introduction – Basics of troubleshooting WordPress

      Back when I was a tech support one of the most important questions we had to ask clients was something like “have you changed anything before this started happening?” or “Since when did this started to happen?”. You won’t get strict answers to this all the time… but hey, if you get a … “Since I installed super cache plugin” … then that will help you narrow down some things… I don’t say it will apply to all troubleshootings but I think it deserves a place in good bug report … :)

    • Mark (podz) 12:18 pm on June 10, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Someone grabs the handbook, read and learns and has questions. Where do they ask?
      I don’t think #wordpress is the best place so where would we say they could do this? -sfd?

      Also – I can’t see what licence all the handbooks will be released under. I’m not being possessive but you just know that others will take it, rebrand it and probably even try to sell the handbooks. I assume a discussion has been had somewhere? (I’m all for remixing and improving but I’m also all for full original credit to be visible and not hidden. This is finally a chance for forum Supporters to get their names up front for the tireless work they do and I’d hate for someone to just strip that out and sell it.)

      • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 1:21 pm on June 10, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Probably CC or GPL, but frankly if we’re doing this for the name in lights, we’re doing it wrong.

        Questions on how to provide support would be #wordpress-sfd or the email list.

        • Mark (podz) 4:09 pm on June 10, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          No, I don’t think we are doing it for names in lights. But it is a way for the contributions to be acknowledged. I fully expect it to be ripped off though.

          • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 9:55 pm on June 10, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Well it’s WP :) My posts on my own site are ripped off all the time ;) But more to the point, I suspect we’ll end up with a contributing authors page?

            • jerrysarcastic 11:52 pm on June 10, 2014 Permalink

              I think that sounds like a good addition at the least.

              Sadly you’re right, if you’re contributing to support in the hopes of getting your name in lights, you’re gonna be disappointed bro!

            • Mark (podz) 11:47 am on June 11, 2014 Permalink

              It’s not about me – really. I’ve had my work taken for years and I don’t care.

              Point is though that putting people’s name into it somewhere has to be a good thing. It can only encourage people to contribute. In much the same way that WP releases have credits so can the handbook. It is something for someone to show others that they have contributed and I do think that is important.

  • Jan Dembowski 10:10 am on June 3, 2014 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    Team chat agenda for week #23 

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

    • Table of contents for a new handbook? (Yep, I really like the idea and wish I had time to work on it.)
    • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 1:30 pm on June 3, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I will not make the meeting unless something changes…. Real life thing came up.

    • jerrysarcastic 8:02 pm on June 3, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’ll be posting about a proposed ToC to get things started later today. :)

      • Jan Dembowski 12:02 pm on June 5, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        That’s a good post too.;)

        Side note: I may not be able to make it to the IRC meetup today myself (ongoing connectivity problems and scheduling problems). If I do not make it please have the meetup and I’ll write up the summary for make/support and make/updates.

  • Jan Dembowski 2:35 am on May 30, 2014 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    Support Team Update for May 29th 

    Item discussed in today’s #wordpress-sfd support meetup: @jerrysarcastic‘s idea. Jerry’s been very popular these last few meetups. ;)

    It was a fun conversation and mostly it revolved around what his idea is and where to put it for now.

    The What Part

    The current support handbook’s audience really is people who want guidance for being a forum moderator. As @Ipstenu said the support handbook is “How to make more Jans and Mikas.”

    Jerry’s idea is for producing a handbook that can be used for people who want to help others outside of a moderator role. Some of those forum members may be web developers not familiar with WordPress coding standards. Or non-coders who want to help and look for guidance as to how to best do that.

    The Where Part

    The where part was quickly settled at least temporarily. The stub is located at http://make.wordpress.org/support/trouble/ and the first step will be to create a TOC. Once that’s filled out then posts and examples can begin to be populated.

    You do want to contribute, right?

    Have you ever read a forum reply and thought “That was really a good answer!” (that’s happened to me) or even “That reply is missing a step”? This handbook can be a place to document and share those answers and solutions.

    Visit Mika’s Break/Fix WordPress site and poke around. There are some great posts there and that’s really along the lines of what this idea is about.

    Read again Jerry’s post and reply back there. What do you think should go into the table of contents, how should it be organized? Got any ideas for a topic or post? I myself want to write something about how plugins can be modified without editing just by using actions and filters in another small plugin.

    There can be a lot of ideas for that handbook; please chime in make suggestions. Any offers to contribute will be appreciated.

    The transcript of today’s meetup can be found at this link.

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