Forums Status Update (Sept 12)

Subscriptions should be working again.

Feeds have _moved_ and I’m really sorry about that. Hopefully we’ll get an nginx redirect in there sooner rather than later but basically it’s this: https://wordpress.org/support/plugin/akismet/feed/

We’re using WordPress now, so any time you see a view you want to follow in RSS, slap `/feed/` on the end and it will probably work.

There’s also this URL: https://wordpress.org/support/plugin/akismet/active however, as you will notice, there is no ‘feed’ for it. Those are custom (non default WP) views and are all support threads with Closed and Resolvedt filtered out, then sorted by last reply. We’re working on feeds for those and the old plugin committer feeds. I want that back too. Right now, I suggest you use the per-plugin feed to get a list of your new bugs etc, and then subscribe to the post (or add it to favorites).

Sadly, ‘cost overruns’ have been the story of this migration. We had hoped to be done with everything by the 5th, but that proved a gross underestimate.

We know there are a lot of ‘smaller’ features everyone loves and have gotten used to making their lives easier that we’re now doing without. It sucks. Trust me here, the mods have ‘lost’ more tools than anyone else. This upgrade had to happen, though.

Also the reason I’m closing these posts to comments when I make them is I have no additional information to provide. Historically, if I leave them open people will posts complaints and rants (which I can do nothing about save sympathize), bug report (which we either already know about, or should have been posted elsewhere), or ‘thanks’ (which we all appreciate, but get spammy). And pinging me on Slack won’t get you any answers more than I’ve posted. This is what I know as I know it.

All I have for you now is a plea to be patient. This is a massive undertaking that for a long time was deemed impossible. But slowly, as we clean up the mess, things will get better and the pros of the move will reveal themselves. Like having Akismet actually catch spam for a change.

Please check Support Forums: Meta Trac before filing a bug report/complaint. And if you have suggestions for fixes, jump in and let us know! The bonus of being on bbPress now is that if there are plugins that can do what we need, we can actually use them!

Thanks.

#forums, #support

Handling Bad Reviews

In general, the Plugin Review team is not the go-to recourse for bad reviews.  Instead, we have a totally brilliant forum support team! There’s some overlap of jurisdiction of course, and some of us are on both teams, but the point here is you should go to the right group to get the right help.

I’m also going to put this out there. You will get a bad review. Most of the time, it will not be deleted. So before you get any further in this post, know that the way you chose to respond, in public, to a 1-star review of your plugin is your own choice.

Our goal with the WordPress.org repository is to have a good place for users to get plugins that fulfill their needs. The reviews are an extension of that, and should viewed as a way for users to educate other users on their experiences. Also a review is about an experience. If someone’s experience with your product is poor, that doesn’t make their review invalid. And to go back to that previous statement, the way you react to those poor experiences is going to impact your reputation, and that of your plugin, a heck of a lot more than that review.

Now, that said, we have a few ‘common’ types of problems with reviews. This post is going to help you handle them and explain when you should call for help, as well as from whom. Later on we’ll be adding it to our documentation, once it’s refined as best we can make it. Please remember, we do not want to make a ‘rule’ for everything. That just invites people to play rules-lawyers and tip over everyone’s cornflakes.

Here’s how you do it and when and why.

First off… How to add a tag!

99.999999% of the time, you’re going to be adding ‘tags’ to posts. This is so easy, you may kick yourself for missing it. On a post, look on the right hand side, under About this Topic and you’ll see a section for Tags

Tags are listed on the right hand side of a post

This is a free-form field where you can add any tag you want. Anyone can add any tag. The forum moderators have an easy way to know who added what, though, so keep in mind we do monitor that. If you want to add a tag to a post and reply, add the tag, press the Add button, and THEN come back to reply. It works better.

Tag abuse (that is calling moderators needlessly) is not okay. Be smart. Be thoughtful. Remember that every last member of the forum and plugin teams is a volunteer. We’re not being paid by Automattic to do this.

The spam review

This is easy. Don’t reply, just add the tag modlook to the post and walk away. The forum team will delete it. If you think it may not be obvious spam, add the tag spam as well.

The sockpuppet review

When a person (or group of persons) makes multiple accounts with the sole intention of leaving reviews on their own plugins (or leaving poor reviews on their competitors), this is called being a Sock Puppet.

This behavior is expressly NOT welcome on the WordPress Forums as it is spamming. But it comes in two flavors:

  1. Someone 5-star spamming their own plugin
  2. Someone 1-star spamming their competition

Both are bad behavior. Both will get plugins removed from the repository and a stern email from us. If you’re doing this, stop right away. Contact your team and tell them ‘Don’t do this!’ Also keep in mind, asking everyone in your company to 5-star review your own plugins is gauche. I mean, really. You’re stacking the deck on purpose and that’s not beneficial to anyone.

Again, do not reply! Add the tag modlook AND sockpuppet to the post and walk away.

The attack/troll review

These are the worst. When someone attacks you and the review seems like all it exists for is to make you feel terrible, you’re going to have to take a deep breath and walk away. An attack is a troll, regardless of how the original poster (OP) feels, they’ve basically been a troll. They’re writing something they know will make you mad and hurt and angry, and they’re doing it on purpose. That’s a troll. And you shouldn’t feed the trolls. You won’t win, and you’ll just make yourself look bad.

Again, do not reply! Add the tag modlook to the post and walk away. These are usually pretty self evident after all.

The review that should have been a support post

This includes the sub-genre “People who submit 1-star reviews in order to emotionally blackmail you for support.”

We all get them.

  1. Reply with a link to the support section of your plugin (or directions on how to get support, or even a note that you don’t provide free support) and remind them that next time, they should ask for help before reviewing.
  2. See if you can fix the problem, but give it no more or less priority than you would any other support request.
  3. If you can solve it, ask them to modify their review. If they go back to https://wordpress.org/support/view/plugin-reviews/PLUGINNAME and scroll to the bottom, they can edit their reviews!

You’ll notice we’re not telling you to tag the post? Right now we can’t move a review into the support forums and vice versa, so there’s really no point. The forum moderators won’t do anything about it except say “Well, that does suck.” If we could move them, we would, but right now we technically don’t have that ability.

The review about your premium/pro version

If you upsell your plugin’s pro version in the free one, and someone leaves a bad review because the pro version they bought, on the basis of your free one, is bad, congratulations. The review stays. You opened the door with your upsell, encouraging them to do this, and that experience reflects on your plugin as a whole.

If you do not upsell, and there’s no direct link between the free and pro version, or the plugin having the issue is a premium only add-on, tag it modlook and someone will come take a look.

The review about someone else’s plugin

This one can be fixed! Reply and let them know it’s not your plugin, it’s the other one, and then tag it modlook and then use the tag wrongplugin (all one word) to let the mods know what’s going on.

But I really need a plugin moderator!

Okay. So you think you’re an exception? Use the tag pluginmod and a plugin admin will come take a look. Be prepared, though, as we generally will perform a full review on your plugin and any and all guideline violations will result in your plugin being removed until you fix them. Including using too many tags.

#guidelines, #support

Getting Support Notifications For Your Plugin

When you have a plugin, it’s important that you get notified when people have support questions. We have a way for you to keep up to date on these things and have since the Great Plugin Refresh of 2012. But for those of you who missed the news or need a refresher, here we go.

All Plugins

We’ve always had a couple convenience views of plugin-committers and plugin-contributors, and these are still there as well. Committers are managed in on the Admin tab (i.e. people who have access to commit code via SVN), while contributors are taken from readme.txt (which is why it’s important for you to use the proper WPORG forum ID, capitalization and all).

Example URLS:
https://wordpress.org/support/view/plugin-committer/Otto42
https://wordpress.org/support/view/plugin-contributor/Otto42

Your username is case sensitive. Otto42 will work, otto42 will not. Not sure what yours is? Go to https://wordpress.org/support/profile/ (yes, that works for everyone) and look at the header:

Example of Otto's profile, his name is capitalized

The name in the grey header is capitalized, thus he must use a capital_O_dangit.

Otto fixed this, lowercase works, still, check your login name because I know some of you have weird spaces and stuff

Since anyone can add you as a plugin contributor, I recommend following plugin-committer.

The RSS URLs for this look like https://wordpress.org/support/rss/view/plugin-committer/Otto42

At this time, we don’t have email for this.

Per Plugin

Every single plugin allows you to follow it by email. Go to the Support Page for your plugin, scroll down to the bottom, and you’ll see this:

Example of Email/RSS links

RSS and email. Done. Even if there are no posts you can register for those emails, so make that a part of your workflow.

#repository, #support

Plugin Directory Refreshed — What It Means for Developers

Matt just announced on the WordPress Blog — and many of you have already noticed — a number of recent changes to the plugin directory, profiles, and the support forums. Now let’s go into detail all of the individual changes, and what it means for plugin developers.

Design refresh for plugin pages.

We’re glad to see so many of you use the plugin headers we launched in December. Now, we’ve provided a further refresh. We’ve made authors much more prominent and with bigger Gravatars and better placement, and cleaned up the styles for the ratings, support, and compatibility sections. There’s a great before-after shot in the announcement post.

Support is now integrated into your plugin page.

In the past, creating new support topics for plugins has been special, and not in a particularly good way. It had this specialness by overloading the tags in the support forums to indicate that a thread was about a particular plugin. No longer. We’ve promoted plugins up a notch and given them their own area.

So now, on your plugin pages, you’ll see a “Support” menu in the header, and you’ll see the topics for that plugin in that tab. You’ll also find a submission form at the bottom of that tab, to add new support topics specifically for your plugin. Topics about plugins made from here get a special sidebar with links to the plugin, to the plugin’s FAQ page, and to the list of Support Threads for that plugin.

While this section looks like it’s on the Plugin’s page, it’s not really. These support threads are actually in the same place they’ve always been, in the Support forums. What you’re seeing as far as the look and feel of that view of the support forums is just some clever trickery on our part. 🙂

Akismet, for example, will have it’s “support forums” at this URL: https://wordpress.org/support/plugin/akismet.

How to follow support threads for your plugins.

You may want to take advantage of this by subscribing to the RSS feed for your plugin: https://wordpress.org/support/rss/plugin/akismet. Email subscriptions are not available for these yet, but we will be adding them this week.

For plugin authors who have been using them, the old convenience views of plugin-committers and plugin-contributors are still there as well. (Committers are managed in on the Admin tab, while contributors are taken from readme.txt.) We’ll be exposing these links in more places, but you can use them with URLs similar to the following: https://wordpress.org/support/view/plugin-committer/Otto42 https://wordpress.org/support/view/plugin-contributor/Otto42. (RSS feeds exist for these as well.)

Support statistics are now shown to users.

You’ll notice a new area on the plugin page sidebar showing information about how many topics there are for your plugin, and how many of them have been marked as resolved. These are handy for users to see if questions are likely to get a response.

You have had the ability to mark plugin support threads as resolved for some time now. It’s now really easy — you can mark a thread as resolved while making a post with a simple checkbox. Note that the user who opened the thread can also mark threads as resolved and unresolved. Threads that are marked “Not a support question,” such as suggestions or feedback, are not counted toward these stats and do not need to be marked resolved.

Statistics will be based on a rolling two-month period, based on when the thread was opened. Currently, the statistics cover threads opened in the last two weeks, and will continue to increase until it reaches two months, to allow you some time to resolve existing threads.

Managing your forum with sticky topics.

You can now make threads “sticky”  threads to the top of your plugin’s support forum, just like the other forums on WordPress.org. (You’ll find a link “Stick topic to this plugin’s support forum” in the sidebar.) Threads marked as sticky will show at the top of your plugin’s Support tab. (They won’t be sticky on the regular forums.) We hope you find this handy for posting FAQs or other important information about your plugin.

A new section for developers.

Every plugin now has a Developers tab where you can find links for browsing the code in Subversion, the development log, and development versions. Here, you can now subscribe to get an email whenever a commit is made to a plugin repository, even if it isn’t yours. (You will of course continue to receive commits for your own plugins.)

Favoriting plugins.

As I’m sure you’ve now seen, plugins can now be favorited by logged-in users — and have been more than 2,000 times since we soft-launched this feature earlier in the week! When you favorite a plugin, it gets added to your profile. And if you’ve also rated that plugin, your rating gets shown.

We expect to do a lot more with all of this in the future — favorites, plugins, support, and profiles. Until next time, we hope you enjoy these changes as much as we do!

— written by Nacin, Otto, and Scott

#directory, #support