Agenda for December 14th Support Meeting

  • General Announcements
  • WordPress 4.9.1, how’s it going?
  • Checkin with International Support Liaisons
  • Time permitting: Open floor

For any other items to discuss please add them in the comments below, or bring them up in the meeting.

The meeting will be Thursday, December 14, 2017, 17:00 UTC in #forums on Slack. (a Slack account is required)

December 7th Support Team Meeting Summary

Announcements

  • If folks are having trouble unsubscribing from a plugin forum, it’s partially cache-related, and can be cleared up by following these instructions.
  • Health Check has received some more great updates since last week. Troubleshooting mode now switches to the default theme, has a way to toggle themes/plugins, and can now be disabled without logging out/in again.

New Volunteer Orientation

The New Support Volunteer Orientation via Slack at WCUS 2017 was a huge success!

@bethannon1 will be taking charge to organize this monthly in a variety of time zones. Over time, we’ll decide on an official schedule based on what works, and eventually finalize and publish a document/script so that non-English communities can easily translate it and run their own.

WordPress 4.9.1

WordPress 4.9.1 has been out for a week. So far we haven’t had any trouble, though users are occasionally running into #40040 still.

Gutenberg

Gutenberg will be in WordPress 5.0, and it is definitely different from the current editor. There will be a plugin available to restore the classic editor if necessary, but we wanted to discuss if we should do anything special for this release.

Overall, time will tell, but we’re leaning towards having a separate FAQ/OMG/BBQ post just for Gutenberg.

Checking in with international liaisons

The Russian, Italian, Hindi, Swedish, Portuguese, and Brazilian communities had representatives stop by our meeting this week.

If you do support for WordPress in non-English speaking communities, please do stop by and say hello during our meetings so we can share experiences.

Attendance

@macmanx @bcworkz @bdbrown @williampatton @pmfonseca @t-p @geoffreyshilling @cristianozanca @chetan200891 @numeeja @zoonini @zodiac1978 @bethannon1 @fierevere @sterndata @lasacco @jdembowski @thabotswana @amboutwe @contentiskey @tobifjellner @mikbaloch @stephencottontail @mariovalney attended.

Read the meeting transcript in the Slack archives. (A Slack account is required)

Contributor tips
Are you looking to contribute WordPress support, but English isn’t your native language? Don’t worry, there are several forums that could use your help!

#weekly-chat

Agenda for December 7th Support Meeting

  • General Announcements
  • WordPress 4.9.1, how’s it going?
  • Checkin with International Support Liaisons
  • Time permitting: Open floor

For any other items to discuss please add them in the comments below, or bring them up in the meeting.

The meeting will be Thursday, December 7, 2017, 17:00 UTC in #forums on Slack. (a Slack account is required)

Troubles with un-subscribing for some users

@otto42 has managed to track down why we’ve seen topics about users unsubscribing from plugin forums but still receiving emails.

We’ve been seeing a lot of these: https://wordpress.org/support/topic/cannot-unsubscribe-from-plugin-support-page/

Short version: They unsubbed from a plugin forum, but still get emails, and the forum also does not show up in their subscriptions list.

Finally, I was able to get it to happen where I could see it happening. Seems that there is a desync between the database and the memcache for subscriptions, sometimes. Dunno what causes it as of yet.

Quick fix for anybody reporting this problem: You, the moderator, or anybody else really, can go and subscribe to that plugin forum that they are having trouble with, and then go ahead and unsubscribe from it. This invalidates the memcache entry and will cause it to rebuild from the database. All subs will be essentially “reset” to what they should be for that forum entry.

If I can sort out the cause, I’ll fix it. Until then, this workaround is easy to do.

Experiment with New Support Volunteer Orientation

Last summer (June 2017) at Community Summit, we discussed several ideas that could help us as a Team do a better job at orienting new Support Team volunteers and help them find the tools to get started contributing by answering topics in the wordpress.org support forums.

At WCUS Contributor Day today in Nashville, we experimented with a “live” volunteer orientation in our Slack channel. This orientation included new volunteers at Contributor Day in Nashville, but also was announced in the Slack channel over the last week, and included a few folks who attended remotely.

In the orientation, we:

  • Welcomed new volunteers
  • Pointed them toward several of the “get started” parts of our handbook
  • Described how to filter topics in the forum
  • Pointed out one of our important tools, the “Also Viewing” browser script, that allows you to see what other users are currently viewing a specific topic
  • Encouraged volunteers to come to the Slack channel for help in answering topics, and to tag topics with `modlook` when a moderator’s attention is needed
  • Finally, we encouraged new volunteers to join us at our weekly Team meeting

If you would like to read through the Slack archive of this Orientation, you can do that here.

Our next steps:

  1. We are going to refine the items & links, and make the “script” available for our support liaisons for specific language forums outside the international forums if they would like to use it.
  2. We are tentatively planning to offer this “live” orientation on a regular basis in the international forums Slack channel.
  3. We want to encourage the use of this “live” Orientation at other Contributor Days. Support leads for those days could use our script to do their own Orientation, or Support Team moderators might be able to lead this Orientation remotely.

November 30th Support Team Meeting Summary

WordPress 4.9

WordPress 4.9.1 was released yesterday, and is a combined security and bugfix update. Addressing some of the most noteworthy bugs discovered in 4.9 at this time.

There have been no new recurring 4.9 issues, but we make note of the change to the author bio field now being passed through wpautop which might be reverted.

Health Check debugging

The Health Check plugin got updated last week to introduce a loopback tester, and a troubleshooting mode to virtually disable all plugins for a user. This is to make it easier to have users test with all plugins disabled without impacting their site visitors.

Troubleshooting using the Health Checker

Meeting deputy for next week

@macmanx has volunteered to cover next weeks meeting, as @clorith is away on vacation

Checking in with international liaisons

The Russian, Italian, Hindi, Spanish and Portuguese communities had representatives stop by our meeting this week.

If you do support for WordPress in non-English speaking communities, please do stop by and say hello during our meetings so we can share experiences.

Open Floor

Support chat

A suggestion was put forth for introducing a more topic-oriented chat to topics than what our IRC room currently provides.

Unfortunately a solution like this requires a lot of moderation control, which we do not have the capacity for, and our IRC room does suffice for now. Communities are encouraged to point those seeking a more real-time solution there, as the IRC room allows any language speaking user to join up, they may direct you to forums if the language is under-represented and we do not have any volunteers capable, but it’s a good solution for now.

Contributor onboarding

At Contributor Day on Sunday, Dec 3, we will be trying an experiment with “Support Volunteer Orientation”. At 10:30 am local time in Nashville (16:30 UTC), we will have a short (10-15 min) Volunteer Orientation in the Slack channel. We will try to cover the basics, like filtering for no-replies, using the “Also Viewing” script, and when to reach out to moderators for help. We are trying this at Contributor Day because we know we will have some willing new volunteers, but we hope others who might be interested will join us remotely, and most importantly, give us some feedback about whether this might be useful going forward as a regular way to get new volunteers oriented and answer any questions they might have.

Attendance

@anevins, @bcworkz, @bdbrown, @clorith, @contentiskey, @cristianozanca, @fierevere, @geoffreyshilling, @hardeepasrani, @howdy_mcgee, @josearcos, @macmanx, @matteospi, @numeeja, @pmfonseca, @sergeybiryukov, @sterndata, @t-p, @tobifjellner and @zoonini attended.

Read the meeting transcript in the Slack archives. (A Slack account is required)

 

Contributor tips
Troubleshooting an issue? Use the Health Check plugin to disable plugins without affecting site visitors!

#weekly-chat

Agenda for November 30th Support Meeting

  • WordPress 4.9 – How are things working out
  • Health Check updates
  • Need a meeting deputy for December 7th
  • Checking in with international liaisons
  • Time permitting: Open floor

For any other items, please leave them in a comment, or bring them up during the meeting!

The meeting will be Thursday, November 30, 2017, 17:00 UTC in #forums on Slack. (a Slack account is required)

Troubleshooting using the Health Checker

When providing support, the most used (and most reliable) way to determine the root of an issue is by disabling plugins. We often have the problem that users do not wish to do this, or claim they have without any apparent effect.

Those claiming to have tested things, we can’t really do anything about, but those who do not wish to disable plugins often have a legitimate claim: They do not wish to cripple their website for visitors.

After working on a solution to test what plugins may be affecting loopbacks in WordPress, the procedure was expanded, and a new feature was introduced:

Troubleshooting mode

This is introduced as a new tab in the Health Check screen, it has a fair amount of text informing users that all plugins will appear disabled to them, but they are in reality enabled for all site visitors still. To ensure the user understands that they are without plugins until they log out, they are required to check a box stating that they understand it, this is really just to try and avoid support requests in the nature of “I lost all my plugins”.

Troubleshooting mode disabled all plugins both on the front and back end of your site, this makes it ideal for testing things that affect places like the customizer, the post editor and so on, places where a plugin could easily cause some problems.

When the user sees that everything works as it should without plugins enabled, it is much easier to walk through and discover what plugin actually causes problems for them.

Two thing to take note of:

  • It intentionally disabled all plugins, including the health checker plugin (we admit that we are not without fault and perhaps some odd situation arises where it causes an issue)
  • Must Use (MU) plugins can not be disabled, to do so we would have to move them around, this would both impact site visitors, and may cause larger issue as they may contain data for controlling caches etc with hosts.

Once troubleshooting is completed, logging out and back in again will restore your dashboard to what it used to be, full of all your favorite plugins!

Loopback tests

For the sake of disclosure, the loopback tests have also been improved, these are used for WP_Cron to work as intended, and more recently also to allow the theme and plugin editors to check edits before saving them to avoid accidentally causing a White Screen Of Death (WSOD) on your site.

We initially just showed if these requests failed, but that isn’t very helpful, so now if it fails a button allows the user to test the loopback again, this time with all plugins disabled.

Of course, this is helpful, but not very finger-pointing-accurate, so it goes a step further, if the loopback is successful without any plugins active it will allow you to do a final test, where each individual active plugin is tested to see if it causes the loopback to fail, allowing us to pinpoint where there may be a problem.

Of course, there are exceptions, things may still fail even without plugins active, but at that point we can more accurately work on what steps to address next.

November 23rd Support Team Meeting Summary

General announcements

Our next support workshop has been announced!

Scaling Support: Dip the Data Bucket Every Day – Workshop on January 22, 2018

 

WordPress 4.9

4.9.1 is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday November 28th, with RC1 landing on Monday the 27th. These are tentative dates, and things may change. The 4.9.1 release will focus on the 3 major issues discovered so far affecting users:

  • Broken features due to MediaElements.js trying to validate WordPress locales
  • Editing themes/plugins when using IIS
  • Caching of theme files

There will likely be a 4.9.2 to resolve other issues that may arise and are not as pressing.

 

Checking with international liaisons

The Russian, PortugueseSpanish, Swedish, Italian and German liaisons stopped by to let us know things are going well. The Swedes have had an influx of both questions seekers as well as providers of late. In Italy they had WordCamp Milano, and in Germany we saw WordCamp Cologne with new contributors from their contributor day!

 

Attendance

@anevins, @bcworkz, @bdbrown, @clorith, @cristianozanca, @fierevere, @firoz2456, @jdembowski, @josearcos, @keesiemeijer, @numeeja, @otto42, @pmfonseca, @sergeybiryukov, @t-p, @tobifjellner, @williampatton, @zodiac1978 and @zoonini attended.

 

Read the meeting transcript in the Slack archives. (A Slack account is required)

 

Contributor tips
Each plugin and theme have their own support forum, if you are very familiar with something specific, why not give those specific forums a read, you just might find someone you can help!

#weekly-chat

Agenda for November 23rd Support Meeting

  • WordPress 4.9 – How are things working out
  • Checking in with international liaisons
  • Time permitting: Open floor

For any other items, please leave them in a comment, or bring them up during the meeting!

The meeting will be Thursday, November 23, 2017, 17:00 UTC in #forums on Slack. (a Slack account is required)