Agenda for January 16th Support Meeting

We’re doing a slightly different agenda post this week, and also getting it out a bit earlier than usual for that reason, but also trying a new format to make it a bit clearer to any potential newcomers what the sections are about.

The weekly support meeting will be held on 2020-01-16 17:00 UTC in #forums on Slack. (a Slack account is required)

Goals for 2020

Nothing helps give a direction to a team like a goal, so let’s try to pin some goals we would like to achieve for the year, there’s no requirement on the size of the goal, so long as we think they can be reasonably achieved with the resources at our disposal.

WordPress 5.3, how are we doing

A weekly check to see if any new recurring issues have come up with the latest version of WordPress it self, and which are then considered as additions to the Master List on the support forums.

Checking in with international liaisons

This is the section where we reach out to the non-English speaking parts of our community, to see how they are doing, if there’s anything we can help each other with, or just interesting things going on that it would be nice to share with others.

There’s no requirements for previous participation or “fame” to share here, anyone is welcome, and we encourage newcomers to participate!

Open floor

This part of the meeting only happens if there is time, the team aims to cover the pre-planned topics first in any given meeting.

When open floor starts, any topic posted either as a comment to this agenda post will be looked at, or as many as there is time for. If there is still time left after this, then meeting attendees may step forward with questions, comments, remarks, anything relating to the support team that they’d like to handle.

It is also important to note that not everyone is comfortable posting things publicly, there is complete understanding of this, and users are welcome to contact the team representative (@clorith) via direct messages on Slack with whatever they wish the team to look at together.

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

January 9th Support Team Meeting Summary

General announcements

No particular announcements this week, as we’re coming off the holiday downtime, but a reminder of ongoing discussions relating to the validity of reviews and spam prevention. Watch for relevant meta tickets relating to this.

Checking in with international liaisons

Members from our international community took part this week, and we saw them joining from Russia, Sweden, Spain, Bengali and Greece. And yes, there is a new face in there, I love seeing new attendees, everyone is welcome, and we’re always interested in hearing how things are going outside of the international forums, it helps provide a broader understanding of our users, and encourages us to look at things from other perspectives.

Open floor

The pre-defined replies that are recorded in the support team handbook have gotten an update.

A remark on recurring issues relating to errors when saving posts was brought up, some discussion shows that this primarily happens to sites with WP_DEBUG enabled, as this makes the JSON response from the save-function become invalid when it contains error notices and similar, often caused by plugins or themes.

#weekly-chat

Agenda for January 9th Support Meeting

  • WordPress 5.3 – How are we doing?
  • Checking in with international liaisons
  • Time permitting: Open floor

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

The meeting will be held on 2020-01-09 17:00 UTC in #forums on Slack. (a Slack account is required)

December 12th Support Team Meeting Summary

General announcements

The bbPress slowdowns have, for the most part, been resolved right now (some moderation tasks may still be slow at times, this is being looked into, but for the average user, it should be fine), and notifications have been re-enabled on the international forums (they were disabled for a period due to incorrect recipients).

Health Check

Our favorite support tool is the Health Check plugin, but it has some drawbacks (or amazing features, depending on how you look at it); It currently supports WordPress 4.0 or higher, that’s a lot of versions to account for when working on the plugin.

There’s a request for input on thoughts relating to splitting things out, keeping a “Legacy Health Check” for those users on older versions of WordPress (for example, many folks actually use it before updates to help check that they can upgrade without major issues).

The details on the proposal can be seen at https://github.com/WordPress/health-check/issues/365, and input can be left there, or in the comments below.

There many be many pros and cons to this, the two major ones brought up so far is that yes, it provides better parity with core in an up to date release, with less restricted by older core versions, but it may be confusing to have two similarly themed plugins/names.

Checking in with international liaisons

We had lovely community members from Sweden, Russia, Netherlands, Urdu, Brazil, India, and Italy (and possibly other spaces who did not get a chance to say hi this time), and some of them stepped up and helped out a new member get situated with the Bengali forums, so thank you @fierevere and @tobifjellner 🐱‍🏍

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

Feeling overwhelmed? Walk away, you are a volunteer, and don’t need permission to take breaks or to walk out on any situation you are no longer happy or comfortable with.

#weekly-chat

Agenda for December 12th Support Meeting

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

The meeting will be held on 2019-12-12 17:00 UTC in #forums on Slack. (a Slack account is required)

December 5th Support Team Meeting Summary

We had a short and quiet meeting this week, folks are busy preparing for holidays and such, so this isn’t a surprise at all 🙂

Announcments

WordPress 5.3.1-RC1 is scheduled for this week, on December 11th.

Checking in with international liaisons

Members from some of our international parts of the community, including Russia, Italy, India, Brazil, and Sweden, were available during this weeks meeting.

Open floor

Slowness on the forums

A question about the bbPress update, and current slowness on the forums was brought up.

The current slowdown on the forums is relating to missing caching for certain actions. This is notably the case when moderators perform certain tasks, like approving pending posts, or when users post replies to topics.

The bbPress team are aware of the issues, and will be looking into this.

HelpHub role assignments

There’s currently a limitation in HelpHub, which means it’s not possible to add a HelpHub editor or manager to someone who has not previously participated in the forums in some way.

A ticket, #meta-4890, was made for this and can be watched for future updates on the matter.

As has become customary, our weekly musical marvel is by the wonderful Sigrid.

#weekly-chat

Agenda for December 5th Support Meeting

  • WordPress 5.3 – How are we doing?
    • 5.3.1 information
  • Checking in with international liaisons
  • Time permitting: Open floor

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

The meeting will be held on 2019-12-05 17:00 UTC in #forums on Slack. (a Slack account is required)

Agenda for November 21st Support Meeting

  • WordPress 5.3 – How are we doing?
  • Checking in with international liaisons
  • Time permitting: Open floor

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

The meeting will be held on 2019-11-21 17:00 UTC in #forums on Slack. (a Slack account is required)

November 14th Support Team Meeting Summary

General announcements

bbPress 2.6 was released this week, and has been deployed to the various forums. Please note that an upgrade notice will show up in wp-admin if you have the appropriate access, don’t click this, the meta team will handle the upgrade routines accordingly once they’ve been tested in our large setup scenario.

WordPress 5.3

The new version of WordPress, version 5.3, was released this week.

As is customary after a major release, the WordPress 5.3 Master List has been published, and is a living document being updated with anything we find that breaks WordPress for users.

Discussion on linking to off-site support platforms

A hot topic this past week has been linking to support-topics that are outside of WordPress.org.

Some good conversations were covered during the weekly meeting, and a make/support post has been published outlining what we discussed, and allowing for input from those unable to attend the weekly meeting.

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

When contributing, remember that you are not alone, your friends and teammates are here for you, don’t be afraid to seek help or assistance.

#weekly-chat

Linking to your own support sites

After a lively and engaging discussion during this weeks support meeting, a few scenarios were brought up relating to plugin and theme authors linking to their own support resources.

There are different views on what is considered appropriate times to do so, and what is or isn’t allowed when viewed in relation to the established support guidelines. It’s also clear that the current guideline is not clear enough, and needs updating to be much clearer.

This post outlines some of the ideas that came forth during that discussion (which can be read on Slack in its entirety), not all of which are guaranteed to be implemented, but are recorded for the sake of completeness. We then open the floor to input and comments by those who were unable to attend our latest meeting, or those who did, but have more to bring to the table, all are welcome.


Scenarios not up for discussion

There are two fixed parts that are not up for discussion, but are reiterated for context. No one, no matter who, should ever ask for any kind of credentials (this includes, but is not limited to, WordPress itself, remote viewing applications like TeamViewer, or basic authentications on sites).

An average user should never link a user to off-site platforms for continued support. There is no reason for this, this is exclusively for plugin and theme authors who may have their own systems in place to better follow up and help users.


Points brought up

Currently, it’s possible to link to different platforms, it may be an idea to stop allowing the in-between, either you provide support on WordPress.org, or you don’t.
Would need changes to the plugins side to lock down forums, as it was noted that those who claim to not offer support do it any way at this point, so to avoid confusion, locking down would be the way to go. This does have some disconnects from the expectations of plugin authors when they choose to use the plugin directory though.

If you are a SaaS (Software as a Service), you may require private information like an authentication token or similar to troubleshoot a problem, which should not be posted in a public forum.

If the plugin or theme has a paid version, any conversation relating to premium only features should be taken to their private support platform, as they are not allowed to support customers through our platform for free users.

Currently we do allow authors to post their support email and there is no plan to stop allowing this, but we do recommend that if they need this direct contact, it should be with a proper support system, for both theirs, and the users sake.

The forums are ideally for users to lean to help themselves. It’s important to keep in mind that for the majority of end users, who have no familiarity with the forums or those who help out on them, it is a place to get their problem fixed and nothing more.

Grabbing links and put them behind an intermediary page on WordPress.org with a disclaimer about the dangers of sharing credentials is mentioned as a possible solution to the scenario of links going off-site.
This brought up a continued discussion on a need for whitelisting known good locations, and the increased administrative wok that would lead to in the long run. A whitelist feature may also lead to perceived favoritism towards specific plugins or themes.

When is it OK to link off-site?

  • premium plugins/themes (which should also result in a post closure)
  • services related to plugins/themes

Clarification to the guidelines

A proposition for an improved clarification on linking was put forth, and

Linking to support off-site is allowed for plugin/theme developers and support personnel, but it should only ever be used as a last resort, and never to collect access credentials.

Please keep in mind that the forums here are searchable, so a fully resolved thread here may help another user down the line.