People seemed to like the idea when I…

People seemed to like the idea when I pitched it. Can we pick a weekend to do it? Having at least 2 weeks notice would be good so people can clear time in schedules, read up on docs if they want, etc. Maybe weekend of February 15?

#20-questions, #contributor-drive

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 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 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)

#irc, #questions

Troubleshooting WordPress Training

Following my discussion earlier this week with Jen and to clarify what was mentioned in her post, I’ve been thinking of ideas for what a “Troubleshooting WordPress Workshop” could look like.

Two years ago at WordCamp Toronto, Kathryn Presner led a 3 hour workshop and gave beginners a primer about WordPress walking them through the dashboard, etc… Myself and Ruth Maude were on hand to help people with questions.

Perhaps 3 hours is  too long for a troubleshooting workshop, but having a longer session would be useful for folks to ask question, play with code, etc…

A  very rough outline of what could be covered would be:

  • Installation Issues ( localhost and self hosting )
  • I can’t find/reset my password what do I do?
  • Overview of FTP and phpMyAdmin – why these are great troubleshooting tools
  • Ack! White screen of death
  • Theme/Plugin errors
  • Incompatibility with themes/plugin
  • Media Images are not showing up, how can I fix this?
  • I’ve upgraded my site and now it’s borked
  • My site is slow
  • I’m making changes and nothing happens
  • I change the site url and now I can login to my admin
  • Help me change the width/colour/font???? How do I do this?

These are just off the top of my head right now. Before doing anything, I would want to go through the troubleshooting info on the codex, but having been on the forums for a while, I’ve answered a combination of these questions, once or twice. 😛

I would also like to give the participants the opportunity to submit their specific issues before they come. Hopefully once they’ve been through this, they would be more comfortable coming to the forum and offering help.

Let me know if you have any suggestions, comments.



Training Group, Team Reps, and Growing the Team

Hi Support Team! A bunch of things today….

Welcome Training to Support

At the community summit, we went a little bit team-creating-crazy. As such, we splintered people into groups (like docs out of support) rather than splintering into projects within larger teams. For Support, this meant that electing team reps was especially hard, since the people getting votes were repping other teams.

One of these new teams, Training, started with excitement but then petered out with no activity for a couple of months. The solution to these two issues seemed pretty clear: merge Training back into Support, and have Christine Rondeau serve as the 2nd team rep. @ipstenu was in favor, so there we go. Welcome Christine back to the fold!

Christine will be working closely with the Community Outreach group, and we’re starting to plan our first training project already. It’l be focused on Troubleshooting WordPress, aimed at leveling up people to the point that they can do more with WP professionally, and could be more confident contributing to forums. She’ll undoubtedly be asking you all for ideas and help. Note: in line with the diversity initiatives, we’re going to do this first workshop for women, a la railsbridge. It’ll also get posted online for all and sundry.

Contributor Drive

I’ve been scouring every open source project’s community sites to see how they approach things, and one had a great concept that I want us to steal modify, use, and redistribute. 🙂 The idea was this:

Weekend Project: Become a Contributor

We’ve done things like this at WordCamps (usually on dev day, and mostly focused on contributing to core), but what I was thinking of for support was something not too intensive: 20 Questions.

20 Questions Proposal:

  • Publicize the weekend project to become an official wp forums contributor, called 20 Questions.
  • People can sign up to be part of the weekend contributor drive. Current volunteers (approved as knowing their stuff) will be the mentors.
  • Their goal is to answer 20 questions successfully (mentor says yes, good answer) during the weekend before the cutoff time.
  • Keep at least 1 support person in IRC channel for team at all times during the weekend (make schedule in advance).
  • At cutoff, tally the results! People who got at least 20 right are officially congratulated and welcomed as support contributors. We can make a graphic they can put in their sidebars or something maybe. People who didn’t make it are thanked for their efforts, and pointed to resources to help them level up. The person with the most questions answered gets a prize. The person who answered the hardest question gets a prize (so they aren’t incentivized to just do easy ones). We can do wp swag and/or WC tix for prizes.

What do you guys think? I think it would be super fun.

#contributors, #team-reps, #training

Docs is trying to build pathways to support

A Twitter discussion this morning spawned a conversation about the lack of breadcrumbs to support in the Codex, namely for theme authors looking to ask questions about the theme review guidelines.

The Docs team is compiling a list of articles that point out some of the support pathways, such as mailing lists, IRC, the forums or other channels.

We welcome any input and discussion:

#docs, #pathways, #support, #wptrt

No Chat Tomorrow – Next Chat Jan 8

Due to NYE recovery (and 3.5.1 push) we’re not going to have a scheduled chat until the 8th (that’s Tuesday) at the usual time.

This week, consider it open-office, or if you’d like homework, please go read Open Issues from 3.5 and comment. I’m looking for issues like ‘Google Pagespeed kills the media uploader’ 🙂 Big stuff.

See you the 8th!

  • 2100 UTC
  • 9pm London
  • 4pm US Eastern
  • 1pm US Pacific
  • 2:30am (Friday) Bangalore