Troubleshooting Support: Adding troubleshooting to the Support Handbook

Hi everyone. @jdembowski suggested at the last meeting that it would be a good thing to post some info about the idea I brought up, so more people can add their feedback. So, here’s my idea…

The Support Handbook is full of information about how to do the job of being a forum moderator—how to deal with spam, abuse, bozos, etc.—but there is not really anything to represent the other half of the equation: How to troubleshoot common issues once they get here.

While there is a page in the Codex that helps solve a lot of common issues that face users, there is still really nothing like it that is aimed squarely at troubleshooting from the perspective of a support giver, rather than a WordPress user.

Why we need a troubleshooting section

Naturally if you’re already a WordPress pro, you know how to do this stuff or can piece it together for yourself with an internet search. However, contributors arrive at the forums from a broad range of backgrounds, from power users to developers. The art of troubleshooting may not be second nature to them at all.

For experienced coder who is new to the finer points of WordPress, or perhaps a non-coder who has a strong desire to learn and help others (or anyone in-between really) adding a troubleshooting section to the Support Handbook can only help.

So where does this come from, thin air?

Not exactly. One place we could borrow content from to get us started is which is a site full of WordPress troubleshooting exercises that are hosted under @ipstenu‘s care, with many awesome peeps contributing to the content. The exercises themselves were developed to provide lesson materials for two workshops in 2013, which were well received, though the content not been developed since, nor any workshops taken place.

Something I like about the approach of the break/fix site (and related workshops) is that there are full downloads and example problems to work through. So it is an interactive way to learn troubleshooting by breaking—and then fixing—a test site, along with useful reference material on common tools and approaches for troubleshooting.

As far as other content that may work, there may also be relevant Codex content that can be pulled in and adapted, and I am sure new content/lessons could be added as well. So plenty of ways we could go here, though starting with a port of break/fix gets us off the ground quickly.

Sound crazy? Could it be better? Want to help out?

So this is just my idea for how we could expand the usefulness of the Support Handbook, and one that will benefit from as many viewpoints as possible. With that in mind, I’m really more curious to hear your thoughts on what would be the ideal way to approach adding troubleshooting info.

Please let me know in the comments. And if you want to help, *definitely* say something in the comments. 🙂