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  • James Huff 11:38 pm on April 21, 2016 Permalink |
    Tags:   

    April 21st Support Team Meeting Summary 

    WordPress 4.5, how’s it looking so far?

    We have added items for an upload issue under older Imagick versions, as well as an issue with TinyMCE under WordPress installed by Plesk, to the master list.

    WordPress 4.5.1, schedule and planned fixes.

    A release candidate for WordPress 4.5.1 is planned for today, and will include fixes detailed at the linked post.

    Please test this when it’s ready to ensure that we don’t need a 4.5.2 as soon as it’s released (which is planned for Monday or Tuesday).

    Edit: It’s here: https://make.wordpress.org/core/2016/04/22/4-5-1-release-candidate/

    Being Followed Home

    If people follow you home (contact you off-site) to complain about you as a moderator, please feel free to forward the email to @ipstenu or @otto42. You are also strongly urged to block their email from your personal mail if you suspect they’re going to get crazy. You do not need to take anyone’s abuse.

    Support Badges

    @kenshino will be sending a new list of people to get Support Team and Contributor badges by the end of this week. Support liaisons in non-English forums are strongly encouraged to update their lists if necessary, please.

    HelpHub

    HelpHub is around 60% developed. Articles are being migrated, but many of our Codex articles are the result of years of patchwork. Many of them require re-writing. @kenshino will call on the Support Team members to adopt articles for rewriting, perhaps ones that you use often, maybe in a month or 2.

    If any Support Team members would like to assist with HelpHub now, please contact @justingreerbbi or @kenshino.

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

     
  • James Huff 6:29 pm on March 31, 2016 Permalink |
    Tags:   

    March 31st Support Team Meeting Summary 

    WordPress 4.5 RC

    WordPress 4.5 RC 1 is out, as is the 4.5 Field Guide, and so far we haven’t noticed anything consistent or otherwise worth highlighting in our testing.

    Please do test the RC when you can. If we can find bugs before 4.5 goes final, we’ll have less threads to deal with after.

    Image Auto-Embeds in Forums

    The Team voted unanimously to begin researching the possibility of providing image auto-embeds in the forums (leave a URL to an image on a trusted source, and it embeds automatically).

    @otto42 has begun development. We’ll launch with the sources he’s comfortable with when he’s ready to, then discuss the addition of other sources at a later meeting.

    Plugin Update Email

    The “Please update your plugins” email went out to developers last night. If for any reason you run into people confused about it, please tell them to either update their plugins or press REPLY on the email and tell the Plugins Team which ones they want them to close. The Plugins Team is currently aware of some slowness in the update process.

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

     
  • James Huff 12:13 am on February 19, 2016 Permalink
    Tags:   

    February 18th Support Team Meeting Summary 

    WordPress 4.4.2

    No new common issues to add to the 4.4.x Master List, but we did remove a slightly confusing “also” from the description of the lingering pagination issue.

    Moderators for Plugins

    Recently, the Plugins Team has made a security-focused push to ensure that plugins do not have any non-committing committers.

    Possibly in response, we’ve noticed some Administrators promoting plugin support personnel to Moderator, mostly so they can retain the ability to mark threads as resolved and set sticky threads. This really isn’t a great solution, as it gives such a person nearly full control over all of the WordPress.org Support Forums without adhering to the established expectations. It’s a bit like trading one security concern for another.

    The good news is, @otto42 was on the case and swiftly resolved Meta Ticket 1413 before the end of today’s meeting. This resolution allows plugin contributors to mark threads as resolved within their plugin’s support forum. The ability to set threads as sticky was skipped for now, as it’s really not a common necessity, and the Support Team will not mind being pinged in #forums on Slack to request that a thread be stickied.

    Considering this, we kindly request that all Administrators please stop promoting plugin personnel to Moderator (and demote any who were back to Member), and instead list them as contributors in the plugin’s readme.txt file.

    In addition, if anyone supporting their plugin notices something in need of our intervention, please tag the thread with “modlook” and add a second tag to clarify the reason, like “spam”, “abuse”, “sockpuppet”, etc.

    Gamification

    By unanimous vote, the team will not be pursuing gamification of the WordPress Support Forums at this time, but we will strongly consider the ability for the OP to mark the most helpful answer (StackExchange style) after we’ve upgraded to bbPress 2 (largely depending on available developer resources).

    If gamification is ever considered, the team also unanimously agrees that the priority focus should be on the quality of support received by the user.

    IRC Stats Update

    @clorith has completed the reporting tool, and the report sent to Slack looks something like this:

    wpbot-slack-rich

    There was a change since the screenshot though. The final verbiage is now “IRC assistance requested in #WordPress – See logs,” and if a note is attached, “IRC assistance requested in #WordPress [User provided note] – See logs.”

    We are awaiting a ping from the Meta team when they are free to deploy this and process to promotions as well.

    HelpHub Article Categories

    Our assistance has been requested in suggesting article categories. Please visit the link and leave your suggestions in a comment.

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

     
  • Jan Dembowski 12:17 pm on September 4, 2015 Permalink
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    September 3rd Support Meetup summary 

    Items discussed at yesterday’s Support Team Meetup:

    Chrome browser update bug

    Chrome 45 introduced a bug where the WordPress admin menus do not render correctly and become unusable. This is genuinely a Chrome problem and other browsers are not effected.

    The Chrome developers appears to have realized that this is a real problem so it might get fixed in the stable browser eventually.

    @Otto42 looked and posted 2 workarounds for this browser bug. The first one is on the browser itself and can be mitigated by following these instructions.

    Fix for Chrome users who may start complaining on the forums about the admin menus:
    Go to chrome://flags/#disable-slimming-paint
    Enable the “Disable slimming paint” option.
    Ensure that the “Enable slimming paint” option below it is not turned on.
    Relaunch Chrome.

    After Chrome is relaunched then that should fix it.

    Another option is to use some PHP in a plugin or added to your (child) theme’s functions.php file like so.


    add_action('admin_enqueue_scripts', 'chrome_fix');
    function chrome_fix() {
    if ( strpos( $_SERVER['HTTP_USER_AGENT'], 'Chrome' ) !== false )
    wp_add_inline_style( 'wp-admin', '#adminmenu { transform: translateZ(0); }' );
    }

    I like the second option since I log in from a lot of different PCs.

    The WordPress 2015 Survey

    If you haven’t yet done so please take the WordPress 2015 survey. I may have been late doing so myself but after some encouragement in Slack that’s been taken care of.

    The weekly #docs chat is restarting

    The #docs weekly chat is starting again. The docs and support team used to share the same weekly meeting in IRC via #wordpress-sfd. There’s a lot of ways to contribute and good documentation is important. Please consider attending the Slack #docs meeting, it’s on Thursdays at 18:00 UTC.

    There’s a new Shortcode Draft proposal

    Over in make/core there is a post about shortcodes. NOTE: The title of that post includes the words draft and proposal.

    No one needs to panic, but this does need discussion and consideration. It’s important to better understand how shortcodes are being used and how they implementation can be improved. Shortcode changes can result in a lot of support topics, see the 4.2.3 security release as an example.

    View the meetup transcript in the Slack archives. (A Slack account is required)

     
  • Jan Dembowski 11:42 am on January 28, 2015 Permalink  

    Agenda for Thursday January 29th meetup 

    I don’t have a specific agenda for this week’s meetup so it will be office hours. If you do have an item to discuss please post it in the comments here or raise the topic in tomorrow’s #forums chat.

     
  • James Huff 11:23 pm on October 17, 2014 Permalink  

    Can we put a small discussion about the future of https://wordpress.org/support/forum/meetups on the agenda, or maybe even discuss and make a decision beforehand?

    There have been plans to shut that forum down in favor of http://wordpress.meetup.com/ for months (actually, I think years) mostly because it keeps getting filled with threads like https://wordpress.org/support/topic/any-wordpress-meetings-in-sydney-australia

    A forum is no longer an efficient way to find nor start a WordPress meetup.

    All in favor of closing down https://wordpress.org/support/forum/meetups in favor of a sticky (replacing the current sticky) which directs folks to http://wordpress.meetup.com/ for finding meetups and https://make.wordpress.org/community/meetups for starting meetups?

     
  • Andrew Nacin 1:57 am on October 14, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , Status   

    The Codex went read-only a few minutes ago, for a MediaWiki upgrade. I’ll update this post in a few minutes when the upgrade is complete.

     
  • Jen 7:22 pm on January 7, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: ,   

    Howdy support folks I was just talking to… 

    Howdy support folks! I was just talking to @coffee2code about .org profiles, and one of the things I’d like to see happen this year is for there to be one .org profile instead of 2 to reduce user confusion. To that end we’d need to be able to do all the current support profile stuff, and to *that* end, I think we’d need to be on up-to-date bbPress.

    We’ve talked about updating a number of times in the past since the plugin came out. The last time we had this conversation, the high-level agreement was that yes, running current software is good, but the current bbPress plugin has changed some of the workflow stuff that would be annoying for the support team to have to work around. Let’s kick this off!

    @ipstenu: you ran down the things that made you say no to bbPress upgrade last time, could you repeat them so we can identify the things we’d need to discuss and/or put in a plugin to make upgrading bbPress on the support forums feasible from the team’s perspective? Let’s not talk about infrastructure stuff here, that’s the /meta domain. Just want to identify any features/workflow changes that would be a problem if we upgraded, so we can spec out a plugin to address those things before we do anything else.

     
    • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 8:14 pm on January 7, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I don’t know if these are still unable but… (oh good, of course I can’t find my list from yonks ago and I don’t use bbPress as much as I once did). What we need:

      • Be able to bozo people (that is make all their posts moderated)
      • Block people from posting (a ‘blocked’ role)
      • Dropdown selector of WP version

      At some point we would also want/need to go through the forums and determine WHAT sections we should recreate, since we’re not really going to want to port everything over (I think locking it as we did the old wpmu ones would be fine).

      Also we have our tools wishlist: https://make.wordpress.org/support/2013/01/what-forum-tools-would-make-support-better/ (I still want that Kill it With Fire button to ban a person and nuke all their posts, for those Ugg boot spammers)

      And then what I remember being sticking points with @otto42:

      • Integration with theme and plugin SVN for support
      • Integration with plugin SVN for reviews
  • Bego Mario Garde 10:16 am on December 15, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , , warning   

    Hello. I often talk to people that are confused by the message that shows for plugins and themes that haven’t been updated within the past two years. They seem to ignore the fact, the message says the theme or plugin MAY have compatibility issues.

    I suggest the word “may” be set as emphasized or even in bold letters:

    This theme hasn’t been updated in over 2 years. It may no longer be maintained or supported and may have compatibility issues when used with more recent versions of WordPress.

     
    • rclilly 11:02 pm on December 16, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I agree with @otto42 that, at the very least, the readme.txt needs to reflect the fact that the author has confirmed the plugin’s compatibility with the latest version of WordPress. There are some plugins that are, in effect, “evergreen”, meaning the code rarely, if ever, needs to be updated. However, that does not mean the readme.txt doesn’t need to be. If the author doesn’t keep that up-to-date, then as far as I’m concerned, the plugin has been abandoned, whether the code continues to function properly or not. I hope the warning message scares people away from using potentially abandoned plugins.

    • Samuel Wood (Otto) 10:39 am on December 15, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      What is the confusion? I would say that that message is there specifically to tell them that they should probably look for a different plugin or theme. If an author can’t be bothered to even update the version compatibility in the readme.txt for a couple years, then the plugin isn’t one I would recommend using.

      Also note that plugins and themes with this 2-year-mark on them do not show up in searches, except for exact name matches, so one would hope this issue doesn’t crop up a whole lot.

      The plugin may actually work fine, but a plugin that is not well supported is not a good plugin to choose or recommend.

      • pixolin 11:46 am on December 15, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        The confusion is a lot of users seem to think a plugin generally doesn’t work if it has this warning. If it were so, we could have them deleted right away.

        I’m only saying the term “may have compatibility issues” is often read over. Yet we find plugins that do a particular job great since ages and there is no need to update or change stuff.

        (Example: https://wordpress.org/plugins/simply-show-ids/ by sivel. Very simple plugin that just shows the ID’s of posts and pages in the back end lists. Certainly won’t harm if installed. May help beginners to spot ID’s easily.)

      • Chris Dillon 12:23 pm on December 15, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        The key word there is “should.”

        Perhaps they are confused because they are only getting the facts (“…hasn’t been updated in 2 years…”) and not getting the message it is trying to infer: they should probably look for a different one, as you noted.

        Perhaps these users have not learned the hard way about plugin and theme compatibility so the facts have no context. “Hey, it’s free, it’s worth a shot!”

        Perhaps they don’t understand that one criterion for being a good plugin is good support, and good support includes current compatibility checks.

        Bold lettering may increase the read percentage but it does not provide context.

        Hoping this issue doesn’t crop up is not a solution because (a) Google still includes them in search results, and (b) they are listed on a plugin author’s profile page.

        More should be done:

        1. Educate. Instead of a notice, make it a warning. “Use at your own risk.” Then explain why abandoned plugins are potential problems.

        2. Train. By providing a link to search results for better alternatives (no cherry-picking, just the results they would get having searched themselves) you train end users to use your search before Google.

        3. Qualify. Give the rating system a shelf life. 4.5 stars for WordPress 3.2 should not carry the same weight as 4.5 stars for WordPress 3.8. Two years is arbitrary; compatibility with WordPress 3.5 and up is not.

        3. Be not afraid of ruffling the feathers of absent developers. Allow someone to function as a user advocate in order to recommend a better plugin.

        We compile best practices because they prevent problems.

        • Samuel Wood (Otto) 11:08 pm on December 16, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          (a) Google still includes them in search results

          That I can darned well fix.

          That message is *supposed* to be scary. People are *supposed* to not use plugins with that message. If plugin authors cannot continue to update a readme.txt once every *2 years*, then the plugin isn’t reliable.

          Plugins are about more than just code. If an author ceases to support a plugin, ceases to update a plugin, ceases to use their own plugins, then we should either remove them or find a way to get some other author to update them.

          The message is a compromise solution. If I had my way, plugins not updated in over two years would be automatically removed from the listings entirely. No exceptions. Maybe that is a bit harsh, but it’s just my opinion. Two years is a *long* time to ignore a plugin completely.

  • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 9:54 pm on January 17, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , questions   

    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 https://wordpress.org/support/plugin/PLUGINNAME 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 https://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/PLUGIN/developer 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)

     
    • Ian Dunn 12:17 am on February 2, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      +1 for getting rid of the 30 second throttle, at least in my own plugin forum. After I release an update I usually reply to 5-10 threads letting people know that a feature they requested was added, a bug they reported was fixed, etc. I always get slowed down by the throttle, though.

      +1 for more support type options, too. Literally 90% of threads in my plugin’s forum are requests for new features, or people asking “how can I make it do *this*” (where *this* isn’t something the plugin was intended to do).

    • esmi 9:31 pm on January 25, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Or the other way around? Have all topics in the plugin’s support forum tagged appropriately.

    • Jason Penney 7:16 pm on January 25, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      One thing that I miss is the automatic tagging of posts in a plugin’s support forum with that plugin’s tag. When you have an issue with plugin interoperability people will often tag a post with both tags. I really like this, but to see all my plugins forum posts I need to look at the tag, and the support forum. It would be nice if the tag grabbed the superset.

    • esmi 2:57 pm on January 25, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      a theme user (quite a few actually) rates my theme as low as he can (1) with the sole purpose to “punish” me somehow because I haven’t delivered the support he expected.

      They do that for plugins too. Even when you have provided free support. Bottom line: there’s just no pleasing some people.

      But realistically, I don’t see how mods could sort these out. I think the best things you can do is respond to the critical review pointing out exactly what you’ve said here — that they’re still using your theme so you can only assume that they are still happy with it.

    • Griden 1:05 pm on January 25, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      In many (if not most) cases, “Support” appears to be a misleading title for that tab. The first time people see it, they get overexcited and expect that there is always someone there waiting to help them build the website of their dreams. 24×7. For free.

      I enjoyed providing free support, reading feedback, and all this communication, but only for the first couple of months. I won’t go into much details and examples – I think most developers know what it’s like to deal with demanding and abusive users. So I decided to invest more time in writing more detailed (free) documentation, and placing a paywall between me and the users who need individual help in addition to that. This is a way to “filter” them, so I have to deal only with those who value my work and my time.

      This is why I don’t provide the expected “support” for my themes here. Not because selling support for my free themes is a major revenue stream for me – it’s not. Very rarely someone would want to pay only to get support for a free product. And I’m sure I’d get way more people interested in my other products if I did provide free support here. I don’t do it because it simply isn’t enjoyable experience 40+% of the time.

      Now, some (hopefully) constructive suggestions:

      1) A “FAQ” page for themes would be great. Just like the way it’s for plugins. This may not be the case for other authors, but I’d love to post additional info there and reduce the need for “support” in the nearby tab 🙂 .

      2) The theme “Reviews/Rating” section might need some attention from moderators. Example: a theme user (quite a few actually) rates my theme as low as he can (1) with the sole purpose to “punish” me somehow because I haven’t delivered the support he expected. But he happily continues to use my theme, so he/she actually thinks it’s awesome. The low rating isn’t helpful for other users though. So would you not agree that badly argumented reviews that lack any sense should be moderated?

      3) A separate “You SUCK!” button would be a great alternative for all who want to express their anger, indeed 🙂 .

      4) As a theme author, I don’t want moderator privileges. I admit that I’m not mature enough for this job. So I, just like the rest of the community, rely on the moderators and their judgement.

      5) If you want me to spend more time interacting with my users, I’d need some guides, tutorials, and psychology consultations on “How to deal with annoying individuals in a calm and mature manner”. I’ve watched some of Ipstenu’s videos, but more is needed I think 🙂 .

      • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 4:03 pm on January 25, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Is there a better term than ‘support’? Forums seems too… meh. And believe me, the regular mods know just what you mean about abusive, entitled, harassing, annoying, users 😉 Which is why I wanted to ask people how we could make it more enjoyable for you (filter out the bad people etc) and the users (get them where they need to be without fighting).

        1) We have a FAQ of sorts. https://codex.wordpress.org/Forum_Welcome but you mean for themes? Yes, you should have one!

        2) Tag them modlook (or maybe we should have modreview so we know that’s it? Hrm. I hate ‘more’ tags). I do want a button so you can flag a review as suspect. Right now the only person who seems to be able to sort when it’s someone having a legit gripe vs a troll is @otto42 :/ Legit unhappy reviews should stay, though, IMO. Trolls/abusive/scummy ones should not.

        3) *ponder* That seems wonderful and dangerous.

        4) Are there extra powers you would like? No shame in not wanting mod-powers, lots of people who are forum regulars don’t either! Not having them is a lot more freeing that having to be ‘good’ all the time 😉

        5) Challenge accepted 🙂

        • Samuel Wood (Otto) 4:06 pm on January 25, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Reviews are new, and we’re still thinking about them.

          Consider Amazon’s review style, where reviews can be marked as helpful/not-helpful by others. Might be an idea. Or something similar. Best to think along lines of community-sourcing information like that.

          But at present, there’s not enough reviews to make this a general-issue. Quantity first. Then we can deal with quality. 🙂

          The best way to respond to a bad review is with useful information. Remember, you’re not necessarily replying to the review itself, but also to other people who will read the review later. A moderate and thoughtful reply goes a long way.

    • esmi 1:02 pm on January 24, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’ve been thinking about the “Warnings” idea and I’ve got another suggestion. What about having positive(+) flagging on topics posted to theme & plugin forums? That way, users could “rewards” devs for good support. I have to say that I get a little tired of many theme authors apparently not supporting their themes whilst those that do usually offer sterling support. I know that people can assess support levels over the past 2 months via a theme or plugin’s page but it would be nice to see something in the forums as well.

    • Chip Bennett 1:30 am on January 22, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Some tools that would be especially helpful, as someone who supports both a Theme and Plugins:

      1. A way to attach and display screenshot images
      2. A way to upload/attach files
      3. More-sophisticated inline code, including line numbering and syntax highlighting

    • Jeremy Herve 8:35 am on January 19, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Reply-by-email: It could be useful.
      More obvious subscription tools: I like the existing Subscription link, but I noticed that it doesn’t appear until somebody posted in your support forums for the first time. That means that I cannot actually subscribe to the support posts for my plugin right after releasing it. I have to wait until someone starts the first thread.
      Plugin Version: I like the idea.
      30-second Throttle: that would be nice. It can be annoying at times! 🙂

      I would also add:
      Merge threads: mods can do it I guess, but I feel like it would be nice if plugin authors could do the same in their own forums.

      Moving threads from the general Plugins forum to our own dedicated forums: would it be possible to automatically move a thread into dedicated plugin forums when that thread is tagged with the plugin name?

    • EnigmaWeb 2:12 am on January 19, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      +1 for Warnings
      +1 for implementing some sort of method to better manage duplicate posts
      +1 for higher privileges for plugin developer on their OWN plugin forum

      + 1 for Plugin Versions….
      My biggest frustration is users who don’t do basic troubleshooting and/or who don’t provide basic information that I need in order to provide good support.

      I find myself constantly asking users to post a link to the affected page, post what version of the plugin they are using, and do basic troubleshooting steps (like deactivating other plugins) before I can help them… and this takes a great deal of time!

      Obviously we can’t force people to isolate the error themselves as many don’t have the knowledge to do so, but we could encourage users to select plugin version, WP version, and field for ‘Affected URL’?

      …while we’re at it, maybe a checkbox ‘yes i checked the FAQs and looked for existing posts on this topic’?

      • Ian Dunn 5:52 pm on February 4, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        +1 for asking users to post the URL to the page on their site where the problem can be seen, and for encouraging them to check the FAQ and forums before posting.

    • John Gardner 4:38 pm on January 18, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      This is not completely related, but on the plugin review screen, I’d love a drop down that would allow the user to select the plugin version (or default to the latest release) in addition to the WP version. That would give some potential context to negative points in some reviews where those issues may have been addressed in later releases.

    • Ricardo Moraleida 3:09 pm on January 18, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Talking about general forums, not specific plugin/themes, something i’d love to see is some kind of sorting for “popular” questions/answers. IMO, one of the biggest problems we face on answering questions is the amount of repeated exact-matches on the same topic.

      Repeatedly answering the same questions takes out some of the joy/energy of crafting better answers for the unique ones. And the current search mechanism is somewhat inefficient when looking for quality answers.

      If we could somehow highlight best answers, maybe per topic, as some sort of collaborative FAQ, we’d be able to focus more on unique questions.

      As I imagine it, this process could be semi-automated by auto-selecting the most-viewed Q/As and letting forum MODs select which ones get fixed to this “special” section (the FAQ), where we could direct OPs. This, combined with a new status type, say, “Redirected to FAQ”, could clear up the queue quite a bit.

      • Abhishek Ghosh 8:33 pm on January 18, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Fully agreed. In many cases the question is an old question, asked and answered at least 4-5 times. Many never runs a search to find it.

        • toscho 8:46 pm on January 18, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          On Stack Exchange we close these questions as Exact Duplicate with a link to the original.

          • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 9:16 pm on January 18, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            I half like that… The problem is that (at least on the forums here) people don’t have the exact same problem a lot of the time. Similar, but not the same. Mind you, I also don’t use predefined replies most of the time, since I like to read what the person said, and how, and reply in their language as best I can.

            I’d rather have a ‘Codex Answer’ so we can like to not another post, but an ‘official’ answer, and they can easily reply “Tried that, got this…”

            • Ricardo Moraleida 6:24 pm on January 19, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

              A Codex Answer seems to be a good fit, I think. Makes me wonder if we’ll be able to find enough hands to do that on localized forums – which brings me to the problem of not having enough active moderators, who could solve things by closing and pointing duplicates like in WPSE.

              At the same time, closing the question just doesn’t solve the problem on WP forums, because it only makes sense if finding good anwsers (not just any answer) to the same problem is a no-brainer.

              Thinking about how the forum search works, it occurs to me that maybe we could try something different, by improving good anwsers based on raw SEO:

              This is a wild (and spam-risky) guess, but if we implemented something like the WordPress SEO meta box (https://s-plugins.wordpress.org/wordpress-seo/assets/screenshot-1.png?rev=609774) to the forum answers – mod-only, perhaps? – we might be able to better sort questions/answers while sticking to the Google search tool (and also improving general Google searches).

    • Bryan Hadaway 9:06 am on January 18, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I don’t think plugin/theme authors should have forum wide modding privileges either, that would indeed be awful. Just for their own forums.

      There’s already a check that recognizes the plugin/theme author in the specific forums, you’ll see next the username “Plugin Author” or “Theme Author”. If that same check could also give the user at least somewhat higher privileges that would be awesome.

      Now, that I think about it, it’s not really a suggestion anyways because if we’re going to get improved tools, those would obviously not be available to just everyone anyways, correct?

      Also, you bring up another excellent point to why a Support URI would be helpful. If authors intended on supporting their own users/customers then that would become obvious with those authors that are using the Support URI and general forum mods could focus just on the other .org forums instead.

      Here’s the ultimate issue:

      1. I would like to support my users/customers on my official forum (I don’t I’m even close to being alone on this one).

      2. If I can’t do just that and also need to try and keep up with odds and ends that end up in the .org forums, then I at least need the control and not other mods.

      While the idea on paper sounds great, general forum mods helping out on ALL .org topics wherever they’re found this actually becomes problematic if they’re closing topics, giving directions or answers to my users/customers that I don’t feel is the best quality or best interest of my users/customers.

      I include customers in the equation because I really have had customers show up asking questions in the .org forums because of this fragmentation.

      Before someone brings it up, of course closing our official forums and directing all customers to one unified forum on .org is not the answer. I’m sure most authors have had fully established websites, blogs and forums well before submitting to .org.

      Plugin/theme authors contribute plugins and themes to the WordPress community abiding to the GPL and other requirements, end of obligation. Let’s not split hairs here, the 23,152 plugins in the plugin repo and the 1,667 themes in the theme repo have a huge impact on the success of WP overall.

      Like Chip brought up, there’s no requirement for authors to provide support on .org itself. That doesn’t mean that we just don’t care, but many of us already have official forums where we have full control and all the tools we’ll ever need.

      Frankly, I don’t think all the tools in the world are going to solve these problems (certainly not the redundant forum issue), that a basic freedom like a Support URI would solve.

      But, I digress… if we HAVE to put up with the auto-creation of plugin/theme forums every time we want to submit something, it’s an absolute must that we be able to freely close, open, sticky, edit or delete topics/replies in our own forums. Before someone jumps all over the “we don’t delete” policy I mean in the rare event of spam, or personal attacks or duplicate topics by the same users getting in etc.

      • Samuel Wood (Otto) 11:49 am on January 18, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        it’s an absolute must that we be able to freely close, open, sticky, edit or delete topics/replies in our own forums

        Stickies, maybe. Edit/delete/open/close: absolutely not.

        It’s not that I don’t trust you, it’s that I don’t trust anybody. Not really. Too many theme authors would simply abuse such power and delete any questions they didn’t like or remove any bad reviews they got, etc. Same goes for plugin authors.

        You don’t have to support your plugin/theme on .org if you don’t want to. But you deal with the results of that.

        Part of having your code hosted by .org means that people are going to come here and ask questions about it, whether we make those forums more visible or not. People were asking questions about your code in our support forums before we made that support tab on your theme/plugin page. Now you have the opportunity to see those questions more easily. Telling us to hide them again in favor of giving you additional offsite linkage isn’t solving the problem, which is that your users are not getting the help they need.

        • John Gardner 1:57 pm on January 18, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          what about the ability for plugin/theme authors to delete their own posts?

        • Bryan Hadaway 7:17 am on January 19, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          I think there are points for both sides, but much stronger points for the Support URI for an overall best well-rounded solution.

          The rebuttal against the Support URI/official support forums situation is ironically the same argument for those of us that have good intentions at heart that want a Support URI.

          Let me try and show you my side of what should get priority (being a bit extreme to paint a very clear picture). WordPress, who cares. Me/my company, who cares. We’re ONLY talking about what is ABSOLUTELY BEST for the user and NOTHING ELSE.

          Yes, many users will end up back on .org looking for help, BECAUSE THEY DON’T KNOW ANY BETTER. They’ll ask for help and it might be tumbleweeds in the forum. I see so many theme/plugin authors ignore their duplicate .org forums because they have their official forum already.

          Now, I’m not one of those people. I’ve signed up for 3rd party RSS feed to email notifications so I can get alerts instead of manually checking everyday on .org. This has worked okay. And I’ve tried educating people to use the official forum where I have much better tools and means to help them including the exchange of sensitive info.

          I can sticky topics and make sure they get their eyes on documentation, known issues and other important updates. In the .org forums I’ve made important notes about how to seek official support and that will get buried eventually even though we all know people don’t read the fine print anyways.

          So, for those of us that actually have official support forums and even our own knowledgeable communities dedicated to specific themes and plugins with the creators/developers right there ready to help with all the tools they could ever need, THAT IS the very best place for users to get help, hands-down.

          So, putting aside WordPress’ interests, putting aside author’s interests and let’s not even remove, obfuscate or redirect the auto-generated forums or the “View support forum” button, but why not create a Support URI option that will place, in addition, above that “View support forum” button, perhaps as an orange button, “Official support available” (or something to that effect) that links to the official forum?

          There is absolutely no downside to that, in fact in only manages to inform the users and give them more options and make them aware, especially for those that ask questions in ghost town forums, never get an answer and never even knew there was somewhere better they could ask for help. This is about user-friendliness and ease of use and nothing else after all, right?

          Thanks, Bryan

          • Samuel Wood (Otto) 7:00 am on January 20, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            If people get their software from WordPress.org and get the plugins from WordPress.org and see the forums on WordPress.org, then saying that they should have gone to your other site for support isn’t them “not knowing any better”.

            If you want to put all the support and community and information on your own site, then you should put the primary location for the theme/plugin downloads from there too, for consistency. Otherwise, you’re the one confusing your users by having the plugin available somewhere where you do not also support it.

            • Bryan Hadaway 12:10 pm on January 21, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

              Of course I’m not saying people should just magically know there is an official forum for them to use, that’s the point. Naturally, they will return to .org for support. That makes sense, no one is arguing that. And at this point I don’t think anyone is talking about eliminating plugin/theme forums or redirecting them anymore (though that was basically Emil’s initial idea which started this ultimate discussion).

              All that we’re saying now (yes we, the majority of authors I’m sure have official forums for their software where they can provide endlessly better support) is how about adding a feature that informs them that there is actually an official forum specifically for the theme/plugin they’re using where they can get the best and quickest support?

              And that is the question that Chip has posed, are we moving towards a place in which just to contribute something to .org we also have to provide support there too, mandatory?

              That’s what it feels like you’re saying without really saying it and it just doesn’t feel like the right move. I mean there are only about 2k themes in there as it is (that’s really not very many for the years that have gone by). I agree with Chip that this would seriously put a brake on the frequency of theme submissions to the free repo, which are pretty low as it is.

              The thing is most authors did host their own software and forums ALREADY, well before ever submitting something to .org. And a lot of that stuff wasn’t even GPL. They made the effort to GPL it and get it ready to submit to .org. Why? To share their works with as many people as possible, making it easier for users to find what they need.

              I don’t think everyone who submits to .org even realizes that a forum will be auto-created for it. And I doubt there were any who ever had the mindset that once they submitted to .org they were going to shut down their official forums and redirect people to .org. Official forums were always there first.

              The theme/plugin forums on .org really only serve a purpose to pick up slack for authors who are either negligent, never intended on providing support in the first place, officially or otherwise or I’m sure the rare occasion where they don’t even have their own website so that is the only place for them to use to support their users.

              The specific auto-created forums for plugins/themes will never be the dominant place for support because they usually come after, which naturally makes them redundant in many cases. This really isn’t a subjective opinion. This is just a basic fact. Look at the most popular themes, then checkout their website where they all have thriving communities with forums, documentation where more times than not there are even paid employees there answering questions every single day, maybe even in shifts and doing so professionally, let alone all the extra features and archived topics for them to look through to find their answers. The official forum will always be the best place for a user to get support.

              To even suggest anything along the lines of “Well, don’t contribute themes/plugins here unless you’re also going to use the forums here to support them.” (paraphrasing) isn’t good for users (not sure who that’s good for?).

              The moment of possible confusion where a user realizes “Oh hey, this isn’t the official place to ask for support?” (and learning there is somewhere better) is infinitely better than putting a new filter/rule in place that will slow the progress of new themes and plugins being added in one searchable place or the ability to find them directly through their WP admins.

              An author contributes a plugin/theme to .org where it is reviewed and filtered to the specification demanded by WP. End of obligation. They’ll gain more recognition for their works and WP just got stronger as a more popular CMS platform that offers thousands of plugins and themes. It’s a fair trade already.

              Of course we all hope that authors will take care of the users that use their stuff and that they’ll keep their works up-to-date and working for users and WP. This isn’t a debate about whether to support users or not, it’s about the best way. Since you’ve made it clear that authors will never have mod rights for managing their own forums on .org, then that’s just one more reason that official forums are the best place for specific theme/plugin support, though that never changed anyways. That’s always been the case.

              Just take a look at the most used themes, then compare the official forums with the .org forums and ask yourself where you think the average user would prefer to ask for help, given the option. Try this out as an experiment. I can almost guarantee when looking at the data you’ll see a lot of clicks on the “Official support available” button and authors will see an increase in more questions on their forums and less straggler questions on .org that go missed altogether sometimes. Better organization and response time for users and authors, win win.

              It seems pretty black and white what would be best for users. But, we’re only talking about the compromise of informing them and giving them the option. I say this as politely as I can, it kind of seems like you have tunnel vision over .org when WordPress, its users and the many developers by a great length transcend the actual wordpress.org website. If we’re not discussing simply what’s best for users regardless, what exactly are we discussing? Perhaps I am indeed misunderstanding something.

            • Bryan Hadaway 1:09 pm on January 21, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

              Also, point and case:

              https://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/bbpress/

              Redirects people to the official forums:

              https://bbpress.org/forums/

              Makes perfect sense as those forums were already established. Well, many other themes and plugins also already had forums established.

              In fact the bbPress plugin page really is doing exactly what Emil’s initial idea was and not even compromising and informing the user that there is an on .org forum solution as well:

              https://wordpress.org/support/plugin/bbpress

              So, it’s already being done, yet in a less user-friendly way than even I’m suggesting at this point. This needs improvement. Then, everyone needs fair and equal access to this same feature.

              Does that not sound fair? Is this not something you’re willing to explore? If it’s a simple no, well, then there isn’t anything more to discuss. But, it still doesn’t answer the valid points people have been making.

              Thanks, Bryan

            • Chip Bennett 1:24 am on January 22, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

              Except, the vast majority now get WordPress via one-click installer from their host, and they get Themes and Plugins from their own WordPress install’s WP-Admin dashboard. So, I’m not sure that the underlying assumption here is still valid.

              (p.s. “Notify me of follow-up comments by email” still isn’t working, network-wide for all the Make sites, as far as I can tell.)

            • esmi 3:23 pm on January 22, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

              Plugin and theme authors can add details of any 3rd party support forums to their readme.txt file and Theme Description if they want to point users in a specific direction. I also add links the the Help tab in my theme’s options pages and in plain text on the same page. As result, about 75% of my users go to my own forum. But I still think that anyone hosting an add-on on wordpress.org should offer some forum of support there too. Even if it only to point people to the right places. Forum regulars will happily do this too if you let us know where to point people to.

          • Samuel Wood (Otto) 7:02 am on January 20, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            In the .org forums I’ve made important notes about how to seek official support and that will get buried eventually

            The mods are more than happy to sticky the posts into the view of the forums for your theme/plugin. Have you asked them to do so?

          • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 6:19 pm on January 21, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Most plugin authors do not have their own method of support if they host on .org. Most plugin authors did not host on their own sites.

            Four or five years ago, that might have been the case, but it’s not anymore.

            So with the understanding that the goal of this discussion is to make the .org support forums better for

            a) The user who posts in .org
            b) The developer who hosts their plugin on .org
            c) The volunteers who moderate .org

            Can you help with that? Can we please, for the purpose of this post, stick to just that?

            We can’t handle everything all at once, and I tried to keep the scope small so we could look at one part at a time.

            • Bryan Hadaway 9:53 pm on January 21, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

              I’m primarily referring to themes.

              There are a lot of differences between the theme and plugin sides, so yes… it’s a bit difficult to talk about them both in the same general subject.

              My suggestions (as well as others) are that we need more control if we’re going to embrace on .org support (should we or users be left with no other options), there really is no other bell or whistle that will replace that, but we’ve hit a brick wall on that subject.

              Anyways, I’ve definitely exhausted all the points I wanted to make on this subject, nothing further to add.

              Thanks, Bryan

      • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 4:42 pm on January 18, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I have to second Otto on this, and I wish I didn’t.

        If you saw the volume of, well, whining brat emails we get over ath plugins for people who are pissed off that (a) someone didn’t like their plugin and left a bad comment and (b) they responded with insults and vitriol which (c) make them look bad…. Well.

        The only way around that would be to limit the plugin/theme devs to people who aren’t going to have stupid days and act like over-entitled children. That just won’t fly. We’re trying to let anyone in who wants. So while we want to be welcoming, people have proven we can’t do things like just accept any code without review, and also that the majority aren’t mature enough to handle that responsibility. If you ARE and you’re active, you may get mod’d anyway just because we like that 🙂

        But. You don’t have to support your code in the forums! I have always said that, unless other wise DOCUMENTED, however, users have a reasonable expectation that they’ll get support here. So how do you get around it?

        1) Put it in your readme. At the top so it’s the first thing a plugin sees. “This plugin is supported at…”
        2) Have it in your FAQ
        3) Put it in your plugin’s admin page if you have one.
        4) DO follow the forums, and reply with ‘I offer minimal free support on the forums…’ (for things like “How do I activate it…” when your answer is “Put in your API key. If you need more help…”).
        5) Be honest and firm, without being mean.

        Is this more work? Yes! But in return, you don’t have to handle hosting or distribution or server security 😀

        Even if you’re not hosted here, you’ll still get asked questions here (see StudioPress, or every single webhost), so yes, you end up spending time keeping tabs on it.

        • Chip Bennett 7:23 pm on January 18, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          But. You don’t have to support your code in the forums!

          This statement is in direct contradiction to Otto’s statement, here:

          In my opinion, if they want to provide support on their own site, then they should host their theme there as well.

          You’ll find Theme developers coming to comment here under the assumption that the WordPress project is expecting them to provide support for their Themes via the WPORG forums, based on the outcome of the Support URI thread over at Make/Themes.

          So, are we sending mixed signals to Theme/Plugin developers?

          1) Put it in your readme. At the top so it’s the first thing a plugin sees. “This plugin is supported at…”
          2) Have it in your FAQ
          3) Put it in your plugin’s admin page if you have one.
          4) DO follow the forums, and reply with ‘I offer minimal free support on the forums…’ (for things like “How do I activate it…” when your answer is “Put in your API key. If you need more help…”).
          5) Be honest and firm, without being mean.

          So, if all of these means are acceptable, why the resistance to a Support URI as the canonical means by which a Theme/Plugin developer declares their support medium?

          The end result of this dichotomy is that we are essentially telling developers: sure, you can support your code on your own site, but we’re intentionally going to make it difficult for you to do so.

          • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 7:52 pm on January 18, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            You don’t have to support your plugin/theme on .org if you don’t want to. But you deal with the results of that.

            Otto said that too.

            It’s not that you hate to, it’s that you’re expected to. And if you don’t, you accept the consequences of these missed expectations.

            Everything I described would, I think, mitigate them.

            We’re saying this “You don’t have to support your code here. People will expect you to, however, especially if your code is hosted here, so you should have a sensible plan of action if you chose not to, and accept that not everyone will be happy with it, no matter what you do. Not that they would be anyway.”

    • Bryan Hadaway 5:58 am on January 18, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      If we’re totally just abandoning the idea of https://make.wordpress.org/themes/2013/01/13/theme-support-link/ (which is the most ideal solution) then plugin and theme authors need to be upgraded to at least mod permission level so that we can properly manage our own .org forums.

      Thanks, Bryan

    • Frumph 5:31 am on January 18, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I would like it that if I DO get a message about one of my themes that I actually get notified by email that there is a support question I need to answer (new one)

    • Diana 4:14 am on January 18, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      +1 for one click to delete all posts and ban the account
      +1 click username and see all posts of the user in the backend of bbPress
      +1 better profiles (I would like to keep rss feeds from users activities on forum)
      +1 status, add tag and move topic with one button click or remove/add tag without page refreshing.
      +1 batch move and delete
      +1 manage actions should stay at right, close to add tag, status
      +1 can add replies to fixed topics no matter how old they are, at least to the fixed ones (because they keep read me first, notes etc)
      +1 can change permalinks

    • esmi 11:17 pm on January 17, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Reply-by-email: Not one I’d touch with a barge pole myself!

      Warnings: I’ve tried this in another forum I admin and it was nothing but a recipe for disaster, complaints and general bad feelings. So much so that I was asked to remove it after about 12 weeks. I don’t see this working at all well on support forums where 5/10 posters are already bad tempered, upset or otherwise frustrated.

      Plugin Version: That might be a nice addition.

      Throttle: +1 for the button. Can general coolness be derived programmatically. 😉

      More Support Type options: Don’t see how this would really help plugin or theme developers really. Not unless there were associated filters.

      Flag POST as spam: Don’t see that this would cause any harm but not sure how it would differ from the modlook tag? It would be just one more feed tag we’d have to watch.

      Better Profiles: +100

      TacNuke: +1000

      • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 11:26 pm on January 17, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        The flag post as spam would let us know which post, exactly, was the problem (and thus I don’t get an RSS feed of 70 posts when a spammer hits up an old, long, thread). Also what if that emailed the wp-forums list? “Esmi has flag this post as spam: ##LINK##”

    • toscho 10:38 pm on January 17, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      What exactly is the 30-second throttle? Does it mean I cannot edit my own posts after that?

      • keesiemeijer 10:52 pm on January 17, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        It means you can only post a new reply 30 seconds after your last reply. You can edit your own posts up to an hour.

    • keesiemeijer 10:28 pm on January 17, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      @Daniel Bachhuber
      Done.

      For moderators in general:
      +1 for one click to delete all posts and ban the account
      +1 click username and see all posts of the user in the backend of bbPress

      And maybe someway to leave a note we can use to indicate reasons for mod actions like b-coding.

    • Daniel Bachhuber 10:07 pm on January 17, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      ++ to reply by email. We have some code on WordPress.com that can probably serve as a basis.

      Can I get past the 30-second throttle please?

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