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  • James Huff 2:11 am on January 8, 2016 Permalink |

    January 7th Support Team Meetup Summary 

    WordPress 4.4.1

    We are happy to report that all “Reported Oopsies” in 4.4 have been resolved by 4.4.1, though we have added a new reply listing known issues with 4.4.1.

    Global Contributor Drive

    @jenmylo, @bethannon1, and @kenshino are now in contact and beginning to iron out details for our Global Contributor Drive on January 30 and 31. For more details on the Global Contributor Drive, see the summary from the last meetup.

    Suggesting Alternatives to Reviewers

    We have determined that it is generally acceptable to propose competing alternatives to someone who leaves a negative review, but context is key. Obvious spam is still obviously spam.

    Improve Language Suggester for Forums

    Some Support Team members have noticed inaccuracies with the languages proposed by the infamous yellow box which suggests a forum in your language if your language doesn’t match the forum you’re viewing. Technical solutions were proposed, but the team also came to the conclusion that a single suggestion may not be the best experience for everyone. As such, a link to Support Forums in Your Language will be added to the “Getting Started Resources” section on the forum’s main page once strings and such are figured out.

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

  • James Huff 6:52 am on January 6, 2016 Permalink |  

    Agenda for January 7th Support Meetup 

    • WordPress 4.4.1, how’s it going?
    • Global Contributor Drive (January 30/31), preparations must begin.
    • Contributor Survey, have you done it?

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

    The meetup will be at 17:00 UTC in #forums on Slack.

    • Andrew 9:50 am on January 7, 2016 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I probably won’t attend, but I have something I want to discuss with people…
      It’s regarding people letting other people know of alternative plugins.

      My understanding of what reviews are for is to give feedback for the plugin (being reviewed) and eventually improve the plugin.

      Scenario: OP makes a review, OP states disgust with the plugin and wants an alternative. Person A replies with alternative plugins.

      So it doesn’t sound fair to the plugin author that the OP should ask for alternative plugins.
      I also think it’s unfair if certain people reply with the alternative plugins…
      If person A is a ‘member’ of the forums, I wouldn’t mind as much as if person A was an author the recommended alternative plugin.

      What are your thoughts?

      • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 2:34 pm on January 7, 2016 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Asking for alternatives and having them offered, in general, is okay.

        Not asking, or having an account that does nothing but recommend a specific plugin, is sketchy.

        It comes down to intent. Are they honestly helping and answering the question, or are they self promoting?

    • Jon (Kenshino) 7:46 am on January 6, 2016 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      New item for discussion.

      Yellow box that suggests another language in wordpress.org/support (main forums page) should be made more useful.

      See Slack transcript for some discussions around it https://wordpress.slack.com/archives/forums/p1452064037013426

  • Jen 5:38 pm on January 4, 2016 Permalink |
    Tags: annual survey,   

    2015 Contributor Survey 

    Hi support folks! Thanks for all your hard work and contributions in 2015. Could you contribute few more minutes to fill in the 2015 contributor survey? It will help us establish some baselines around the contributor experience so that we can see how things change over time.

    This is being posted to all the Make teams, so if you subscribe to a bunch of p2s and keep seeing this post, know that you only need to fill the survey in once, not once per team.

    The survey is anonymous (so you can be extra honest), all questions are optional (so you can skip any that you don’t want to answer), and we’ll post some aggregate results by the end of January. It took testers 5-10 minutes to complete on average (depends how much you have to say), so I bet you could knock it out right after you read this post! 🙂

    There are two sections of the survey. The first has questions about team involvement, recognition, and event involvement, and is pretty much what you’d expect from an annual survey (which teams did you contribute to, how happy are you as a contributor, etc).

    The second section is about demographics so we can take a stab at assessing how diverse our contributor base is. All questions are optional, but the more information we have the better we can figure out what we need to improve. If there’s some information you’d rather not identify, that’s okay, but please do not provide false information or use the form to make jokes — just skip those questions.

    The survey will be open until January 15, 2016. Whether you have 5 minutes now, or 10 over lunch (or whenever), please take the 2015 contributor survey. Thanks!

  • James Huff 1:26 am on December 18, 2015 Permalink |

    December 17th Support Team Meetup Summary 

    WordPress 4.4

    There are a few new items in the master list, nothing hugely notable, but now’s a great time just refresh yourself on everything there.

    Global Contributor Drive, 20 Questions

    @jenmylo and @bethannon1 will be leading the charge to organize all WordPress meetup groups into a fun-filled weekend of support here in our very own forums on January 30th and 31st. Each meetup volunteer is going to make a commitment to answer 20 questions, and we’ll be there to help!

    Our responsibilities include being available in #forums to answer questions, looking over new answers as they come in by mostly just camping out in All Topics, and DMing folks if it looks like they need help.

    @kenshino (SGT), @clorith (CET), @zoonini (EST), @kidsguide (EST), @bethannon1 (PST), and @macmanx (PST) will be on hand. Everyone else is more than welcome to join us when they can. 🙂

    Meetings on 24th and 31st

    There will be no formalized meetings with agendas on December 24th or 31st, though there will be someone around for an informal office hour. Please feel free to stop by if you want to discuss something.

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

  • James Huff 7:19 pm on December 15, 2015 Permalink |

    Agenda for December 17th Support Meetup 

    • WordPress 4.4. (How’s it going?)
    • Global Contributor Drive, 20 Questions. (What is it, who wants to help, and 3rd or 4th weekend of January?)
    • Meetings on 24th and 31st. (Do it, reschedule, or just office hours?)

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

    The meetup will be at 17:00 UTC in #forums on Slack.

  • James Huff 2:05 am on December 11, 2015 Permalink |

    December 10th Support Team Meetup Summary 

    New Support Team Representative

    “Everyone? Meet @macmanx. He’s going to be driving from now on and me and @ipstenu will continue to help as needed. Please be real nice to him and support him. He’s very cool.” – @jdembowski

    WordPress 4.4

    Common confusions and known issue are being collected the master list and updated with new information whenever possible. To avoid having to maintain two lists, I’ll just link to that instead. 🙂

    Make a Release Day Checklist

    We forgot something important this time, our favorite thread title for the master list actually breaks the link. We knew this last time, but we never formalized a checklist, so we forgot.

    Now, we have a Release Day Checklist in our handbook.

    No More Chatter in #forums During Release

    All of the chatter, mostly due to excitement, made it difficult to focus on what mattered. In order to keep #forums filled with only the useful release information and open to collaboration with other teams, we will suspend (or relocate) chatter and go Full Business Mode in #forums for a period of 24 hours once #core starts their pre-release testing on the day of.

    New Forums Administrator

    Welcome to the team, @imazed!

    Support Team Future

    James is going to try to be as consistent as he can with DMing admins, moderators, and top volunteers one-on-one every few weeks. Just to touch base, see how everyone is doing, and see what he can do to help people. It will be safe space, say whatever you need to.

    Next, James is going to be reaching out to the international mentors to establish contacts with someone on each international support team. We’d like to grow a more effective partnership with them, and find some way for us to share knowledge, ideas, and even workload (like those bbPress plugins we need to convert before moving to bbPress 2).

    Both of those are starting December 14th.

    Finally, we’re making as commitment to reaching out to awesome forum volunteers on Slack, thanking them for what they do, and inviting them to hang out in #forums.

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

  • James Huff 2:22 am on December 9, 2015 Permalink |

    Agenda for December 10th Support Meetup 

    • WordPress 4.4. (How’s it going?)
    • Make a release day checklist. (Let’s try to not miss anything next time!)
    • No more chatter in #forums during release. (Why, and what to do instead?)
    • The Support Team: Present and Future (I have a few ideas I’d like to share, then open up for discussion, so saving this for last.)

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

    The meetup will be at 17:00 UTC in #forums on Slack.

  • Jan Dembowski 8:07 pm on December 7, 2015 Permalink |  

    4.4 OMGWTFBBQ draft post 

    It’s a little rough and copy-pasta but here’s the 4.4 draft.

    Starting with the boilerplate, first introduction post.

    Hooray! FIX TITLE is here! But OMGWTFBBQ!? WordPress 4.4 broke everything?

    Don’t Panic!

    Before you go any further, make sure you’ve updated your plugins and themes to the latest versions, clear your browser’s cache and cookies and re-log into your WordPress dashboard.

    Still having problems? Okay, read on!

    This thread contains the known issues with plugins and themes found in 4.4. Please read this WHOLE topic and come back and check again later, as it will be updated.

    Remember to be calm, be patient and be respectful. Volunteers are out here to try and help you, but we need your help too. All of the normal forum rules still apply. Remember, you are just as important as everyone else.

    If your post doesn’t show up right away, please be patient. With the higher than normal post volume, more posts get flagged as spam by our auto-spam tool. We’re working hard to keep the queue clear, but making multiple posts slows us down, as we have to go back and check if you already posted. Post once.

    • Do use proper capitalization in post titles and body. Punctuate your sentence properly and humanely, it helps us read.
    • Do use descriptive subject lines. “All permalinks broken since 4.4” is much better than “Augh! Help ASAP! This version is terrible!”
    • Do describe the problem clearly. Explain what you’re seeing, include error messages and link to screenshots if needed. Linking to your site, if the problem is on the front-end, also helps.
    • Do be patient. We know it sucks to be down, but posting multiple times doesn’t get you help any faster.
    • Do make your own topic unless you are using the exact same version of WordPress on the same physical server hosted by the same hosts with the same plugins, theme and configurations as the original poster. You may find it weird, but it will be easier for us to help you specifically if you have your own topic.
    • Do mark your topic as resolved when it’s fixed so we know not to come looking there anymore.
    • Do remember you’re not alone.

    Also keep in mind that not liking the direction of WordPress’s design does not a bug make. If you don’t like a feature, please don’t make a series of posts complaining about it. Look and see if someone already did, and post there, or consider joining the process earlier on (like in Beta or even test via SVN). What you’re seeing today is the result of thousands of hours of work and testing, and unless something is outright broken, it’s highly unlikely to be changed.

    Again, before you post:

    Make sure you’ve read the entire Master List post – and the New Features in 4.4 Codex Articlehttps://codex.wordpress.org/Version_4.4

    Go to your own install’s about page – `http://example.com/wp-admin/about.php` – to see what’s new.

    And then make sure you’ve tried…

    • Flushing any caching plugins you might be running, as well as server and/or browser caches. Not just your browser, but any op cache or content network cache as well such as Cloudflare. That will solve many weird Javascript issues.
    • If your host provider has a “Purge Varnish” option or if you can ask your provider to flush memcache on your server.
    • Deactivating all plugins (yes, all) to see if this resolves the problem. If this works, re-activate the plugins one by one until you find the problematic plugin(s). If you can’t get into your admin dashboard, try resetting the plugins folder by FTP or PhpMyAdmin (read “How to deactivate all plugins when you can’t log in to wp-admin” if you need help). Sometimes, an apparently inactive plugin can still cause problems. Also remember to deactivate any plugins in the mu-plugins folder. The easiest way is to rename that folder to `mu-plugins-old`
    • Switching to the Twenty Fifteen theme to rule out any theme-specific problems. If you can’t log in to change themes, you can remove the theme folders via FTP so the only one is `twentyfifteen`. That will force your site to use it.
    • Manually upgrading. When all else fails, download a fresh copy of the latest.zip file of 4.4 (top right on this page) to your computer, and use that to copy up. You may need to delete the wp-admin and wp-includes folders on your server (NOTE: do not delete the `wp-content` directory or your `wp-config.php` file) Read the Manual Update directions first.

    Next post for CORE CHANGES

    What’s New:

    • Twenty Sixteen is the new default theme.
    • Externally embeddable. WordPress 4.4 will now act as an oEmbed provider for posts. This can be disabled with a plugin.
    • Responsive images support This will display alternate size images for different view sizes in the browser via the srcset attribute. You don’t need to worry about anything. While your existing images won’t be ‘converted’ they also don’t need to be as the code is really smart and uses the image sizes you already have rather than make new ones. If you want to regenerate your images to use the new `medium-large` size, you can use one of the existing plugins (e.g. the Regenerate Thumbnails plugin).
    • Changes to the comment form layout.
    • REST API support – You really want to use the REST API Plugin if you want to use the API. If you were already using it, please upgrade to either 1.2.4 for the v1 branch or beta8 for v2 so things continue to work.
    • Term Meta – It’s awesome! the term meta functions will return a WP_Error object if the term has not been split.

    What’s Changed:

    Next post for NOT A BUG


    My layout is all weird on the Dashboard

    Flush your cache. If you’re using server caches, or a plugin, flush them too, especially Memcached/APC stuff. They can be sticky. This includes Cloudflare and Pagespeed and Varnish. Anything that caches.

    I’ve upgraded and the posts are not styled correctly

    Check if you are running `mod_pagespeed` and if you are try disabling it to see if your posts render correctly.

    I’m on 4.4 but I have no JSON Endpoints!

    You have to install the Rest API plugin to actually activate the endpoints.

    Warning: An unexpected error occurred. Something may be wrong with WordPress.org or this server’s configuration.

    Despite how it sounds, this typically means that openssl on your server is out of date, unless of course WordPress.org is actually offline. You’ll need to ask your hosting provider upgrade openssl on the server to the latest release (currently 1.0.2e).

    Next post for KNOWN ISSUES

    Known Issues

    • WP CLI – Needs to be upgraded to WP-CLI v0.21.1 or v0.20.4 otherwise it won’t work.
    • JSON/REST API – Needs to be upgraded to the latest version of whatever branch you run to work.

    Hopefully we will not need this one, with 4.3 we did not.


  • Jan Dembowski 9:27 pm on December 6, 2015 Permalink |  

    New Support Team representative 

    Another item from the 2015 Community Summit is that James Huff (@macmanx) is now the new Support Team representative. I will act as his backup and provide assistance and coverage as needed.

    Due to prior commitments I haven’t been able to spend the time I think is required to correctly represent the Support Team. This was something that I brought up at the summit and after some discussion James agreed to be the next representative.

    I am not leaving the support team or the WordPress community. 😉 I get too much satisfaction from helping people and participating with this group. All of us collaborate online, but together at a WordCamp is a blast and we get a lot done.

    I know James will do a good job. He’s already a key member of the support team and working with him will continue to be great.

  • Jan Dembowski 8:21 pm on December 6, 2015 Permalink |
    Tags: ,   

    2015 WordPress Community Summit Notes 

    Six members of the Support team attended the 2015 Community Summit, converging on Philadelphia from Singapore, the Netherlands, Norway, Canada, and the US. We covered the following agenda:

    Upgrading the Forum Software

    The current support forums are powered by a very outdated bbPress 1.x install. We’d like to upgrade to bbPress 2.x — which came out in 2011 — to take advantage of its greater flexibility and ease of plugin creation. Upgrading isn’t a simple process, and requires us to update old bbPress plugins to be compatible with bbPress 2.x.

    We’ve compiled a list of old bbPress plugins and functionality and have labeled plugins that must be converted before bbPress 2.0 is feasible.

    If you decide to help, follow the instructions below and we’ll send you a file — likely just a bunch of PHP functions — which need to be rewritten into an updated WordPress plugin.

    If you can help:

    1. Inform @Clorith you want to work on the specific file
    2. Setup a WordPress site (latest)
    3. Install the bbPress plugin (latest)
    4. Rewrite the code as a WordPress plugin

    The plugins needs to be:

    1. Open Source (GPL 2+ or compatible), and
    2. Rewritten to today’s coding standards

    Each of these plugins will be open sourced once they are successfully ported.

    HelpHub Participation

    Part of the support team’s contribution to HelpHub is to define the Frequently Asked Questions in the forums. We categorized the main groups of users, and came up with the following questions.

    The four categories of users who post new topics are as follows:

    1. I am new to WordPress and probably installed WordPress via my host’s one-click install
    2. I can edit my files and likely have had some experience with WordPress
    3. I am comfortable with directly editing the database via phpMyAdmin
    4. I have setup my own server

    1. New to WordPress, installed WordPress via one-click install — approx. 70% of users posting new topics in the forums.

    Categories of Frequently Asked Questions

    • Locked out of their account (password resets)
    • My web site was hacked
    • Plugin and theme conflicts (how to disable plugins and themes manually and in the dashboard)
    • Incomplete updates i.e. .maintenance file or re-installing WordPress
    • Modify style, text, colors in your theme
    • PHP memory issues
    • Max upload size
    • File permission problems — cannot upload theme or plugin (WordPress asking for FTP credentials)
    • My site does not look like the theme demo
    • Windows server questions/problems
    • I am not receiving mail from my WordPress install
    • Mail is from wordpress@mydomain.com — how do I change it?

    2. I can edit my files. Installed manually or one-click but leveled up — 15% of new topics.

    Categories of Frequently Asked Questions

    • Modifying plugins
    • Display excerpt instead of full post or vice versa
    • Modifying theme layout, fonts, and functions (dequeue fonts)
    • Featured images (adding or subtracting)
    • Caching problems, changes not showing up live
    • .htaccess issues
    • Permalink issues
    • wp-config.php constants WP_DEBUG

    3. I am comfortable editing my database via phpMyAdmin or MySQL CLI — 10% of new topics.

    Categories of Frequently Asked Questions

    • DB query questions
    • Search and replace in the database
    • Repair tables
    • Character sets

    4. I have set up my own server — 5% of new topics.

    Categories of Frequently Asked Questions

    • DNS questions
    • Apache, Nginx, PHP upgrade/config questions
    • nginx reverse proxy or Varnish question.

    The support team will provide FAQs and answers for each of these categories and topic ideas.

    Annual Support Handbook Audit

    The Support Handbook was reviewed by @Clorith and @MacManX and minor adjustments were made. The handbook is frequently looked at throughout the year and there weren’t many changes needed.

    Clearing Out Admin and Moderator Accounts

    As part of the annual account entitlement review the admin and moderator accounts were audited. If an admin or moderator had not posted in the forums for one year, their account was downgraded one level. So, an inactive admin was made moderator and a moderator went to member.

    If there was an account that was downgraded by mistake, please inform the moderators in #forums Slack channel.

    How to Invite and Support Volunteers — aka Volunteer Wrangling

    Helping out in support can often sound unappealing when it’s perceived as just repetitive replying to questions in the support forums. It can seem tedious and draining, constantly facing the challenges of dealing with unhappy people. The role can also be prone to burnout.

    We feel it’s important to reframe the support role to counter these stereotypes and bring in fresh volunteers.

    Sharing Support Experience with Developers

    We need to remember that support people are often the first ones users deal with in their WordPress journeys. Asking a question in the forums is the beginning of that user’s relationship with WordPress and sets the tone for what’s to come.

    WordPress developers need feedback from users. As the front-line crew, the support team has a unique opportunity to not only help people, but also to spot trends and consolidate issues that core, theme, and plugin developers, or other contributor teams may need to address.

    Being a part of the support team isn’t just about support. We also have a responsibility to be users’ advocate and represent their interests in the wider WordPress community. Bringing new focus to this key collaborative role is something the support team needs to work on.

    We discussed the following ways we can accomplish this:

    Document how the support team can create good Trac tickets

    One complaint from users is that they feel that their suggestions and requests are ignored. One way we can address this is by documenting their issues in Trac.

    Not every user request should be made into a Trac ticket. For example, requests that are too narrow in focus and don’t serve the wider WordPress community. But if a user identifies a bug or potential enhancement in the admin interface, that could be made into a Trac ticket, and we can provide the user with a link to the ticket so they can follow its progress.

    Keep an eye out for trends in the user experience that should be brought to the core team’s attention

    When we notice a trend, a support rep should attend the #core team meetup, bring it to their attention, and represent the concern to that team.

    Don’t Just Solve the Problem, Help People Solve Problems

    For example, it’s tempting to just give the forum member the exact CSS needed to solve their problem. Instead, it’s better to also provide the method and resources you used to arrive at the solution, which gives them the opportunity to become more self-sufficient.

    While a more in-depth reply can take longer to formulate, spending that extra time not only helps the user solve their own problems in the future, it also helps other users searching the forums down the road.

    Get the Word Out There About Support

    Document your experience in support through public channels like blog posts. Emphasize the positives, like how being a part of the support team has improved your skills and performance in your day job.

    The support team is friendly and welcomes new people to give it a try. We have a make.wordpress.org site and Slack channel (#forums) where conversations about support take place.

    The support team has a low barrier to entry and is a great way to learn about using and developing for WordPress. Approach people and invite them to join the support team. Recruit them into the team; if they’ve ever helped a WordPress user, then they are already part of the support team.

    Once they realize and feel that they’re part of a team, it’s likely we’ll see more of them in the future.


    At the Community Summit the support team was able to address our agenda and determine things to work on in 2016. By working on the bbPress plugins, providing feedback regarding HelpHub, and recruiting new volunteers, we will achieve our goal: to help users and continue to promote the growth of WordPress.

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