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  • Jennifer M. Dodd 1:34 pm on August 30, 2016 Permalink  

    Support Forum Maintenance Window

    Hello, support team! The maintenance window for the support forums upgrade has been set for Thursday, September 01, 2016 14:00-20:00. More information is available at https://make.wordpress.org/meta/2016/08/30/support-forum-maintenance-window/

    Note for moderators: Please refrain from opening/changing closed topics (those older than 2 months); they are currently being imported into the new forum location. Reviews/ratings will be imported in a separate action after the main switch.

  • James Huff 5:24 pm on August 25, 2016 Permalink |

    August 25th Support Team Meeting Summary 


    WordPress 4.6

    An issue with emails not being sent on certain server configurations has been added to the known issues.

    WordPress 4.6.1

    Per yesterday’s Dev Chat, WordPress 4.6.1 is on target for September 7 with a release candidate on September 1.

    The Move to bbPress 2

    The move to bbPress 2 is underway!

    On our end, Moderators have been re-assigned based on the criteria we discussed last week. The change was only made to the new forums, so it will take effect as soon as the new forums are switched over, and the change is by no means a done deal. If you notice “Hey, where did my Moderator powers go?” Please feel free to reach out!

    Everything else is being handled by the brilliant and talented @jmdodd and tracked over at Make/Meta.

    Overall, we’re looking at some downtime tentatively very soon (maybe early next week, announced here before for sure) as everything is switched over. The forums will be replaced with a message as to what’s happening and a direction to visit IRC for support.

    There will then be a period on the following day during which everything works, but a few less critical things are backfilled, like recent reviews, favorites, and subscriptions.

    Expanding Support Contributor Badge to bbPress and BuddyPress

    Since activity on the bbPress forums and BuddyPress forums are already part of your WordPress.org profile, and since they’re pretty much “sister projects” with a long history of togetherness, we voted unanimously to pursue extending the Support Contributor badge to contributions on their support forums. Technical details will be hashed out later.

    Checkin with International Support Liaisons


    @macmanx @clorith @jmdodd @bcworkz @erricgunawan @geoffreyshilling @fierevere @jcastaneda @dartiss @sergeybiryukov @manikum @abletec @danhgilmore @girlieworks @hardeepasrani @zoonini @kidsguide @keesiemeijer @cristianozanca @ipstenu @lukecavanagh @cais @stephencottontail @songdogtech @kmessinger @kenshino @stevesterndatacom @georgestephanis @francescodicandia @valeriosza @pmfonseca @hideokamoto @zodiac1978 @tnash @lasacco attended.

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

  • James Huff 11:08 pm on August 23, 2016 Permalink |  

    Agenda for August 25th Support Meeting 

    • General Announcements
    • How’s WordPress 4.6 looking so far?
    • New bbPress 2 Support Forum Rollout Plan
    • Should bbPress and BuddyPress support contributions be part of the Support Contributor badge?
    • Checkin with International Support Liaisons

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

    The meeting will be Thursday, August 25, 2016, 16:00 UTC in #forums on Slack. (a Slack account is required)

  • Samuel Sidler 3:04 pm on August 19, 2016 Permalink
    Tags: , ,   

    Hello again support team!

    The meta team posted some mockups of the support forum redesign. Check them and let us know what you think!

  • James Huff 6:20 pm on August 18, 2016 Permalink |

    August 18th Support Team Meeting Summary 


    @macmanx @fierevere @denisco @sergeybiryukov @jmdodd @bcworkz @cristianozanca @clorith @gmosso @lasacco @bdbrown @geoffreyshilling @kidsguide @numeeja @jdembowski @zoonini @jcastaneda @hardeepasrani @danhgilmore @wido @songdogtech @keesiemeijer @stevesterndatacom @ipstenu @tnash @pmfonseca @girlieworks @francescodicandia @kenshino @abletec @kmessinger @valeriosza @lukecavanagh @samuelsidler attended.


    WordPress 4.6

    WordPress 4.6 is here!

    @ocean90 has been tracking trending reports on Slack, and those with confirmed Trac tickets have been added to the known issues.

    Upcoming Moderator Expectations Change

    bbPress 2 will bring changes to the Moderator role, making it almost as powerful as the current Administrator role (it will only lack the powers that we never, and shouldn’t, use anyway). As such, we will be modifying the Moderator expectations to be more of a merge of the current Moderator and Administrator expectations. By unanimous vote, once the new bbPress 2 forum launches, the new Moderator expectations will be:

    A moderator regularly takes care of the spam and modlook queue, while attending as many meetings as possible within reason and leaving no less than 10 publicly visible replies in the forum in a 6-month period.

    For all of you Administrators out there, this is a “demotion” in name only, you’ll still have the same powers you use today, don’t panic. 🙂

    Yes, there are higher roles with more powers available once we get to bbPress 2, and we will be actively considering whether or not we need them as we get comfortable with the new forums.

    New Automated Badge Requirements

    As we discussed last week, the Support Contributor and Support Team badges will be automated based on the following criteria:

    Support Contributor = [x] replies. (tentatively 400 for the English forums)

    Support Team = Moderator.

    Today, this was approved by unanimous vote. The automation will begin once the bbPress 2 forum launches, and the tentative number of required replies will likely be adjusted per language forum as necessary. The Support Contributor badge will be permanent, like all other Contributor badges, while the Support Team badge can be removed by being demoted back to a standard forum member.

    Checkin with International Support Liaisons

    • The Italian support community is continuing to improve their handbook.
    • The Brazilian support community has begun to translate their own handbook and write some training documentation for new moderators.
    • The Portuguese and Russian support communities are doing well.

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

  • James Huff 12:42 am on August 17, 2016 Permalink |  

    Agenda for August 18th Support Meeting 

    • General Announcements
    • How’s WordPress 4.6 looking so far?
    • Discuss and vote on a fair merging of expectations for Moderator + Admin + Support Team = New Moderator.
    • Official Voting on the new Badge requirements discussed last meeting.
    • Checkin with International Support Liaisons

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

    The meeting will be Thursday, August 18, 2016, 16:00 UTC in #forums on Slack. (a Slack account is required)

  • James Huff 5:48 pm on August 11, 2016 Permalink |

    August 11th Support Team Meeting Summary 


    @macmanx @clorith @kidsguide @bethannon1 @jmdodd @vitormadeira @quitevisible @geoffreyshilling @justingreerbbi @numeeja @cristianozanca @tnash @ipstenu @girlieworks @danhgilmore @jcastaneda @abletec @dimitris33 @gmosso @stevesterndatacom @voldemortensen @pmfonseca @hardeepasrani @kenshino @samuelsidler @stephencottontail @songdogtech @kmessinger @tabakisp @sergeybiryukov attended.


    WordPress 4.6 RC 2

    WordPress 4.6 RC 2 is here. This is the second Release Candidate, meaning that the developers are reasonably sure this could be the final release, so please make sure you’re testing. Less bugs in the final release = less threads in the forums.

    Varying Vagrant Vagrants is a simple way to run local WordPress sites for testing, though there are others, and of course you could always just install the beta on a subdomain on your own hosting provider/VPS/dedicated/cloud/etc, and don’t forget about the Beta Tester plugin.

    4.6 OMGWTFBBQ Draft

    The 4.6 OMGWTFBBQ Draft is up and open to feedback in its comments section.

    The draft continues to be improved, and we’d especially appreciate suggestions for the “Not a Bug” section (these are items which are intentional changes, but may seem like a bug or glitch to users offhand, like Dashboard fonts being different).

    Support Badge Automation

    After a good discussion, we’ll be proceeding towards a final vote with the following general approach for automating badges:

    Support Contributor = [x] replies. (tentative 400, pending more data from Meta Team)

    Support Team = Moderator. (adjustments to the Moderator expectations will be discussed next week, for example we’ll likely be decreasing the inactivity threshold for demotion to less than 10 replies in 6 months)

    This will likely apply across all languages, as the goal is to be to establish a standard of automation across all communities.

    Next week, we’ll discuss exactly how we’re merging the Support Team and Moderator expectations, and we’ll vote to officially adopt the approach to automation. By delaying the vote, we hope to draw in more attendees and votes from interested parties and affected volunteers.

    Gentle Reminder about Deleting Threads from Spammers

    This is a gentle reminder to please delete spam threads after (or before) blocking the spammer.

    Checkin with International Support Liaisons

    • The Italian support community has received a few useful upgrades, like additional translations and being able to mark threads as Resolved (for Moderators and OPs).

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

  • James Huff 6:09 pm on August 10, 2016 Permalink |  

    Agenda for August 11th Support Meeting 

    • General Announcements
    • Are you testing WordPress 4.6 RC 2?
    • Feedback on the 4.6 OMGWTFBBQ Draft Post.
    • Discuss Adjusting Moderator and Support Team Expectations to Better Fit Automation
    • Checkin with International Support Liaisons

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

    The meeting will be Thursday, August 11, 2016, 16:00 UTC in #forums on Slack. (a Slack account is required)

  • Samuel Sidler 2:27 pm on August 10, 2016 Permalink
    Tags: , ,   

    Hello support team!

    In case you haven’t seen it yet, there’s a post over on make/meta with proposed wireframes of the support forums. Pop on over, check them out, and let us know what you think!

  • Jan Dembowski 11:30 am on August 10, 2016 Permalink |
    Tags: Reviews   

    About Plugin and Theme Reviews 

    I’ve been reviewing the reviews. Occasionally there seems to be some misunderstanding about what reviews are and what they are for in the WordPress community.

    I keep coming back to this topic in the review sub-forum so I thought I’d put this down for commentary.

    Reviews are feedback, nothing more and nothing less

    The reviews have always been about someone’s experience with a plugin or theme. As long as it comes back to their experience and is related to the plugin or theme then their commentary is fair game.

    Everyone should leave reviews for themes of plugins and I’m going to make more of an effort to do that. I’ve only left 7 myself but it’s easy to do and I like to think that I’ve contributed by leaving them.

    If you are leaving a review

    Please try and be courteous and helpful to the author and the people reading your review. These two often referenced posts may help people who want to leave feedback.

    Every plugin and theme in the WordPress repository is a gift to the community. The developers offer that gift and sacrifice their time and effort for free. If you are fortunate, and that happens all the time, the author will make the additional effort and support you as a member of the WordPress community.

    Think about that for a moment. Someone is going out of their way to provide you with quality code for free and they want your feedback. So please consider leveling up and meet the author half way. Provide “good” reviews. A 1 star review is allowed but make the effort and turn that bad review into something productive.

    • Do start a support topic before you leave a review. If you have a problem with a theme or plugin please start a support topic about it before leaving a review. Give authors a chance to help you first. Just like the code, their support is offered for free.
    • Do share your experience with the plugin or theme and the author. If the author is upselling then feel free to discuss that as well. If you went from the free version to the “pro” or “premium” version then let people know how that was for you.
    • Do offer advice on how you think your experience can be improved. It could be as simple as “make this icon bigger”. Not all suggestions are accepted but many are.
    • Do reciprocate and work with the author. If you get a reply and the author is interested in your opinion then take the time and engage the author. Plugins and themes are updated all the time due to user feedback.
    • Don’t make reviews personal and attack the author. Offer an explanation of why you left a bad review. Include what you see as ways to improve the experience for you and other users.
    • Don’t leave reviews such as “If you fix my problem I’ll update my review”. Extortion is an ugly word and if your review comes across that way then you’ve left a bad review.

    Other users will read your review and make decisions based on the words you’ve written. Make that feedback count and help the community.

    Just be aware that a user of free software is not a “customer”. A customer relationship is something different and anyone leaving reviews with the idea that an author owes them support or even a reply is misinformed.

    A free software user is not owed anything. It is fantastic when an author engages users but that’s voluntary and optional. Providing support is not a requirement to host code in the WordPress repository.

    Don’t be discouraged by that lack of entitlement. The fact that someone is hosting  code in the repository means that at least at one point they were open to the idea of sharing with the community. Engage them in your review as if you had a chance to sit with them across a table and talk to them. Your review should be like the beginning of that real life conversation.

    Authors who reply to reviews

    The majority of authors understand that WordPress is a community effort for an open source project. They get that it’s not an online store but some people need reminding about the reality of community reviews.

    If you are relying on the WordPress review system to generate sales leads then you are ignoring the man in the lookout yelling “ICEBERG!”

    You are making a Titanic class business mistake if those reviews are part of your business plan.

    Do not rely on WordPress.org for sales. For a variety of reasons those reviews can be deleted or modified without any notice or warning. The reviews are not the property of the plugin or theme authors. They belong to the community, they are part of the forum and the forum moderators do their job.

    Reviews can be used as a sales supplement and it can enhance an author’s reputation. Good reviews from satisfied users should be held up like a badge for good community service. Having satisfied users can only benefit an author’s reputation.

    The WordPress forums do not have a relationship with authors such as Famous Online Bookseller™ does. There is no incentive to generate more downloads or sales leads for WordPress.org. Nor should any such incentive exist, it leads to a system that is skewed from the beginning.

    The only incentive for the community is to obtain productive reviews that are informative to the users and authors. Informative reviews can lead to better code and a better experience for everyone. Unvarnished feedback is the goal for the community based review system. How you respond to a 1-star review is often far more valuable than any 5-star review.

    There are successful companies within the WordPress ecosystem that do not have any code in the WordPress repository. They rely on creating and maintaining their own community and provide a quality product. It’s not easy but their business plan relies on their user’s direct feedback. They do not use the WordPress forums except possibly to provide some support for the community.

    That’s a good model. It’s not an easy one but removing community reviews as a leg for their business strategy means more stability for their customers.

    An author’s reputation has value

    Many plugin and theme authors are trying to make a living and represent themselves or their company. That’s admirable and having a good reputation in the community IS a business advantage.

    But be aware that “wrdprezzuser678”, who just left a stunningly acidic review, does not have a reputation to risk. Replies to reviews are like everything else on the Internet. Your reply will be available forever and when you or someone on your team replies poorly it may become something you regret. It will not impact the anonymous person posting on the forums.

    It’s not fair: nameless people on the Internet can leave feedback without risk. That’s just how it is. Any author or support person needs to be aware that their reputation has value and is a thing to be protected. It’s easy to say “Well, I don’t care what other people’s opinion about me is” but there may come a time when you do.

    What are you as a software author trying to accomplish by leaving a snarky or angry reply? Abusive reviews and spam are deleted but the ones that are pressing up against the line are not deleted. If an author later comes to the Support Team and asks for their unfortunate reply to be deleted then then they may be in for a shock when it is not redacted.

    Replying to bad reviews

    If you do reply to those users then consider viewing this presentation from Rob La GattaThe slides for that talk are located on Slideshare. Look at the replies to the 1 star reviews for The Event Calendar plugin as an example.

    If there is a gold standard for handling reviews then this would be it. Many of those replies turned unhappy users into people who not only appreciated the effort but have updated their reviews. Anyone reading those exchanges will see that the authors care about their feedback.

    Another take on reviews can be found via Mika Epstein’s WCUC talk titled “Reviews – The Good, The Bad, and the Stalker” It’s a great talk and that advice is very pertinent. That talk is focusing on a plugin author’s point of view but that advice applies to theme authors as well.


    Reviews are nothing more than an exchange of feedback between the user of a free theme or plugin and the developer of that code. Users can help developers by providing polite and detailed feedback, even for a 1-star review. Developers can help both users and their own reputation by not replying to negativity with further negativity.

    In the end, we’re all in this for the community as a whole, or we wouldn’t be leaving a review or offering a free code in the first place.

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