Agenda for September 24th Support Meeting

The weekly support meeting will be held on Thursday, September 24th, 2020, 17:00 UTC in #forums on SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform https://slack.com/. The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at https://make.wordpress.org/chat/.. (a Slack account is required)

A note-taker for the meeting is requested, taking notes is a great way to get more involved with contributing to a team, and getting to know how they operate, so don’t be shy, no prior experiences needed, and volunteering happens at the start of the meeting!

Headlines

Checking in with international liaisons

This is the section where we reach out to the non-English speaking parts of our community, to see how they are doing, if there’s anything we can help each other with, or just interesting things going on that it would be nice to share with others.

There’s no requirements for previous participation or “fame” to share here, anyone is welcome, and we encourage newcomers to participate!

Open floor

This part of the meeting only happens if there is time, the team aims to cover the pre-planned topics first in any given meeting.

When open floor starts, any topic posted either as a comment to this agenda post will be looked at, or as many as there is time for. If there is still time left after this, then meeting attendees may step forward with questions, comments, remarks, anything relating to the support team that they’d like to handle.

It is also important to note that not everyone is comfortable posting things publicly, there is complete understanding of this, and users are welcome to contact the team representative (@clorith) via direct messages on Slack with whatever they wish the team to look at together.

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

X-post: Facebook and Instagram embeds to be deprecated October 24th

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Agenda for September 10th Support Meeting

The weekly support meeting will be held on Thursday, September 10th, 2020, 17:00 UTC in #forums on SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform https://slack.com/. The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at https://make.wordpress.org/chat/.. (a Slack account is required)

A note-taker for the meeting is requested, taking notes is a great way to get more involved with contributing to a team, and getting to know how they operate, so don’t be shy, no prior experiences needed, and volunteering happens at the start of the meeting!

Reminder of our talking points

We currently have two ongoing discussions, please do familiarize your self with them, and we’ll do a quick catch-up during the weekly meeting to see how these are progressing.

WordPress 5.5.x status

How is the current major releaseMajor Release A set of releases or versions having the same major version number may be collectively referred to as “X.Y” -- for example version 5.2.x to refer to versions 5.2, 5.2.1, and all other versions in the 5.2. (five dot two dot) branch of that software. Major Releases often are the introduction of new major features and functionality. of WordPress faring?

Checking in with international liaisons

This is the section where we reach out to the non-English speaking parts of our community, to see how they are doing, if there’s anything we can help each other with, or just interesting things going on that it would be nice to share with others.

There’s no requirements for previous participation or “fame” to share here, anyone is welcome, and we encourage newcomers to participate!

Open floor

This part of the meeting only happens if there is time, the team aims to cover the pre-planned topics first in any given meeting.

When open floor starts, any topic posted either as a comment to this agenda post will be looked at, or as many as there is time for. If there is still time left after this, then meeting attendees may step forward with questions, comments, remarks, anything relating to the support team that they’d like to handle.

It is also important to note that not everyone is comfortable posting things publicly, there is complete understanding of this, and users are welcome to contact the team representative (@clorith) via direct messages on Slack with whatever they wish the team to look at together.

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

Talking Point: Allowing Self-Archival of Topics

This is not for tomorrow’s agenda, but is still something that should be talked about with more than just the people who happened to be online at the time.

tl;dr Proposal

I propose we allow users to archive their own topics (not replies). In addition, we should lengthen the time-to-edit to allow people to remove semi-sensitive data.

Longer Explanation/Reasoning

One of the ongoing concerns in the forums is a double-edged sword. We want the forums to be more welcoming to more people, and the needs of the people have changed considerably in the decade+ since we codified the forum guidelines. At the same time, making it easier for people to get where they need to be and do what they want to do causes an extra burden on the volunteers.

Part of simplifying the experience for users and lessening the load for volunteers comes with an added twist of privacy and legality.

It came up today (2 Sept 2020) that someone had posted information that isn’t exactly ‘private’ but could land them in legal trouble for sharing. They did so by posting a debug log that had information that probably should not be public.

Over the course of the discussion, many pain points were identified (including talking to the pluginPlugin A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. These can be free in the WordPress.org Plugin Directory https://wordpress.org/plugins/ or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party developer about making it clearer to the users that some data should not be shared on public forums). The one we can action on from the forums side would be to alter our policy of “No, we don’t delete posts except in extreme circumstances” to “allow users to delete their own posts whenever they want.”

Why This Needs to Happen

Back in 2010, the user base for WordPress was different. It was not unacceptable to think that most people coming to the forums were aware of the basics of servers and FTPFTP FTP is an acronym for File Transfer Protocol which is a way of moving computer files from one computer to another via the Internet. You can use software, known as a FTP client, to upload files to a server for a WordPress website. https://codex.wordpress.org/FTP_Clients., as few one-click-to-install services existed. Having MultisiteMultisite Multisite is a WordPress feature which allows users to create a network of sites on a single WordPress installation. Available since WordPress version 3.0, Multisite is a continuation of WPMU or WordPress Multiuser project. WordPress MultiUser project was discontinued and its features were included into WordPress core.https://codex.wordpress.org/Create_A_Network. require people demonstrate some server awareness (by editing a wp-config.php file) was seen as reasonable and logical. We actively wanted that barrier to entry, as the support and maintenance of Multisite would need you to know how to log in to the server and possibly use command line.

Today, a number of companies offer WordPress managed hosting, where they do everything for you. While we have amazing tools like WP-CliWP-CLI WP-CLI is the Command Line Interface for WordPress, used to do administrative and development tasks in a programmatic way. The project page is http://wp-cli.org/ https://make.wordpress.org/cli/, the average user has shifted, and not everyone needs to care about Ubuntu flavours or packaging their own PHPPHP PHP (recursive acronym for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) is a widely-used open source general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited for web development and can be embedded into HTML. http://php.net/manual/en/intro-whatis.php. versions.

  • WP 3.0 (released in 2010) had 37,579,278 downloads
  • WP 5.4 (released in 2020) had 60,771,290 downloads
  • WP 5.5 (released a month ago) is around 16,700,000 already

To be clear, I think this is a good thing for the ongoing growth of WordPress. But it also means we need to reevaluate how we handle things in the forums. The decisions made a decade ago were never meant to be immutable and permanent. They are, in fact, guidelines for a reason. Our user base is going to keep growing and changing, and we must adapt.

Recognizing that our user base is different means we need to change our expectations. It is no longer fair to assume that everyone knows a user ID isn’t a security risk, or that posting in public means Google will find it eventually. Instead of trying to educate an ever growing user base, we can simply permit people to remove posts.

In addition, with the landscape of privacy awareness, it’s unfair to expect all forum moderators for all nations to be up to speed on the legality of sharing private information. There’s no possible way any volunteer can always know what is safe for public consumption from their e-commerce store, and what is privileged information, after all, and we should not be asking them to do so!

Proof of Concept

I can speak to this directly. In previous years, when the Plugins team emailed all developers to ask them to update their plugins for compatibility, we would receive hundreds of requests to close plugins. In April 2020, we added a change that permitted developers to close (but not reopen) their own plugins on their own.

This last release cycle, we received under 20 requests, while over 100 plugins were still closed.

By allowing people to take agency over their own experience, the developer satisfaction rose. I firmly believe this will have the same effect on forum posters.

Ideas/Solutions

These are ordered in what I believe are ‘easiest to hardest’ to do:

  • Extend the time-to-edit (currently 1 hour, proposals were for 3 days to 7 days)
  • Make the link to edit more obvious
  • Rewrite the WALL O TEXT before the post box to something smaller/actionable
  • Link to the guidelines (maybe a checkbox) at the post box
  • Allow OP (and only op) to self-archive (the URLURL A specific web address of a website or web page on the Internet, such as a website’s URL www.wordpress.org would become a 410 GONE with a simple message of “This post has been removed by it’s author”)
  • Allow people to report individual replies, not just posts
  • Have a popup if ‘Debug Log’ is pasted in
  • Have Carike’s Flow be a thing (It’s already in progress)

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Giving users agency makes happy users
  • Smaller burden on forum mods
  • Legally protected from privileged data
  • Reduction of harassment towards mods when telling people no
  • SEO bonus as less valuable posts will be removed, making the Google Beast happier

Cons:

  • Solutions may be lost for other people with the same problem (this is often referred to as the DenverCoder9 problem)
  • Some people may act maliciously and hide/edit the post to try and cover their tracks
  • Longer post editing will cause out-of-sync issues, where answers no longer make contextual sense

Conclusion

Allowing users to remove their own posts, and giving them a longer time to edit, will give them power over their own representation online, and allow them the freedom to make mistakes without dog-shaming them about them in perpetuity.

#proposal #guidelines

Agenda for September 3rd Support Meeting

The weekly support meeting will be held on Thursday September 3rd, 2020, 17:00 UTC in #forums on SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform https://slack.com/. The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at https://make.wordpress.org/chat/.. (a Slack account is required)

A note-taker for the meeting is requested, taking notes is a great way to get more involved with contributing to a team, and getting to know how they operate, so don’t be shy, no prior experiences needed, and volunteering happens at the start of the meeting!

Reminder of our talking point

There’s recently been talk of how to distinguish between what kind of support is allowed on the WordPress.orgWordPress.org The community site where WordPress code is created and shared by the users. This is where you can download the source code for WordPress core, plugins and themes as well as the central location for community conversations and organization. https://wordpress.org/ forums, and what is not, depending on if the user holds a paid product from the vendor or not.

WordPress 5.5.1 status

WordPress 5.5.1 is likely to have come out by the time this meeting, so let’s check how that’s coming along.

Checking in with international liaisons

This is the section where we reach out to the non-English speaking parts of our community, to see how they are doing, if there’s anything we can help each other with, or just interesting things going on that it would be nice to share with others.

There’s no requirements for previous participation or “fame” to share here, anyone is welcome, and we encourage newcomers to participate!

Open floor

This part of the meeting only happens if there is time, the team aims to cover the pre-planned topics first in any given meeting.

When open floor starts, any topic posted either as a comment to this agenda post will be looked at, or as many as there is time for. If there is still time left after this, then meeting attendees may step forward with questions, comments, remarks, anything relating to the support team that they’d like to handle.

It is also important to note that not everyone is comfortable posting things publicly, there is complete understanding of this, and users are welcome to contact the team representative (@clorith) via direct messages on Slack with whatever they wish the team to look at together.

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

Talking point: Handling support for commercial users on the WordPress forums

During the support teams weekly meeting on August 27th the topic of support for users who may have both a free, and commercial, product from an author was discussed.

The support team wishes find a good baseline for how to distinguish between what is considered commercial support, and also be more transparent about the process that occurs when commercial support is discovered.

This post is not a final say, but rather a continuation of this discussion, to gather views from those unable to attend our weekly meetings, and also to allow for the authors of plugins and themes to be heard in the process.

The problem we wish to solve

Do not ask for help regarding premium themes/plugins.

The WordPress.org support guidelines

The above is one of the points from the support guidelines, and is the problem we wish to discuss and find a good solution that benefits users, authors, and volunteers alike. Handling of scenarios where users may or may not be seeking paid help through the free WordPress.orgWordPress.org The community site where WordPress code is created and shared by the users. This is where you can download the source code for WordPress core, plugins and themes as well as the central location for community conversations and organization. https://wordpress.org/ forums.

It is a well known fact that many users do not always read the guidelines, so this needs to be taken into account for how scenarios are handled.

The problem can be split into a few main elements:

  1. Identifying if a persons support for a pluginPlugin A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. These can be free in the WordPress.org Plugin Directory https://wordpress.org/plugins/ or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party/theme relates to the paid or free version
  2. Handling scenarios where it is not obvious where the problem lies
  3. Handling scenarios where the problem is in the free code, but is made apparent by the paid product
  4. Handling scenarios where it is clearly a paid product

Of the above, number 2 and 3 are the difficult ones, and what we would like to discuss.

Point 4 is not up for discussion, it is set in stone that there is no place for supporting paid products on WordPress.org, which is covered in the next section.

The end goal

The goal is to ensure that paying customers and free users get the best support they can, from the ones that can give it.

As volunteers do not have access to the paid products, this means the authors of the code is the best place to ask, and as the problems with a paid problem is gated, it is better to avoid mixing it with the features of a free plugin or theme.

It’s also an unacceptable misuse of volunteers time to support a product someone else has been paid to support.

Points made so far

As initially mentioned, discussions were had in the teams weekly meeting, and a lot of good points were brought up by the attendees, they will be summarized here, to the best of the authors ability. If anything appears to be missing, please feel free to re-iterate in the comment section below.

  • Plugin or theme authors are best suited to determine if a problem is with their own paid or free solution
  • If the answer to a problem benefits the free users, it should be available on the forums
  • Move the burden away from the moderators, let authors discern if it’s free or paid, and if they knowingly support paid solutions they risk the consequences.
  • Users may say they use a pro plugin or theme, but this could be unrelated to the issue they are actually having

That handles the determination of what type of request it is, there were also some points on how to handle the scenarios.

  • If it’s guaranteed a paid solution problem, closing the thread and provide a reply to the user linking to the official site/support area of the plugin or theme (this is the current process)
  • If the root cause has not been identified we should step back and let the authors handle debugging until it is clear what the problem truly is
  • If the authors supporting the plugin or theme is not referring the user to their own support platform it should be closed and the author informed/warned
  • If the main issue is in the free product, support should be allowed on WordPress.org, even if the user has also paid for add-ons or similar

The support handbook pre-defined replies also has a section on support for paid solutions, which should be used when pointing users to the right place for support for paid solutions, and can be improved upon with the outcome from this discussion.


Note that none of the above are the final decisions on what the end process will look like, but are points that were made and thoughts on how to approach it, this is where further input is wanted, are there scenarios that may have been missed? Ways to handle the known scenarios that have not been considered? The floor is open in the comment section below.

Input will be taken on this topic until September 13th, 2020, 00:00 UTC

Update: Input period has ended, and comments are closed. A summary of the received feedback will follow in a separate post.

Agenda for August 27th Support Meeting

The weekly support meeting will be held on Thursday, August 27th, 2020, 17:00 UTC in #forums on SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform https://slack.com/. The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at https://make.wordpress.org/chat/.. (a Slack account is required)

A note-taker for the meeting is requested, taking notes is a great way to get more involved with contributing to a team, and getting to know how they operate, so don’t be shy, no prior experiences needed, and volunteering happens at the start of the meeting!

Topics up for discussion

There’s recently been talk of how to distinguish between what kind of support is allowed on the WordPress.orgWordPress.org The community site where WordPress code is created and shared by the users. This is where you can download the source code for WordPress core, plugins and themes as well as the central location for community conversations and organization. https://wordpress.org/ forums, and what is not, depending on if the user holds a paid product from the vendor or not.

The most common item we return to is if the problem persists in the free version of a product, even if the user has paid for a premium upgrade of some variety, should they be allowed to seek support on the pluginPlugin A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. These can be free in the WordPress.org Plugin Directory https://wordpress.org/plugins/ or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party or themes forums here at WordPress.org, or would they be sent off to a 3rd party vendor site regardless?

This is the first step in solidifying our guidelines in relation to pro support for plugins and themes, it will be followed up by a post here on make/support to gather input from those not able to attend our meetings, and we will look at improving this process based on that input when we get there.

WordPress 5.5 status

As this is the first meeting after a major releaseMajor Release A set of releases or versions having the same major version number may be collectively referred to as “X.Y” -- for example version 5.2.x to refer to versions 5.2, 5.2.1, and all other versions in the 5.2. (five dot two dot) branch of that software. Major Releases often are the introduction of new major features and functionality., we will be focusing on picking up recurring issues and items we should discuss relating to the latest version of WordPress.

Checking in with international liaisons

This is the section where we reach out to the non-English speaking parts of our community, to see how they are doing, if there’s anything we can help each other with, or just interesting things going on that it would be nice to share with others.

There’s no requirements for previous participation or “fame” to share here, anyone is welcome, and we encourage newcomers to participate!

Open floor

This part of the meeting only happens if there is time, the team aims to cover the pre-planned topics first in any given meeting.

When open floor starts, any topic posted either as a comment to this agenda post will be looked at, or as many as there is time for. If there is still time left after this, then meeting attendees may step forward with questions, comments, remarks, anything relating to the support team that they’d like to handle.

It is also important to note that not everyone is comfortable posting things publicly, there is complete understanding of this, and users are welcome to contact the team representative (@clorith) via direct messages on Slack with whatever they wish the team to look at together.

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

Updates to the Also Viewing tool

Sure has been a while, no?

The tool we use frequently on the support side of things has been trotting along nicely for some time, but it felt like it was time to give it a little bit of attention (with some more attention planned for the future!)

This sees the release of version 0.9.0 of the UserScript, with the following changes.

AccessibilityAccessibility Accessibility (commonly shortened to a11y) refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both “direct access” (i.e. unassisted) and “indirect access” meaning compatibility with a person’s assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers). (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accessibility)
This is something that should have been implemented much sooner. The script now makes use of the `wp.a11y.speak` tools in WordPress, and will announce when users start/stop viewing the same page as you.

I don’t personally know how many of the users have assistive technologyAssistive technology Assistive technology is an umbrella term that includes assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices for people with disabilities and also includes the process used in selecting, locating, and using them. Assistive technology promotes greater independence by enabling people to perform tasks that they were formerly unable to accomplish, or had great difficulty accomplishing, by providing enhancements to, or changing methods of interacting with, the technology needed to accomplish such tasks. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assistive_technology, but no matter the number, it’s good to set a standard for inclusivity here.

Privacy
Always the hot topic, maybe you just don’t feel comfortable having it be known that you looked at that one topic. There may be many reasons for this, we’ll not dig into the why, that’s your business, not ours.

This release accommodate this, a new options section has been added, when viewing a topic, you’ll see it in the sidebarSidebar A sidebar in WordPress is referred to a widget-ready area used by WordPress themes to display information that is not a part of the main content. It is not always a vertical column on the side. It can be a horizontal rectangle below or above the content area, footer, header, or any where in the theme. near the top, where you can change your privacy options (you will need to refresh the page after saving these settings).

If you choose to be anonymous, instead of your name, you will show up as `{anonymous_###}`, where the last three signs is generated on page load, so it is non-unique to you as a person. That way it’s possible to know how many, but not who, are watching a topic at that moment.

Once you reload the page, your tag will change, this way it’s not possible to identify one anonymous user from another.

Better username identification
Some users have made it easier to identify them, but including their name, and username, in the displayname.

The Also-Viewing script appended a users username in parenthesis for easy recognition up until now. This made for some funky and, sometimes, long names listed in the viewing bar.

Pet-peeve of yours truly, the new version will check if your username is included, if it is, it will no longer be appended. Hooray!

Someone else has been typing
The previous release introduced the concept of typing to the mix, by adding a note to the username that they are currently typing on this topic.

That’s great, but after they’ve posted a reply, this goes away, or maybe you weren’t watching while they were typing?

Now, if a user is typing, that’s remembered, and if you try to post a reply after this, you’ll get a warning that other users may have typed replies, and the option to load in any new replies, or just post your reply any way.

Future updates
Currently looking into adding internationalization to the tools, this isn’t super straight forward, as userscripts don’t include multiple files, and it would be beneficial to not have to do a brand new release every time someone does a translation, but it’s planned, and will eventually be pushed in.

Anything else?
Do you feel like there’s something missing, either from the Also Viewing tool, or the other tools the support team maintains? Or maybe there’s a tool you feel should exist in the first place?

Feel free to like, comment and subscribe (or at least comment) below!

Agenda for August 13th Support Meeting

The weekly support meeting will be held on Thursday, August 13th, 2020, 17:00 UTC in #forums on SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform https://slack.com/. The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at https://make.wordpress.org/chat/.. (a Slack account is required)

A note-taker for the meeting is requested, taking notes is a great way to get more involved with contributing to a team, and getting to know how they operate, so don’t be shy, no prior experiences needed, and volunteering happens at the start of the meeting!

WordPress 5.5 status

As this is the first meeting after a major releaseMajor Release A set of releases or versions having the same major version number may be collectively referred to as “X.Y” -- for example version 5.2.x to refer to versions 5.2, 5.2.1, and all other versions in the 5.2. (five dot two dot) branch of that software. Major Releases often are the introduction of new major features and functionality., we will be focusing on picking up recurring issues and items we should discuss relating to the latest version of WordPress.

Checking in with international liaisons

This is the section where we reach out to the non-English speaking parts of our community, to see how they are doing, if there’s anything we can help each other with, or just interesting things going on that it would be nice to share with others.

There’s no requirements for previous participation or “fame” to share here, anyone is welcome, and we encourage newcomers to participate!

Open floor

This part of the meeting only happens if there is time, the team aims to cover the pre-planned topics first in any given meeting.

When open floor starts, any topic posted either as a comment to this agenda post will be looked at, or as many as there is time for. If there is still time left after this, then meeting attendees may step forward with questions, comments, remarks, anything relating to the support team that they’d like to handle.

It is also important to note that not everyone is comfortable posting things publicly, there is complete understanding of this, and users are welcome to contact the team representative (@clorith) via direct messages on Slack with whatever they wish the team to look at together.

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

Agenda for July 30th Support Meeting

The weekly support meeting will be held on Thursday, July 30th, 2020, 17:00 UTC in #forums on SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform https://slack.com/. The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at https://make.wordpress.org/chat/.. (a Slack account is required)

A note-taker for the meeting is requested, taking notes is a great way to get more involved with contributing to a team, and getting to know how they operate, so don’t be shy, no prior experiences needed, and volunteering happens at the start of the meeting!

General announcements

General information from the WordPress community in general is shared during this segment.

Checking in with international liaisons

This is the section where we reach out to the non-English speaking parts of our community, to see how they are doing, if there’s anything we can help each other with, or just interesting things going on that it would be nice to share with others.

There’s no requirements for previous participation or “fame” to share here, anyone is welcome, and we encourage newcomers to participate!

Open floor

This part of the meeting only happens if there is time, the team aims to cover the pre-planned topics first in any given meeting.

When open floor starts, any topic posted either as a comment to this agenda post will be looked at, or as many as there is time for. If there is still time left after this, then meeting attendees may step forward with questions, comments, remarks, anything relating to the support team that they’d like to handle.

It is also important to note that not everyone is comfortable posting things publicly, there is complete understanding of this, and users are welcome to contact the team representative (@clorith) via direct messages on Slack with whatever they wish the team to look at together.

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