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  • 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.

    Overall

    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.

     
  • James Huff 5:47 pm on August 4, 2016 Permalink |
    Tags:   

    August 4th Support Team Meeting Summary 

    Attendance

    @macmanx @kidsguide @fierevere @pixolin @otto42 @clorith @hardeepasrani @jmdodd @bcworkz @cristianozanca @zodiac1978 @ipstenu @vitormadeira @dartiss @stephencottontail @jcastaneda @numeeja @zoonini @girlieworks @songdogtech @kmessinger @tnash @bethannon1 @lukecavanagh @kenshino @parcodeisuoni @voldemortensen @jdembowski @abletec @wizzard_ @sergeybiryukov @stevesterndatacom @geoffreyshilling @pmfonseca @valeriosza attended.

    Announcements

    WordPress 4.6 RC 1

    WordPress 4.6 RC 1 is here. This is the first 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.

    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).

    A few “Not a Bug” items were added since last week: Texts from my theme/plugins have changed, The category and tags screens look strange, and I can’t link to malformed URLs.

    Formal Rules Against Site Feedback Requests

    Due to increased spam-like abuse, we have established a formal rule against threads posted simply to request feedback on a particular site.

    A Pre-defined Reply has been added for this under “Site Feedback Request”.

    HelpHub Update

    HelpHub will be positioning itself as the front of WordPress support, existing right at /support with articles at /support/articles and forums at /support/forums.

    Basically, users will search for their problem/question in HelpHub first, see a list of relevant articles and/or support threads, and have the option to open their own thread if none of the results help.

    As it stands now, HelpHub plans to have: really good search that autocompletes, article recommendations based on personas, contributor credits on articles, proper upvoting/feedback to improve the articles, and much more.

    You can follow the development of HelpHub at Make/Docs.

    Eventually, HelpHub will be officially retitled to SupportHub as a way to better integrate the focus of the two teams.

    Checkin with International Support Liaisons

    • The Portuguese, Russian, and German support communities are loving their new forums and reporting glitches as encountered.
    • The Brazilian support community is holding weekly meetings on their own Slack instance, have begun to use the modlook tag, have received their first Support Team and Support Contributor badges, and are looking forward to their move to the upgraded forums.
    • The Italian support community is doing well and have received more Support Contributor badges.

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

     
  • James Huff 7:24 am on August 3, 2016 Permalink |  

    Agenda for August 4th Support Meeting 

    • General Announcements
    • Are you testing WordPress 4.6 RC 1?
    • Feedback on the 4.6 OMGWTFBBQ Draft Post.
    • Establish Formal Rule and Predef for Feedback Threads
    • HelpHub Update
    • 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 4, 2016, 16:00 UTC in #forums on Slack. (a Slack account is required)

     
  • James Huff 6:09 pm on July 28, 2016 Permalink |
    Tags:   

    July 28th Support Team Meeting Summary 

    Attendance

    @macmanx @clorith @jmdodd @bcworkz @themeislesupport @keesiemeijer @lasacco @d4z_c0nf @francescodicandia @gmosso @cristianozanca @vitormadeira @jcastaneda @ipstenu @bethannon1 @jdembowski @hardeepasrani @numeeja @stephencottontail @fierevere @tnash @girlieworks @abletec @lukecavanagh @songdogtech @justingreerbbi @kenshino @afercia @sergeybiryukov @imazed @stevesterndatacom @voldemortensen attended.

    Announcements

    • Along with the move to bbPress 2, a forum redesign is on the horizon. The first research steps have been taken and feedback is requested at the linked post.
    • The 4.6 Field Guide is up. Please review this, as it’s a great high-level overview of what’s changing.

    WordPress 4.5.3

    We have not identified any new negative trends introduced by 4.5.3.

    WordPress 4.6 RC 1

    WordPress 4.6 RC 1 is here. This is the first 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.

    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).

    Rosetta Forum Migration

    The Rosetta Forum migration is underway. Portugal was yesterday, Central Asia and Europe are happening today. English will be last, as many plugins are needed.

    Of note, there is a URL change in this process. Rosetta Forums are moving from [language].forums.wordpress.org to [language].wordpress.org/support/ and redirects will be established.

    Additionally, only the last week or so of moderated posts will be coming with, mostly because that’s the default action for spam and there is a lot of it. Subscriptions are coming with; user roles for moderators are also getting ported. Favorites are not, they can be backfilled pretty easily, but there is no place to actually view them on a current user profile.

    New Spam Trend

    Be on the lookout for clever SEO-like spam. Spammers have been posting threads that seem legitimate, usually whole paragraphs or two that always contain a passage like “I ran my site through [the best free security scanner on the internet]” or “I’m trying to find a way to add a mobile theme to my [best used cars in Cleveland] site.” (where the bracketed text is linked to the site)

    The requests truly look legitimate, and most of the time there’s either no reply after you leave yours, or the thread continues with what really do seem like legitimate replies filled with further SEO-like spam.

    Please use your best judgement on these, reply if you want to, and tag them “modlook” (without the quotes, of course) when you see them. For Mods and Admins, likewise reply if you want to, but also use your best judgement to either strip the links or nuke the whole thread.

    Marking Threads as Resolved

    We should only mark a thread as resolved when there’s proof that the usefulness of the thread’s openness has ended: when it has been solved, when a Trac ticket has been opened, when the OP has re-posted elsewhere, or when you as the developer of your own plugin/theme have decided that you cannot help the user any further.

    In general, lack of reply is not a reason to mark a thread as resolved (threads can be re-visited any time until they are automatically closed after a year), with the one exception of the Alpha/Beta forum. In the Alpha/Beta forum, unresolved threads are monitored by developers, so resolved status there should be more a question of “Is the existence of this thread useful to the developers?” If not (if the OP has stopped replying and/or a Trac ticket has been opened), it’s resolved.

    “Test 4.6” Emails from the Plugins Team

    Yesterday the Plugins Team sent out the ‘Please test for 4.6’ email to all plugin developers. Of them, about 80 had auto-replies (down from over 200 a couple cycles ago). 22 of the 80 have been closed for not removing auto-replies. 4 had developers removed for bounced emails or ones that said ‘this person doesn’t work here anymore.’

    Therefore, if someone is surprised their plugin is closed, ask them to please check the email associated with the plugin committers. If they are sending auto-reply emails, and they’ve been warned before, they were probably closed. They can email plugins (at) wordpress (dot) org and the Plugins Team will help them out.

    Is there a need for more pre-defined replies?

    A question was raised about the need for more pre-defined replies. In general, we try to keep the list short. The spirit of the list is, “You’ll be answering this several times per day, so instead of typing an answer each time, just copy/paste this.”

    We added a new pre-defined reply today under “WordPress.com Blog” for when folks ask for help with their WordPress.com blog.

    A pre-defined reply for “Please don’t use these forums to ask for general feedback on your site.” was requested, but we’ll table that for next week when we finally discuss and vote on a formal rule against that type of thread.

    Checkin with International Support Liaisons

    • The Italian support community has made a strong effort to be more present in the weekly Support Team meetings.
    • The Dutch and Russian support communities are doing well.

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

     
  • James Huff 7:07 am on July 27, 2016 Permalink |  

    Agenda for July 28th Support Meeting 

    • General Announcements
    • How’s WordPress 4.5.3 looking so far?
    • Are you testing WordPress 4.6 RC 1?
    • Feedback on the 4.6 OMGWTFBBQ Draft Post.
    • Discussion on New Spam Tactics
    • When to mark a thread as resolved.
    • 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, July 28, 2016, 16:00 UTC in #forums on Slack. (a Slack account is required)

     
  • James Huff 6:18 pm on July 21, 2016 Permalink |
    Tags:   

    July 21st Support Team Meeting Summary 

    Attendance

    @macmanx @clorith @hardeepasrani @bcworkz @lasacco @fierevere @jmdodd @cristianozanca @sergeybiryukov @wido @ipstenu @pross @vitormadeira @pmfonseca @bethannon1 @stevesterndatacom @dartiss @numeeja @kenshino @geoffreyshilling @jcastaneda @songdogtech @jdembowski @tnash @kidsguide @abletec @justingreerbbi @themeislesupport @dimitris33 @lukecavanagh @imazed @valeriosza @francescodicandia @voldemortensen @tabakisp attended.

    Announcements

    • If you have been testing WordPress with Vagrant and VirtualBox, had the misfortune of upgrading to VirtualBox 5.1 only to find that Vagrant 1.8.4 doesn’t support it, and didn’t want to compile Vagrant 1.8.5 from source, Vagrant 1.8.5 was officially released earlier this week.
    • Along with the move to bbPress 2, a forum redesign is on the horizon. The first research steps have been taken and feedback is requested at the linked post.

    WordPress 4.5.3

    We have not identified any new negative trends introduced by 4.5.3.

    WordPress 4.6 Beta 4

    WordPress 4.6 Beta 4 is here. This is the final beta, so please start testing it, as 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.

    4.6 OMGWTFBBQ Draft

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

    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).

    WCNYC Contributor Day

    The support portion of WordCamp NYC 2016’s contributor day was not well attended this year, and we’re going to see what we can do to improve that as we get closer to other contributor days.

    Domains in Profile Display Names

    Some forum members have been adding the domain of their site to their display name, which essentially turns forum listings into some sort of billboard for them, and isn’t necessary since display names can be linked to a site anyway.

    By unanimous vote, the Signature Guidelines have been updated to, “Using your WordPress.org profile for advertisement in posts unrelated to your themes and plugins is discouraged. This includes signature links and URLs in display names.”

    #forums Slack Channel Open to all Languages

    By vast majority vote, the #forums channel on Slack is open to all languages, not just English. If your language community has their own channel or Slack instance, we have no problem with that. We have simply made it official (no longer an assumption) that you are all welcome to use the #forums channel, even if you don’t speak English.

    Checkin with International Support Liaisons

    • The Italian support community’s handbook is now being published in stages, and their users can now select their WordPress version on forum threads.
    • The Dutch community is doing well.

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

     
  • James Huff 6:36 am on July 20, 2016 Permalink |  

    Agenda for July 21st Support Meeting 

    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, July 21, 2016, 16:00 UTC in #forums on Slack. (a Slack account is required)

     
    • Jon (Kenshino) 7:21 am on July 20, 2016 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Would be nice to hear what happened at WCNYC Contributor Day from @jdembowski

      I think we should also include a permanent ‘International Liaisons Update’ topic 🙂

      • James Huff 7:30 am on July 20, 2016 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Added, thanks!

      • Jan Dembowski 9:36 am on July 20, 2016 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        It was a little disappointing. No one on Friday volunteered for the Support Team at that Contributor Day. ;(

        Usually there’s a few people but there were some very good presentations and lots of people went to listen to those. Except for my sitting down with one person to discuss WordPress, her web site and what she was trying to accomplish, there wasn’t any support activity.

        • James Huff 6:54 pm on July 20, 2016 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Hm, I wonder if there’s anything we can do to help make the support portion of contributor days better attended.

  • James Huff 5:52 pm on July 14, 2016 Permalink |
    Tags:   

    July 14th Support Team Meeting Summary 

    Attendance

    @macmanx @jdembowski @abletec @kenshino @clorith @jmdodd @fierevere @otto42 @bcworkz @erricgunawan @kidsguide @vitormadeira @sergeybiryukov @dartiss @numeeja @justingreerbbi @hardeepasrani @cristianozanca @geoffreyshilling @themeislesupport @songdogtech @stevesterndatacom @lukecavanagh @valeriosza @pmfonseca @rafaelfunchal @gugaalves attended.

    Announcements

    We’re trying a new format by putting announcements first. In this case, “announcements” are any announcements that either don’t need discussion or where discussion happens elsewhere.

    • The next WordPress Community Summit has been moved to WordCamp EU 2017. WordCamp EU 2017 will be in Paris, France from June 16 to 18. The Community Summit dates have not been set yet, but they will be either before or after WCEU.
    • If you’re looking to help more often in the Accessibility forum, or contribute to WordPress accessibility, or even just learn more about a11y in general, @abletec has released her educational materials for free.
    • Along with the move to bbPress 2, a forum redesign is on the horizon. The first research steps have been taken and feedback is requested at the linked post.
    • The Plugin Directory v3 is now in public beta! For more details, and to leave feedback, please see the linked post.
    • If you have been experiencing Slack crashes lately, it’s probably due to memory consumption from the size of WordPress Slack along with any other Slacks you may be logged into it. If you’re a Mac user, you’re in luck. @boogah has released Making WordPress which is basically a dedicated app for just WordPress Slack. Resource usage should be much lower, and if it still crashes, it won’t take your other Slacks with it.

    WordPress 4.5.3

    We have not identified any new negative trends introduced by 4.5.3.

    WordPress 4.6 Beta 3

    WordPress 4.6 Beta 3 is here. Please start testing it, as 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.

    4.6 OMGWTFBBQ Draft

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

    Shiny Updates was suggested as a candidate for the Not a Bug section, but was left out for now as it’s a much more intentional and obvious improvement/change than Font Natively.

    WCNYC Contributor Day

    @jdembowski will be supervising the support contributors at WordCamp NYC 2016’s contributor day and asked for suggestions/requests for the support contributors there, beyond the traditional “answer in no-replies” suggestions.

    Suggestions were given to offer feedback on the Support Handbook while using it to do support, to help out with triaging bugs in the Alpha/Beta forums, and to contribute feedback to the redesign research.

    Not-English Support Communities in the Meeting

    Everyone is welcome to attend and participate in the weekly Support Team Meeting, that especially includes members of the not-English support communities. Given how attendance usually works out, it may appear that we focus exclusively on English support, but if you have something that needs to be addressed in your support community, please do bring it to the meeting.

    Responsible Moderation

    Please remember that we do have the power to delete individual replies, not just entire threads. If anything in a thread is salvageable or otherwise of value to the community in general, please strongly consider only removing the offending replies, rather than the entire thread.

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

     
    • kadyoconnell1990 7:41 am on August 11, 2016 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Hi James,

      I am sorry I am posting my issue as in comment but I am not getting proper support elsewhere.

      I have developed a wordpress site however since the tine site is live I am facing issues with Site Speed.

      Everytime I open this site is slowing my computer, I am assuming its due to slider. The moment I go to any inner page its fine. I am using Layer Slider. Images on banner are average sized 350kb.

      I dont know what can be the issue
      1. Image on Sliders
      2. Slider Plugin
      3. Server Speed

      I have also checked the site in GTMetrix Speed check and its showing 90%.

      Can someone please help me how to fix this.

      best regards
      Kady

  • James Huff 8:35 pm on July 12, 2016 Permalink |  

    Agenda for July 14th Support Meeting 

    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, July 14, 2016, 16:00 UTC in #forums on Slack. (a Slack account is required)

     
  • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 2:58 pm on July 12, 2016 Permalink |  

    FYI. There’s some talk going on about Forum Design in Meta:

    https://make.wordpress.org/meta/2016/07/11/forum-design-research/

    Drop some comments on that post if you have ideas 🙂

     
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