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  • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 10:32 pm on January 26, 2015 Permalink |  

    A reminder for those who haven’t seen it.

    Please take a few minutes to fill in the Community Hub Poll as the poll closes Thursday at 00:00UTC.

    For more information on the Community Hub, please check out this post.

  • James Huff (MacManX) 9:03 pm on January 22, 2015 Permalink |

    Support Team Summary for January 22nd 

    This week focussed on tools, specifically what we have and what we want.

    What we Have

    We already have a lot of tools, so we took the liberty of adding all of them to the now ever-evolving Helpful Tools handbook page.

    What we Want

    We would all love to have what’s described under Meta Ticket #716.

    We would all love to have a way to move threads from the general forum into their perspective plugin or theme forum, though this does not appear to be possible under the current forum architecture.

    We would all love to have a tag blacklist, so people will stop tagging threads as “WordPress” and “HELP” and such.

    Read the transcript of today’s meetup.

  • Jan Dembowski 1:50 pm on January 21, 2015 Permalink |  

    Agenda for Thursday January 22nd meetup 

    This week’s agenda will be office hours. All I have at this time is to discuss tools that moderators may use such as those via @keesiemeijer and @octalmage.

    Please comment on any items you would like to be discussed.

  • Jan Dembowski 8:29 pm on January 15, 2015 Permalink |

    Support Team summary for January 15th 

    For today’s meetup the support team welcomed @karmatosed from the Theme team and @joedolson from the Accessibility team and the agenda was “How can support assist those two teams?”

    This resulted in the following points being discussed.

    • There are always themes that need reviewing and any help offered there will be greatly appreciated.
    • Cross team training for support to learn more about themes would be good.
    • Tammie introduced us to the idea of learnups.
    • What constitutes an accessibility support topic?
    • Tagging topics correctly to make it easier to find or monitor via email or RSS.


    Everyone got excited at this idea and one example was summed up like so:

    “Pick your favorite theme and answer 4 questions. At least one is outside your ‘normal wheelhouse’.”
    So like if you’re the bee’s knees for css, try editing functions.

    Theme team learnups have happened on Google Hangouts to be recorded and on Slack. A Support Challenge learnup can be scheduled or even an afternoon sprint to reply to support topics.

    This is a great idea and will be explored further. Think of it as an online mini contributor day for support.

    What make a topic about accessibility?

    Joe had some questions about how does the support team work, are there any requirements or training involved etc. Most of the support team started by getting involved in the forums or IRC. Except for having some PHP and CSS experience and remaining calm there really is not much to do to get started in support.

    A legitimate accessibility topic is anything that impacts people using assistive technology or with a disability that doesn’t impact people in other environments.

    Using good tags on topics

    For accessibility support a real problem is finding topics. This lead to a conversation on how to tag topics and Mika wrote up a good post on that subject. Joe’s forum account was upgraded to moderator to permit him to use some of the search in the backend as well as remove tags from topics that are incorrectly tagged “a11y”.

    This meetup ran a little on the long side (over 1 hour) but it was good and inviting people from other teams was really useful. It resulted in some good conversations and there will be more of these meetings as well as possibly scheduling a learnup session.

    Read the transcript of today’s meetup.

    • Joe Dolson 8:44 pm on January 15, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Since this post discusses accessibility, I’m going to comment on an accessibility issue in the text. Link text that reads “this link” is a good example of something to avoid for accessibility reasons, because it doesn’t provide any context. If, instead, the sentence linked “read a transcript of today’s meetup” (and was written to not require “this link”), that would be a better experience for screen readers. The reason is for scanning – screen readers scan links on a page by jumping through them, but don’t get the surrounding context when they do it, so text like “this link” doesn’t provide any useful context.


      • Jan Dembowski 9:28 pm on January 15, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        That’s an excellent point and I totally missed that! And I’m going to update the link text. ;)

        Edit: Let me know if I’ve still messed up the context.

    • Jackie McBride 8:56 pm on January 15, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Well, sigh–I think it’s ironic at best that an accessibility discussion occurred today on a very notably inaccessible platform, i.e., Slack. Locks up every screenreader I own tighter than a frog’s tail, which, of course, is watertight. It’s so bad, actually, that I have to restart my machine after trying to use it. Very effectively bars participation by blind users, which, IMO, is very disappointing, to say the least, & particularly so when discussing accessibility, where our input should be requested & indeed encouraged. I think I’ll stop here so I don’t say more & get myself in trouble.

      • Jan Dembowski 9:35 pm on January 15, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        It is ironic especially as accessibility is very important. It doesn’t help here but there is also browser problems with Slack too. Though I’ve had good experience with the Mac client and Chrome on Windows.

        I’ll ping the SlackHQ twitter account later on and ask them if they can address the issue with screenreaders.

      • Marius (Clorith) 9:40 am on January 16, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Out of curiosity, how does screen readers behave with IRC clients?

        Since everything used to be on IRC before, was that a better option in your situation, and if so have you tried using the IRC gateway option Slack offers so you can use an IRC client instead for joining in? (I agree it’s bad that we alienate users with the platforms we use so trying to find an acceptable middle road as such a modification to the Slack platform might take some time if they look into it)

  • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 7:39 pm on January 15, 2015 Permalink |

    How to Properly Use Tags 

    This came up in this week’s slack chat. Using tags can be a fine art, and we may end up doing a tag-scrub some day soon, to get more people into helping triage posts in the forums.

    Tags usually aren’t used properly, and it’s OKAY that the masses don’t. This is actually a great job for someone who wants to get involved in support. By reading a post and determining it needs specific attention, you can improve the chances of someone getting help promptly.

    When you see a post, look at what the poster is asking and try to use a tag that makes logical sense for the issue. To help you get started, we have some standard tags that we use and encourage their appropriate use.

    Team Tags

    The following tags are used by the various make/teams on WordPress.org to track posts that need their attention.

    • Accessibility – a11y
    • Questions about the theme review process – thememod
    • Questions about the plugin review process – pluginmod
    • Moderator please come fix this – modlook
    • Not Safe For Work – nsfw
    • WordPress.com theme not in the .org repo – wpcom-theme

    Proper Use of Modlook

    Don’t use it if you are a moderator. This should go without saying.

    Be very careful with ‘modlook’ – Abuse of that tag will get your posting rights revoked. It should be used to flag moderator attention for things like duplicate posts, spam, abuse, harassment, etc. It is not to be used for getting help faster. That just gets you negative attention.

    When you use ‘modlook’ try to use it in conjunction with another tag. For example, if the issue is a spammer, use ‘modlook’ and ‘spam’ tags. If the issue is the post has personal information (like passwords) use ‘modlook’ and ‘private info’ – Basically try to make sure if a moderator is reading the post, they’ll see why the post needs attention. This is especially important when we’re talking about duplicate posts :) If you’re tagging spam and think it may not be obvious who is the spammer (things like ‘buy viagra!’ are pretty obvious), put the username of the spammer as another tag. Just in case. The mods will delete the tags once it’s handled.

    It’s also a great idea to actually reply to the legit posts. Telling someone “I’m alerting the moderators to this post. Never post your passwords in public!” is totally awesome!

    Keep in mind, we do not remove URLs from posts unless there’s a good reason. And by good reason we mean abuse, harassment, or legal reasons. Asking a URL be removed, or a post deleted, because someone is upset that Google picked up their URL in it’s search is not a good reason. If you don’t want something to be searched by google, don’t post it in a public forum.

    Plugin/Theme Tags

    This one is simple. Tag a post to match the slug of the plugin or theme that’s having the problem.

    For example. If someone is having a problem with Akismet, tag the post akismet. If it’s Hello Dolly, tag it hello-dolly.

    Pay careful attention to that plugin slug! Complicated plugins like https://wordpress.org/plugins/joes-awesome-twitter-widget may have the name “Joe’s Totally Wicked Cool Twitter Widget Plugin!” on the plugin page, but that slug of joes-awesome-twitter-widget is what you want to use for the tag.

    If the theme is one downloaded from WordPress.com, use the tag wpcom-theme

    Company Tags

    If someone specifically mentions a hosting company, make sure that company is tagged. Many hosts keep people on payroll in order to monitor posts tagged for them. The same goes for things like theme and plugin shops. It’s helpful to them to have, for example, GoDaddy or StudioPress tagged.

    When in doubt …

    Don’t tag :) Come on over to the #forums room in Slack and ask us for help. Someone’s almost always around.

  • Siobhan 12:20 pm on January 14, 2015 Permalink |
    Tags: helphub   

    Kicking off helphub 

    At WordCamp San Francisco, we discussed the idea of helphub, a new place for providing support documentation to WordPress users. This would complement the support forums and be a place where people could help themselves. The full project specification is here.

    To make helphub happen, we need people! There are a number of different aspects of the project that we need people for:

    1. A project lead (or leads) – this person will take the reins on the project. This means running weekly meetings, reporting back to the team, managing the project, keeping on top of who’s doing on what and where they are, finding contributors, and generally making it happen. You’ll have support and guidance from myself and @samuelsidler so you won’t be completely on your own, but you should have some project management skills and boundless energy and enthusiasm.

    2. Content planner – someone to come up with a list of the content that we need. This will involve carrying out research into the types of things that people need help with, and coming up with a complete list of articles for v1. You’ll also need to create a template that writers can use for create articles.

    3. Writers – the people who write the content. Once we have a list of articles it should be just a matter of cracking through that list. It’ll be a nice task for contributor days too.

    4. A designer – someone to design the site, working closely with the meta team to turn wordpress.org/support into the go-to place for support

    5. Developers – to build out the site (again working with the meta team).

    This is going to be a cross-team project, involving the support, docs, and meta teams.

    If you’re interested in being involved, please leave a comment here and we’ll set a date for the first meeting.

  • Jan Dembowski 11:33 am on January 13, 2015 Permalink |  

    Agenda for Thursday January 15th meetup 

    Last week at the support meetup we had @siobhan join us and talk about HelpHub (which I’ve totally camel cased just now). With that in mind here’s my item for this week.

    Please reply in the comments below for any items you would like to see in the agenda.

  • Jan Dembowski 7:05 pm on January 8, 2015 Permalink |  

    Support Team Update for January 8th 

    Today was the first meetup of the new year and it was a little different as we had a visitor from Docs today Siobhan McKeown. Visitors are cool.

    Thoughts regarding helphub

    Paraphrasing a little from the transcript: Helphub is the plan for a new support hub on wordpress.org that will live alongside the support forums. The current progress is that @siobhan and @samuelsidler are putting together an information architecture and content strategy for Docs. Which docs go where? Some are easy to figure out but some are blurry and don’t necessarily fit into neat User or Developer categories.

    If you think about a knowledge base then you’ll begin to understand the goal for helphub.

    To get our input Siobhan provided some questions and links asking if we consider each for users or developers. Some links were easy, others where fun such as the Javascript browser console codex article. That article was written for users but it’s more than an everyday end user should hopefully need to see or deal with.

    It was a fun game show type conversation and at the end these terms were discussed:

    A WordPress user is anyone who uses WordPress, from creating basic posts and pages, to setting it up on their server.

    A WordPress developer is someone who extends WordPress – either by changing what it does or by building something on top of it.

    Defining a user versus a developer is important for creating something like helpbub. Siobhan will post on make/docs about this and that link will be shared in make/support.

    The WordPress 4.1 release was really quiet in support

    Except for some multisite /files/ weirdness that was not reproducible (and suspected to possibly be a plugin problem), the 4.1 release was smooth. It’s been really underwhelming the amount of 4.1 forum support topics.

    That’s great and really goes with the whole idea of upgrades should be transparent and low impact.

    The transcript of today’s support meetup can be found at this link. You need a Slack account to view that, please sign up if you have not done so already.

  • Jan Dembowski 10:53 am on January 6, 2015 Permalink |  

    Agenda for Thursday January 8th meetup 

    This will be our first scheduled support meetup for 2015. Please post any agenda suggestions in the comments below.


    • Siobhan 3:18 pm on January 6, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I would like to come along to discuss helphub. I’m working on a schematic information architecture for documentation and I want to talk about:

      • do we need both “support docs” in a knowledge base and educational docs?
      • should the support docs also include some basic developer stuff?

      I’m also interested in discussing where the line is between user and developer. For example:

      • Does information on tweaking your CSS belong in the support hub? Is that for users or developers?
      • Is server setup something we need to think about for users?
      • Should helphub provide basic developer information as well?

      Because we have such a broad spectrum of users it’s difficult to know exactly draw the line (though it needs to be drawn somewhere and I’d like your input on it).

      I’ve got another meeting at 17:30 though, so can we discuss it early in the meeting?

      Thanks :)

    • Jan Dembowski 6:36 pm on January 6, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      *Adds to agenda items about helphub*

      I’ll start with your items on the hour first. ;)

  • Jan Dembowski 10:59 am on December 19, 2014 Permalink |  

    The support team meetups for December 25th and January 1st are cancelled 

    Due to the holidays the next two support team meetups for December 25th and January 1st are cancelled. The regular meetup will resume Thursday January 8th at the usual 17:00 UTC time.

    The #forum Slack channel is always available and any issues can be discussed there, meetup or no meetup. Please report any 4.1 related issues there and update the OMGWTFBBQ post as needed. If needed; it looks like it’s been a smooth release* in the support forums.

    Everyone have a great time and enjoy the holidays. Thanks for all that the support team has done this entire year and let’s all look forward to the next.

    *No, I don’t think I jinxed anything by writing that. 4.1 is really solid. :D

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