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  • Jan Dembowski 10:29 pm on May 19, 2015 Permalink |  

    Agenda for Thursday May 21st meetup 

    Item: Per Jon’s post, give thought to the WordPress forums plugin audit. Seeing the forum upgraded could add some much desired functionality and if you can help/look please do.

    Item: Support Learnup ideas – Still a thing. 😉 It may be that learnups are best suited for an in-person meetup or WordCamp contributor day. But ideas for learnups should be discussed. *cough* looks in direction of @bethannon1 for help here *COUGH!*

    If there is anything you would like to discuss this Thursday please post in the comments or at the meetup.

  • Jon (Kenshino) 8:28 am on May 18, 2015 Permalink |
    Tags: , , upgrade   

    Have you guys read about the W.org Forum plugins audit? – https://make.wordpress.org/meta/2015/05/15/wp-org-forums-plugins-audit/

    Seems pretty important to us – I know @clorith has offered his help in some areas.

    Let’s help the meta team make this happen – for omg mod notes in bbpress 2.0

    Comment in the thread please!

  • James Huff (MacManX) 5:44 pm on May 14, 2015 Permalink |

    Support Team meetup summary for May 14th 

    Discussed at today’s meetup were these items:

    Mission Statement and Expectations

    Consensus was reached on a phrase we’d like to represent our mission statement and the expectations of support here.

    The forums are 100% manned by volunteers, including moderators and administrators. No one is paid solely to provide free support. Every single person on the forums, moderator, plugin/theme developer, or otherwise, is giving up their own time to do this because they care about users and their experience. Please be respectful of their time and they will be respectful of yours.

    We invite you to ask any WordPress-related questions, and please note that some questions take longer to answer, or require more specialized experience, than others. If you are interested in helping us offer support, please review our handbook and start by answering a few questions.

    We intend to put this . . . somewhere. It should be visible to those who are looking for it, and used as a predef on threads where expectations of support get out of hand.

    As we haven’t actually decided on where we’re putting it yet, so please feel free to continue to discuss this either in the comments below or in #forums on Slack.

    Learnup Ideas

    As mentioned above, some support requests “require more specialized experience.” It would be great to spread that knowledge around with some learnups (via Slack or Google Hangouts), then spend the day attacking those questions in the forums.

    Perhaps there’s something you want to learn, or perhaps there’s a particular type of support request where you feel like you’re the only one answering it? If you have an idea for a support learnup, please post it in the comments below.

    View yesterday’s meetup transcript in the Slack archives. (A Slack account is required)

  • Jan Dembowski 5:41 pm on May 8, 2015 Permalink |
    Tags: weekly chat   

    Support Team meetup summary for May 7th 

    There was no posted agenda and yesterday’s session was brief. Discussed at yesterday’s meetup was these items:

    4.2.2 security and maintenance release

    See the official announcement on the WordPress Blog for details. This is a security release (see the Genericons item in the blog post) and all users are encouraged to upgrade.

    Please keep an eye out for upgrade topics where user’s upgrade has become stuck.

    The 4.2 master list Known Issues post was updated with some more verbiage regarding database upgrades and object caches.

    Ideas for Learnups?

    I like the idea where we have a scheduled online session (Slack or Hangouts) and go through a sub-forum and respond to topics. There’s some really good topics in the Hacks sub-forum. But that’s my idea and that may not work for others.

    If you have an idea for a support learnup please post it in the comments below. I don’t know if the availability will work (may of us are not in the same timezone) but perhaps something can be scheduled in small groups.

    View yesterday’s meetup transcript in the Slack archives. (A Slack account is required)

  • Jan Dembowski 1:51 am on May 1, 2015 Permalink |

    Support Team meetup summary for April 30th 

    Today’s topics covered 2 items.

    Dr. Moderator or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

    I couldn’t think of a good label for the first item and I like that one. This is going to be a long summary. 😉

    Here’s the gist of it: the support team is the first point of contact for most users when it comes to WordPress. Thousands of topics later and the outcome of that contact is a positive experience for the user seeking or providing support.

    Sometimes the outcome is a negative one. When that happens the tone changes from “Wow, hundreds of users helped, that’s cool!” to “Gee. The support forums and those people suck.” That’s unfortunate but it happens. Guess which one travels faster and farther? People are inclined to recall the negative, it lasts longer and has more legs. That has an impact to how WordPress is perceived as a whole.

    As volunteers providing support, it’s important to keep in mind that almost everyone who posts in the forums has good intentions. It’s easy to over moderate (I’ve done it) but we’ve got to assume that someone who came across poorly didn’t mean to.

    Here’s some support pointers that Andrea Rennick shared.

    1. Assume good intentions.
    2. Answer the actual question and then point out what to do next time. Help first, moderate second.
    3. Do it super nice and polite, try to explain. Some people take short brief sentences as more offensive.
    4. Use predefined snippets when applicable. Those are great for when you just can’t be chipper and feel the need to reply anyway. You may have to fake being nice in that case, that’s alright too.
    5. Say sorry a lot. Pretend you’re Canadian.

    The last one got a giggle from most of us.

    Small conversational niceties go a long way and help set a positive tone. Text, in the English language anyway, is a poor medium for conveying tone. But your words can smooth things over with someone who needs assistance. Just be careful with humor, it may not translate or be well received.

    There are very few genuinely unpleasant people in the forums. If you engage someone and it gets heavy handed then step back and look for a second opinion. The #forums Slack channel is a great place to seek that opinion or help. We’re a team and we all have each other’s back. You are not alone in providing support.

    The last thing to remember? Have fun providing support. Takes breaks and take care of yourself. I enjoy helping people and being part of the support team. But when I or anyone becomes grumpy then take a break or even a vacation. It’s worth it and you’ll come back refreshed.

    Reworking the predefined answers in the Support Handbook

    Tim Nash pointed out that the predefined replies may need updating and asked for some help reviewing them. Andrea and James offered to assist and those replies will be checked and updated as necessary. The last time they were worked on was in October 2014 at the Community Summit. They could do with some updating.

    View today’s meetup transcript in the Slack archives (A Slack account is required)

  • Jan Dembowski 2:24 pm on April 29, 2015 Permalink |  

    Agenda for the April 30th meetup 

    Items for discussion:

    • Dr. Moderator or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

    Yes, that’s very tongue firmly planted in cheek. I do want to talk about less moderating or at least avoiding over moderating if possible. Nothing too serious, I just want to touch on being more sensitive to forum members.

    Note: the WordPress support team is IMHO the most fun group to be part of. It should be fun but that can be maintained while also being sensitive to other forum member’s intentions and replies.

    If there are items you want considered then please comment below or bring them up at tomorrows meetup.

    • Jon (Kenshino) 5:50 pm on April 29, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Could we discuss about the possibility of me gaining weight as divine retribution for calling Clorith fat?!

    • Andrew 10:28 pm on April 29, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      > . I do want to talk about less moderating or at least avoiding over moderating if possible.
      Are you saying you want to avoid talking about moderating in these Meetups, or are you saying you want to talk about avoiding talking about moderating?

      • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 10:31 pm on April 29, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        He wants to talk about us being too heavy handed when we’re moderating the forums.

        • Andrew 11:47 pm on April 29, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          I don’t quite like these, these talks are based on specific examples of “over moderating” with the moderators in question anonymised (though we know who they are) – It’s very humiliating.

          • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 12:56 am on April 30, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            What would you suggest as an alternative then?

            Ignoring the issues, that we, as a group, can be too hard on users, doesn’t solve anything.

            • Andrew 6:30 am on April 30, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

              Discuss it privately, rather than invite people to poke at it.

            • Andrew 7:10 am on April 30, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

              It reminds me of an example in school when someone submits work that is not satisfactory, and the teacher holds it up in front of the classroom to study how NOT to do things.

              • Jan Dembowski 2:57 pm on April 30, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

                That’s a good example. And that’s not going to happen on the meetup.

                No one will be put on the spot. If there’s any examples of someone over moderating then that example will be me. I’ve done it before (oh man, have I) and I won’t put another volunteer in the spotlight that way. That would not be fair to do.

    • Jan Dembowski 10:15 am on April 30, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      It’s not that there’s a specific instance and I do not want to put anyone on the spot. Honest. 😃

      Everyday there’s thousands of posts and they’re handled really well. It’s the odd one offs that sometimes are over done. You don’t hear about the users who are handles well, but the one who had a bad experience get’s LOTS of attention.

      That’s not avoidable at all, I know. Some people are itching for a fight. But on the support team side of the fence we can adjust our replies and how we handle support.

      Which is all something I want to discuss later today. ☕️ But here on make/support is also a great place to discuss too.

      • Jon (Kenshino) 1:19 pm on April 30, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I think we’re all mature enough to handle it.

        We’re not school kids. :)

        • Andrew 1:30 pm on April 30, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          As long as the discussion doesn’t get hung up on a specific instance, that’s fine.

        • Andrew 1:31 pm on April 30, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          @Jon, you’d be surprised at how demotivating it can be hosting a wide discussion around your actions on the forums.

          • Jan Dembowski 2:42 pm on April 30, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Which is exactly what I want to avoid.

            Drinks more you-know-what-I-drink

            Support should be fun. Honest. When it gets to be a drag then that’s not good and morale suffers. We can still provide support, have a good time AND also be sensitive to one off cases. Those cases may need to be escalated to someone else and that’s fine.

    • BigActual 4:55 pm on April 30, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      What time is the meetup?

    • BigActual 9:32 pm on April 30, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Next week then. !*)

  • Jan Dembowski 6:41 pm on April 23, 2015 Permalink |  

    Support Team meetup summary for April 23rd 

    Items discussed at today’s meetup:

    WordPress 4.2 preparedness

    WordPress 4.2 Powell has been released! Please keep an eye out for any 4.2 issues and update the OMGWTFBBQ post as necessary.

    There was some discussion about the pending 4.1.3 patch. The core team’s priority is the 4.2 release with 4.1.3 slated for sometime after that. For 4.1.x users that will automatically install and some users may think they’ve gone to 4.2 when they haven’t. The 4.1.3 patch will address a DB UTF8 issue but a more comprehensive solution really is to upgrade to 4.2.

    Mission statement or more accurately mission sentence

    Sometimes a forum member will post something where a moderator will reflexively respond. I’ve done it and that automatic response or reaction usually works. That’s especially true when the forum poster is being brusk or even rude. But it’s not always a good thing and I thought some verbiage for the support volunteers may be helpful.

    We already have a Forum Welcome for people who are looking for assistance, what I was looking for was something to remind me and other moderators what and why we provide support.

    After talking about it and the difficult cases a little I think this summarizes what I had in mind.

    “WordPress Support Team, because you know that deep down you really do care about the users and their experience.”

    When someone asks for help with their WordPress installation, the support team isn’t just helping that person. You’re also helping all the people who visit that site. You are improving the experience for all of those WordPress users and that’s important. We all want people to come back and replying rudely doesn’t help that goal.

    Don’t reply angry. Escalate to the Slack #forum channel and ask another volunteer to try. Go for a walk, walking is good. Respond later after you’ve drafted a reply.

    Later on Andrea Rennick explained it better like so.

    Any time I do answer a forums thread, I try and answer with the same level of professionalism as I do when I get paid to do so. Doing otherwise reflects poorly on the WP community and on me as a person.

    That summarizes it perfectly and I’ve already spent more time on this topic than I intended to. 😉

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

    • mjjojo 1:03 pm on April 24, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Hi! Thanks for this summary!

      I hope to also be able to keep this mission in mind when supporting software users any time. Like “__(insert-my-support-team-name-here)__ Support Team, because you know …”

      Thanks to WP.org support team for putting this discussion and this Mission statement into words, for the WP.org community and beyond.

  • Jan Dembowski 1:24 am on April 22, 2015 Permalink |  

    Agenda for April 23rd meetup 

    Items on the plate for this Thursday’s support meetup:

    Any items you’d like to see added please comment below.

  • Jan Dembowski 12:50 am on April 17, 2015 Permalink |  

    Support meetup summary for April 16th 

    Items discussed at today’s meetup:

    WordPress 4.2 RC1 has dropped, please test

    The Alpha/Beta sub-forum has been quiet lately. That could be good as there are few problems or it could mean that users are not testing. Please test and abuse the release candidate. 😉

    Reporting sock puppet activity

    I feel like I started a popular pastime activity among some of the moderators. Sock puppets are just background noise and do not matter. If a moderator finds them then block the sock puppet and delete their fake reviews.

    If it’s a plugin author then send an email to the plugins team but make sure you are concise. The email can contain a subject such as “Sockpuppet – plugin name” and links to the accounts, plugin and sock puppet accounts. Be concise and include those details.

    It’s not that the plugin team won’t believe you but those details are proof and can come in handy. By providing that detail you will be saving the plugin team some work.

    Codex article on Version 4.2 needs love

    Mika started the the WordPress version 4.2 Codex article but it needs more filling out. Please visit that page, follow the details posted on make/core and if you can help expand it that would be appreciated.

    Badge recognition for IRC volunteers

    Jon (@kenshino) brought up that there are a group of volunteers in IRC who go above and beyond in the support of WordPress users. @Clorith shared some metrics on how much effort they contribute and it’s a lot. The idea that they’ve raised is for their WordPress.ORG profile page get updated with a support badge.

    It’s a great idea and after pinging Sam (@samuelsidler) Jon will collect the user IDs of those IRC support people and send them to Sam. At the moment those badges are manually inserted into those profiles.

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

  • Jan Dembowski 12:29 pm on April 16, 2015 Permalink |  

    Agenda for April 16th meetup 

    It’s late (last minute even) but the following items are on my list for today’s meetup:

    Any additional items can be added to the comments below or brought up in the meetup today.

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