20th June Support Team meeting

The support meeting will be held on Thursday, June 20 2024, 20:00 UTC (20:00 UTC, June 20) 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) or at https://make.wordpress.org/support/chat/.

In Matt’s post about WP’s 21st birthday, and also at the WCEU keynote, the Forums were called out specifically as an area to improve and focus on.

“Forums should be front and center in the community.”

This fits well with discussions we’ve been having over the past month or two regarding challenges and opportunities in the Support Forums/Team. In this week’s meeting I’d suggest we try and organise these thoughts into some proposed actions we can publish publicly to address the proposed focus on improvement.

This can probably be a pretty free-flowing discussion – but I’m keen for us to come up with a concrete list of actions. A few thoughts as starting points…

  • How can we address the issues we’ve discussed previously? dwindling volunteers, entitled users, how to make sure we unflag as much as we flag, continued improvement in handling sockpuppets.
  • What ways could we encourage more people to search for answers, and ask questions, in the forums?
  • What tooling improvements should we prioritise asking MetaMeta Meta is a term that refers to the inside workings of a group. For us, this is the team that works on internal WordPress sites like WordCamp Central and Make WordPress. for help with?

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!

Unable to make the meeting, or maybe meetings just aren’t your thing? We would still love to hear how things are going in other non-English speaking parts of our community. Please feel free to let us know via the comment section below, in your own time, if there is anything you’d like to share, any questions or concerns you have, or just to let us know you’re doing OK!

We will make a habit of putting this callout with every agenda post going forward, so that everyone has a chance to join in.

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

#forums

6th June Support Team meeting

The support meeting will be held on Thursday, June 6 2024, 20:00 UTC (20:00 UTC, June 6) 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) or at https://make.wordpress.org/support/chat/.

Just a little reminder that this is a new time. We’d love to see you there – but if the timing means you are unable to attend – feel free to leave any thoughts or discussion in in the comments of this post.

Support Team challenges

Let’s spend a little time sharing and discussing the challenges we see in the forums, and in the tasks performed by the Support Team.

Support ForumSupport Forum WordPress Support Forums is a place to go for help and conversations around using WordPress. Also the place to go to report issues that are caused by errors with the WordPress code and implementations. opportunities

Let’s also have a little think about opportunities we see to make the Support Forum experience better, more helpful, or more compelling to WordPress users.

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!

Unable to make the meeting, or maybe meetings just aren’t your thing? We would still love to hear how things are going in other non-English speaking parts of our community. Please feel free to let us know via the comment section below, in your own time, if there is anything you’d like to share, any questions or concerns you have, or just to let us know you’re doing OK!

We will make a habit of putting this callout with every agenda post going forward, so that everyone has a chance to join in.

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

#forums

16th May Support Team meeting

The support meeting will be held on Thursday, May 16 2024, 20:00 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) or at https://make.wordpress.org/support/chat/.

Just a little reminder that this is a new time. We’d love to see you there – but if the timing means you are unable to attend – feel free to leave any thoughts or discussion in in the comments of this post.

Automated Support Badges

There’s been plenty of discussion about this both in TracTrac Trac is the place where contributors create issues for bugs or feature requests much like GitHub.https://core.trac.wordpress.org/. and in past meetings. But with a proposal to have this worked on at the WCEU Contributor DayContributor Day Contributor Days are standalone days, frequently held before or after WordCamps but they can also happen at any time. They are events where people get together to work on various areas of https://make.wordpress.org/ There are many teams that people can participate in, each with a different focus. https://2017.us.wordcamp.org/contributor-day/ https://make.wordpress.org/support/handbook/getting-started/getting-started-at-a-contributor-day/. – it’s time to some to some final decisions and clarity around what we’d like. Please keep in mind that getting anything in place and automated would be good – so we can make recommendations for the purposes of the work being done, and then course-correct later on if needed.

Encouraging more Forum contributors/contributing

Let’s continue our brainstorm from last meeting about how we can be more open and inviting, and celebrate/encourage contributors who are regularly helping others in the Forums.

Proposal for a Support Trac bug scrub

This has been discussed a little already – but lets further discuss the potential of having a Bug Scrub on the week’s we don’t have a meeting. Would this be useful? When should we hold it? What would we expect the outcomes to be? Let’s talk about it.

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!

Unable to make the meeting, or maybe meetings just aren’t your thing? We would still love to hear how things are going in other non-English speaking parts of our community. Please feel free to let us know via the comment section below, in your own time, if there is anything you’d like to share, any questions or concerns you have, or just to let us know you’re doing OK!

We will make a habit of putting this callout with every agenda post going forward, so that everyone has a chance to join in.

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

#forums

11th April Support Team meeting

The support meeting will be held on Thursday, April 11 2024, 20:00 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) or at https://make.wordpress.org/support/chat/.

Just a little reminder that this is a new time. We’d love to see you there – but if the timing means you are unable to attend – feel free to leave any thoughts or discussion in in the comments of this post.

Support Team Contributor Ladder

In an effort to grow the size of contributor to the Forums – we’re going to do a short excercise which pinpoints where contributors with different levels of experience can get involved. Please read this introductory post before the meeting to learn more about this.

Changes needed for adherence to Digital Services Act

There’s been some discussion on this in the comments (feel free to catch up and add any thoughts) but it would be good to decide some actions from that. Most notably:

  • Should we include a definition of what is considered ‘Spam’ for the Forum Guidelines?
  • What tooling do we need to open TracTrac Trac is the place where contributors create issues for bugs or feature requests much like GitHub.https://core.trac.wordpress.org/. tickets for?

Brainstorm and review of open Trac tickets

In addition to the above – we have a bunch of open Trac tickets (Automated Support Badges anyone?) with request for changes to improve the tooling and experience in the forums. I’m keen to hear all y’all thoughts on which of those are most urgent/valuable – so we can approach MetaMeta Meta is a term that refers to the inside workings of a group. For us, this is the team that works on internal WordPress sites like WordCamp Central and Make WordPress. with a prioritised list and try and get some of those moving.

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!

Unable to make the meeting, or maybe meetings just aren’t your thing? We would still love to hear how things are going in other non-English speaking parts of our community. Please feel free to let us know via the comment section below, in your own time, if there is anything you’d like to share, any questions or concerns you have, or just to let us know you’re doing OK!

We will make a habit of putting this callout with every agenda post going forward, so that everyone has a chance to join in.

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

#forums

Brainstorming a Support Team Contributor Ladder

One of the things that will help with the long-term sustainability of the Support Team is to start getting more contributors involved at different levels.

Currently we have a situation where the Support Team is made up of a small number of Mods, and then we have a handful of contributors within the forums who answer a lot of threads, but are not really involved or aligned with the team in general.

I propose that we have a great opportunity to engage and connect with Contributors in the forums in such a way that we start building them towards greater involvement and impact within the Support ecosystem of 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/. This in turn would create a funnel or pathway towards future Support Team membership.

Contributor Ladder

A Contributor Ladder is a process and tool (based on the 5 stages of volunteering) that many other Make teams have used to identify ways to involve contributors at any stage of experience, and help them ‘level up’ their involvement. It is a great way to think about how to get more people involved, but also what skills and experience Contributors would need to take on different tasks within the team.

Here’s a few examples of how other teams use a Contributor Ladder

Step 1: Identify tasks

The first thing to do is write out all the things that the Team (in our case, including the broader contributor base) does. This is my shortlist – but I’d love to hear of others we should consider:

  • Checking Pending queue, Spam queue, and Modwatch queue
  • Identifying and removing Spam
  • Answering questions in #forums
  • Handling the password reset queue
  • Taking part in fortnightly team meetings
  • Answering questions in the general forums
  • Discussing and providing input on decisions
  • Supporting end engaging other contributors
  • Strategy and planning

Step 2: Match to the 5 stages of volunteering

The next thing is to assign those different activities to the stages of volunteering. At this step we can also identify why training/experience is needed in order for a Contributor to achieve a certain level, and how we acknowledge them.

Here’s my rough first attempt here:
Table displaying details of the Support Team Contributor Ladder

Let’s discuss and workshop?

I propose that we spend 10-15 minutes going over this brainstorm/process in our next team meeting on April 11th as a helpful step towards better understanding the work of the team and how to plan for the future.

Announcement of a new Support Team meeting time

This post is to announce a change in the timing of our regular Support Team meetings. 

The next meeting will be held at on Thursday, April 11, 2024, at 20:00 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) or at https://make.wordpress.org/support/chat/. Subsequent meetings will be held every 2 weeks at the same time.

If it’s been a while since you joined a support meeting, or you’re thinking of joining for the first time (welcome!) here’s a few things for you to know.

  • Ordinarily, the agenda for the meeting will be published on the Monday preceding the meeting itself. Y’all are welcome to suggest agenda items in the comments of that post.
  • Everyone is welcome to attend! Help out answering questions in the forums and want to get more involved? Want to see how things in the Support Team work? Whatever your reason, we’d love to have you join us.
  • Decisions on items (which are added to the agenda) are made by those who are in attendance at the meeting, with any comments on the agenda itself taken into account.

The agenda for our next meeting will be out on April 8th and I look forward to seeing you all on April 11th!

22nd February Support Team meeting

The support meeting will be held on Thursday, February 22 2024, 19:00 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) or at https://make.wordpress.org/support/chat/.

Commercial support quality in reviews

Following on from the recent change to guidelines around reviews of Commercial/Pro plugins we need to discuss and make a decision about whether quality of support received for Commercial/Pro plugins is a valid part of a review.

Support Team plans for 2024

Let’s discuss my proposal of some things to work on in 2024 to make the Support Team more sustainable for the long term, and better connect with our contributors who work in the Forums.

Firmer language around links in reviews

Even though it shouldn’t be possible for link – some folks do manage to do so. At the moment our wording around that guideline (in the form itself) is a little soft. Should we have a clear mention in the Guidelines themselves, and also update the wording in the form to be clearer?

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!

Unable to make the meeting, or maybe meetings just aren’t your thing? We would still love to hear how things are going in other non-English speaking parts of our community. Please feel free to let us know via the comment section below, in your own time, if there is anything you’d like to share, any questions or concerns you have, or just to let us know you’re doing OK!

We will make a habit of putting this callout with every agenda post going forward, so that everyone has a chance to join in.

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

#forums

Some proposed improvements for 2024

Hi folks – over the New Year period I was reflecting a little on the Support Team and the legacy of work we have there supporting the community in the Forums. I’ve also detected (and outright been told as well) that there’s the potential of some burnout within the team – which is something that (from a personal point of view) I don’t want any folks to go through.

I also think that there’s lots to learn from the Plugins Team and their work over the last 12 months in building a new team, documenting the way they work, and ultimately setting the team up to be sustainable for the long term.

TLDR: I’d like to propose that in 2024 the Support Team looks to set ourselves up for long term success and sustainability by taking stock of where we are today, expanding the team in a scalable way, and fostering more of a community amongst contributors who volunteer in the forums.

I’ve expanded that thinking into a few different areas that I’d like to raise for consideration in upcoming Team Meetings:

Taking Stock of current state of the team and documenting our work
One of the massive ongoing successes of the team is that the ‘work’ is continuously getting done in a timely fashion. We have no backlog, few complaints, nor any pressure to improve ‘performance’ of any kind – because of the great work y’all do.

But at the same time there is much of the work that is done which is unknown or undocumented. There’s plenty of great (and important) work which is done to keep the forums clean and tidy – which isn’t documented in the handbook. Speaking from personal experience I can say this makes it tricky to know exactly what work I can help out with – beyond the basics in the handbook. It also makes it hard to know what size the team needs to be to handle that workload sustainably.

One thing I’d propose is that we properly document these kind of things – to make decisions about team size easier, and to aid onboarding of potential new team members.

Team Size and Members

  • Team size (including Rosetta Forum mods)
  • An estimation of the amount of time spent on moderator tasks

Team Tasks: What is it the team actually does (and how)

  • Responding in #Forums
  • Pending, Spam, and Modlook queues of Forums
  • Proactively looking for Spam? (how?)
  • Proactively looking for sock puppets? (how?)
  • Password Reset queue (We could definitely do with better documentation of this)

Team Mission and Goals

  • What does success look like? What are we aiming for?

Expanding the team in a sustainable and scalable way
Having a better understanding of the tasks needed, and the bandwidth of the team will allow us to know when adding new team members is needed. As a step to reduce burnout and have a sustainability plan for the team – I propose a need to add a number of new team members within the next 3 months as a starting point.

Some things we will need to consider in order to do that:

Hiring and Recruitment process

  • Take learnings from 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 Review Team and their recruitment
  • Design and implement recruitment and vetting (if needed) processes

Onboarding for new members

  • Review existing handbook and documentation.
  • Addition of Onboarding items to cover security, data management, and conflict resolution.

Introducing/participating in Mentoring opportunities

  • Have team members take part in the existing Mentor programs – providing a pathway for contributors towards joining the team.
  • Identify candidates amongst existing Forum contributors to invite to ‘officially’ join the team via a mentorship program.

Fostering a Community of Contributors in the Forums
At times the work of the Support Team could be considered to be in something of a ‘defensive’ stance – reacting to activity in order to keep bad actors away and maintain the integrity of the forums. This is important work – but I think we also have an opportunity to take a more proactive role in encouraging the contributors who give their time to answer questions in the general forums.

There’s even an opportunity to help them form something of a community around their work supporting users, and a potential funnel into Support Team membership if desired.

I don’t have any specific proposal for this – but I do have a few random ideas. And I’d love the team to consider if these kinds of initiatives could be helpful in taking an ‘offensive’ approach to improving the quality and usefulness of the forums.

  • We could look at having different ‘format’ meetings which encouraged contributors in the forums to be involved in a more social setting (the Learn Team is a great example of how they manage this whilst still having functional/practical meetings too).
  • We could produce a learn.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/ course which guides contributors through some learning about ‘soft’ support skills like empathy and tone.
  • We could utilise the mentorship program to encourage and equip those contributors to do better (and more) work answering questions in the forums.
  • Investigate reaching out to those who are listed with pledged time towards support in an effort to activate them.

Supporting the Support team for another 20 years
All these ideas are towards the idea of having systems in place which mean the team will outlive the tenure of any of us in the team – in a way where it will continue to flourish, grow, and make the forums a safe and useful space for those needing support with WordPress.

I’m really excited to hear from y’all on the overall idea, but also the specifics that are proposed.


I’ll leave this post open for Comment for us to discuss and make some decisions at the Team meeting on 22nd Feb.

7th December Support Team meeting

The weekly support meeting will be held on Thursday, December 7 2023, 10:00 UTC AND Thursday, December 7 2023, 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) or at https://make.wordpress.org/support/chat/.

2 meetings this week

Based on previous discussion, we are trialling an APAC-friendly meeting time to see if that is a valuable option. For now, this will be in addition to the existing meeting time – but depending on demand we can consider alternating the times each week.

Slack > Matrix Switchover

Checking in on the proposed switch from Slack to Matrix:

  • What are the things that could be challenging if we make the #forums channel on Slack read-only starting today?
  • What pain point or blockers have you noticed using Matrix and different clients?

Support Team Onboarding

With the new Support Guidelines approved and in place – it might be time to consider documenting some kind of onboarding for potential new members to the team. What do you think? What should be included?

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!

Unable to make the meeting, or maybe meetings just aren’t your thing? We would still love to hear how things are going in other non-English speaking parts of our community. Please feel free to let us know via the comment section below, in your own time, if there is anything you’d like to share, any questions or concerns you have, or just to let us know you’re doing OK!

We will make a habit of putting this callout with every agenda post going forward, so that everyone has a chance to join in.

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

Summary for August 3rd Support Meeting

The weekly support meeting was held on Thursday, July 27th, 2023, 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/.. Read the transcript at your own pace (a Slack account is required)

Community headlines and updates

This is where news that are relevant or good to know for the team from across the community are brought up and shared.

WordCampWordCamp WordCamps are casual, locally-organized conferences covering everything related to WordPress. They're one of the places where the WordPress community comes together to teach one another what they’ve learned throughout the year and share the joy. Learn more. US 2023

With WordCamp US rapidly approaching, there’s been a call for table leads, and onboarding leads for Contributor DayContributor Day Contributor Days are standalone days, frequently held before or after WordCamps but they can also happen at any time. They are events where people get together to work on various areas of https://make.wordpress.org/ There are many teams that people can participate in, each with a different focus. https://2017.us.wordcamp.org/contributor-day/ https://make.wordpress.org/support/handbook/getting-started/getting-started-at-a-contributor-day/.. The latter being a newer concept.

The onboarding lead would be one, or more, individuals who are available throughout contributor day to help onboarding new contributors, streamlining that process and ensuring availability (which is often hard for a table lead to devote dedicated time to during the day).

We have a few seasoned contributors that will be participating, and will look to share the workload fairly between those who have the capacity.

New (betaBeta A pre-release of software that is given out to a large group of users to trial under real conditions. Beta versions have gone through alpha testing in-house and are generally fairly close in look, feel and function to the final product; however, design changes often occur as part of the process.) moderator anonymity tool

As some may be aware, and some may not, a new (beta!) feature rolled out for moderators on the forums this past week 🎉

When writing a reply, there is now a checkbox that will allow you to post anonymously (to the users), under a unified “Support Moderator” user. Other moderators may still see who made the post though.

This will ensure that the team is both able to have the backing of “one voice” in difficult decisions, but also ensure that moderators are not required to post as them selves, and becoming potential targets for retaliation or abuse.

Note that the feature is still in beta, so it may still disclose who posted it somehow, until it’s been properly triaged, but it’s there and you’re able to experiment with it.

If you post as an anonymous moderator, you will still receive notifications of replies to the thread, which is also good to be aware of.

New workflows for discussing forum account actions

A new inbox set up for handling disputes and questions concerning things like flagged accounts.

The purpose of having a common inbox is to bring potentially heated or controversial discussions out of the pubic #forums channel, and also to give the users the ability to discuss their flagged status without being put in a negative light. (We all make mistakes, we can learn from them, and then it’s always nice to be able to do so privately.) In addition, it allows moderators to handle sensitive situations while remaining anonymous, which can in turn reduce potential mod harassment, or uncomfortable situations where a specific moderator is being targeted directly.

In addition, it allows the team to discuss information which may be considered private with individuals, without needing to worry about disclosure of private information in public channels.

WordPress 6.3 is near/here

With the upcoming release of WordPress 6.3, the team had a quick brainstorming session about which topics they believe users may need help with. It is shaping up to be a great release at this time, and only one item was brought up as likely to cause confusion, that being the renaming of Reusable blocks to Patterns.

Checking in with international liaisons

None of the teams international liaisons had any concerns or special events/news to share at this time.


Annie – Heartbeat

#weekly-chat