The Developers Guide to Supporting Your Themes – A Support Workshop

After WordCamp Europe, the attending support team members were brainstorming how to improve support within the WordPress community, one of those plans were to conduct workshops, hosted by community members with themes or plugins on WordPress.org, and let them present how they approach the support aspect of providing a service to the open source community.

As such, our first workshop is now scheduled!

The workshop

Providing support for your themes offers tremendous opportunities to educate WordPress users, from explaining how to make a child theme to offering simple CSS customisations. It also presents challenges, like figuring out how to help people who aren’t tech-savvy or need support beyond the scope of what you can provide. While many developers dread doing support, with some concrete strategies and techniques in hand, helping users doesn’t have to be a chore – and can even be fun! This session looks at how to make your themes’ users happy while feeling a sense of satisfaction from your own support efforts – a winning combination in the world of theme development.

When is it

Wednesday, August 23, 2017, 16:00 UTC, it will last for an hour and includes Q&A.

A link to the Zoom teleconference will be provided in the #forums Slack channel about 10 minutes before the session begins.

How do I join

The session will be run via videoconference and will be recorded. Please download the free Zoom app ahead of time. You can run Zoom on most desktop and mobile devices.

Who will be hosting it

In her role as Theme Whisperer at Automattic, Kathryn Presner provides support for hundreds of themes. She began helping people as a volunteer in the WordPress.org forums back in 2011 and was immediately hooked.

July 13th Support Team Meeting Summary

General announcements

The WordPress 4.8.1 release is tentatively scheduled for August 1st.

User notes

This weeks main event, user notes are finally live!

User notes allows a moderator to attach a note to any user, allowing us to keep tabs on why actions were taken, and historical data if we have repeat offenders and similar.

This information is also shared with the rosetta sites, so they can add notes for behavior we may not observe on the international forums (or vice versa), giving us more control than our previous approach with emails and P2 posts.

The handbook now has a new section about how and when to use user notes, moderators should familiarize them selves with the document, and keep in mind that the handbook is a living document, so remember to check back now and then for any changes.

Forum Welcome and Forum Guidelines

The new forum welcome is now live on the forums, and can freely be adopted by the rosetta sites as well. When translating it keep in mind that you don’t need to make it an exact copy of the international welcome, all languages and countries are different and what works for us might not be a perfect fit for your own locale.

In light of the much better experience a short welcome provides as part of the forums, we’ve migrated the forum guidelines into the forums as well, this ensures a consistent experience for regular forum users who may be put off by the sheer amount of information in the handbook (where the guidelines currently live).

Checkin With International Support Liaisons

The Portugese, Spanish, Italian and Swedish communities are doing well.

They’re looking into an odd issue with a specific Portugese forum being locked, meta is on the case.

Other stuff

It was also brought up that the #forums channel might appear a bit off-putting when you join and you have to go through 13 pages of backscroll with nothing but emoji (my own over-statement for emphasis), which we can understand is less than ideal, so an effort will be made to keep the random outbursts of emoji down. This is not to say we’re going to kill any conversations between volunteers, as we recognize the value in blowing out in a friendly manner now and then, given the nature of support in general. So if you enjoy #forums emoji, don’t be too put off by this, we’ll say if it’s becoming too much.

Attendance

@abletec, @anevins, @bcworkz, @bdbrown, @bethannon1, @clorith, @contentiskey, @denzel_chia, @erricgunawan, @fierevere, @glorialchemica, @hardeepasrani, @jcastaneda, @jdembowski, @josearcos, @keesiemeijer, @kenshino, @kidsguide, @lasacco, @macmanx, @numeeja, @pmfonseca, @stephencottontail, @sterndata, @t-p, @tobifjellner, @vishalmukadam, @vitormadeira, @voldemortensen, @zodiac1978 and @zoonini attended.

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

#weekly-chat

Hello again support team The meta team posted some…

Hello again support team!

The meta team posted some mockups of the support forum redesign. Check them and let us know what you think!

#bbpress-2, #design, #forums

Hello support team In case you haven’t seen…

Hello support team!

In case you haven’t seen it yet, there’s a post over on make/meta with proposed wireframes of the support forums. Pop on over, check them out, and let us know what you think!

#bbpress-2, #design, #forums

Have you guys read about the W org…

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!

#bbpress, #forums, #upgrade

Discussion: A Better Do and Don’t List

The following are cribbed from another site’s Dos and Don’ts. They should not be considered the be all and end all of guidelines, but they’re a good start. I’m thinking that perhaps a simplified ‘dos and dont’s’ list may help some people who see our massive list of guidelines and panic.

This list is not perfect and I want your help

Please suggest changes and improvements. I don’t want to make it much longer, so if we can consolidate and combine, that would be good. There’s no point in even trying to get through everything, so really I’m trying to spell out the basics of etiquette on the forums.

Good Manners and Respect Dos and Don’ts

  • DON’T use “um,” be snotty to another user, or make the argument personal
  • DO know the difference between differences of opinion and personal attacks
  • DO treat others the way you want to be treated
  • DON’T present your opinions as facts
  • DON’T post the same opinion over and over in the hopes of wearing other people down or “winning” a discussion; just move on
  • DON’T be a gosh-darn dirty spammer
  • DON’T be vulgar; if you’re not sure, don’t say it

Starting New Threads Dos and Don’ts

  • DO search for existing topics before starting new threads
  • DO make a new topic if you find yourself saying “I have the same problem but …”
  • DO link back to a related topic (or closed) when approriate
  • DON’T use all-caps or excessive punctuation in thread titles
  • DON’T treat the support forums as your personal blog
  • DON’T get all meta and use the forums to rant about the forums

Posting Messages Dos and Don’ts

  • DON’T post in a thread until you’ve read the whole thread
  • DON’T post “Me Too!” messages; add something of substance to the conversation
  • DON’T sign your posts
  • DO use proper spelling, capitalization, punctuation, et cetera
  • DON’T post just to pimp your site or product, et cetera
  • DON’T post the same thing in multiple areas; pick a spot and go with it

Warnings, Bans and Trolls Dos and Don’ts

  • DO take any mod warnings you get seriously
  • DON’T bug the mods to remove moderation on your posts
  • DO help us out and report trolls, flame wars, and troublemakers by tagging a post with “modlook”
  • DON’T abuse the modlook tag

#forums, #guidelines, #support

Support appreciation

After the last WordSesh, I’ve been working out this idea in my head, and I would love some feedback on it (and maybe we could work it into Thursdays IRC meetup if applicable).

During the interview with @photomatt a question was raised about recognition for the people who help support WordPress, and it’s one I’ve seen a few times now and then in various regards to WordPress, be it translators, or whatnot. He said for community leaders to step forward and get in touch about it, I’ve been considering this for some time, and it would obviously require core and everyone to be in agreement.

Now, polyglots usually gets a mention in the about.php and thus a bit of recognition, but this isn’t viable for the ones doing support, be it on the forums or IRC (although it often shows a bit better on the forums as your post remains, while IRC moves ever forward so to speak).

Of course, there is a huge ecosystem behind WordPress and what makes it such a huge success from a community aspect, and I don’ think singling out a set of users would be fair to the ones that help out all they can, but don’t have the same availability as others either, thus I wish to propose the following;

A future release, in dedication of the supporting users of the community. I’m certain we can find a relevant jazz musician that’s known for his involvement with his or her community (I’m unfortunately not very versed in the world of jazz).

We would then “give something back” in regard to recognition and appreciation to all the men, women, boys and girls of WordPress who put in the time they can to help out. It may not be by name, because there’s just too many of us all over, but the idea is that everyone then would at least get that nice warm feeling of being appreciated for their time and dedication.

#core, #forums, #irc, #recognition

Items for discussion at the #wordpress-sfd meetup?

At the moment the items I have are

  • Re-upping the team rep.
  • A note from the wp-forums list regarding behavior and using your judgement to block users if necessary.

If anyone has any additional forum or IRC items to bring up this would be a good place and time to chime in on them.

#forums, #irc

Howdy support folks I was just talking to…

Howdy support folks! I was just talking to @coffee2code about .org profiles, and one of the things I’d like to see happen this year is for there to be one .org profile instead of 2 to reduce user confusion. To that end we’d need to be able to do all the current support profile stuff, and to *that* end, I think we’d need to be on up-to-date bbPress.

We’ve talked about updating a number of times in the past since the plugin came out. The last time we had this conversation, the high-level agreement was that yes, running current software is good, but the current bbPress plugin has changed some of the workflow stuff that would be annoying for the support team to have to work around. Let’s kick this off!

@ipstenu: you ran down the things that made you say no to bbPress upgrade last time, could you repeat them so we can identify the things we’d need to discuss and/or put in a plugin to make upgrading bbPress on the support forums feasible from the team’s perspective? Let’s not talk about infrastructure stuff here, that’s the /meta domain. Just want to identify any features/workflow changes that would be a problem if we upgraded, so we can spec out a plugin to address those things before we do anything else.

#bbpress, #forums

Week One Of My WordPress Internship…

So many posts! Where to start!? The sheer amount of unanswered posts in the Support forums was a bit daunting at first. My first week as a WordPress Support intern was all about getting myself accustomed to the forums:

On my first day, I spent three and a half hours racking my brain and creating all manner of complex JavaScript to eventually solve an error in a user’s jQuery. It turned out that it was a very simple fix (the user was calling the wrong selector) – it shouldn’t have taken me nearly as long as it did to spot this.

I fell into this trap of spending too long on one problem several times throughout the week. I’ve soon realised not to leave it so long before reaching out for help or moving on from a post.

At the end of my first week, I feel as though I am a little quicker at spotting bugs in other people’s code and better at identifying the forum posts that I’m able to answer.

Week two: I’m going to continue with forum support and will also be contributing to the Codex.  Any advice/tips would be much appreciated. 🙂

P.S: I missed the weekly IRC Support chat on Thursday (sorry!) but will make sure I’m at the next one. Look forward to speaking with some of you then.

#forums, #gnome, #internship, #opw, #support