IRC Meetup agenda for week #8

Any items you wish to be considered during this weeks upcoming meetup on IRC?

1. Getting better at transcribing meetup talks to make/support so those that can’t attend have an easier time to get caught up/involved

#irc, #meetup

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

TOR Proxies in #wordpress

A broad ban on TOR Proxies was just placed on the main IRC channel, #wordpress, due to a repeat user utilizing it to avoid punishment.

We see that this service did not appear widely used by regular users in the channel, so the effect will hopefully not cause any troubles for legitimate users.

Should it be of any inconvenience, please don’t hesitate to leave a note as we do not wish to make things harder for our own users if they for any reason require such a service to get in touch!

#irc

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

Hello I often talk to people that are…

Hello. I often talk to people that are confused by the message that shows for plugins and themes that haven’t been updated within the past two years. They seem to ignore the fact, the message says the theme or plugin MAY have compatibility issues.

I suggest the word “may” be set as emphasized or even in bold letters:

This theme hasn’t been updated in over 2 years. It may no longer be maintained or supported and may have compatibility issues when used with more recent versions of WordPress.

#irc, #plugins, #themes, #warning

IRC Policies and guidelines

During todays support and docs chat on IRC we introduced a few new faces on the access lists of the WordPress channels there to help moderate and control the behavior of the users, much like you would on the forums.

As IRC does not work with a bozo list like the forums do, we have a few alternatives available for use in such situations as outlined below. This means we can not mark users for moderation, nor preview what they are trying to say before it is said, it’s all live, and it’s all public.

We want to maintain as much transparency as we can, this is a public medium and we keep public logs of most actions (at the moment the logging devices can not log kick/ban messages), but at the same time protecting the one performing the action from any negative retaliations which may or may not occur after action is taken.

We have three (four) ways of dealing with users who are having a bad day beyond just speaking to them and informing them that their behavior is unacceptable/a bit too much and asking them to calm down or get some fresh air;

  • They can be muted
  • They can be kicked
  • They can be banned

Muting (or “Quieting”) a user (/mode #channel +q Nickname) requires you already have the Operator status, or can be done through network services (/msg ChanServ quite #channel Nickname) but keeps the user in the channel, he is merely silenced and can not speak in public, this is also what hlin does automatically if someone spams.

A kick can be done either by being an Operator (/kick #channel Nickname ) or anonymously through the services of the network (/msg ChanServ kick #channel Nickname ). A kicked user is removed from the room temporarily, but may return at any point.

A ban, like a kick, can be done as an Operator (/mode #channel +b Nickname) or through network services (/msg ChanServ ban #channel Nickname ). Worth noting is that using services will also kick the user, if not you will have to manually kick the user after banning them. A ban will not by default expire unless you physically remove it.

Now that we are familiar with the ways one can deal with a user, a general guideline for when to use the various actions will most definitely be needed. This will be handy both for the users of the channel to know when a moderator should step in so they can be pinged, but also so the moderators know what action should be taken when to ensure a fair ruling.

Feedback will most definitely be required here to iron these out, but I’ve taken the liberty to provide the following suggestions to get the ball rolling;

  • Racism is most definitely something we keep an eye out for, users may not be aware that it’s a slur or anything like that (A large chunk of our users have English as a 2nd or even 3rd language),so a friendly pointer by any user should be enough, if they keep using such terms, let a moderator deal with them, if they do not heed a moderators warning a quick ban is swift justice.
  • Strong language is handled by hlin, if someone tries to repeatedly use profanity by avoiding hlins filter a moderator can silence them as hlin would.
  • Sexist talk or anything non-PG13, this could be straight up dirty talk or excessive innuendos, tell them to stop, if they don’t listen let a moderator tell them so, next step would be a mute, repeat offences escalate the action taken (most people will stop after a kick).

There are many other situations of course, but these are the ones you’ll most likely meet, not only in spoken words, but also as nicknames or messages sent to the channel when leaving it (a part message).

There was also mention of a way to log (beyond IRC logs) offenders to keep tabs on what is going on as everyone might not be on at the same time etc. Thoughts on how this could be achieved in a fair manner are appreciated as we don’t want to make any public shame list at all, we only want to make IRC a welcoming place for anyone to drop by and learn a thing or two during their stay. Possibly a list restricted to moderators on g-docs or similar is an idea?

Another thing that might come up is how to deal with disputes if a user is banned and feels it was unjust. Is there a place we’d prefer them to take their appeal, and if so, where and how?

That means we need to decide on the level of transparency we wish to have, do we wish to have full transparency with users issuing the actions, or anonymize it through network services.

@sams suggested that for transparency when issuing a kick/ban we should state why in the channel after the ban since the logger does not pick up kicks/bans and only shows peoples reactions to them, would this be an acceptable approach and how would we deal with that if services are used to act?

Oh and before I forget, the fourth reasoning mentioned is only if a user should retaliate, this is much like a DDoS on a website, and extremely rare to occur, and even rarer to have any impact as most networks have security to prevent or mitigate such things. Should a disgruntled user retaliate with proxy bots or any other kind of bots that cause spam and disruptions, and it’s to such an extent that a moderator can not deal with it, drop by the kind people in the FreeNode support channel and mention that there’s a botnet and they’ll take care of it. Not that vital as it’s extremely unlikely to ever occur, but good to know just in case.

A closing thought, as it was mentioned that not everyone may be too familiar with the workings of IRC or remember commands and such, I did mention a few of the commands with quick defaults in the post, but is this something that you would prefer a more extensive outlining of made available in some form or other?

All right ladies and gentlemen, the floor is open 🙂

#irc

Meetup Roundup

Brought to the discussion … a lot of things!

IRC

Representation
Representation is a weird issue. Being a rep does not mean you’re the most active person in all aspects of Support. It means you’re taking notes in meetings (hi), keeping track of other groups, reporting back here with things we need to know, and reporting out there what they need to know. That said, IRC is a lost child.

Unlike the forums, we can’t (easily) add people as OP (Operators, it’s equivalent to forum admins) in IRC as @photomatt holds the keys, and having him add random people would be bad. But we do need a way to appoint people to help bring issues in IRC that the rep needs to know about back to the masses. As a mid-way point, the current proposal is as follows!

Regular contributors who are active and helpful in #wordpress will be recognized as ‘Moderators’ or ‘IRC Rockstars’ and expected to :

1) try and attend #wordpress-sfd meetups and report on the goings on
2) follow this blog (and make/docs)
3) post to make/support as needed for issues (such as hacks, wp bugs, issues with other irc groups as they come up to ‘pass information up the chain’)

The proposed Rockstars are: @zogot @clorith @pixolin @tw2113 @kenshino @john-c and @angela

If you were nominated, please leave a comment saying if you accept or not so I can add you here as an editor 🙂 I need the reply so I can get your email and add you here. It’s totally okay to say ‘no thanks’ and saying yes does NOT mean you get OP access to #wordpress, just that you get a fancy invisible title 🙂 You will not be expected to do weekly reports to make/updates, just be active and report upstream.

It’s important to note: The is exactly the same responsibilities that support forum admins and mods are expected to have. Not being listed doesn’t mean you’re not awesome. Remember, there are some expectations with the ‘job’. If you’re interested and think you’d do a good job and can fulfill those expectations, leave a comment 🙂

Based on how this works out, I’ll try and buttonhole @photomatt about how to handle OPs, since IRC doesn’t have ‘mods’ or titles, which really would work well too. (Part of why we need some more OPs is to handle stuff like bot attacks, flooding, etc).

Doc Bot

When it needs updates or changes and stuff, it’s hard to track. Per @pixolin’s suggestions, and considering workflows, we’ve made : https://make.wordpress.org/support/irc-doc-bot/

You can follow that page via IRC, and @sivel can mark off things as done. The P2 powers means starting a line with ‘o’ makes it a checkbox.

IRC Support Docs

Going forward, the Support Handbook will get more pages added to it specifically about IRC and how to handle things and so on. I’ll start reaching out to folks about that, but volunteers welcome! I’m not super IRC skilled, so I will need help!

The IRC Rockstars will be listed on those pages, for ‘official’ reckoning.

Next Support Rep

Everyone seems okay with @JDembowski (who didn’t say ‘no’ 😉 ) so we’ll be doing that. I will still be around as a Forum Rockstar and still in IRC, so this isn’t like I’m LEAVING, it’s just stepping back from one responsibility: reporting. I’ll be Jan’s backup/sidekick/mentor after all 🙂

Behavior

Remember you represent WordPress when you step up to answer anyone’s question. Don’t be mean, don’t accuse people, and remember you don’t have to answer every question. If someone’s behaving badly in the forums, use the ‘modlook’ tag and walk away. If you need help, use the wp-forums email list and just ask someone to take a look. (IRC folks, you can use this too!)

Conjoined Twins: Docs and Support

Initially, @siobhan and I were all gung-ho about merging teams. We were wrong. Right now we’re working on a proposal that will be posted either here or on make/updates about how the teams will work. But we’re going to keep our separate reps and p2s. Do expect that there will remain a lot of crossover between the teams. We’re like virtual co-teams.

Chat times will not be changing at this point, so Support and Docs will remain Thursdays at 1600 UTC. If it remains this busy (and really this week was BUSY), we may split times when @JDembowski takes over based on his availability.

Whew. Can I nap now?

#irc, #meetup, #recap

What Forum Tools Would Make Support Better?

Today in IRC we discussed what tools might may supporting in the forums better. For those

We started with this scenario: You’ve written a theme or plugin.

  • How do you handle the forum posts today?
  • What do you wish was there that isn’t?
  • What annoys you about the forums the most?

The goal of this is to get an understanding of how you, as a person who supports your own work, uses the forums, and what pitfalls do you see.

From IRC:

Reply-by-email: You can already get emails of any new post in your plugin threads (Go to https://wordpress.org/support/plugin/PLUGINNAME and here’s a link for “Subscribe to Emails for this Plugin”), so what if plugin authors could email back?

More obvious subscription tools: Speaking of the “Subscribe to Emails for this Plugin”, it would be nice if that was on the https://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/PLUGIN/developer page, as a list for the Subscribe links like this:

  • Development Logs (commits) [RSS|Email]
  • Support Posts [RSS|Email]

“Warnings” – so if someone’s being bad, moderators (and plugin/theme devs in their support forums) can click +1 or -1 on their name and set a ‘mood.’ or warning level.

Plugin Version: A way to list plugin version (can be auto-populated from the broken form?)

Throttle: A button to ask for the 30-second block to be lifted. Or automatically do it based on time served/products released/general coolness.

More ‘Support Type’ options: This is a feature request, this is a support request, this is a you-suck.

Flag POST as spam: We can do topics, but not posts (or Flag Topic vs Modlook). Imagine emails to wp-forums “JerrySarcastic has flagged the following post as probably spam… {link}” This would have to be limited in usage though. I would say plugin/theme authors in their threads only.

For moderators in general we came up with these:

Better Profiles: If you click on the IP, you go to the backend of bbPress and see all posts by IP. It would be nice if we could do that with usernames too.

TacNuke: One click to delete all posts and ban the account (for spammers)

#irc, #questions