This weeks support discussion in #wordpress-sfd primarily focused on two topics that came up on the wp-forums list.
Contacting people off forum
End users posting their email addresses or asking others to contact them off forums is really frowned up. It’s to protect the users and also to prevent people form trying to solicit work or harvest emails from the forums.
Plugin, theme authors and contributors get a pass on that and can post their contact information in their sub-forum. If someone is part of the official support team but for some reason is not listed as a contributor then they can get a custom title to identify them too.
No one should ever ask others to post their email or login info and regular member’s email addresses do get redacted when found.
The idea really is to let official folk provide support while also protecting end users. If you’re providing official plugin or theme support and there is a misunderstanding then please feel free to escalate to the wp-forums list or ping a moderator. That’s fine and the moderators want to help with those communication issues.
Plugin or theme authors requesting FTP or mysql access from users
Sometimes a plugin or theme author wants to see what’s going on and the author request access to a user’s installation and edits code that’s not theirs (or any code on that system).
That’s not cool and really goes too far. Access to a user’s system like that makes the author responsible for that user’s system. If the author makes changes and something breaks later on as a result then it is that author’s fault.
Get information, ask for log data, have the user contact you and seek copies of the PHP files and look but don’t touch. If it’s the author’s code that is the problem then produce a fix in your own code. If it’s another theme or plugin then inform the user, suggest a fix, offer to contact the other author and/or update your FAQ.
But don’t make changes to the user’s files that way. That’s really going to far outside of the author’s area of responsibility.
Less moderators on a topic (don’t want to intimidate forum members)
Clorith brought up a very good point for discussion. Sometimes a moderator will chime in on a topic and perhaps make a “course adjustment” (edit a post) and explain briefly why that was done. Then more mods (I’ve done it myself) will hop on the topic and back the original moderator up. That number of moderators participating can seem like the user is being ganged up on.
It is great that we all back each other up but it might not be necessary and no one wants to intimidate forum members. People don’t like it when someone else (anyone) tells them they shouldn’t do something. A small number of members (not all thankfully) push back and/or want to pick a fight.
But most really want to play by the rules and genuinely do the right thing. As moderators we just need to keep that in mind and be aware of the user’s point of view. I’ve jumped into the fray myself but less pile on and a lighter moderation may be more productive.
It’s just something to be aware of and keeping that in mind could result in better moderation.
Except for an IRC participant needing a little conversation in the virtues of patience Clorith and tw2113 didn’t have anything that needed to be escalated to the #wordpress-sfd meetup.
Time to choose or re-up the Support Team rep
Here’s one I should have brought up. This week I actually wrote a brief cheat sheet for an agenda. Complete with spelling and grammar mistakes too. Very grown up. And naturally I forgot to write this one down and missed raising this item.
Jen Mylo posted that it’s time to choose or re-up a team rep. Tonight or tomorrow I’ll create a brief make/support post on that topic as I have some small ideas and questions myself on that topic.