A number of posts have been popping up around the interwebs criticizing the support, or lack of, in the WordPress Support Forums. I won’t link to these posts, not because I don’t respect what the writers have to say but rather to avoid any potential flame wars. People who are as passionate about WordPress as I am tend to be quite vocal about it (myself included) and I’d just as soon avoid the hassle.
In my experience of being a forum volunteer I’ve come to realize people have 2 major beefs:
- The search function
- Unanswered threads
Search function: I admit the forum search function is not as robust as many people would like. Hell, I’ve used it myself when trying to locate particular threads/information and the experience can be somewhat frustrating. However the built in forum search is not the only option open to users. There is still that little known search engine called Google.
If a user is suffering from a particular problem odds are he/she is not the first one. In fact chances are pretty good that many have encountered the same problem at some point. By consulting Google the problem can easily be solved in many cases. I know it’s a pain to have to Google something when the forum has its own search function but until that function is enhanced this may be the best course of action.
Unanswered threads: I understand how frustrating it must be to have a problem and post a support query only to have that query go seemingly ignored. There are many reasons why a thread may not receive a response such as:
i. Vague or incomplete information.
If you’re seeking assistance try to describe the problem you are having in as much detail as possible including what steps you may have already tried. Always include a link to the problem site. You’d be amazed how many threads volunteers pass over because the OP (original poster) failed to include a link. It’s virtually impossible to diagnose visual problems without seeing the problem firsthand. Also, try to make the title of your thread as relevant as possible. Don’t post nonsense like Help! or My Site is Broken! as this will probably go ignored.
ii. Numbers game.
Remember the forum is volunteer driven. The software you are using has been made available to you free from charge. You are not entitled to support. The people answering support questions in the forum do so out of the kindness of their hearts. As I have stated elsewhere on this site I joined the forum because I enjoy it. Since I’m not a theme creator or plugin author it is my way of giving back to the community but understand I do so because I want to – not because I’m obligated to.
Of the hundred of thousands (or perhaps even millions) of WordPress users out there there are only maybe 15-20 people who answer support tickets on a regular basis. Given the number of support questions that come in on a daily basis it’s not hard to see why many questions go unanswered. It’s not uncommon to see a question buried on page 15 within 24 hours of it being posted. I understand people are busy with their own lives but the truth of the matter is we need more volunteers. At the risk of sounding like a martyr I work 10-12 hours a day, 6 days a week in the roofing trade – hard physical work – and I find the time to help out. Obviously I’m not as active during the season as I am during the off-season but I still make an attempt.
iii. Posting to threads marked as “resolved”.
I’ve seen many questions posted to threads long since marked as resolved. If you have a question start your own thread. Don’t highjack the threads of others and certainly don’t post to threads that have been set to resolved as noone will read them.
iv. Nobody knows the answer.
Some of the questions are quite technical in nature and there is a very strong possibility that nobody has the solution. Or, combined with the above, it’s possible that some of the more advanced helpers simply didn’t see the question.
If you are seeking paid assistance there are several options available to you. If you solicit such help in the forum please describe the nature of the problem and include your contact info. After doing so the thread will be closed in accordance with Section F of the Forum Rules. You may also seek paid help from the WP-Pro’s Mailing List or WordPress Jobs.