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Guide to using the WordPress Support Forums

wp-button-4.pngWhich of the following is true?

  1. The WordPress Support Forums can be a wonderful resource, a gold mine of wisdom and technical expertise, with quick, salient responses that get me right back on track…
  2. The WordPress Support Forums can be a black hole you drop questions into, never to be responded to, or the responses seem to be to some totally unrelated issue…

The answer is both. I know, I have experienced both of those situations. My hope here is to help you get more of the first and less of the second.

“Drop any assumptions about what someone else needs to know to help you.”

One thing to address first is the Expectation of Results: The WordPress Support Forum is a place to help find solutions to your WP related problems. It is not a place where someone else can, or should, fix your problem(s) for you. Everyone in the forums is a WP user or volunteer, with varying levels and areas of expertise. There may be a few people familiar with your problem, there may be a lot, but at the time you post they may not be available. These people may also be frustrated, angry, dizzy with hunger, heavily medicated or just plain wasted on [insert abused substance here] at the time of your post. Don’t take it personally! It’s human to bring your emotions into the forum, but wise to filter them, Grasshopper.

So here are my tips for getting good results in the WordPress Support Forums:

  1. Try a search. Your issue may have been addressed elsewhere, by people who spent considerable energy on it. They may not want to repeat that whole process (imagine that!). For a few methods beyond simply typing text into the search box at the forums, check Podz post here.
  2. If you suspect it is a theme or plugin issue, check the author’s site first(this is listed at the top of the plugin file, for themes it can be found at the top of the wp-content/themes/[themename]/style.css file). There may be a fix, or an update at their site.
  3. Drop any assumptions about what someone else needs to know to help you. Follow this rule of thumb when posting:
    1. Pick the appropriate forum: Scroll down to the bottom of the main page, select a forum and scroll to the bottom of that page, then follow directions for posting there.
    2. Include a link to the site or page in question, or a reason why you can’t. No, no argument, just do it.
    3. Mention the version of WP.
    4. Describe the symptoms. In detail (not just “I get this error message:”, how about “In the admin area I click on [specific button] and get this error message:”).
    5. Include any error messages in your post.
    6. If you recently changed something, mention it.
    7. If you haven’t recently changed anything, mention it.
  4. If your post/thread gets resolved, scroll to the top of the post/thread and mark it “Resolved” using the pull-down menu.

These concepts aren’t new, and could be applied to any support forum… And I post this purely for selfish reasons, in an effort to help maintain my sanity, which I find creeping away everytime I see a “OMG! What happened to my sidebar!?!?!?” post ;’)

(If you have any suggestions, or corrections for the above, just let me know and I’ll pass it along to the idiot in charge)…

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Posted in Computers, Things, WordPress
4 comments on “Guide to using the WordPress Support Forums
  1. jeff clark says:

    hi sam

    did you get my email response? I could really use the help in getting a tooltip to work.

    i’n not using the snap preview because it’s either all on or all off for external links. any way around that?

    as usual, thanks

    jeff clark

  2. Sam says:

    Jeff: I tried Nice Titles once (for tooltip ‘ballons’) and it seemed to work ok, but I never tried to put ads into them so I’m not sure it will work for you…

    Snap preview will disable itself for links that use a specific class (I forget the class name, it’s in the manual). The problem I saw was how to add a class to individual links (stored in the database). I’m still not sure how you would address that, the admin/link/bookmarks/manager only seems to allow adding rel= to links entered there.

  3. foonoxVoick says:

    Hello.
    I am newbie here =)
    It is nice forum.
    But i want read more about this problem.
    Any help?

  4. Sam says:

    foo: Which problem? Getting responses in the forums? Or the nice titles ballon (tooltip) issue Jeff was talking about?

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