Help Me Help You: The art and science of getting good WordPress support - WordCamp Montreal 2013

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Visual Editor stopped working? Plugin update gone awry? Getting useful help when you’re stuck on a WordPress problem is not always as straightforward as it seems. This session will be packed with tips …

Visual Editor stopped working? Plugin update gone awry? Getting useful help when you’re stuck on a WordPress problem is not always as straightforward as it seems. This session will be packed with tips on how to ask for assistance in the WordPress support forums and other arenas – in a way that will let others help you more easily and effectively. We’ll also cover some handy techniques for basic troubleshooting on your own – before contacting tech support.
Video: http://wordpress.tv/2014/03/28/kathryn-presner-help-me-help-you-the-art-and-science-of-getting-good-wordpress-support/

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  • Search is a powerful tool. Take advantage of it before even asking for help.
  • If you’re having a problem, chances are, someone else has had the same problem – your answer might be right at your fingertips
  • Know where you are – big difference between WordPress.com & WordPress.org – post in the right place
  • Don’t know how to do something? Read the docs
  • Don’t know how to do something? Read the docs
  • Don’t know how to do something? Read the docs
  • Don’t know how to do something? Read the docs
  • Don’t forget the plugin search field
  • 4 – how long have you been using WP? Are you a blogger, designer, developer? Try to avoid vague expressions like tech-savvy that can mean different things to different people. You might say “I know basic CSS and intermediate HTML, but I’ve never used PHP.”6 – are you still running WP 2.5? running multisite? still using Kubrik? on a Windows server? have 500,000 posts?
  • 6 – are you still running WP 2.5? running multisite? still using Kubrik? on a Windows server? have 500,000 posts?
  • If you ask for someone specific, you may be doing yourself a disservice. That person may not be around and you may discourage others who may be able to help from replying
  • Try to repeat under other conditions to narrow down culprit
  • 1 & 2 – save older version of plugin or theme so you can revert3 – check master troubleshooting list in forum4 – functions.php can be particularly dangerousNever edit files live on the server
  • 1 & 2 – save older version of plugin or theme so you can revert3 – check master troubleshooting list in forum4 – functions.php can be particularly dangerousNever edit files live on the server

Transcript

  • 1. HELP ME HELP YOU The art and science of getting good WordPress support WordCamp Montreal 2013 #wcmtl
  • 2. KATHRYN PRESNER Automattic Happiness Engineer WordPress.org support forum volunteer Web designer/developer
  • 3. THE GOOD THE BAD and the
  • 4. THE GOOD 1 2 3 4 5 CLEAR GOAL CLEAR PROBLEM RELEVANT CODE GIVES LINK POLITE & GRATEFUL
  • 5. THE BAD 2 3 4 5 NO LINK DOESN’T LIST STEPS ALREADY TAKEN “UNABLE TO FOLLOW DIRECTIONS” DOESN’T MENTION WHICH BROWSER 1 VAGUE PROBLEM
  • 6. DOs Some things to keep in mind when asking for support
  • 7. DO A SEARCH HELP YOURSELF BEFORE ASKING FOR HELP
  • 8. DO A SEARCH SEARCH YOUR ISSUE IN NATURAL LANGUAGE
  • 9. WORDPRESS.ORG FORUM SUPPORT AVENUES WORDPRESS.ORG SUPPORT FORUM http://wordpress.org/support/ • Self-hosted • Database & FTP access • Upload any theme or plugin • Manage own hosting & security • Forum volunteers • Other community support, i.e. local meetup groups • Commercial support – themes/plugins • One-on-one paid support .COM VS .ORG
  • 10. WORDPRESS.COM FORUM SUPPORT AVENUES WORDPRESS.COM SUPPORT FORUM http://en.forums.wordpress.com • Hosted platform, managed updates & security • Free URL yourgroovysite.wordpress.com • Paid upgrades – custom domain, Custom Design, bundles, etc. • No FTP/database access • No theme or plugin uploads • Forum volunteers • Forum staff • Private support – email/forum • Live chat .COM VS .ORG
  • 11. READ DOCS WORDPRESS.ORG CODEX
  • 12. READ DOCS WORDPRESS.ORG PLUGIN FAQ
  • 13. READ DOCS WORDPRESS.COM SUPPORT DOCUMENTATION
  • 14. READ DOCS WORDPRESS.COM THEME INFO PAGE
  • 15. GET SPECIFIC WORDPRESS.ORG FORUM – LOCALHOST INSTALLS
  • 16. GET SPECIFIC PLUGIN FORUM FOR WORDPRESS SEO BY YOAST
  • 17. GET SPECIFIC STUDIOPRESS PREMIUM THEME SUPPORT FORUM
  • 18. GET SPECIFIC PREMIUM THEME FORUM – WORDPRESS.COM
  • 19. GIVE DETAILS VERSION self-hosted only OS/DEVICE Safari? Internet Explorer 7, 8, 9, 10? Firefox? Chrome? Opera? Amazon Kindle? AOL Explorer? Netscape Navigator (OMG RLY?) Blackberry? iPod? iPhone? Windows Phone? Android? Laptop? Desktop? iPad? iPad mini? Mac? PC? Snow Leopard? Lion? Mountain Lion? Windows 7/8/Vista/XP? WordPress X.X? Plugin version? Theme version? BROWSER http://supportdetails.com
  • 20. LET US KNOW 2 3 4 5 THINGS YOU’VE ALREADY TRIED IF YOU HAVE A THEORY YOUR LEVEL OF TECH SKILL A LINK TO THE SITE 1 6 ANYTHING UNUSUAL ABOUT YOUR SETUP 7 EXACT STEPS TO REPLICATE PROBLEM SCREENSHOTS OF THE ISSUE
  • 21. KEEP IN MIND 2 3 VOLUNTEERS DONATE THEIR TIME THEY ARE PEOPLE LIKE YOU, BE COURTEOUS MAKE IT EASY FOR THEM TO HELP 1 117 pages of 30 threads 4 WP, THEMES & PLUGINS ARE FREE
  • 22. DON’Ts What to avoid when asking for support
  • 23. DON’T 2 3 4 5 BE DEMANDING ACT ENTITLED ASK FOR SOMEONE BY NAME BE TOO BRIEF USE A NON-DESCRIPTIVE SUBJECT nay yay 1
  • 24. TROUBLESHOOTING Things to try when things go ‘splody
  • 25. YOUR SETUP 2 3 4 5 DIFFERENT BROWSER CLEAR BROWSER CACHE & COOKIES BROWSER WITH EXTENSIONS OFF ANOTHER MACHINE DIFFERENT LOCATION/NETWORK/ISP 1 6 BYPASS ROUTER 7 TRACEROUTE/CONSOLE http://en.support.wordpress.com/bro wser-issues/advanced-browser- troubleshooting/
  • 26. DID YOU 2 3 4 5 UPDATE A PLUGIN? UPDATE YOUR THEME? UPDATE WORDPRESS? EDIT A THEME FILE? (beware functions.php) ADD A WIDGET? 1 6 HACK CORE? (cue ominous music)
  • 27. TRY 2 3 4 5 SWITCH TO DEFAULT THEME TEMPORARILY TURN OFF PLUGINS, REACTIVATE 1 AT A TIME REVERT TO PREVIOUS VERSION OF THEME REVERT TO PREVIOUS VERSION OF PLUGIN 1 UPDATE THEME OR PLUGIN
  • 28. DON’T Panic above all
  • 29. FIND ME kathrynpresner.com @zoonini slideshare.net/zoonini THE SLIDES http://www.wpbeginner.com/beginners-guide/ how-to-properly-ask-for-wordpress-support-and-get-it/ MORE http://en.blog.wordpress.com/2013/03/12/meet-volunteer-1tess/ http://en.blog.wordpress.com/2013/06/19/getting-wordpress-support/