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IRC Meetups/2005/May/May04Transcript

Transcription of the IRC-meetup that occurred on the 4th of May, 2005, at #wordpress on irc.freenode.net

The transcriber, incidentally, was absent from the meetup, and so the transcription is neutral, and without bias ;)

Note : http://codex.wordpress.org/IRC_Meetups is the page that describes IRC meetups, the agenda, and the discussions. You can add to the agenda for subsequent chat-meetups if you so desire

Role of #wordpress in Support

Photomatt raised the concern that #wordpress is not being very helpful anymore, addressing Podz' complaints on the matter, to which Skippy said that it's getting better, and that the initial problems were due to the fact that the hangers-out themselves were not too familiar with version 1.5's ins and outs. He said that now, most of the 1.5 bugs are under control and that everybody is comfortable with the code. Later, on the subject of promoting the IRC channel to the maximal extent, photomatt expressed reservations with the ephemeral nature of IRC chatting -- that it is not archived, or searchable, and that information is not reusable.

HauntedUnix said he'd like to see in-house paid support being implemented, to hopefully fuel development, and letting the irc channel retain its free-for-all style, to retain the visitors, and provide real-time help. Regarding paid support, photomatt said that he is hesitant because he's afraid that paid support will cause the free support to wither, to which HauntedUnix said that the gallery project managed to handle both forms just fine, without any problems. Skippy voiced the opinion that paid support should be an independent operation, not run or sponsored by WordPress directly. Photomatt said that though that's happening currently, it is hard for people to find sources of paid support. westi said that like the hosting page on wordpress.org, there could be a list of "recommended" paid support. Photomatt said that he can imagine a "marketplace" of sorts hosted by WP. The issue of support not being equal to bug reports and bugs being fixed was brought up by skippy and photomatt, and the general consensus was that paid support should mean installation, configuration, advanced support for specific problems, etc. As an answer to skippy's question about the volume of support forum requests that might be channelled to paid support, MCincubus said that probably the ones that receive replies like "You could do that, but you'd have to write a plugin for it" would be candidates for paid support. Photomatt considered the possibility that folks could resort to paid support as a first option. Skippy then raised the valid point of paid support acting as a disincentive for free volunteers to continue contributing "freely", since others could profit from his effort that went into writing things up at the Codex, for example. To this, photomatt had to say that it is really not too different from someone profiting from the work of WP's developers in creating the product. Westi said that there are people looking for paid support with themeing issues and support in general. Photomatt said that ideally the target for the paid support would be people who need more hand-holding that the forums could provide. Free support and the codex etc will NEVER go away, photomatt averred. HauntedUnix stated that if there is no "organization" around the paid support issue, then there could be issues with someone, or some firm masquerading as developers and ripping people off, which was validated by photomatt. skeltoac chimed in saying that there are many who want it done for them, and with paid support, the user base could increase, by including such people.

One issue identified by photomatt is that though all information is available free to anyone who wants to read it, down to the source code, many people may not have the time to understand it, or search enough. Also, the professional support mailing list (wp-pro) hasn't had much traffic, to which many members responded saying they did not know about it. Photomatt asked for suggestions as to where on the WP site it should be advertised, so to speak. Photomatt suggested creating a link to a page that was a sub-page of the wp.org/about/ page, linking to the wp-pro mailing list, calling them "professional consultants". Skippy said that with the mailing list format, there might be a lot of respondents to support requests, to which photomatt answered that that is the general nature of markets, and that that is how the Sixapart ProNet works, for one. The issue of either "endorsing" or totally not endorsing the members in the pro mailing list came up for discussion too, to which photomatt replied that endorsements were a "slippery slope", and that it would be elitist and not very welcoming of newcomers to endorse based on personal trust. To skeltoac's suggestion of creating sub-forums for "Help for Hire", photomatt replied that the objective was to minimize non-support traffic at the forums.

Further discussion on paid support was shelved for the next IRC chat, to allow people time to mull over it.

1.5.1's Release

photomatt stated that 1.5.1 needed to go out the door as soon as possible, and enquired about outstanding bugs. rboren said that assuming a recent fix that used curl works, and the 304 fix works out, 1.5.1 was ready for release. Photomatt then identified the relevant bugs as

http://mosquito.wordpress.org/view.php?id=1275 and http://mosquito.wordpress.org/view.php?id=1166

SteamedPenguin then raised the issue of missing comment atom feeds, which photomatt said will not be included in 1.5.1

Photomatt clarified that 1.5.1 included bug fixes, and enhancements.

Finally, photomatt said that he may add some documentation links to the plugin and theme pages, before 1.5.1 was out the door. He also added later that it could be released within a week from this day.

WordPress.org hosting page

Photomatt asked for feedback on the new hosting providers page. Skeltoac asked for details regarding the amount of revenue generated by that very page. westi had a question regarding why PowWeb was highlighted on the page, seeming to imply that it was recommended above the others, or something similar. Photomatt responded saying that right now they have the best combo of a WP auto-install, phone support for WP, specs, and donating back to WP. With regards to displaying the links on that page in a random order, Photomatt said that the order doesn't seem to matter, since LaughingSquid was getting the second most number of clicks, even though that's at the end, showing that people are reading the whole page, which is ideal. The "great" name, cute logo etc were offered as explanations as to why this might be so :) The hosting page will never have more than a few (5?) links, and maybe even fewer than 5 in the future, said Photomatt, to avoid becoming like a hosting directory with lots of listed hosts.

Tags and other things related to the forums

Photomatt asked about how the forum tags could be done better. MCincubus suggested that a little sentence explaining tags could be used, so people don't do "having" "a" "problem" "with" "my" "sidebar" as tags because they don't know what tags are for. Photomatt then requested MCincubus' help in creating a Codex Page explaining tags to laymen. Most of the tag problems were identified as being due to "newbies" not being familiar with the idea behind them. Skeltoac said that he'd like to see a list of unanswered posts while at the forums, and ringmaster said auto-suggestion of tags might make it easier on new comers. Photomatt said Flickr's tag interface seems quite ideal.

Being able to delete useless tags is on the agenda, said Photomatt. MCincubus said a status of "resolved" and "unresolved" would be helpful, and photomatt wondered if there could be a special tag for that purpose. The problem of who "resolves" threads, and that of folks not returning back to report resolution were considered.

Podz suggested that the "Your WordPress" threads be kept away from the "recent" threads list, and photomatt said that maybe that section should be removed, totally, or moved to an external forum, other than /support/. He then said that he will look into removing those thread from the recent threads soon. Photomatt also requested Ringmaster's help in using Ajax to enable adding tags without refreshing the page before adding that he will try it out himself.

A demand for WP tshirts was raised, which brought up the discussion about a new logo.

Photomatt said that the main problem with the current logo is that it does not have a "mark" that translates well onto different mediums and sizes. He said he like the current typography, though. He said more a refinement of the current logo than anything else, would be best, and that he had been working with a designer on some new things. He said that they'd been through five iterations, and requested feedback on the issue. And what would you expect? - well, people had feedback for photomatt, and that's about it. :) No one heard anything said about t-shirts, though thongs were mentioned again, but it's not important, and we won't dwell on it.

So that was the sum-total of the IRC chat.

Lesson for the Day: Transcribing an IRC chat log can take upto twice as long as the chat itself.

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