First off, I want to send a big thank you to all of those people on the WordPress forums who have helped me and helped others. As someone relatively new to blogging, your help has been indispensable.
(Note: This article was originally written back in March of 2008. But these rules of eitquette transcend time so I’m leaving them here to spread WordPress goodwill.)
Many new people join the WordPress forums everyday. After having used the forums for a modest amount of time, I realized that there is a certain Code of Conduct that should be followed. Most people know this intrinsically (especially those in the tech industry); some don’t. After seeing this forum topic,I decided to create this post so that all the new folks can have a positive experience.
Three WordPress Forum Rules
WordPress Forum Rule #1: Search Before You Seek
This must be rule #1. The WordPress Forum has been around for a long, long time. The chances that someone has had your exact problem are pretty good. Make sure you search the forum before you create your post.
There is also a chance that you searched for your solution and didn’t find it, but it is there. This will happen. Sometimes, it can be a good idea to put in your post: “I searched for this and found X and Y, but these weren’t the solution to my exact problem.” This will let people know that you put in the requisite work to find the solution yourself.
A personal example: I have wanted to test the DiggIt and Reddit buttons on my site. I have tried using this plug-in called Gregarious. It just doesn’t work for me. I cannot place the little icons exactly where they need to go. So, I thought, I’ll do it manually…I went to the Digg website, did endless searches on Google, tested various solutions people proffered, but nothing worked. So, I posted this ticket on WordPress. It doesn’t have any responses yet…anybody? J
My golden rule is this. I search through Google and WordPress to find a solution. I usually allocate between 1-3 hours for this. If I cannot find a solution, I will then create a post.
WordPress Forum Rule #2: Don’t Expect People To Do It For You
Remember, the moderators of the WordPress forums are unpaid volunteers. They are not obligated to help you in any way, but they do their best. Do you remember how much you paid for WordPress?
In my searches for solutions, I came across some rather heated exchanges. Here is an example of a WordPress forum post that caused clear frustration for both the poster and the moderator. Remember, some of us are non-technical and others are technical. We often communicate differently. As a follow-up to this post, the user created another post entitled The Moderators Here Are FREAKIN’ RUDE. I don’t recommend this approach. A title like the following will not get you far either: NEED MODERATOR SUPPORT ASAP. Or this: ANYONE OUT THERE PLEASE!!!!
(Wow, these are everywhere. Are people clueless? Just type the word “volunteer” in the forum and you’ll see a whole list of these interchanges. If you see any that you’d like to point out, post them in the comments section below. I’ll approve them J
The moral of the story is this. The moderators will not do your job for you. They will often provide very good advice, solutions, and leads. Too many times, people return with a “where do I do this, where do I do that, what is notepad???”. Clearly, in these cases, the poster has not exerted one ounce of effort. Remember, you can get paid support and then you are entitled to yell all you want.
WordPress Forum Rule #3: Provide Answers When You Have Them
Most of you have probably experienced this exact situation: Following rule #1, you did your due diligence. You’ve searched for hours trying to find a solution to a problem. Finally, you come across a post somewhere that defines your exact problem. With great anticipation, and a sigh of relief, you scroll down to look at the solution and you are met with a…
“I have solved this issue.”
…with no reference to the solution! This is such a frustrating experience.
I know that once we solve a problem our tendency is to be grateful and move on. But, please, please take that extra 10 minutes to document your solution like in this ticket (yes, that’s me). You will be helping many people and generating good Karma for the world!
If you have any rules that you would like to add, post them in the comments below.
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