maladjusted geeks

Nice going WordPress. There has to be some kind of test you can give to your moderators to make sure the character glass is at least half full.

Well, I’m sure the policy of handing out moderator badges like sweeties to anyone who manages to stand the atmosphere in the .org forums longer than a week is now being rethought. It’s kind of sad that being a misogynist troll is in itself perfectly acceptable, and rambling badly-formatted emails boasting about your criminal record on the wp-forums list are also ok, and it’s only when you start hassling people who have come to the forums seeking help (and, incidentally, conspicuously failing to get any) that people finally twig that maybe giving you mod powers wasn’t such a fantastic idea after all. But it doesn’t surprise me, and it also helps to explain why it’s so hard to get people to stick around the .org forums longer than a week.

I am not for a moment arguing that people should be disqualified from helping on the forums because their personal sites are offensive and their social skills leave much to be desired (there’d be three people left, at most), just that maybe in future they shouldn’t be bribed with an official role. Even though in theory moderators should be held to a higher standard of behaviour, in practice some of the rudest and most unhelpful replies I’ve seen have been from mods. I’ve been saying for years that this sets the tone, and is why it’s so hard to get fresh volunteers; and this latest deterioration may or may not have something to do with the fact that the devs have abandoned free support like a sinking ship (Matt hasn’t posted in the .org forums for over two months, Ryan for nearly four).

If Codex ever gets some official love, maybe the next step should be getting someone to deal with the forums. And no, I don’t mean to faff about with bbPress making it look more like a shiny investor-impressing project than something Matt threw together in a weekend because his ego wouldn’t allow him to use someone else’s forum software. I mean making it look and act a bit more like a welcoming community resource and less like a hangout for maladjusted geeks.

16 Comments »

  1. Handy said

    I should know better than to feed the trolls. And somehow I suspect you’ll find a clever way to feed me my own words… but oh well, here goes.

    You just shotgunned some very large holes into a lot of good folks to get your jabs into one or two folks. That’s a helluva lot of collateral damage. You probably can’t convince me that every WP Forums volunteer was deserving of what you just dished out.

    You have folks you hate at WP? Fine. Do what you feel you need to do. But going after every volunteer at the same time seems pretty troll’ish. For every unhelpful reply, I bet you can find just as many examples of extreme patience as well. Not to mention the dozens/hundreds/thousands of helpful replies already offered by that same volunteer.

    I know that THOSE aren’t as fun to single out and they don’t drive traffic to this blog, but they’re out there as well.

  2. Alan said

    Holly: It doesn’t matter if there’s a hundred good volunteer mods to every bad one. No one notices the good, people only ever notice the bad. So as long as WP keeps ‘hiring’ bad mods, the forums will come off as a hostile, unhelpful place, regardless of all the good volunteers. It only takes one person to ruin a places reputation in the eyes of the majority.

  3. It’s sweet that you’re jumping to the defence of your buddy, truly it is, but it really isn’t doing anything to dispel the general impression of cliqueishness. Some mods are rude. Some volunteers are just there to drive traffic to their own sites. And the reluctance of other volunteers to admit this is a major part of the problem.

    Your all-or-nothing ‘we are GOOD PEOPLE and if you’re not WITH us, you’re AGAINST us’ attitude does a better job of illustrating the problem with the way the forums are run than any number of posts by me, and for that I thank you.

  4. vkaryl said

    I didn’t really think Handy was jumping to the “buddy’s” defense as much as he was attempting to point out you really were tarring everyone with the latest black brush….

  5. I doubt that anything I say here could damage the reputation of wordpress support much more than it’s already been damaged by your colleagues. Experiencing this stuff at first-hand is always going to make way more of an impression than hearing about it at second- or third-hand.

  6. vkaryl said

    “your colleagues”? I haven’t been “one of them” for a while now…. I just didn’t read it the way you did I guess.

  7. spencerp said

    Oh come on, why is everyone getting their panties into a bunch, over a mistake!?!?! I should not have sent her an email, which contained my moderator status..

    I was NOT trolling the forums for anyone specific, to email. I was browsing through the threads in the “Latest Discussions” section, going through threads to see if I could help anyone.. noticed that name, it was interesting, read some of her articles, and wanted to ask about a link exchange..

    It’s not like I asked her for a “date”, sexual favors, or anything of that nature.. It was just a link exchange for Lord’s Sake!! I also know I’m not Mr. Grammar Professional, or Mr. Awesome Email Writer. Would you mind proof reading my stuff from now on? And let me know what’s right, or wrong..?

    People bitch, moan, and groan, about “Trolling” and such, but.. here you are, trolling through the email lists, and so forth.. looking for more food to feed your readers, with your own B.S. (2 cents)..

    Of course, no one in the forums is a “peach”. Everyone makes mistakes, and has to learn from them.. I also said I was sorry about it, and was also demoted, because of my actions.. I’ve also been at the forums for a little over a year, not anything special of course, but, I did, and do help in there as much as I can..

    Matt and Ryan might not always post in the forums, but I’m sure they have their reasons.. Rather then picking out the negative in the “people”, methods of doing things, and so forth.. why not hop back in the forums, and dish out your wonderful knowledge in there, helping people again?

    Actually, in my opinion, Alice (she) should take that post down, and I’ll remove any that relates to the whole ordeal, and consider it all over with.. but, I don’t see that happening.. but, whatever..

    I think this sums up everything I wanted to say.. well, my “Last Word” on this whole ordeal can be found here.

    spencerp

  8. spencerp said

    Oh wait, I forgot one thing, would you like to exchange links? … Just kidding!! If I had that blog title in my “Link Swaps” section in the sidebar… people might think it was “something” perverted, I don’t need that now.. oops! =P

    spencerp

  9. miklb said

    “maladjusted geek”, hmm, not sure I’ve ever been called that before…Though this post is a little slow on the uptake, I knew it was coming, and though I wasn’t part of the decision to make spencerp a mod, he WAS a very active and helpful one, especially during a time when others (myself included) weren’t able to commit the time to the forums that are required. I do not believe he was trolling the forums looking for ‘action’, or hassling anyone, though I believe he made a judgment error it was dealt with swiftly. It has been discussed both personally and publicly. He’s acknowledged his error, and still continues to help.
    I guess some people are more comfortable taking pot shots from their ivory tower than I.
    And as far as your your ‘conspicuously unanswered’ comment, hardly uncommon, unfortunately…

  10. mark said

    If you have a problem with people being a mod, it’s me you have a pop at.

    If I took someone’s blog into account and denied them mod status when they had worked hard then I’d be told their forum work only should be used as criteria.
    If I do not take it into account I’m told I should.
    Lose-lose.

    You have been around for a long time (remember Mr Sauve himself? Root?) so why not take time to contribute positively to the wp.org forums? It’s not like you can’t.

    (And before you track me down, yes I know my last post was ages ago, I know I should do more but I am extremely busy here).

  11. why not take time to contribute positively to the wp.org forums? It’s not like you can’t.

    I feel the battle to make the .org forums a pleasant place was lost some time ago, sadly, and I’m much happier doing .com support. (Granted, I spend less time on the forums here than I used to, but that’s because everyone else is doing such a sterling job they don’t leave me that much to do.) If I ever drop in to ask a question or look something up then I try to answer a question or two while I’m there, and yes, I should make the effort more often, but… I think I’m just guilty of concentrating too much on .com. Bit like Automattic, really😉

  12. Kola said

    There have been numerous occasions where I’ve asked a question and been met with a smart ass answer on the org forums. People need to get off their high horses and understand that not everyone knows every single function of wordpress when they first begin using it.

  13. timethief said

    wank
    I know this isn’t the appropriate place but you have no posted email address so here I am thanking you for making this request for removal of the troll posts and for closure http://wordpress.com/forums/topic.php?id=5540&replies=41

  14. Alan said

    So, I’m designing a theme for a WordPress install intended to act as a wiki. This is gonna involve a lot of dumpster diving in the Codex.

    Wish me luck, TGA. Wish me luck.

  15. lestor said

    Googled Spencerp earlier today to see what was up. He’s apparently terrorizing the wiki folks now. http://mail.wikipedia.org/pipermail/mediawiki-l/2006-December/016652.html

    Amusingly, he popped up in another WP mailing list forum just this morning though!
    http://comox.textdrive.com/pipermail/wp-install/2006-December/000062.html

    Gee, I hope they let him be a WP mod again… how can a message like that not convince you?

  16. Root said

    Suave? Me? That is defamatory.🙂

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