unhappiness engineering

Oh, and the .org forums are still definitely in need of a Happiness Engineer. Pronto.

Every time I see somebody on the .com forums getting sent to .org, I kind of want to tell them not to go there. These people don’t even know where they’re hosted, and we’re directing them to a place where sarcastic geeks roam free. It seems unnecessarily cruel. And eventually, yeah, somebody’s going to realise that having two domains called wordpress with two separate support forums is hopelessly confusing for newbies and everything is going to get .commed, but until then, this is how it works: hopelessly confused newbie registers on .com forums, asks question, waits around while volunteers try to extract from them whether or not they are actually hosted here, gets sent on to .org, has to re-register, asks question, then crosses their fingers hoping they don’t end up on the list of no-replies.

Actually, I think we lose most of them on the way to .org. Maybe they resolve the problem by themselves. Maybe they get there, look around and run away. Maybe they decide this WordPress thing is way too complicated and they’re better off on myspace.

Of course, Automattic don’t care what goes down on .org, or whether self-hosters manage to find it, because that’s not where the money is. If anyone complains that you’re being rude on the .com forums, you’ll be kicked to the kerb; wordpress.com users need to be kept around for stats and clickthroughs and potential upgrade dollars. If these are not paying customers, they are at least potential paying customers, and their blogs a means of attracting paying customers. The value of your unpaid labour is not worth risking the reputation of wordpress.com, particularly since there are always others waiting in the wings to take over your duties.

But you can say what you like to wordpress.org users and keep your moderator powers, since Automattic don’t stand to make any money out of those people and anyway, they should be able to look after themselves. Not to mention the fact that there’s a distinct shortage of volunteers robust enough to handle the atmosphere for longer than a week at a time. The moral is, if you wish to demonstrate your lack of grace and patience, choose your forum carefully.🙂

19 Comments »

  1. shadows is leaving for ever and ever (again)? oh noes!
    i’m probably the “wannabe designer who hates capital letters” 2 posts later, so i should probably not poke him.

    the no replies thing is kind of depressing. i blame the awkward location of, and lack of pulicity for, the wordpress FAQ. many of the questions could be answered simply, yet the people who could answer them, just don’t. that said, i never spend any time in there. mainly because the questions there depend on so many random factors (vs the wp.com forums, where the answers are absolute, once you can decode the question)

  2. ttancm said

    All of my sites are self-hosted, (unfortunately the majority of the problems you point out here still apply), but the .org forums are really horrible. I don’t bother posting anymore, you either get ignored or if you get an answer at all you usually get some jackass trying to prove how cool he is by being a smartass on the internet, and still usually not actually offering anything helpful.

    What makes it worse it that some of the most obnoxious people over there are some of the moderators…:P

  3. drmiketemp said

    ttancm, a lot of that may be because your question(s) has been answered many times over in the past and a simple search would have located what you needed. Gotta admit that the same question asked over and over again leads to some serious burnout.

    As to questions not get answered, you’re right, not every question does get answered. The people replying can only do so much and can only spend so much time trying to help. Can’t answer them all, no matter how hard people try.

    You also forget that a lot of these people doign the answering also get emails by the ton by folks skiping past teh forums and assuming that you’ll drop everything on the spot for them and answer their demands. Half the time, we don’t even get a thank you back for the time we’ve spent answering let alone anything money wise back.

    As to the rudeness, I gotta admit that I question if many of these folks asking questions have ever learned even basic manners. When I ask a question in an attempt to get more information so I can help, a lot of the time I get back a snotty reply that makes me feel like I’m wasting my time. I still try though.

    Not trying to argue with you. Just hoping you’ll see it from our side.

  4. i’m probably the “wannabe designer who hates capital letters” 2 posts later, so i should probably not poke him.

    You’re a better person than me. I would no doubt have mentioned the misplaced apostrophe and unique spelling of ‘obnoxious’. People should never resort to grammar swipes unless they are 100% typo-free.

    I am now taking bets on the identity of the ‘egotistical glory grabber from the US’. That one’s hard.

  5. drmiketemp said

    I noticed that the Please Read Me First Before Posting sticky got relabeled. Now says “WordPress.com or WordPress.org ? The difference.”

    That was a step backwards. Now folks looking for something to get them started are going to go right over that since they will think that it’s not important to them.

    Granted it was poorly written to begin with and did little to help confused new folks.

  6. Root said

    Poor Shadow has left WP in a huff more times than I have.🙂 But any one who is expecting any er positive feedback in the forums is barking up the wrong tree. I like to help out. But the urge to just take a dig here and there frequently over takes me. Stupid people can be very tiring.🙂

  7. @drmike: I noticed the renaming of the sticky too, but I don’t think it matters what it’s called because nobody ever reads stickies anyway. Did you notice how when that red dashboard thing was going on Mark didn’t make the thread sticky so that people would be more likely to read it? Maybe we should try having an ongoing thread about the distinction between .com and .org and bump it every couple of hours. We could call it something like FREE PORN HERE!!!, then people would be bound to click on it, even if it was only in hopes of being offended by the contents. Except, oh, that might be a bit damaging to wp.com’s reputation as a place where nine-year-old Club Penguin addicts can frolic without parental supervision.

  8. Perhaps it should be the “official club penguin thread”, then😉

    I figured that there was enough black for both pot and kettle, I didn’t need to mention his grammar😉

    ‘egotistical glory grabber from the US’: It’s hard to find someone with enough ego to log their every thought for public consumption, who manages to come across as humble. I think that description would cover nearly all of the blogs I read.

  9. Root said

    Isn’t everyone in the US an egotistical glory grabber? Or is that just Texans?🙂

  10. Su said

    If you want some real fun, try asking even the most rudimentary question in the IRC channel. Do keep in mind the “PG-13” language suggestion when you get around line 90 and things start turning to doggy style and someone’s uterus falling out.

    (Probably easiest to select and copy the text into your editor of choice. Pastie unfortunately scrolls rather than wraps lines.)

  11. …and evidently #wordpress is a place where fourteen-year-olds can frolic without parental supervision. Why on earth is that still linked on Codex? I mean, yeah, it’s nice that the fanboys have a place to hang out where they don’t have to interact with those who are not of their own kind, but nobody can seriously pretend it has anything to do with support.

    (Just checking: you did find install4free in the end?)

  12. drmiketemp said

    Funny, they made a big deal about getting moderators (or whatever they call them on IRC. Been about 4 years since I was in IRC I think.) into the channel.

    I wonder what happened to them?

  13. ttancm said

    Dr. Mike,

    I always search before posting a question. Sometimes for days (literally) beforehand.

    Unfortunately finding things at the .org forums is not as easy as it should be for a variety of reasons, e.g. the search system kind of sucks, a more advanced search (boolean, search titles, search body, search titles and body, etc.) would be nice.

    On top of that oftentimes when you do search and find something related to what you are looking for the thread is marked “resolved”, but more times than not there’s no actual solution posted, but instead either the person figured out what was wrong themselves and fixed it, without bothering to post any details of how, or the thread has just degraded into a bunch of people from .org ganging up on the person with the question and the solution offered being something like “host on .com”, “learn php”, or something similarly useful.

    I’m aware being a moderator can be difficult/stressful/irritating with little reward (I run 7 websites which don’t make enough money to cover even 1/10 of hosting expenses) but I happen to think that if being asked “stupid questions” irritates you so badly that you have to insult or attack people who, while possibly ignorant, are simply seeking help and not being rude or attempting to cause anyone any discomfort, then you probably shouldn’t sign up for to be a moderator/website admin/head of support/etc.😛

  14. Su said

    TGA: I did find install4free eventually. One of the links Akor appeared to be throwing out at random finally made mention of it. But by that point I had pretty much resigned myself to ignoring everything unless an obvious response to me was made, though, so thanked via PM. It was just kind of fascinating to watch the rest of the garbage scroll up the screen; it wasn’t the first time I’d received essentially that same response. Which is more than I’ve had in the forum, where my few posts have simply been ignored.

  15. engtechtmp said

    Here’s one for unhappiness engineering: my account is suspended.

    Luckily the blog is still alive and kicking, but I have no way to log into it.

    I’m hoping its just a hiccup, or my girlfriend slipped them $5 to get me off the computer. Time will tell.

  16. The wordpress.org site search is there merely for decoration and in no way resembles a real search function. It’s always been more important for the developers to be able to say they built everything themselves than for the end product to be usable.

  17. Andrea said

    The mu.wordpress.org search box is even more impressive as it searches the regular wp.org forums, not the forums of the page it is on.

  18. shep said

    IRC is usually a decent place to go for help. there are a few people in there that make it difficult though. Frazz is one for his immaturity and StoneCypher is another for his constant trolling. Usually people in there are good help, though, it’s not what it once was when some of the devs would be in there helping out (chrisjdavis, skippy, drbacchus, masquerade, etc).

  19. Root said

    I would think a lot of folk might quite enjoy a job at Autocrattic. But I couldn’t stand the chaos myself. Not that they would have me.🙂

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