my tinfoil hat is compressing my brain

So desperate are these people to ensure that nobody ever uses one of my skins on wordpress.com that they are now testing out a third-party photoblog theme ported to Sandbox. Fantastic!

Since this is clearly a marginally more efficient way of getting themes added than posting in the unread forum threads, has anyone got any requests? I’m already working on a gallery-style skin.

(Occasionally, too, I wonder whether one of the reasons they banned me posting to the forums to prevent me participating in the theme marketplace. One of the entry requirements is presumably the ability to provide theme support, and I had been running around threatening to release stuff for pennies😉 . But then, this doesn’t fit with my other conspiracy theory that the forums are due to be closed entirely within the next few months. Sometimes it’s hard to keep track.)

15 Comments »

  1. Forums shut down? What about the penguins?

  2. The penguins are why I think the forums are scheduled for deletion. The place is overrun with them, and babysitting eats up staff time which would be better spent elsewhere. Emails are private and easier to ignore.😉

  3. timethief said

    Well in January Mark denied that the intention was to shut the forums down when he reported the numbers and you challenged him.
    http://mark.wordpress.com/2008/01/02/year-end/#comments
    Mark Says:
    January 8, 2008 at 2:19 am

    Close the forums? No, not planned, not going to happen.

  4. What they said two months ago is not always a reliable guide to what will happen in the next two months.

    At the very least, I expect the off-topic forum to disappear, probably along with the CSS customisation one (they won’t want to encourage people to purchase the CSS upgrade if paid themes are on their way.)

  5. timethief said

    Re: closing the support forums

    What they said two months ago is not always a reliable guide to what will happen in the next two months.

    True. However, it makes a great holding pen for the milling cattle who pathetically bawl out their problems to volunteers, rather than bothering staff with them.

    I’ve seen posts go up and down the forum for a couple of days when the first answer the OP should have received but didn’t was:

    Hi there,
    Volunteers do not have backend access to blogs and yours is a technical issue that requires staff intervention. Please contact staff using the “support” button on the top right hand corner of any admin side blog page as this is a technical issue that only staff can “fix”.

    Re: closing the off-topic forum
    Frankly, I think it would be a blessing if the off-topic forum were offed.

  6. drmike said

    I’ve seen posts go up and down the forum for a couple of days when the first answer the OP should have received but didn’t was

    The problem with that is that sometimes when that reply is given, it shouldn’t be given. A response is possible without going to staff on an issue. Some folks give that response incorrectly and that just creates more work for staff.

    Some responders would give that response when they didn’t know the answer without giving others a chance to respond. That also creates confusion when others see that response and also follow up to staff.

  7. timethief said

    IMHO there should be a clear statement of the differences between “peer support” and “staff support” as ignorance prevails. Technical problems require staff intervention and IMHO there no sane reason for the bloggers who are duped into thinking that they are speaking to staff on the support forums to twiddle their thumbs waiting for fixes that only staff can provide.

    For example, these are this weekend’s problems posted to the forum by bloggers, who mistakenly think they are getting staff service when they post there:

    can’t edit in WLW
    can’t save a post
    can’t upload
    can’t edit
    hit publish and my post disappeared
    supposedly published post lost in cyberpsace
    comments are appearing and disappearing
    domain set up and domain mapping problems
    Tiny MCE problems re:formatting and spacing

  8. timethief said

    Oops! I forgot this one

    posts are no longer appearing in global tag system (no mature contents)

  9. there no sane reason for the bloggers who are duped into thinking that they are speaking to staff on the support forums to twiddle their thumbs waiting for fixes that only staff can provide.

    Well, since Automattic have already made abundantly clear that they don’t value the contributions made by volunteers, perhaps the best thing to do in this scenario is for volunteers to keep their mouths shut and let staff handle it. Maybe faced with several pages of no-replies one of the following will happen: a) users will adjust their expectations and accept that if they want a reliable service with reliable support they’re going to have to pay for it, or b) staff will be forced to escalate progress on extending support beyond West Coast office hours. A weekend of non-posting would be enough. Of course, it’ll never happen thanks to the whack-a-mole effect. If it were possible to call volunteers out on strike then Automattic wouldn’t be able to pull half the crap they do.

    By the way, I am now taking bets that they’ll implement the new admin interface over the Easter weekend…

  10. timethief said

    Indeed, we are in perfect agreement. However, the whack-a-mole phenomena is still in evidence so the no-replies scenario is not likely to manifest and that’s really too flipping bad. I’m sure that if the only people posting pseudo answers to the OP’s threads were Club Penguin kids there would be an outcry that might even be heard by TPTB.

    No sucker’s bets for me …;-)

  11. Richard said

    By the way, I am now taking bets that they’ll implement the new admin interface over the Easter weekend…

    I suspect toward the end of last week and over the weekend we saw at least the preparations for that very thing evidenced by the posting, editing and tagegory issues.

  12. timethief said

    Yup, I think the upgrading in preparation for the upgrading is well underway.

    This morning I saw a post where two bloggers are complaining about not being able to edit or update their … wait for it … Profile pages. but due to the new and interesting search box adjustments I’m having some difficulty finding it now.

    There is some mysterious time frame that wordpress.com is using re: Akismet to prevent Google from indexing pages – Robots.txt set to disallow on all blogs without me changing it
    http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic.php?id=23567

    And this mysterious problem – Google finds tags – WordPress can’t http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic.php?id=23957

    Also some volunteers seem determined “to go down with the ship” rather than letting the penguins replace them … lol 😀

  13. Matt said

    Y’know, some Penguins ain’t so bad. I have a new favorite named OrbVab, who posted this on the forum:

    “Wow, I think that I am a better typer than you, and I’m a penguin.”

    —–
    I still can’t figure out why in the world the forums are still open. Replace them with a page with nothing but a big search bar on it and you’d have the same effect. I haven’t been over there in a few weeks, but I just went back and it’s exactly the same questions.

    It’s just a lot of work for hardly any payoff.

  14. timethief said

    Unbelievable! I just did a whole day’s work and stopped to check out the forums before supper. There we have adults and penguin kids falling all over each other to give incorrect or incomplete answers to questions. *rotflmao*

  15. Orbvab needs to watch it, if he strays into being too helpful he might get banned for being a ‘bad element’. He should stick to campaigning for Chewypup’s restoration, that way he should be safe.🙄

    The forums are pretty much a car crash at the moment. Most of the issues are technical, some of them (invalid security certificates, broken domain renewals) appear to be a consequence of choosing third-party providers on the basis of cost rather than quality, spam roams free (why do spammers not count as ‘bad elements’ to be inactivated?) and I get 500 errors on a daily basis.

    At least the penguin drama is entertaining. I don’t understand half what’s going on there — who hacked who, which accounts are sockpuppets, whether chewy is telling the truth about his dad being an [sic] criminal lawyer or something — and that’s always a marker of quality fanwank😀

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