I’m not very religious but do believe in the Bill and Ted “just be excellent to each other” philosophy. Well, at least, I try. Of course, there was the Blade Runner compliment debacle and the time I was snippy rather than reflecting on what was being said to me. But, I really think it’s easier to be kind.
Recently, for fun or because I am a masochist – I’m not really sure, I’ve being helping people on the WordPress forums. I get excited when I know the answer and I also learn a lot. People have encountered issues that I’ve never even heard of or are using really cool code that I hadn’t even considered using.
What I’ve found though is that some of the other members, while knowledgeable, are really unpleasant. They are rude, sarcastic and snarky.
I know this occurs on all support forums but I don’t think it’s helping to promote WordPress.
Here’s an example. A user asked the following question.
This is the error message I get when trying to upload an image: “The uploaded file could not be moved to D:\inetpub\user\blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/11”.
A member replied with:
why dont you use the search box at the top of the page?
put this in it:
The uploaded file could not be moved
show us the miracle that would be someone searching.
I would have replied with something like this.
When I searched the forums for “the uploaded file could not be moved”, I found the following information. Hopefully this helps you out. (and include the link to the information)
If I was too annoyed to respond pleasantly, than I wouldn’t answer at all, or I would stop providing support.
And some of these rude members are burned out. They’ve been providing support for years and are tired of reading the same questions over and over and having people ask questions before searching for the answer. I completely understand the frustration.
But, if you are that frustrated over something you do as a volunteer, as a hobby, then maybe it’s time to stop. Seriously.
And here’s why.
- With each release WordPress becomes more popular. More people are using it. More people are going to be asking questions in the forums.
- The developers have designed it to be accessible to everyone so you don’t have to be a techie type to use it. This is going to cause there to be more users asking newbie questions. Questions that have been asked before. Repeatedly.
- When something goes horribly awry with WordPress and a website, the user is going to panic. They are going to write a panicked question, not search the forums for solutions first, and not provide enough information. It is isn’t going to help anyone to be nasty to that person.
- With more users, there are going to be more non-native English speakers. Imagine trying to ask your question in another language or searching forums in another language. Yeah, I didn’t think that would work out so well. I belong to a soccer forum that is in French. I can muddle my way through to get information out of it, but my French is not good enough to search the forums or ask a question.
- Let’s face it WordPress. The Support Forums are not that easy to get information out of if you don’t know the keywords to search for. It’s gotten better, but still. And the Codex (WordPress documentation) is not written for the non-technical person. Sorry, it isn’t. I’d say I have an intermediate level of knowledge but I didn’t switch from Movable Type to WordPress for a long time because the Codex information is hard to understand. Fortunately, as more people use WordPress more tutorials are being written and there is a lot more information outside of the Codex. I’ve even written a guide to upgrading WordPress manually so that I had a more user-friendly version.
So, let’s be excellent to each other. And, if you can’t be nice providing a volunteer service, than it’s time to stop. Your attitude is a disservice to the growing WordPress community.
photo credit: zzzed
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