How to post on WordPress support boards and get help

How to post on WordPress support boards and get help

Postby admin » Sat Nov 19, 2016 12:53 pm

Many people post on the WP support boards hoping to get an answer to a technical question, a user interface question or an operational question, and sometimes, to get script coding guidance or advice. They sometimes assume that because they bought a WordPress extension for one WP plugin, they are entitled to support for another.

They don't understand that even when the extension add-on is for the same plugin, all paid extensions are just not supported on a WordPress support board. The reason is that all plugin support boards DO NOT belong to the plugin authors but to WordPress.

Here are some tips that can help one get the support one needs and most importantly, FAST.

  1. The #1 thing everyone should always do: SEARCH ON WORDPRESS SUPPORT & GOOGLE!
    Search a topic that can match your issue using keywords that can give you the broadest range of possible answers. I say this because sometimes the answer one is looking for is in a topic thread with a not-so-well formulated question. I usually start with the name of the item I have a problem with and adding "not working" at the end. Google is fabulous for finding answers if you also include the name of the plugin at the end separated with comma. Sometimes you'll also need to add with another comma the keyword 'WordPress' or 'WP' at the end. If you're 'feeling lucky', you could just enter the issue you have and find an exact match to your problem. But even after you find one or 2 topic threads with the same issue, there may be no clear answers. Next.

  2. Update the Plugin to the Latest Version:
    Sometimes the issue you are experiencing is due to a bug which has been fixed in the newest version or a fix can be found in a pre-release version of the plugin (if any).

  3. Use the Plugin Author's Support Board As Prescribed:
    Always read the top section (usually in yellow) of the plugin support board. The first post or sticky will tell you as to how to get the most immediate answers to your predicament. It will also give you hints as to how to proceed when free support is not enough.

  4. Formulate The Correct Title in Your Topic Post:
    Creating the right title for your topic post is important as the support team can answer faster and it may attract the participants who have experienced, dealt and resolved the same similar issues. Creating a good title could help you get the right responses. If you are not sure you are creating the right title for your post then stick only to the subject of the issue at hand (e.g. login issue, registration problem, etc.). Refrain from using the words help, urgent, emergency, asap, etc. in topic titles as a moderator would most likely change these words if one sees them.

  5. Don't Ask Multiple Questions or Add Too Much Context When You Post:
    Having one focused question to your issue will give you a much faster response from participants or the plugin support team. Coming for support with many questions and adding redundant background in one post is not helpful to anybody and may discourage people from getting involved in your topic. Also, giving too many details in one post is just as bad as not giving enough. If you have multiple questions then create multiple topics, making sure the title closely summarizes your description of the problem in the topic body. Think of the topic you create as a new source of information for the next user that experiences the same issue. Avoid also talking to yourself by replying multiple times to yourself as you continue to look for answers. The chances that someone will join in the conversation becomes lower if participants see that you are already resolving the issues all by yourself.

  6. Don't Ask Customization Questions:
    Generally, this is not allowed. Come on now, you had a gift from the author(s) and now you come to the theme, plugin or widget support board expecting people to teach you how to customize it to suit your needs? That's viewed as presumptuous and selfish in a way since the support board is designed to provide free operational support to all WP members and to report bugs when one is identified. Creating 'customization topics' or asking people for modification code only clogs up the board with irrelevant information. Even when a customization request is for the same theme, plugin or widget support board, it's seen as a bit of a stretch. Do not expect this type of help from the support team all the time. If you can't get an issue fixed in WordPress, then we urge you to hire a This message was hidden, please register or login to see message! to help you a.s.a.p.

  7. Don't Seek Help For Themes, Plugins, or Widgets Where It Doesn't Belong:
    Each WordPress support board is intended to answer questions about the user interface ("UI"), the operation of a theme, widget or plugin, and/or to report bugs only. For example, asking questions about a theme, a third party plugin or a modification code on the 'Ultimate Member' plugin support board to fix a conflict issue, or to add new or extended functionalities, is generally not welcome (or appropriate for that matter) as those posts tend to clog up a board with irrelevant information. If you post a question about a theme or another plugin, expect little or no help whatsoever. Even if you do get a participant to reply, it will probably take days, weeks, if not months to get response. It won't be for sure in a timely manner, so by the time you receive any answers, it will probably be too late. Please consider This message was hidden, please register or login to see message! instead to help you fix any conflicts between themes, widgets, or plugins, and/or to help with all your customization or function extension needs.

  8. Try To Be Intelligible In Your Explanation:
    Many people assume that what one is looking at is being clearly expressed with one's words in the topic. That's not the case the majority of the time. Please try to explain all the steps you took to reproduce the problem best as you can. Some people, understandingly, make mistakes and sound unintelligible because English is not their native language. Others are just newbies that don't know how to write the computer jargon. Participants will be more inclined to help if that is stated upfront and before the introduction of your issue.

  9. Don't Pretend To Be Someone You Are Not:
    If your HTML, CSS, Java Script & PHP skills are still at a beginners level, you should disclose that at the start of your topic post. Participants will be more inclined to help if you disclaim that upfront and will be more patient and willing to interpret what you are trying to convey if your words don't add up for any advanced user. Dropping all pretenses off is the best approach and benefits you more as it may also encourage someone to have patience when providing guidance or help.

  10. Don't Assume Is A Problem With WordPress:
    If your site is on a shared environment, you should check with your host periodically and inquire about server and/or configuration changes. It's possible that your web hosting provider ran an upgrade and something caused file permissions changes. It is also possible that a hacker made changes to your site while uploading a backdoor hack. On some configured shared hosting, it is also possible that when one user installs a theme, plugin or even a widget from an unreliable source, the script ends up mistakenly changing file permissions for everyone.

  11. A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words:
    Provide screenshots to better understand a problem. Sometimes this can easily be identified by an expert participant even though you didn't properly describe the issue in your post.

  12. Post A Link To The Issue:
    By providing a way to closely check and verify an issue, you could compel more people to help you solve it faster. It's not always necessary though, if the issue is operational which requires access to the admin panel, then you should just outline the exact steps you took to reproduce that issue.

  13. Use the Plugin Author's Documentation :
    Search for the plugin documentation which should cover many issues you come across when using the plugin. Go to the plugin's official web site and you should find it there.

  14. Do Not Repost Your Topic Post Unless Necessary:
    Recently in the last few months, WordPress not only changed the look and feel of its boards, but a few old feature capabilities like 'topic bumping' as well. One can no longer bump topics up, thus take that as a signal that re-posting the same topic again will not be welcome. Bottom line, if no one responded to your problem or issue, then nobody had an answer for it, or it was too confusing and not clear enough. Only in that case, it wouldn't be inappropriate to re-post again if you could change the problem description in your new post. That said, it's also possible that no one answers because your post violates WP support board rules per guidelines above.

  15. Be Polite:
    While the moderators and participants helping others usually adhere to this, being polite is a matter of etiquette; it's about respect, and being considerate of people's feelings, culture, and values. It does not seem difficult, but for many people it remains a challenge. Even some wise-guy type remark could be perceived as uncalled for (e.g. "...and don't ask me to do that again..."). Understandably, you could be very frustrated with an issue, but that's not the way it would be perceived in your post. While some people have no interest whatsoever in politesse, if you're reading this, either somebody or you thought you could improve your etiquette. At the very least, you might want to know how to avoid being rude or boorish, which can put off the people around you. Being polite works for everyone and is also a good way to make friends.

  16. Be Patient:
    Some users assume the world should pay attention to their plight, most importantly, in a timely manner. It has never been easy to be patient, but it's probably harder now than at any time in history. In a world where messages and information can be sent across the world instantly, everything is available with only a few clicks of the mouse. Fortunately, patience is a virtue that can be cultivated and nurtured over time. You will be pleasantly surprised by how relaxation and peace of mind can impact the quality of your life.

  17. Do Not Post An Offer To Pay:
    WordPress is a free software and its forums are free support boards, so requesting paid help is discouraged. WP also doesn't need bidding wars in its forums. Do not post email addresses or contact URLs in the forums. Previously that was allowed but that has not been the case for years. If you post asking for paid help and you have posted some contact information, your thread will be edited and then be closed. The forums are not for people harvest emails from or solicit being contacted.

All our WordPress developers have created great products free of charge and we should all be happy about that. If ALL you want is to extend the functionality of a theme, a plugin, an add-on or a widget, then DIY or pay someone to extend that functionality.

Nobody is chaining anyone to a pole, or forcing one to buy extension products! But consider this; being a This message was hidden, please register or login to see message! is the most thankless job, and most often, an unprofitable occupation because it mainly attracts DIY'ers or people in shoestring budgets.

And finally, PLEASE don't forget, a support board is also NOT a place to socialize, or to have uncivil arguments either.

WE hope these tips will help you get a fast resolution to any problems you are having with a WordPress theme, widget or plugin. Some tips are based on actual experience and some are based upon This message was hidden, please register or login to see message!.

Good luck!
The AVNW Support Team

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