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Under Review By Staff is annoying

  1. Even with a 30 minute head start the Staff's batting average is a bit low

  2. @raincoaster: the tags are empty on that forum question, if you added something in there it's gone now.

    @TSP: have you ever met a sober, and happy, engineer?

  3. Yep, I noticed someone had deleted the tags. Not answered the question, just deleted the tags.

  4. Now Now - we engineers & hack mechanics need to feel loved also - :)

  5. Well, no wonder you all drink then.

  6. For the record: of all the threads started over the last 48 hours (excluding Off Topic and Showcase), those answered by staff within 30 minutes were less than 18%.

  7. Did you count the Spam Posts they let go without reading them? They let a pile of Spam out this morning even after they had been modlook & Spam & spammer marked.

  8. Make that "excluding Off Topic, Showcase, and spam"...

  9. The obvious solution is to hire all the experienced forum volunteers as Happiness Engineers. Problem solved!

    /dancing away to the kitchen for another cuppa coffee

  10. @featherseeds, I've met happy engineers that have not drank any alcohol. That isn't to say they haven't use other means of inducing "happy."

    [MOD EDIT: Obscenity deleted]

    Whoever had this brain fart obviously didn't realize that most staff members would rather be caught blogging at blogger than answer questions in the forums.

    I don't think this was ever about staff answering the bulk of questions in the forums, I think this was more about giving them first shot at answering the easy ones which creates the illusion that they are "on the case". From past experience, even present experience, the correct answer is as likely to elude them as not.

  11. TSP, you're being out-of-line and rude. I know you're capable of much better because I've seen it.

    More broadly, I think you guys value less what you can't see, which is the vast quantity of issues that are brought up and resolved through the ticket system. We have two happiness engineers with over 100,000 replies, each.

    The truth is people get better help in tickets than they do in the forums right now. I personally would like to change that and there will be a number of experiments over the next few months here, including but not limited to radical layout changes, posting rules, ratings, routing tickets here, time delays, reputation scores, banning, promotions, and cheese.

  12. I want to add... that I know for a fact that we have really excellent and smart users. And, as a Happiness Engineer, my heart is in helping users with their blogs and fostering good relationships through help tickets and here in the forums.

    Repeat after me: Change is good! This is a transition for us too, and we want to work together with you to make the forums completely awesome.

    Wait. Cheese?! :)

  13. This all got a bit crazy a bit fast, surely us volunteers can relax a bit more for a few weeks and see how things work out. The community as a whole won't be able to progress and improve if it never tries anything new. And there might be cheese waiting at the finish line (I hope there's a substitute prize for the poor folks who might be lactose intolerant!).

  14. @matt and everyone, yes it was rude and out of line and I apologize.

  15. "I think you guys value less what you can't see, which is the vast quantity of issues that are brought up and resolved through the ticket system." "The truth is people get better help in tickets than they do in the forums right now."

    What does that have to do with the 30-minutes gimmick?

  16. @panaghiotisadam That has more to do with the forums in general and the rudeness and feeling of animosity present in some of the replies, especially in this thread.

    We are usually constantly in tickets so we need to make a better transition to the forums and we are working on different ways to allow us to do that and also work on everything else too. I think it's all a work in progress.

  17. @hallluke and all

    Yes:FAST!!! I thought this "under review" implementation was crazy from the first time I first saw a notice last Tuesday evening when this started. From my point of view it is madness to implement something that certainly appears to make things more difficult and slower for everyone.

    This thread is a rant and not a reasoned discussion. It is divisive. We have been drawing lines and taking sides—and I mean the management (powers, deciders) as well as the volunteers in this forum.

    I'd like to hope that we can all find a way to function for the benefit of all, including people looking for assistance.

    This "under review" procedure was implemented crudely. It appeared suddenly, without explanation; to volunteers it is apparently serving no purpose. I would also surmise that the staff/happiness engineers/theme managers/and so on, who are paid by (or Automatic or whoever has the bank accounts), have important and productive things to do. It has taken a couple of days to see any staff response during the review time over the past few days.

    from Matt:

    The truth is people get better help in tickets than they do in the forums right now.

    Yes! I can believe that is true: Many, many, many people do not use the forums but get help directly from Support. People on staff have fast-moving and stressful work to do resolving some tricky issues. Evidence is that we don't see many posts in the forums from disgruntled (former) wp bloggers.

    Something else I have observed is an improvement in Support from the old FAQ's, especially the continual updating of the support articles.

    Here are the 'opposite sides:'
    There are staff, concerned with making everything work on, and there are volunteers who want to be helpful. These two points of view share a common goal.

    Just a short personal experience note:
    While I was directing folk at the small non-profit where I work (sort of retired now), I found it was a good (and satisfying) experience to cheer on and encourage, respect, and ask for advice (not always implemented) employees and volunteers.

  18. @designsimply: None of us has ever doubted the burden you face with the ticket system or the quality of that service. But if that means you are "usually constantly in tickets [and] need to make a better transition to the forums", it proves that your new gimmick was a bad idea or at least prematurely implemented. Blocking new threads for 30 minutes would make sense if you took full advantage of it; when four times out of five you don't show up, then you yourselves aren't ready for this, the forum has become less effective, and the gimmick only seems as your latest let's-piss-volunteers-off invention. (I wonder: shouldn't "rudeness and feeling of animosity" tell you something?)

  19. Matt, this thread was never about the ticket system; it is about the degradation of the user experience in the forums which the Under Review By Staff has instigated.

    I took a quick glance at the front page of the forum; there are numerous threads which have not been responded to within an hour. That does not normally happen. I'm on at all hours of the day and night, and I know that happens perhaps over Christmas once and otherwise, it's almost unheard of.

    By demonstrably reducing the ability of volunteers to respond, you have reduced their willingness to respond.

    It's no surprise to anyone who works in customer support that over and above solutions for their problems, people want acknowledgment. They want to be heard. This has reduced the responses to the point at which they are going to feel it, and they are not going to be happy.

  20. wordsdivinelywrought

    As a WP user for over two years, I have found the volunteer-staffed Forums to be more than simply a source of technical assistance. The various personalities of the primary Volunteers have been entertaining, instructive, often inspirational and yes, from time to time, you can feel tension, frustration, and sleep deprivation at work. Since I have always asked my questions with respect, I have been answered in kind, and usually in an exceedingly prompt manner.

    I would have expected an announcement alert on my Dashboard before this new idea was tried out. Perhaps I missed it? What I have noticed on the Forums lately is a huge spike in people asking the same questions and raising the same issues that are fully covered in the Support pages, Forum searches, and the videos. It seems a sad commentary on people's growing inability and/or unwillingness to search out solutions for themselves before asking for instant replies. I often marvel that any of the Volunteers can remain polite and patient in the face of questioners who seem unable to click a couple of times before screaming their questions out in all caps followed by a string of exclamation or question marks.

    My sense is that the personality of the Forums is going to change. Like a little more "Regular Army" and a little less "M*A*S*H. Like going to a corporate urgent care center instead of your local country doctor. As a user, I'm still not sure what is broke - and why it needs fixing. (Again, sorry if I missed the memo. No sarcasm intended.) Is it possible for technology to weed out the repetitive questions -- automatically directing people to the relevant Support links, like the Bot does? This might lessen the clogging of the Forums and ease the load for Volunteers and Staff alike.

    Reading this thread, I get the feeling that the Happiness Engineers are unhappy with the Volunteers and are doing some kind of end-run around them -- and that saddens me. Maybe a lot of bloggers are with just for the technology -- but I'm here for the people, too. Please don't sanitize things to create a more corporate, homogenous, bland flavor in the Forums. There's already way too much of that out there in the world, and such a move would signal to me that is sliding down a slippery slope toward becoming "just another blogging platform."

  21. Very nice post,Rachel, and very kindly with volunteers. Thank you.

    True, with this new feature, the forum loses interest and becomes boring. Seems the staff want to finish it.

    The tickets work great, it is also true.

  22. Thank you Rachel.

  23. I posted long ago in this thread and was surprised to see such an active discussion here. Let's hope Staff respect this, let it continue, and chime in as they have.

    I think they key issue here is the disrespect WP has shown to the very dedicated Volunteers (yes, capital V) who devote countless hours to help others, without any pay from WP. I, for one, have had several topics answered by Volunteers. Those answers were spot-on, and wicked fast.

    I have also had several issues that I've taken to WP support and those answers have been 50/50. Some issues were not solved, others had spot on answers. But all were answered in a day, or so. It's impossible to compare that to a response time of MINUTES here in the forums. I can actually get a response _while I'm working on the problem_ here in the Forums.

    I want to address the one suggestion to limit forum topic creation to 1 per 30 minutes. Please, no. I have had several different problems, and posted each of them separately within minutes of each other. Each was advised or solved in minutes by Volunteers. Making me (and others like me) wait hours to ask those issues is a very bad idea.

    But foremost in bad ideas is treating Volunteers like crap.
    That's what WP has done here, but it's no different than issues I've had with WP in the past. Specifically, when WP offered the space upgrade, it included video hosting. Then video hosting was broken out and, as a paying customer of this service, I was not notified that the service I was paying for had changed. The service I signed up for was never noted to be temporary, or a test. But when Matt casually mentioned in a blog post the dramatic change (to a $60 yearly charge for video) that went into effect without any prior notification, it demonstrated the lack of proper business procedures, and the lack of respect for existing paying customers that WP has. It's like WP is their personal toy box that they can change and alter as they see fit without any need to let anyone know of any of the changes before they happen.

    Oddly enough, when it comes to beta testing new versions, there's tons of communication. But not for those who pay for services, like me, and clearly not for those who Volunteer their time here.

    Matt, et al, would be far better served to respect the efforts the Volunteers provide here to the betterment of WordPress (not themselves) and be more proactive in notification and involvement of the customers and Volunteers.

    Matt, when you pop in and announce:

    there _will_be_ a number of experiments over the next few months here, including but not limited to radical layout changes, posting rules, ratings, routing tickets here, time delays, reputation scores, banning, promotions, and cheese.

    You have to realize that you have already singed the fingers of your most die-heard supporters and now you are telling them that more is coming. Maybe you don't realize this, maybe you don't care... at least that's the impression I got with the video subscription issue... but if you plan on executing radical layout changes, etc., I strongly, but humbly, suggest you INVOLVE the Volunteers who spend a great part of their lives here. Don't treat them like invisible, unpaid, worthless slaves that deserve zero respect.

    Because that's what you've already made them feel like.

    One of the reasons I stayed on WP despite losing video service that I felt I had already paid for, is because of the fast and accurate work performed in these forums by these Volunteers. They deserve to be included in the process of improving the forums. They at least deserve notification of impending changes.

    As a paying customer, I know that the law says that I should have been notified that the service I paid for, and the contract between us, was changing, but seeing that you didn't care about respecting the law, helps me understand how WP has treated the Volunteers here.

    Matt, your one comment ripped the Volunteers several times, seeing only to pat yourself (and paid WP Happiness Engineers) on the back for the good work done in the ticket system— an issue that was not even part of this discussion.

    Hey, how about a simple compliment that the Volunteers here do indeed solve a lot of user problems. How about saying "Thank you." Or how about the common decency that you APOLOGIZE for foisting this unexpected change on the unsuspecting Volunteers. Say you'll do a better job at including them in future changes because you value the work they do here and know that any input they contribute to future changes would be for the best of everyone involved.

    Well, that's what _I_ would say if WP were my baby. But I'm not Matt. No, I'm clearly not. Not rich like him either. :) But not like him because I really valued the work done here by the Volunteers and hope they stay around through whatever other surprise stupidity WP decides to wreak here.

    Oh, and that idea of letting Volunteers have first crack and then flag something they think Staff should handle, THAT was what should have happened in the outset. (and would have happened if WP asked the Volunteers first.)

    Maybe this was more than 2¢.
    But I care about the Volunteers and I hope that's clear.


    (Hey, maybe WordPress should hire me as liaison to help them avoid future boneheaded moves like this.)

  24. The truth is people get better help in tickets than they do in the forums right now. I personally would like to change that and there will be a number of experiments over the next few months here, including but not limited to radical layout changes, posting rules, ratings, routing tickets here, time delays, reputation scores, banning, promotions, and cheese.

    Thanks Matt.

    Improving the forum system here is a great idea. It surprised me initially that the support tickets gave more effective results than the support forum and it seems a good idea to change that a little to ensure previous support replies from staff are available for others to see (which potentially cuts down on future support questions).

    I have noticed quite a few replies from volunteers around here have been incorrect. So is this 30 min delay perhaps to cut down on the number of incorrect answers? I can't really think of any other reason for preventing volunteers from responding. Just wondering as I'm a little baffled as to what the benefit is here.

  25. The number of incorrect answers per hour seems to have increased, actually. That's taking into account the incorrect answers from both staff and volunteers.

  26. Bonjour,
    I developped my very first blog 2 months ago without knowing anything.
    I absolutely want to thank these supermembers who spend a lot of their time answering all kinds of questions, and for some of them again and again, sometimes 5 times the same in a single day.
    At my very begining I thought that I could find the appropriate answer in the support's archives or the forum's ones. But I could not find any answer to a lot of my stupid questions... Then, I started to request some help in the forums and was a little bit ashamed to disturb such experts with silly questions....
    Soon, one of my first questions was : how to find the appropriate information to my basic questions because the search function of the support or the one of the forum never delivered appropriate up-to-date answers. Thanksfully I was given the advice to use Google search... and then I could discover answers to almost all my questions that had been given previously to others.

    I will not repeat all that has been written above. If there are volunteers to discharge the support team I actually do not understand that they decline the offer and do their best to even discourage them. I think that the best staff could do to support wordpress bloggers and to help themselves to get less requests, would be to enhance these search functions or to suppress them and advertise how to search with efficiency.
    Support team should be requested only for sensitive questions.

    BTW, I thank both staff and volunteers for the help I got.
    Merci et au revoir.

  27. If Google search is such a great tool, how about staff using their time to better implement Google search into the WP forum experience, thereby eliminating some percentage of questions from ever appearing because the searcher found the answers had already been given.

  28. Even if staff improved the search feature there will still be a high percentage of members that won't search before they ask I have seen it time after time where the OP has replied back they we're to lazy to look for the answer... So I really don't see how improving the search feature will help with cutting down on the redundant threads...

  29. Stupid question:

    But are there ever virtual meetings that bring volunteer support folks and some paid WordPress staff member(s).

    After all, many other organizations, particularily non-profits have volunteer board meetings several times per year. Depending on the nature of the business, volunteers are grouped together for discussions/feedback.

    Also are volunteers at all in any way recognized acknowledged by WPress for months/years of dedication? Not just a public thank you. But more. Sure the volunteers get side benefits for their paid, non-WP volunteer work, since it may appear on their resume.

    If not, sounds like a volunteer sweatshop....Oops did I say that?? But it IS many hours that the volunteer support staff are providing.

  30. Angry again.
    I know a good example to answer this request:
    I will not wait a half hour, I will return at night (in western Europe).
    I don't care, I'm sure that staff knows also good examples.

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