Answer a Question Before You Ask One on WP Support Forum


Today’s tip isn’t really a tip so much as a suggestion. And the suggestion is that when you go to the WordPress.org Support Forums looking for help, try to answer a question by someone else if you plan on asking one.

Why

Let’s face it: the WP support forums can be pretty useless for many, many users. Sure, you can absolutely get some great help there, often from people who are donating their time and knowledge free of charge.

But more often than not, I routinely see people who need help being met with silence or a message akin to, “Try searching for it, idiot.”

And while it’s true that you should try to search for your answer first, many people who go to the forums looking for help wouldn’t have the slightest idea about how to begin searching for the answers to their problems. They may even try, but not knowing the lingo, they come up with nothing.

Resolved?

Another annoying and persistent problem I see on the WP forums is topics being marked as resolved when they clearly aren’t. Either that or they’re marked as closed. Maybe this is a practical shortcut way of housekeeping, I don’t know, but telling someone their pipes don’t leak anymore as they attempt to fend themselves from the spray is no doubt maddening.

Would you go back to a plumber like that?

But I’m Not an Expert

You don’t have to be an expert to answer questions on the forum. If you’re reading this site, then you are surely much more of an “expert” than many who use WordPress. There are tons and tons of very basic questions that get asked on the forums that you could probably easily answer. So instead of letting those questions go unanswered, or answered with some snide remark, why not just go ahead and pitch in?

3 for 1

Personally, what I try to do is to answer three questions for every one that I ask. If I see a string of particularly easy ones, sometimes I’ll go ahead and do more.

And, actually, even though I’ve title this post “Answer a Question Before You Ask One,” usually I go ahead and ask my question first. I’ve got it hot on my mind, and I want to get it down, so I go ahead and get that out of the way. After that, I can take my time, browse around, and pick some questions that I think I can answer. If I’m answering a question in the same forum that I asked mine in, of course it’s going to push mine down the list, but I don’t worry about that. Often the best way for me is not always the best way. :)

The Strength of the WP Community

One of the main reasons that people choose WordPress as a platform is because of the community. And that’s true for people at all levels of expertise. So every little bit you add only makes the community stronger. Your helping someone who has less expertise in a certain area does indeed end up helping you in the end.

That’s not just a nice thought. It’s a reality. The experts who help you when you need help are only part of the community because of its strength. They are part of the community because it’s a “community.” Ultimately, regardless of your level of expertise, the community is still one thing. Make it stronger for someone else, and it will be stronger for you too.

>> If you agree with this suggestion, then please share it (Facebook, Twitter, permanent face tattoo, etc.).

Photo: Business People Standing With Hands Together, Golden Expert from BigStock