Hide and seek with WPMUDev support?

I've got an unresolved support thread on the Membership plugin that hasn't been responded to in over a week. And that one response was making sure I was using the plugin correctly (which I was). I had already done basic testing when I filed the ticket. (disabled all plugins and switched the theme to 2011, reinstalled the plugin, etc.)

It's kind of a major issue that breaks basic WordPress functionality on a clean install, even throwing PHP errors. I was hoping for a little attention...maybe some "quick, comprehensive support"...

https://premium.wpmudev.org/forums/topic/membership-giving-to-non-admin-users-on-pictures-and-files-hosted-under-wp-contentuploads#post-234621

Here are my actual questions for this ticket (other than, can someone please look at the other ticket?! ):
> What is interrupting the flow of great support at WPMU Dev?
> When a ticket falls by the wayside, what's the best way to bring it to your attention?
> Generally, what kind of support do you try to offer? The tagline above this box says "Get quick, comprehensive support for any WPMU DEV product or WordPress related question..." Should I expect a response within 24 hours on plugin issues, longer, or what?

Thanks.

  • Mark Wallace

    Hi jonathan.pottervilla!

    > What is interrupting the flow of great support at WPMU Dev?
    ****I have notice a high volume the past 8 days, it seems like more and more question are coming in because of the update to 3.4

    > When a ticket falls by the wayside, what's the best way to bring it to your attention?
    ***find you ticket and just type in hello again! I am still here!

    > Generally, what kind of support do you try to offer? The tagline above this box says "Get quick, comprehensive support for any WPMU DEV product or WordPress related question..." Should I expect a response within 24 hours on plugin issues, longer, or what?
    ***Usually they are quick; depends on the problem. If it has to go to the developer it may take longer!

    Thanks.
    ***Your Welcome

  • aecnu

    Greetings jonathan and MTB1701,

    Thank you for the opportunity to tell it like it is and MTB1701 for your observations and assistance with this ticket.

    My below comments are not related to either of you two folks, but as a matter of fact my own personal observations on the inside of things looking out.

    The amount of tickets have been increasing exponentially lately partially due to the new WordPress release with accompanied Buddy Press release, another part due to the WPMU Dev Dashboard, and in most part due to unskilled members and some skilled members pounding us with things they are too lazy to try out or figure out themselves even when there is no issue i.e. plugin bug.

    From the WordPress release 3.4 and Buddy press simultaneously this could not be helped by us since we do not control them.

    With the WPMU Dev dashboard release now the lazy have even gotten lazier and are submitting tickets left and right, and of course the worst of these are those that say something like "I want to build an internet empire sawing logs, can you tell me how to do it from the front end all the way to getting the money?" or the one liners that do not even tell what plugin they are using or having trouble with to include those that say "I am getting an error" and that is the only clue.

    These people have a clue of what they want to do and where they want to end and nothing, literally nothing in between, and they think we should be telling them how to do it and build their sites for them.

    As a matter of fact sometimes I wonder what I am doing tech support for when I can be building all these sites myself if I have to go through this kind of stuff just to do my job, I might as well do it myself, it would be easier and less stressful I can assure you.

    As I recently and tactfully told a member that some of these people should not even be allowed to own computers and then you have these other blokes, many of them too cheap to spend $4 on a hosting package who develop "locally" with xxamp or mamp or whatever and then when they move to the real world the whole thing goes down leaving a million problems - and they think we should fix it.

    So unfortunately all members suffer from these types of members who obviously truly need help, this I have no doubt, but at the same time prevent us or slow us down from those with real issues that involve our plugins or themes.

    You have no idea how many Buddy press tickets we get and the member has never tried the Buddy press forums. Even today there is one that says they want us to fix a plugin we did not design because WordPress 3.4 broke it.

    Even if we do not take the time to work these types of tickets they still eat up our time, taking away from the legitimate plugin/theme problems responding to those for the most part lazy bogus tickets.

    I shall quote the WPMU Dev lead developer in a reply he made to a member in the recent past:

    The support we provide here is how to use the current features of our products and bug fixing, teaching someone to code PHP is a bit beyond that scope.

    Obviously someone thought we should teach them PHP. But that is not the main point to me in his statement. The main point is that The support we provide here is how to use the current features of our products and bug fixing and if we stuck to this and this alone and did not do any custom code snippets etc, I would guess half the tickets would disappear immediately.

    Please feel free to look through the tickets and see how many actually meet this criteria, and you will find tickets that "I want to change this font" or "I want to change the wording on" etc. etc. Buddy press this or that etc., half of this mess does not meet the criteria and would be gone and we could in fact offer our members a faster turn around in tickets. But believe it or not these people think we should answer these questions or they would not be posting them here.

    Thank you Jonathan for giving me the opportunity to answer this question in which I believe in nothing but the truth though the truth is also based in perspective.

    Thank you both Jonathan and MTB1701 for being WPMU Dev Members!

    Cheers, Joe

  • Mark Wallace

    You hang in there Joe. Don't want you to leave. I can tell your getting frustrated. I got a plan, not sure how to unfold it yet, and want to make sure all the details are in place before i do. I am working through all the manuals and doing fresh installs of WP then WPMS and BP. I am updating all the manuals; things like how php changed from true and false to using 1 & 2. Once this is done I am going to offer a 30 day class to go through these things to people who want to learn it. I will also teach them about communicating in the forums here as I recommend they sign up with WPMU Dev. I posted a question last week “Best method for requesting help!” It was last commented on 21hrs ago and is already on page 8. There is no way the staff can keep up with that. This post and other observations are all being considered for what I have planned. Now I am not so arrogant to expect WPMU Dev to change for me. I switch from drupal because that project has gotten disorientated. I am gambling my future plans on WP. I believe this community will play a large part in keeping WP organized. So if I have to spend 18 hrs a week teaching people the basics as I learn them myself, and introduce them to WPMU Dev; just so they can deal with the basic issues in the forums and free up the staff so they can address more serious issues, it’s worth it to me. I have 19 personal domain names 3 of which I just bought from your site Joe; to set up this plan I have. I had 6 sites done in drupal now I have no sites complete. I have put off all launches until 2013 to try and develop a firm foundation. If WP doesn’t work then I have to find engineers for my own code. So DON”T leave JOE. Stick it out, and give me a chance to do something. I will do this apart from WPMU Dev, but try and teach people how best to interact and help in the forums before I recommend WPMU Dev to them.
    Oh! My dream! I would love to see the developers here release our own core version of WP.
    https://premium.wpmudev.org/forums/topic/best-method-for-requesting-help

  • aecnu

    Greetings MTB1701,

    Thank you for your words of encouragement and your desire to be helpful which is totally appreciated.

    In addition, thank you for your domain name purchases too.

    It is all greatly appreciated. I guess you could see that I have a pretty robust business outside of WPMU Dev too but so fine tuned and automated that support is for the most part a minimum

    I do not think my Boss is going to let me go anywhere, close to when I was about to go offline for some needed rest last night he came on to chat and told me that I processed over 120+ tickets which is more then double the standard of 50 and that this was outstanding.

    I resolve more tickets in one day then most people can fix themselves in there entire lives ... lol

    That was a funny statement above but I wanted to get a laugh in here while pointing out the pathetic truth at the same time for some cases.

    The irony is that in some cases we have to spend time answering tickets of people complaining about the response time while in fact that very ticket complaining and taking the time to answer it is indeed delaying a response to the other tickets!

    Thank you MTB1701 once again for everything, it is a breath of fresh air and you are a true asset to our community.

    Sincerely, Joe

  • Mason

    The amount of activity on this site has increased significantly in the past 3 weeks. That spike, along with staff being away for vacations, etc has led to longer-than-normal wait times on some threads.

    We're aware of it and seeking to address it.

    How long should you have to wait for a response? Well, initially we'd love to see everyone get some sort of response in an hour or less. Obviously actual resolution times will vary depending on the nature of the task and what's involved with researching or possibly attempting to recreate and confirm the issue.

    That being said, we do know folks are spending serious money to be part of this community and we're serious about providing a high level of support. Seriously.

    So we'll continually be adjusting our processes and fine-tuning both the efficiency and number of personnel on staff to provide the highest level of support possible. Thanks for sharing your experience with us and allowing us to assist with your development needs.

  • Paul Foster Marketing

    Just a thought, as a new member in the last few days and thoroughly impressed with wpmudev, are the tickets automatically 'filtered' in any way?

    At the most basic level, a check for the name of a plugin or theme in the text would be very useful if those tickets not matching (the crap) could be sent elsewhere.

    So unfortunately all members suffer from these types of members [read: I'm working on a major project idea that will save the world, i've got wordpress installed, now what do i do?] who obviously truly need help, this I have no doubt, but at the same time prevent us or slow us down from those with real issues that involve our plugins or themes.

    "The support we provide here is how to use the current features of our products and bug fixing, teaching someone to code PHP is a bit beyond that scope."

    If the crap was filtered away to someone like myself (a reasonably experienced wp user devoping/managing a number of sites) I'd be more than happy to reply to these dumbass tickets politely (sternly/quickly) by suggesting they go in (push them off in) a different direction rather than clogging up the forum, leaving the knowlegeable experienced and very much appreciated developers/staff/support to be able to respond to the tickets they are here to respond to.

    'Filtering' is a lot easier said than done, I appreciate, but just wanted to offer some help if I could, and hope I haven't wasted anyones time here by reopening.

    Regards

    Paul "very impressed" Foster.

  • Dean Kaus

    First off I want to appologize in advance for being negative on this reply. I normally try to be as positive as possible.

    So now for my 2 cents worth. @aecn I've noticed lately that a few of your posts are complaining about the less experienced customers asking for help which is apparently wasting your time and talent.

    When I signed up here I didn't read or see anywhere that you have to be at a certain level of experience before you can become a member. In fact the high price to me would suggest that I should expect more help and answers form staff as the fee's here are pretty high.

    As far as the stupid questions and posts. We need them as well as the highly experienced questions and answers.

    We need to be careful when addressing the supposed stupid, waste of time questions on how you word that. Many people will read it, take offense and just drop their membership and not complain. I'm assuming that @james needs to have membership increase and not decrease so he can pay the staff who I personally believe dop a great job.

    I do have to thank you @aecnu for your previous post complaining about some of the customer/posters here. My wife had just given me a piece of her mind after I had a sales consultation. I had apparently complained if fron of my prospective customer about the way the business has changed due to the economy etc.... At any rate after reading your above post I can see why the client never called me back and didn't hire me. They don't want to hear me complain or talk about my problems or how overworked and underpaid I am. They just want me to do my job and not worry about how I get it done.

    Again I hate to be negative here (especially as it has opened my eyes as to how my customers may be looking at me) but felt my comment may also in turn help someone else.

    BTW I sure hope you can't take away points for a negative post here...

  • Mason

    Heh, maybe we should have @aecnu have a disclaimer that the views expressed in his posts are his own and not specifically those of WPMU DEV or any of its affiliates?

    Actually, Paul brings up a great idea about filtering. It would be incredible, if we could manage it. On the horizon are several areas to help the "newbies" out such as WPMU DEV clinics, live webinars, and much more.

    Our goal is really to celebrate with the brave souls who are just starting their WordPress journey. We were all there once (I think I was there twice.... got held back a year) and we do want to cater to beginners and experienced users alike.

    We face a similar struggle when it comes to documentation. An experienced DEV likely just wants to know what hooks/filters/wp-config defines are available and can't be bothered with a full walk-through. A newer user would prefer to have a full display of all the settings with screenshots and a live demo. It's a tough nut to crack, but we're working on it.

    Dean, we won't take away your points for feedback like this, not ever. It's invaluable to us and believe it or not a few of us who haven't had a ton of direct interaction with you have followed and noted both your positive and negative experiences here. It helps guide us into how we change/respond going forward.

    So, good points here folks. As this isn't technically a "support" question on an individual product, I'm going to turn off the open status. The conversation itself, however, is very open so feel free to chime in with anything else on your mind.

    Thanks!

  • Dean Kaus

    thanks @timothy as I mentioned in another post where you went way above and beyond for a problem that wasn't technically yours to solve. In doing so it will and has helped other members by looking at how you solved the problem. It gives a great starting point in trouble shooting other templates. So Thanks Again on that.

    @aecnu not sure if I made it clear that part of my response to your (sort of negative post) was actually a big thank you. So sometimes a negative comment can actually lead to a positive result.

    The thing I really love about this site (not only the help and the people here who help and the chance to help someone else) is that I can surf through thousands of posts and pick up ideas and learn from others comments and even learn from their thought process. I really appreciate this site and all of the members

  • Mark Wallace

    @Mason
    ***Actually, Paul brings up a great idea about filtering. It would be incredible, if we could manage it. On the horizon are several areas to help the "newbies" out such as WPMU DEV clinics, live webinars, and much more. ***
    Maybe 3 forums WPMU Dev product support, Non WPMU Dev support, And Open discussion?

    @Tim
    Stealing points is wrong. I will have to hold them until this matter is resolved.

    @Dean
    I'll give you the 429 points back once i reach 1,000 lol

    @aecnu
    I’ve prepared your disclaimer for you! Just copy and paste it after each comment.
    ***My views are my own and should not reflect on the WPMU Dev management. Further more people like all of you; that think they know everything; Are very annoying to those of us that do.*** lol

    Talk at you all later, I hear the ice-cream truck coming down the road! Yipeee!!!

  • xaviemirmon

    I am doing my best to eliminate the "stupid" or "less-experienced" questions. I think that if have a bit knowledge about wordpress and we can answer few of the less complicated questions each then we create community filter of sorts. I think that will free up some time for the staff so they can have more time to answer questions about bugs or that are more complicated.

    Xavier

  • Dean Kaus

    @xaviemirmon I'm with you there 100% I'm defiantly not the brightest bulb but i'm willing to shine my light to help anyone else on their path if I can. After all I get so much help here as well.

    the other great thing about this sort of forum where you have the @timothy and @aecnu guru's then all of the levels of experience down to the total newby's you will eventually find a solution to any problem. I know back in the day when I was a newby in the electrical industry, my trainer was a genius, he could figure out most problems without even using a slide rule (yes this was before the calculator was available) He went through and was measuring voltage at all of the test points but the scope still didn't work. As I was looking over his shoulder I noticed that one of the tubes wasn't as bright as all of the others (yes this was before everything was solid state) So I mentioned that to him and he was really frustrated and then to have the newby (used to be call rookies in those days) make a suggestion like that! Well apparently that was the first reading he took. He was overthinking everything so much and expecting the problem to be more complex that he forgot to check the other grid voltage on that tube. Anyway he went to lunch, I replaced the tube and everything worked great. Next day I went to work and got fired. Go figure, I always thought that he should have been fired but...

    Sorry to get so long winded but to summarize, Help when you can and learn from the times you can't so next time you'll be able to help.

  • Mark

    I just came upon this interesting thread. Good posts by all. After reading through everything and writing my thoughts below, I created a new Feature Request:
    Details, Review, Usage and ... "Common Problems / Hot Tips"

    Other thoughts...

    Mason cited a spike in traffic due to the combination of WP and BP updates and then further compounded by staff vacations. But you can definitely see in Joe's writing that there are some underlying issues that don't go away. So they need to be dealt with.

    @masonjames wrote:

    On the horizon are several areas to help the "newbies" out such as WPMU DEV clinics, live webinars, and much more.

    Awesome. Sign me up, please. I need some education.
    PS - I recommend http://www.vokle.com as a platform to use. I hope you're not going to try and do it through Wordpress! It might take forever, hahaha. But it could be a good learning experience and maybe we'd see a new video chat plug-in come out at the end of it.

    @PAFoster mentioned filtering and it's a good idea. Obviously this can take on many forms. I personally think you should take rookie questions that are asked in a Plugin area and just move them to the Beginner section. And then ask someone with a lot of patience and cheer (@GinaB, for example) to field the beginner questions.

    @aecnu
    I can tell that you want to give the best response you can give and you'll dig dig dig to deliver the solution. Don't take this as an insult but I personally feel you spend too much time in your responses. What I mean is that your level of customer service is too high and it's going to wear you out, man. I've also seen that it makes you more exasperated when dealing with the type of "lazy" questions mentioned above. You personally will put a lot of time into doing the job yourself before asking others to do it, so it bothers you to see people who don't. I completely understand. But be careful to not let it get to you. You'll lose your positivity.

    @Dean Kaus mentioned that dealing with lazy questions is just part of the job and the way people do it reflects greatly on the company and the service. There's a certain karma involved which will affect you and your bottom line.

    @xaviemirmon is helping out by taking on some of the lower level questions (that's my level hehe) and freeing up time for staff and devs.

    I'm trying to do that as well as much as I can, and only very recently did I start really getting involved. Like many before me, at first I started for the points and then I realized how much I like helping others in the forum ... and how much I learn through the process.

    Thanks to all of you who make this forum a better place.

    Cheers,
    Mark

  • aecnu

    Greetings Everyone,

    This turned out to be quite the controversial post even though in some cases it was clearly taken out of context.

    My comments were/are my own beliefs and observations and not that of WPMU Dev and its affiliates.

    One must remember when considering my post that I was answering the question of another member with what I believe to be the absolutely unadulterated truth.

    It was a response that was 100% valid answer to the question, and without the question it is therefore out of context on its own.

    I thank all of you for your thoughts and comments here, some were surprising, but for the most part refreshing and reinforcing my vision of what is truly going on here.

    Cheers, Joe

  • Mark Wallace

    @KimberlyL! Butter Pecan!!! Count me in.

    @aecnu! Sir you really should have added this part
    *** Further more people like all of you; that think they know everything; Are very annoying to those of us that do***
    It really rattles people nervs.

    @Mason got out of here while the getting was good. lol

    @Tim should i keep stalking him about WordCamp, or will he chew you out agian?

    @Dean i find it hard to believe you not getting clients, you seem like quite the sales man. lol

    Love ya all but i have to unsubscribed from this thread; I am not getting any work done. lol

  • Kimberly

    @mark77210 you are an angel! yummo!

    Now I'm afraid I must close this one up as I'm not getting any work done either! (and I don't want anyone aware that I'm not paying attention here once I'm actually gone stuffing my face with ice cream!)

    Thanks for the feedback guys and Mark thanks for giving us a place to organize our thoughts on how to tackle the organization of information that would be helpful for everyone here! Cannot wait to see what comes up!