Recently I've had my share of support requests in the queue as we find more and more issues with the WPMU plugins we're using for our production site.
After hours and days of deep digging, searching, and research, I have often come across Google search results that lead me right back to the WPMUDev site. A recent case in point is an issue that a group of WPMU support reps have been working with me on for more than a week. Ironically enough, this issue was reported almost two years ago and had a resolution which went unnoticed by the team helping with the current ticket who admittedly have yet to be able to reproduce the issue (at least it appears so since no one updated to the contrary.)
As I often do, I reached out to the members of that conversation that was 2 years old. I do so for several reasons. First they already went through the issue and may have insight I'm missing to help me solve my current problem. I also reference back to other tickets when I know they are the same. The reason being that, in my opinion – actually in my recent experience – this is / has been very helpful for people also coming across threads whose cross referencing may help them also solve their problems that would have otherwise gone unnoticed, not realizing that a possible solution or viable direction was already available. This also prevents flooding of current tickets with unnecessary fill that can distract from arriving at a solution and arguably can even reduce WPMU Support queue requests with the same question asked over and over.
Despite that however, a few times now, although it has been very polite and professional, I've been chastised by the WPMU Devs for "opening up old threads" and "pinging users who would get email" because of my contribution. Well, "yea" I want them to get an email. I want to work with other members of the community who may have already been there and done that. Isn't that what a community is for?
So, I'm confused – why in the world would you keep these old threads open if you don't want people contributing to them? The message here you're sending is one of confusion and grey area. "You can reply to this post – but don't!!! it's unofficially against the rules because it's too old!"
My approach to interacting with the threads has not only helped me solve my requests faster, it has provided WPMU Devs with supporting information when they may have missed it, and helped other users reference material that helps them to solve their issues faster (as noticed by the growing number of 'thumbs ups' on those threads perhaps?)
If you disagree, then that's fine, but If you don't want us contributing to old posts then you should close them out. If you keep them open, why not encourage interacting them in a way to continually give them value? They may be old, but that doesn't mean they can't have continued relevance in solving current issues within the WPMU Dev technology.
On a personal note, no one likes to be chastised. If I have violated a policy or otherwise contributed in a way that is contrary to the community's practices, by all means, please shoot me an email to let me know. I've only been here a few months and am still learning the rules.
But the next time I'm publicly denounced by a WPMU team member, I'm really going to have to reconsider whether or not being a WPMU Dev member is for me.
Evidence of similar can be found throughout the forums for others as well over the years. All of this could be alleviated, I think, if you guys would just make a decision as to a policy for interacting with older posts and clearer guidelines on how to do so.