[wp-hackers] Advice on providing plugin support

Paul paul at codehooligans.com
Fri Jul 15 14:07:03 UTC 2011


Yeah, I'm in the same situation with my plugins. I host respective pages for each plugin where people can post questions. And I monitor the wordpress.org forums for items posted related to the plugin. For each release I update the page content with notes on new features and new functionality. But you know what? I found people/users really don't like to read. When a user comes to my site it is generally because they are stuck and possibly under a deadline. So they are scanning for answers. 

I thought about doing away with the comments and force users to post to wordpress.org forums. At least that way the information is housed within a single system. But as you mentioned it is harder to search. Another thought for my own site was to hack the comment form so that I can provide a dropdown where the user can select the version of the plugin. Then users would be able to filter the comments for things related to a specific version of the plugin. But my worry with this approach is the user submitting the comment will not bother to properly set the version. If you are like me you may get plenty of comments from users like 'I installed you plugin and not my site is broken. Help!!!' no other information is provided about which WP version, theme, other plugins, etc. 

I know there are some paid services out there how will help manage comments and provide some hand-holding. I've not investigated this because I don't make any real money off my plugins. So can't see adding out of pocket expenses to provide support. When I have time I triage the comments. When I have tons or client work I let then sit. Sometimes other users provide how-to replies that seem to solve the original commenters questions. 

I'd be interested in seeing other's comments. 


On Jul 15, 2011, at 9:44 AM, Callum Macdonald wrote:

> Holamigos,
> I provide support for a plugin I wrote. Currently I funnel the support
> requests into a WordPress post on my blog, and ask people to post
> comments with their requests.
> I'm now up to about 1000 comments between a few posts. It works ok, but
> there's no way to search the archive. So, I get the same questions over
> and over. I'm working on expanding the FAQ, but people seem to miss it.
> I also follow posts on the WordPress.org forum which are tagged with the
> plugin. However, this suffers from the same problem, there's no way to
> search the history.
> Ideally, I'd like to force users to search before posting a new
> question. When they type their question, I'd like that to be used to
> auto search the history, and hopefully, present useful answers before
> they submit. A little like GetSatisfaction for example.
> Are you a plugin author? How do you provide support? Do you have any
> recommendations? Does GetSatisfaction or another tool work for you?
> Thank you in advance for any advice offered.
> Love & joy - Callum.
> ==
> Callum Macdonald
> UK mobile: +44 7968 378 810
> Desk: +44 845 126 0875
> www.callum-macdonald.com
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