A Little Support?

Thanksgiving was last week, and I thought about doing a post to thank the people who contribute to WordPress core, since this is a group of people I’m thankful for on a daily basis. I started a draft, and then realized that with 2.9 in beta, we’ll have a release announcement sometime in the next few weeks (barring unforeseen complications, etc), and all the core contributors will be thanked then. Though I think it’s worth giving thanks every day for the people who make WordPress possible, I don’t like to clutter up anyone’s feed readers with repetitive posts, so I decided to wait until today for my post, and to focus solely on the other group I’d planned to include: support forum volunteers.

Forum volunteers don’t get a lot of flashy attention. There aren’t flame wars about whether or not the support forums should be commercial instead of free and community-run. There generally aren’t big arguments and debates over whose point of view is the right one. What the forums do have is amazing volunteers who give their time to help other WordPress users and developers learn. People who only know a little answer easy questions that maybe they’ve only recently learned the answers to themselves. People with more expert skills help troubleshoot larger issues. If someone offers advice that could be better, others will add their solutions to the mix. Of all the WordPress users I’ve met in person, not one person got started without visiting the forums. In many cases, people turn to the forums even before the Codex. In the support forums, I see a lot of what is best about our community, and almost none of that which is not.*

Without further ado, here’s my thank you to the volunteers who make the support forums work. Without them, we would be less than what we are today. I’m listing people by their WordPress.org usernames, since that’s how you see them in the forums.

Official WordPress.org Support Forum Moderators

These are the people who’ve officially got your back and have been active in the past few months. See them at a WordCamp? Buy them a beer! Otto42jeremyclark13MichaelH, samboll, Chris_K. MichaelH suggested we also recognize Moshu, Podz, Kafkaesqui for past meritorious service.

The Honor Roll
These people are not official moderators, but their knowledge and activity levels have caught the attention of those who are. A big round of thanks to these folks for selflessly sharing their knowledge with other WordPress users.

Most active volunteers, nominated by more than one official moderator for recognition (for the reasons given):
alchymyth – “Overall knowledge”
apljdi – “Overall knowledge and programming skills”
t31os_ – “Programming skills”
whooami – “For her security responses” “Knows her stuff”

Generally active volunteers, nominated by official moderators for recognition:
esmi, ClaytonJames, numeeja, stvwlf, buddhatrance, songdogtech, alism, alchymyth, Ipstenu, RVoodoo, jdingman, kmessinger, ArnoldGoodway, Shane G., figaro, jonimueller, blepoxp, cais, mfields, designdolphin, doc4, greenshady, mercime, mrmist, bh_WP_fan , henkholland, krembo99, jdembowski, pboosten, adiant, andrea_r, GDHosting, Gangleri.

Some newcomers who’ve been getting active:
a_johnson, equalmark, WebTechGlobal, kymac.

And an additional shoutout to plugin authors who take an active role in moderating threads regarding their plugins, again nominated by official moderators for recognition:
scribu, GDragoN, sivel, MikeChallis, GamerZ, alexrabe, arnee, sociable, takayukister, hallsofmontezuma, joostdevalk, filosofo, roytanck, donncha, Hiroaki Miyashita, manojtd, froman118, error, Viper007Bond, alexkingorg, cavemonkey50, azaozz, aaroncampbell, isa.goksu, flipper, joedolson, redwallhp, eight7teen, orenshmu, WebGeek, Otto42, toddiceton, the_dead_one, mywpplugin, MattyRob, markjaquith, TobiasBg, Txanny, elfin, jolley_small, stastoc, anmari, micropat, frekel.

One more time, a huge THANK YOU to everyone who contributes to the support forums at WordPress.org.

As we close out 2009 and get closer to 2010, it would be great for us to start thinking about some ways we could make it easier/more rewarding for people to be involved in the forums and other aspects of the open source project. I’ve started a forum thread to discuss some ideas with the thought that we can try a couple after the holidays and see what takes.

* I say almost because let’s face it, we all get caught in the traps of trolls sometimes, and patience can be hard to keep when someone is a jerk. So a reminder to all who use the forums: be nice to the people who are trying to help you! 🙂

P.S. While I’m at it, here’s another tip/request. Search the forums for your problem before posting; if it’s already been answered before (often more than once), you’re kind of wasting people’s time by posting it again without trying the previous solutions first. Please respect the time of the volunteers by searching first (and mention in your post what you’ve already tried).

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