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The WP Forum search function – what gives?

  • Does anyone find the forum search function useful in the least? There is no sorting results by date. There is not even a forum-specific searchbox on most forum pages. Just that “Search WP.org” box, which gives you the kitchen sink every time.

    Tonight I was looking for suggestions for using the WP export/import feature in a way that might actually, say, export and import a WP database and its media files accurately, and the first 10 threads returned were from 2-4 years ago!!! YEARS!!! …And that’s not including the many results that were not even forum threads.

    No wonder there are 1,000,000 duplicate threads. Who would wade through all that stuff just to find a relevant thread?!?

    Folks, what year is it? Please, don’t anybody even dare to pretend this is close to contemporary standards of efficiency. Why doesn’t somebody at WP fix basic stuff like this? It helps people help themselves! It promotes the platform! I would gladly even pay for access to a useful forum – as it is it’s a royal waste of time.

    It’s often hard to find the answer to a very basic question here. I have only been moved to post this after months of frustration trying to understand what I might be doing wrong in my searches.

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 21 total)
  • IT’s on a VERY long list of things to be fixed, and has been acknowledged as ‘painful’ by many.

    The search used to be a bit better, but I believe the system it ran on is defunct.

    As a stop-gap, Google search was plopped in place. So yes, the search pretty much is hosed … and it is on the list of things to be fixed … but that I know of, there is no timeline.

    The search used to be a bit better, but I believe the system it ran on is defunct.

    Yeah, Yahoo turned it off.

    Ok. How is anybody supposed to develop on wp without a functional forum!!?

    Don’t take it personally but What TF? This is the type of thing where in a functional organization you write a check and get it done. I don’t even want to hear a spiel about volunteer software authoring. WP.org has expenses like any other organization – server fees, etc. This is basic.

    Like you said, the to-do list of obvious stuff seems waaay too long at wordpress, this is obviously one piece of a very large logjam. But consider how this one thing slows down so many other things and exhausts your resources and time, as mods (and probably potential developers)! No one can tell me there’s not money somewhere available to the core WP leader people, like Matt for example, to start putting people on payroll to clear the backlog.

    It’s starting to make me question the platform, and that should not happen. Tons of people make their living with WordPress, so there is a natural base of people who would pay to speed basic core functionality development. Starting with me.

    esmi

    @esmi

    Forum Moderator

    How is anybody supposed to develop on wp without a functional forum!!?

    Most people manage. Frankly I can find most things I need via the search here or via Google.

    No way esmi. It’s a half hour minimum searching for the answer to a simple question like the one I mentioned. It’s so wasteful it’s not even funny, and this is supposedly the best cms in the world.

    We’re talking about prolly 8 hours of a developer’s time to save thousands of hours of forum user’s time. An organization that can’t execute on a choice like that is dysfunctional. Sorry.

    esmi

    @esmi

    Forum Moderator

    Possibly because you were looking for the wrong thing? The export/import function does not import a database – just a site’s content (including attachments if requested. A search on “import” gives me http://codex.wordpress.org/Importing_Content as the first result – which leads to http://codex.wordpress.org/Importing_Content#WordPress

    Yeah I know that, thanks. Sorry for the terminology slip.

    It’s the wordpress CONTENT import plugin that is extremely dodgy, as many threads will attest, and I was looking for obvious problems and workarounds besides the server file upload size limit.

    None of those links is even slightly helpful for real troubleshooting of the reliable problems of wp import, and I read through them three times before posting in exasperation – about my inability to help myself via the forums, which is still the topic of this thread.

    But I think we can add “the ability to reliably export the contents of one wordpress install and import them to another” to the list of things that should have been fixed yesterday, if you like.

    esmi

    @esmi

    Forum Moderator

    I’ve used the import plugin quite a lot and haven’t found any issues with it so far but then I’ve been importing a test unit file. Have you tried looking through http://wordpress.org/tags/wordpress-importer?forum_id=10 ?

    esmi you are patient! thanks. Your link does indeed point to a dead thread describing my problem, it’s this one, fwiw.

    I just wanted to acknowledge with the above that your search technique, using tag links and forum id, is better than the raw search I was using.

    But the issue is that it is not at all obvious how to make a search like that of this forum, with both tags and forum_id, if not by typing the url yourself. I do see that the tags on pages like this, at least, are clickable search terms, as they would be in any WordPress install.

    I was attempting to bring up a larger issue, though, and keep it away from the particulars of my current issue. This other thread in the search results you sent perfectly illustrates what I see as a much larger problem at WP.org – maybe I should make a different thread with this issue explicitly in the title.

    Check out this exchange between moderator Jon and OP Marikamitsos.
    She’s asking about a basic missed functionality of WP Importer/ WP export: why the internal links don’t update. It hasn’t been fixed and the answer is no one has time.

    That means it’s time to break out the checkbook. If you mods haven’t thought of raising this issue with the WP money people, and I can’t fathom why not, I’m willing to raise it for you.

    Jon
    WordPress Dev
    Posted 3 weeks ago #

    > Don’t you think it should though? Any plans on that?

    Yes, ideally it should. I couldn’t say when though. It requires someone to write a patch and think about any edge cases where it wouldn’t work or break something.

    > BTW, how does it work with mapped domains? […] would we have to deal with any known issues you probably are aware of?

    It should work fine. So there are no issues that I am aware of.

    marikamitsos
    Member
    Posted 3 weeks ago #

    > Yes, ideally it should.

    I am glad we both agree. 🙂

    > It requires someone to write a patch and think about any edge cases where it wouldn’t work or break something.

    Sorry, I thought you were the developer. Meaning the right person to address when it comes to caring about updates, bugs, new features and suggestions.
    After all we are talking about a plugin with almost 2.5 MIL downloads (an average of 7.000people daily-WOW) and actually the only one for exporting/importing a WordPress site.

    I wish the developer(s) will take a note of this so needed functionality.

    Thank you for your time,
    marikamitsos

    EXACTLY. We’re talking about a product with millions of users, including millions of paying users at WP.com and the various premium themes and plugins. At some point all of these users are, if not making a living from wordpress, receiving value. WordPress as an organization, also, IS NOT EVEN NEARLY BROKE. There is no reason why basic programming development in the core shouldn’t be taken care of promptly.

    Or, for example, a broken forum search. Jeez, my own WP blog has better search.

    esmi

    @esmi

    Forum Moderator

    including millions of paying users at WP.com and the various premium themes and plugins.

    None of which has anything to do with wordpress.org. wordpress.org develops, distributes, supports and documents the WordPress application but receives no direct income from any themes, plugins or wordpress.com services. Everything – and yes I do mean “everything” – is volunteer & community based.

    Now whilst this does mean that WordPress is -and always will be – free, it does have one drawback. It relies heavily on people being able to donate (sometimes quite large) chunks of their time to develop WP itself as well as maintain all of the other services on WPORG.

    Take this forum as an example. It’s a highly customised version of the original standalone bbPress. Because it’s so customised, there are only a few people around with the necessary level of experience working with it. Add in the fact that the forums have to be available pretty much 24/7 and you end up with a ready-made log jam when ever a major new feature is wanted/requested. Hence the very big ToDo list that Rev Voodoo mentioned above.

    Yes – the forum search sucks. Trust me – whatever you say about it, you can bet that the forum regulars have already said it twice as loud and possibly a lot more graphically. We do feel your pain. But right now, we’re stuck with it until the right skill set and the right time happen to coincide. Until then, it remains very high on the list.

    Esmi thanks for your response over on the wp importer thread, i’m going to try what you recommended.

    None of which has anything to do with wordpress.org. wordpress.org develops, distributes, supports and documents the WordPress application but receives no direct income from any themes, plugins or wordpress.com services. Everything – and yes I do mean “everything” – is volunteer & community based.

    This is indeed the official doublespeak around here, but it’s simply not true that wordpress.org has nothing to do with wordpress.com.

    Everything, and I do mean everything, at wordpress.com and all the premium theme houses is directly dependent upon the quality of the code done at wordpress.org. The dividing line between work done on this free open source software that is compensated, and work that is not, is entirely arbitrary.

    I believe in free and open source software and I also believe in critical parts of it being developed by devoted full-time coders who are compensated for their efforts. The adoption of new versions and forks can an should remain a democratic process, regardless of whether it’s done by sleepless overworked people with children or trust-fund kids or – horrors – people adequately paid to develop it. But I’m saying it’s too important not to have people paid to work on it. I don’t care if somebody gets paid to advance code that is ultimately not accepted because a volunteer made something better. What I do care about is this gigantic backlog of obvious stuff that’s not getting worked on because nobody has the time. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but there is an economic recession on planet earth. Coders need money to prioritize things too.

    Right now WP only seems to have a few people, but buckets of money. I’m saying let’s get this show on the road, clear the backlog, and fix these obvious flaws!!

    If Mullenweg and the Super Friends suddenly stepped in and solved a bunch of these problems, everyone would be fine with it – but guess what, they’re paid… to work on WordPress. All day. Think of it as an in-kind donation from WordPress.com to WordPress.org, in the form of work done by the principals. What on earth is the difference between Matt fixing something and a paid coder fixing something?

    esmi

    @esmi

    Forum Moderator

    Everything, and I do mean everything, at wordpress.com and all the premium theme houses is directly dependent upon the quality of the code done at wordpress.org. The dividing line between work done on this free open source software that is compensated, and work that is not, is entirely arbitrary.

    It isn’t in terms of income. wordpress.com is a sub-division of automattic.com – a private company. wordpress.org isn’t a private anything.

    Right now WP only seems to have a few people, but buckets of money.

    I repeat – wordpress.org is not a commercial entity. There is no money – in buckets or otherwise.

    esmi – you’re making a distinction equivalent to me saying “sorry i can’t code right now, i’m wearing my cook’s hat.” It’s the same people, in a lot of cases.

    The distinction between work done for .org and work done for .com is particularly artificial, because all work done for .org is also effectively “work done for” .com and indeed “done for” everyone else who makes money on wp. Not paying people to work on wp core has the sound of certain religious taboos – but my inner wp_rabbi says as long as the software remains free and open source, it doesn’t violate the law if a sugar daddy pays someone to work on it. How would anyone know if core development was currently compensated, anyway?

    Look – wordpress.org has a resource allocation problem that is not going away. As wordpress becomes more popular and expertise in wordpress becomes more of a marketable skill, obviously many many people who could be spending time advancing wordpress core are devoting time to other projects because they need to earn money. I am not a wordpress expert but if I were, I can assure you I would prioritize work that would make me money, good grief. I am quite poor.

    If Matt – and let’s face it, he does have the BBQ money – hires a bunch of people tomorrow to sit and secretly work on wp core as “voluntary” contributors to the wordpress code – that would solve the problem, but violate the taboo you’re imagining.

    If anyone, realizing that their business depends on a platform they’re getting for free, and that that platform could use a bit of work, and in fact already has a ready-made to-do list, were to set aside a bunch of money to pay people to knock the top 100 things off the to-do list “on a voluntary basis”, that would be what i’m talking about.

    With WP.com I’m sure it’s already happening – I’m sure the same people “change hats” all the time. There just aren’t enough heads to put hats on.

    I do not understand why the people who make huge bucks off wp don’t invest in core development.

    I guess what you could say I’m advocating is “WordPress Research and Development Stipends.” They’d be like 6-month stipends, endowed by the moneybags at WordPress.com, or even profit-making entities like codecanyon and woothemes, and awarded to key volunteer devs to give them help prioritizing the continued development of wordpress.org.

    See what i mean?

    Jen

    @jenmylo

    Community Organizer

    Esmi asked me to step in and try to clear up the confusion between .com and .org as it’s being discussed in this thread, so here goes.

    WordPress.com is a property of Automattic. Automattic donates about 20% of its total employee time/resources to the open source project. This means people like WordPress lead developers Ryan Boren and Andrew Ozz, committer Daryl Koopersmith, and I are all donated full time to .org. Additional people from wordpress.com teams work on various patches, plugin repo management, themes, what have you. Matt’s investment company, Audrey, also pays several people to work on WordPress.org. That’s Nacin, Otto, and Scott. Between this small group of paid-by-Matt people, a big chunk of work gets done. But WordPress.com is not in any way responsible for WordPress.org. Donating a group of people is just a choice Automattic makes, not an obligation. There are no “secret paid volunteers” — everyone who is paid by Automattic to work on core is more than happy to claim that status since it is hard to come by, being representative of being among the best in the field.

    Other companies that are in the WordPress ecosystem have (for the most part) not yet taken up the sense of responsibility to the platform that would lead them to contribute resources. There are a couple of exceptions. 10Up donates some of Helen’s time (core code contributor), as does Dreamhost with Mike S (same). If every business of, say, five or more employees started donating 20% of their employee time to the project, we could probably move faster. If every independent consultant donated 20% of their time, we could probably move faster. When Automattic was that size, every employee was contributing to WP. Saying “write a check” is not helpful, because Automattic would hire more people if it could find the talent. The level of expertise needed for some of this work, as Esmi mentioned, is rather high. Lots of highly qualified people would prefer to make buckets of money as a consultant or run their own company. Lots of people running companies would rather maximize billable hours and internal productivity rather than investing in the platform. These things means highly qualified people are hard to find. Everyone’s looking these days, not just Automattic.

    To reiterate Esmi’s point: WordPress.org is not a company, and cannot hire people, as there is no legal or financial structure to do so. The WordPress Foundation is an educational charity, not a trade association, so it can’t hire developers either. But hiring them isn’t the problem. It’s finding people who are good enough and who are available (and/or getting other companies to donate some of their best and brightest the way Automattic does).

    Resources is a big issue, yes. But frankly, it’s just as big an issue that we have a fairly convoluted infrastructure, and making big changes is a lot more complicated than it looks. The forums, on an outdated standalone bbPress, haven’t been updated to the bbPress plugin because of x, y, and z. The WordPress.org site itself runs on flat files rather than WordPress, in large part. There are a lot of infrastructure issues that need to be solved for meaningful change in these areas, and there is a group of people working on ways to update these systems. Decisions are made every day about which bits to update and improve next. Forum search (ditto Codex search) comes up a lot. Using old versions of bbPress and MediaWiki makes these two parts of the site harder to deal with than some of the others.

    If Matt – and let’s face it, he does have the BBQ money – hires a bunch of people tomorrow to sit and secretly work on wp core as “voluntary” contributors to the wordpress code – that would solve the problem

    It’s not a matter of money, it’s complexity. If you can find “a bunch of people” that are actually qualified, send ’em over to apply at Automattic, Audrey, or other WP-based companies that have committed to contributing to the project. But they need to be really good if they’re going to get the keys to WordPress.org.

    I do not understand why the people who make huge bucks off wp don’t invest in core development.

    You and me both, my friend.

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 21 total)
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