204 – Author Support V Community Support

Debate with Nathan Wrigley and David Waumsley

Setting up the Debate

This debate was partly prompted by a WP Tavern article regarding what can be done about the WordPress.org forum being used to support premium versions of plugins which are not in the repository.

WP Builds is brought to you by...



GoDaddy Pro

There seems to be a lot of complexity to this due to the varying expectations of support and the vast difference in what plugin and themes do.

We are probably better for having both types of support, but perhaps polarizing these can help explore the topic.

WordPress’ Support Team contributors are discussing how they can curb support requests for commercial products on the official WordPress.org forums. Users sometimes seek help for commercial product upgrades on the forums of the free version, not knowing that the moderators’ official policy is to refer them to the extension’s commercial support channel. In other instances, it is not immediately clear whether the issue is with the free version or a paid upgrade that the user has installed.

Author Support

  • Can avoid dodgy advice from the community who may like to talk but may not have the knowledge.
  • Community support is a good promotion arena for affiliate sales folk who tend to push another paid plugin rather than a useful bit of code.
  • With GPL premium, authors really only have support (along with easy access to updates to sell). How will WordPress continue to grow if no one can create a business from it?
  • For business essential plugins and themes, author support seem essential. Probably a mistake for an author to cut corners here to reduce prices. Probably a mistake in some cases for some of us who would like lifetime deals without support but with only updates!

Community Support

  • Community support goes beyond what authors can do. So much of support is based on extending a plugin beyond what it is designed to do. Most of it is other plugins that they work well with (the community and could have more experience there).
  • Support is not just about achieving tasks. Moral support, friendship etc.
  • Plugin authors tend not to be regular users. They stop serving clients and building sites and could be the worst people for advice about that!
  • Fielding simple support queries takes the pressure of authors, allowing them to do more with updates etc. (ideally fixing snags, accessibility issue and improving stability – the things that don’t get requested).
  • In terms of the WordPress.org repository there is not clear distinction between free and pro as often the pro is an addon. Also moderators don’t support those (we think?)

Additional topics within the debate

Support expectations:

  • Some people expect responses in minutes (but find $60 a year for unlimited sites too much).
  • Some expect all compatibility with other plugins to be resolved.

Want to get your product or service on our 'viewed quite a lot' Black Friday Page? Fill out the form...

Blurred lines over support

  • It is not just the repository. Partnership can be an issue. GoDaddy has one with WooCommerce. We already have the Beaver Builder community issue with people who got it via their GoDaddy installation. The customer sees it is as one blaming the other, which it is not.

The WP Builds podcast is brought to you this week by…


Omnisend is the top-rated email and SMS marketing platform for WordPress. More than a hundred thousand merchants use Omnisend every day to grow their audience and sales. Ready to start building campaigns that really sell? Find out more at www.omnisend.com

GoDaddy Pro

The home of Managed WordPress hosting that includes free domain, SSL, and 24/7 support. Bundle that with the Hub by GoDaddy Pro to unlock more free benefits to manage multiple sites in one place, invoice clients, and get 30% off new purchases! Find out more at go.me/wpbuilds.

The WP Builds Deals Page

It’s like Black Friday, but everyday of the year! Search and Filter WordPress Deals! Check out the deals now

Transcript (if available)

These transcripts are created using software, so apologies if there are errors in them.

Read Full Transcript

Welcome to the WP Builds podcast, bringing you the latest news from the WordPress community. Welcome your host, David Waumsley, Nathan Wrigley.
[00:00:21] Hello there and welcome to the WP Builds podcast. This is episode number 204 entitled author support versus community support. It was published on Thursday, the 5th of November, 2020. My name is Nathan Wrigley and just a few bits and pieces. Before we begin, we have a black Friday deals page. I know that lots of people in the WordPress space, like to pick up licenses at considerably discounted rates over black Friday.
[00:00:47]we're trying to collate a page. It's a WP Builds. Stopped com forward slash and black. It's a searchable filterable list of all the products and services that we find in the WordPress space that have got coupon codes. They are affiliate links. So it does help the podcast out. If you use those links, it would be most appreciated.
[00:01:04] So go over and bookmark WP Builds.com forward slash and black as your one resource for all the WordPress deals during black Friday. If you'd like to keep in touch with what we do at WP Builds, head over to WP Builds.com forward slash subscribe. You can join our Facebook group, YouTube channel, join our email lists over there as well, and keep in touch with all the content that we put out.
[00:01:28] I would also like to say that. Over the last weekend, I've decided to cease doing the audio version of the WP Builds weekly WordPress news, simply because it was taking up rather a lot of time, largely on a Sunday night when I wished to spend time with my family. So I hope that you understand I'm keeping the.
[00:01:46] This sort of text version going, but the audio version is dropping for now, but fear not. I'm going to be repurposing the live version, which we do every Monday at 2:00 PM. UK time that can be [email protected] forward slash live. So I'll be repurposing that if you like as the same content, I'm going to strip the audio out and push that out instead.
[00:02:06] So I hope that's okay. One last thing. WP Builds.com forward slash advertise. If you would like to get your product or service in front of a WordPress specific audience, a bit like these guys have done. Alpha hosting is your website ready for black Friday and cyber Monday alpha hostings cloud hosting plans include four times the resources of their competitors.
[00:02:30] Plus you can upgrade and downgrade your package at any time. Get 50% off your first three months of service by going to alpha hosting.com forward slash WP Builds. And AB split test. Do you want to set up your AB split tests in record time? Like in a couple of minutes, use your existing pages and test anything against it.
[00:02:52] Anything else? Buttons, images, headers rows, anything. And the best part it works with element or Beaver builder and the WordPress block editor. You can check it [email protected] where you can get a free demo. Okay, what's this one, all about this is episode 204 author support versus community support.
[00:03:12] It was inspired by a WP Tavern article, which went into the whole conundrum of where do we actually get support. If we paid for a plugin, can we go to wordpress.org? Does some people accidentally go to wordpress.org expecting free support for something that they've paid for? Should you get any support for something that you've.
[00:03:29] Paid for, or should you go through the premium tier support level, which is usually what's your in fact paying for? Anyway, David and I debate this, I take on one side, he takes on the other as usual. It's a fun debate and I hope that you enjoy it. Hello, today's debate is authentic support versus community support.
[00:03:50] And we're talking author support in terms of plugins and themes in WordPress. So this debate really was prompted by a WP Tavern article regarding what could be done. In the WordPress org forum, see that support isn't being given there for premium versions of plugins, which are not part of the repository, but we thought this is one that we could turn into a bit of a debate because it's really, there's a lot of complexity, I think to this one, we've just been renting.
[00:04:20] I haven't read Nathan for about an hour before this. Yeah. There really is. No solution here. and I think to say that we're going to have a debate is really a misnomer because I think both of us will flip and flop both ways because it turns out there's so much controversy in here. And so many things that it's easy to go wrong targets that have been missed pitfalls to be identified and fallen into.
[00:04:43] And it's just fraught with problems. And, I guess the WordPress ecosystem has only got itself to blame in that we have a. A thriving premium plugin market, which is probably the reason that WordPress is as successful as it is because, you can pay a multi-site amount of money and get your free CMS to do extraordinary things.
[00:05:06] And it's difficult to know, where do you turn to support to get support for those things when they go wrong? if there's a free version, do you go to the support channel that the pro version uses? And if you're on the pro version, but you feel it's a version that's in free, the free version.
[00:05:22] Do you go to wordpress.org to get some community spot? It's just a nightmare. Yeah. And I think things have changed. more people are believing that they can build their own websites and expect more because of page builders now. And, in the earlier days it was simple. It was, blogging platform with only a few people would be into publishing and.
[00:05:45] I dunno and plugins do so much more than the page builders. trying to support a page builder is not really just supporting a plugin, like a simple one task plugin, it incorporates so much more, so there's a need, isn't there for both community support and. Author support. So we didn't even decide how we're going to do which one we're going to argue for.
[00:06:06] Yeah. Now, honestly, it's totally up to you. I don't really mind it. I could honestly sit either side of this fence. Okay. Let's let I'll go forward. The first one that's here, author support. So I'll argue this a few of the points. Why people should go to the authors and that's effectively, isn't it? What, the team, on the repository really need.
[00:06:28] People to go for author support, if it's premium to help their load. And when you finished saying your pieces, I will also chip in and say why? I think this is good. Okay. Yeah, that's fine. Because I've got to do the same with community. yeah. So really, the first thing is that, if you go to the authors, you're not going to, you're going to avoid the kind of dodgy advice that you can get from community members.
[00:06:51] So there'll be people like you and I, who like to talk a bit, but we might not necessarily have all the knowledge that we need to. And I think there's a general thing. if you look to the community for support these days, generally, that does turn into a kind of place where you're likely just to be told where you can go and buy another product.
[00:07:11] It's become an area where, a lot of people. Who make their living out of selling affiliates will be involved in those communities where perhaps, if you went to the author is Jenny, you might just get a useful bit of code instead, rather than having to buy another plug into to make the plugin that you got work better.
[00:07:31]I think also the, one of the arguments for author support has to be there. The fact that this is really how premium authors are going to make their money. it's GPL at the licenses. So video and you got support along with easy access to updates that will provide somebody with a living. So how will.
[00:07:52] WordPress grow if no one can make a business from it. So there's kind of one of the reasons for, I think, author support. That's why it's important. And one, the last point I think I've probably got to make is, I think it does so often another debate within this one about, could we skip out the support and just get I'm one of these people on some plugins I've thought, can I just have the updates and not the support please, but I actually think that's probably a bit of a mistake and I'm for, or for support being around the pain, proper money for this, because I think as plugins become more complex, we need to support those plugin authors, but also.
[00:08:33] I think we could just get better value support for that. So I don't think everything should go over to community for support. Yeah. When you, it's interesting. You said that, do you think they should? Because usually with the things that in the WordPress repo, if you buy the premium version, what you are essentially buying is updates and support, but you were saying that in your case, because it's your living.
[00:08:57] To spend your time tinkering with WordPress you've got a very high understanding. obviously both of us wouldn't claim, great knowledge, but you've got a better understanding than most people, who are just using WordPress to create content. And let's say you would pay for a tier, possibly the support were not included and you had to figure out your own problem.
[00:09:18]differently to support an update. So there'd be the free tier, the updates tier and the support and updates tier. So the support only version, sorry, the updates only version would be cheaper than the support and updates version. I don't think I've seen that model, but it strikes me that could be quite effective.
[00:09:39] Especially for people who, you know, if you've got a plugin where support is a bit of a burden and you wish you could separate the cost of that out. And if you could, I don't know, defer that cost to somebody else who is on who you essentially, you create a support team and the money from the support part of that package goes towards them.
[00:09:58] I've never seen that being used, but I'd be interested in that as well. In some ways you do get, if you like, Tears, which haven't costed for support. So you'll get, I remember formidable forms when they came out, they did a lifetime updates without the support. So that was their lifetime deal. You've got support for the first year.
[00:10:16] And then after that, there's a few of those, I think. And I think also maybe if you take something like Astra theme as well, or their packages as well, they do offer the lifetime support, but really with a. With a lifetime deal. What could you possibly expect from that without a subscription? And so in my view, the, I think author support is a really valuable thing and I think it needs to be funded quite well because I think certainly if you do it as a business, at some point you will need it.
[00:10:47] Okay. Yeah. let's just toss this one around some more. So we're still with author support in terms of your expectations. If you go. To the wordpress.org, reposit.org repository, and you pick up a plugin and it literally costs you nothing. Do you have any expectation of support? literally it is your expectation completely zero.
[00:11:10] In other words, if this works out great, if it doesn't work out. I am on my own because that's all I can expect for something for free. Cause I think that's where I sit. I think that although it would be lovely to get some support. Cool. I feel that it's not okay for me to think. please, will somebody reach out and help me, whether that's the author or the, all the communes just to get large or just somebody else.
[00:11:35] I don't have an expectation. I'm very glad when it comes my way, but I'm not gonna throw stones at the other, the plugin author because they haven't got the time in their busy lives to support this thing, which they've written and kindly given away for nothing. Yeah, I'm pretty much the same or at least I hope I behave that way.
[00:11:53]I've gone a couple of times to some free plugins that always free. There's no commercial element to them about support there. And I try to be kind, because I realized that they're just to me a favor, they want nothing for me. And they've got nothing for me. I do view the free plugins that are freemium offers, where.
[00:12:11] Their organization is making a profit. So if I'm a free user of them, I think I would expect some support because they, I would think they should be providing that support because they want to potentially gain me as a paying customer down the line. So I will have a different expectation on freemium models.
[00:12:28] Yeah. That's a very useful point and one that I didn't make and I probably should have done. Yeah. That is a good point. Yeah. And we've all been there, right? We've been. We've included in our websites, the plugins where it's pretty obvious that this is a side project, which isn't done just for philanthropic reasons.
[00:12:45] It's not dropped in the repository just so that everybody can benefit, it's done so that they can hopefully. whether that's through humbled features or just, a really nice suite of features in the pro version, they're trying to get you towards, the pain model and yeah, I think that's true.
[00:13:02] I think you would have some sort of expectation. It's interesting. Recently I've seen something that I'd not seen before, but I'm sure it's not new. I've just not caught sight of it. I believe it was yesterday for the first time I saw somebody. Who now, where was it? It was probably Facebook, a Facebook group or something like that.
[00:13:18] Somebody who was a plugin developer, who said, essentially, I've been doing this for years now. I've been giving it away. I've got no expectation, but here's a donation system for you all. And if you feel that you have gained value from what I have provided, feel free to donate. Now, my guess is that model will constrain quite considerably.
[00:13:38] How much is earned from it? But it did feel like a, like an interesting halfway house. I've given loads of value. I'm really not expecting you to pay anything, but should you have benefited? And should you have, a kind streak in you a mile wide, then hit this button and give me some money.
[00:13:54] I thought that was quite novel. Yeah, but it's just been nations have always been there, I think in free plugins. And I have to admit, I think I've a couple of times I have, and it's not because somebody said it. I just thought I've had that moment where I've felt bad about the fact that I generally don't do it, but there were tons of plugins and tins of plugin authors who had done great work.
[00:14:16] People like Jeff Stark or plugins, and I've just given them nothing. It's terrible. Yeah. I'm pretty sure that, the vast majority, 90 plus percent of people just won't give anything. it's a shame. Okay. So it should be better, shouldn't it? Yeah. In terms of author support, then would you say that, if a plugin has a premium tier yeah.
[00:14:41] All support. Should go through that premium tier. In other words, even if you've got the free version, it should be the support responsibility of that team, that sales team, whatever it is, or the plugin author themselves, if they're just an individual, it should be their responsibility in all. And every case.
[00:14:59]big simply because there is an opportunity for them to advertise if you like their premium offering and hopefully get people to upgrade through. one of the things is just good support, right? Okay. I feel you've done brilliantly with something. I didn't have an expectation. You fixed it.
[00:15:13] You've given me some code you've updated the plugin, whatever. and so all support must go through the premium tier. And if that's the case, how on earth do you even advertise that fact? Yeah, I don't know in terms of the repository, but that does sound like an ideal way of doing things, particularly with freemium model.
[00:15:34]But yeah, but, if you do have a, a paid version, then you should be able to support those people. But then, I think it would lose her, I think as well, because there's one thing about the repository as it stands, which is why I, in a way I don't understand the issue that was talked about with, WP Tavern.
[00:15:52] I know they have a support team. But I've always seen the people who work in the repository as moderators, not people who offer support one advantage of the system as I see it as it is. And why, I don't think it's such an issue is that if a freemium supplier doesn't support their free tier in the WordPress repository, we can see that.
[00:16:16] Yeah. And that there's a place where we can see it, where if all of the support free and premium has to go off the repository, then we no longer get to see whether these people actually support people. that's a good point. You don't get to advertise your due diligence because you're not. Putting your head above the parapet and answering all the questions and therefore demonstrating.
[00:16:37] So in effect your stymieing, your ability to advertise yourself. yeah, that's a good, that's a good point. the other sort of slight issue with this as well is that some plugin authors. Literally, they build something and then they leave it alone. they're not interested in it again, but that doesn't stop the plugin from having great utility.
[00:16:57]it may be that there's a plugin, which will stand the test of time. it'll go through multiple updates of WordPress core and just still work. It'll do one thing very simply, and it just doesn't need. A support network, in fact, so much so that the plugin author just rarely checks back. It's just this thing.
[00:17:15] I released it to the community. If you want to use it fine. I'm not going to do anything else with it. I've got no intention. I've moved on. I'm not even using WordPress anymore. Yeah. It's a difficult one. Yeah, definitely some great plugins like that. And do you know there's one, just come to mind. There's one plugin out there, which is a little bit different to the freemium model that I was thinking of, where it should be go there's table, press.
[00:17:40] Fantastic. Again. and it's supported by a single author. Who's done a really exceptional job of answering people's questions in there, but he does have a very small pro Adam, but it's just something to add responsive has. And he charges virtually nothing for it. So according to how little rules that we set up, which might work, he would be unfairly treated, I think yes.
[00:18:04] Generally from that, because he's not making. But we're making a very small amount of money from people who buy this upgrade and don't really need it with a bit of CSS and you don't need it. It's so it's just, it's more philanthropy really. He's just, yeah, he's gone and built this extra thing, which there was a small chance some people might pay for and he posts it very modestly.
[00:18:23] Yeah. everything about that screams philanthropy, doesn't it? It just says I'm not in it for the money. Yeah. and you've got to treat them accordingly and that's of course where the problems lie is that you have no idea the Providence or the situation that the plugin author is in. and so I guess that probably it's time that I took it from the community angle.
[00:18:42] So yes, one of the things. I suspect that many people hang around in wordpress.org, support and so on is it's just the sort of community aspect, it's not just about, getting the question answered in a timely manner. Sometimes it's about, Meeting people and having a bit of a community around things and meeting people who are also using that plugin.
[00:19:05] And this turns out there's 50 of you in the WordPress world that are all using this plugin and together you form your own little sub-community and reply to one other's comments and help each other out. And so having that free. Frequently available support forum, if you like enables users to help one another.
[00:19:24] And although it would be ideal, if the support team could fix every problem, that's not really what it's for. It's more of a community, everybody chip in, everybody help. And that may be for the premium version as well. it might be that you put in a support ticket to the paid tier, but you also on the off chance, you just stick it in.
[00:19:45] To the, the.org and somebody pops up within a couple of minutes saying, ah, do you know what I fixed that last year? I've got the exact answer for you. So there is a place for the community, just from that point of view, it's like the high you've mined and it enables more people to get there.
[00:20:00] And we've all had bad experiences with paid support. you send your support ticket in. The promise is 24 hours, 48 hours. And a week later, you're still scratching your head. Wondering what on earth happened to it? And maybe this is short-circuiting that you can just achieve the same goal. but with the help of other people in the community.
[00:20:20]Can I ask you a question? Ask you, yeah. Do you think on balance when you've needed support, do you think you've generally got more, better support from community or from plugin authors? Good grief. That's a hard question. Okay. What I would say is generally speaking, I've got more generic answers from the community and I felt.
[00:20:46] The I can ask specific questions of support. so I may ask the same question, but I imagine, yeah, I think this is true for me. the support I've got from the community is more generic. have you tried this? Have you tried this? What about this alternative plugin or this, that kind of thing.
[00:21:05] Look, here's a bunch of articles go and take a look at those that's the tenor of what I've received. Whereas with support, I feel that I can then. if they give me a generic answer, I can then go back to them and say, no, that hasn't addressed it. It's this specific thing. Can I have an answer to this specific thing?
[00:21:22] And I have an expectation from that. Like I would never in a support scenario, sorry. A community support scenario, turn round and be right. Somebody for the answer. I'm just thankful that anybody bothered, whereas if support that I'm paying for. Comes through with a generic answer. I feel entitled to go back and say, no, really.
[00:21:41] That's not it. That's not answered my question. You've been there. Let's be honest. We've all been there. The person that literally didn't read your support ticket and is just copy, pasted something, which they felt answered it. And it's Did you even read what I wrote? Yes. That's it. I'm leading you off your point, but actually I suppose it's in mine, but it's arguing the community side because there is a lot of that.
[00:22:09] It drives me crazy. I hate it. Really going to official support, always because some of it's good, but really over time, perhaps when a plugins new and the people who created it, they're supporting it directly and they're really keen. they get the gist of it. Then they have to employ people who do it, and they're working to quotas to make sure that they respond to a certain time.
[00:22:32] So I think sometimes these not reading your questions just because they want to show that they've answered and completed. I've actually responded to you in time. So I think I'm a hundred percent convinced that's the case, because so many times they've missed the target by like they haven't even fired the arrow, the arrows falling off their feet, just no, really you must have been there right where you put a very specific.
[00:22:56] Carefully thought through support ticket in where you've answered every you've, you've tried to think of every conceivable thing that they could come back with saying, could you just tell me, you've given them the PHP version, you've given them the WordPress version.
[00:23:09] You've gone to the extra length of taking screenshots and then you just get something back, which feels like, okay, they saw that word in the first sentence. They think this is the answer. He's Aw, please. And you have to just squash your rising tide of anger. Yeah. And that, there's usually within larger organizations who need to support those user tiers of support levels.
[00:23:32] So somebody tries to deal with it. That's the first defense against it. And they tend to get frustrated. You have to wait until you've gone up three levels or something until you get the thing that you put in your very first email. So you actually gets it. Yeah. Yeah. W one of the, one of the more recent innovations, it's not that recent, but it is.
[00:23:49] Yeah. Within the last five years or something is the sort of chat widget, which is ubiquitous. we've seen them Intercom seems to be the winning platform for this, that I just find fabulous. There's just so you know, you can tell when they've read it. You can tell when they've seen it, you can, you can see when they're typing, that they're engaged in and I feel that's such a great mechanism for support, it's like halfway almost between phone support and, like email-based support.
[00:24:20] And I, I just find that really useful. I love that. And it really gives me a sense of engagement and I. I very often get the impression that there is a team behind that. And it doesn't annoy me at all. when such and such a person who was obviously the frontline, trying to mop up the, let's say the easier tasks tells me, look, I'm going to have to put this one to support or, to tech support or whatever it is.
[00:24:41] In other words, I'm going to have to escalate it because I feel like at least I've been answered. Whereas if I wait for two days, yeah. Email, which tells me it will go to tech support at that point. I'm tearing my hair out a bit and thinking that's gone in the bin, isn't it. See this about chat?
[00:24:59] And I was on a, I won't mention who they, they're not actually directly WordPress. but, this is somebody who, when I bought. What the service, I got the most wonderful experience with support. Somebody genuinely funny and helpful. And I went on about another issue that just appeared and, the personal, the chat, there was just, you must have done this.
[00:25:21] And it's yeah. No, that's just how the system works and there's going, no, I haven't. And this is an, and that was it. No, that's just how it's gone. And he said at the end of it, there was the, is there anything else I can help you with today? And I just wanted to punch them.
[00:25:37] It's not the panacea. I do like it, but it clearly isn't the panacea here. Yeah. that's a fair point. I'll tell you what though. The, I'm imagining that if you're new to WordPress, for a start you're going to be really reluctant to, maybe that's not true, but I imagine there's a proportion of people who are new to WordPress, who were very reluctant to spend money because of the plethora of different solutions to the same thing.
[00:26:00] So let's forums is a perfect example. You come to WordPress. There are decent, really decent free forms, which will achieve a fair amount of what you want. Certainly a contact form, but you may feel the need to, spend some money, but maybe you just want to hang around in the community a bit more and just decide which one of those is the solution for you.
[00:26:22] And during that time you might come up against problems and it must feel so for you and I who have a fairly decent understanding, cause this is what we do. You can you can get a fair degree of information out of the community. You can go into your Facebook groups, you can chat to your friends who know what they're on about, but if you're a, if you're a new person to WordPress, there must be a fair degree of real frustration about the way these things worked.
[00:26:47] And I feel like the community support is a fairly decent technique for avoiding that frustration because. There's a chance that you'll meet somebody. There's a chance that you'll strike up a friendship. You'll get somebody saying, look, I'm really sorry that you're having this problem. I don't have the solution, but have you tried this person and so on and so forth.
[00:27:03] And I feel that support community support has to be there for the 80% of WordPress users who just do not know where to go. They're not in the Facebook groups. They're not experienced. They don't want the free tier. They just want to get a bit of help and guidance along the way. And for that, it's brilliant.
[00:27:22]yeah, I agree. there's one thing that I get out of support, which I don't know if I get out of knowledge base community support. So I'm back in New York. Case up here is that I sometimes through reading because it's more engaging something like a Facebook group to read through stuff. Then I encounter things that people have found or little scripts or something which may be there on the official knowledge base.
[00:27:46] But I, I've come across before I've had the issue. I've discovered something I can do that I didn't know about. So it would have never have gone to support because it's just something I didn't know about. Yeah, this is the problem. Isn't it. With all of this stuff is that, you are creating these little enclaves of knowledge and in a sense, it would be lovely if everything could be, out in the open and up front.
[00:28:09] So every problem could be visible and Google-able. the problem with that of course, is that you end up with 600 posts, which tackle the exact same problem. But then again, 600 posts that tackle the exact same problem is better than no posts that tackle the exact same problem. if everything is locked down behind private support, then everybody has to.
[00:28:30] Ask that exact same question in order to get the exact same answer, which is just a complete waste of everybody's time, better to, and this comes back to the responsibility of plugin authors. if their team discovered that 17% of everything that they answer is querying this one problem, probably a good idea to put a knowledge base article or a blog post together to fix it.
[00:28:51]And then everybody's got that problem, but fixed rather. But, we don't have that. We have close ticketing systems because for obvious reasons people want it don't want to disclose certain information. maybe they don't want to have a history of, their client websites, URLs and things like that.
[00:29:06]Good grief. Would be quite embarrassing. If somebody who you were, who was paying you to build a website, discovered by Google searching their own URL, that you'd been submitting fairly basic, support requests to plug it alters that would not be good. So yeah, these little silos create a bit of a problem, but it is good that the community is there.
[00:29:25] At least it's searchable. Indexable is probably too much of it, but yeah. It was, you made one of my points for the author support and something that authors have a problem with as well, both BeaverBuilder and gravity forms. And there's some others out there had this issue where they started with their own forum, which is there by the community answering questions.
[00:29:46] And then they've had to wipe them away because it's becomes more of a problem because when people search, then they find something which is no longer true. Yeah, their support. Yeah. Cause it's it's there in SEO, isn't it? And I guess Facebook groups are fine because it generally only features that of recent stuff.
[00:30:03] So maybe not such an issue there. And the Facebook groups are not presumably publicly searchable anyway, because there's some sort of barrier to getting Google in there. Good grief. Imagine if Google get in Facebook groups, what stuff would be indexable? Imagine the I R and the regrettable comments that people had written there be quite something for us to be here, but yeah, just really interesting.
[00:30:24] Really interesting. I just wish I had an answer to this. I came up with a sort of answer, which you immediately pulled to pieces justifiably in that I thought it might be a nice. A nice compulsion of WordPress to stick in the plugin menu, a support ticket bottom, in other words, if, again, I'll say it and then you can tear it down.
[00:30:48]I was thinking that maybe if you have a free tier. you just point towards the plugin repository listing for your support. and it's a button. And if you want to get support about this plugin, press that button, it's next to the name of the plugin. But then if you've got a pro version, then it's incumbent that you change that button.
[00:31:07] Bye. If you like law, so that it goes to your support tier, not to the wordpress.org repository, but then you immediately said this. Yeah. That, I didn't want my clients clicking on that button to get support I paid for. But you, there is a solution that you could hide that. But then I just think there's so many problems with that because where would it go in the interface and would all these plugins then have their own support buttons and where would they go?
[00:31:35] And, yeah, it seems messy to me. Yeah. Yeah. I really wish there was an answer to this. There's just, no, there's just no clear distinction of where one problem starts and one problem ends and a perfect example is you like your page builder, which has got multiple. Bits and pieces and spinning wheels and cogs and things that are in the free version.
[00:31:57] And then there's bits that you add on to that. And if you get the pro version, the paid for version, there are those bits of steel in it, but there's also this other stuff which comes along for the ride, which isn't in the free version. So an inexperienced user, they wouldn't have a clue which way to go.
[00:32:12] Is this. It's this bit in the free one. I've no idea I don't have the free one, but I've only got the pro one must be pro I'll go to support or I haven't a clue. So I'll go to the, I'll go to the repository and then you get shouted at, cause that's in the pro version. Stop wasting our time. Yeah. I, that was one of my issues, but again, you knocked that one down was the fact that maybe it shouldn't be the case that you have pro ad-ons to something which is free and the freemium model.
[00:32:38] So some people have a freemium model, but you have to completely uninstall that and put in the new one, which is. Again, itself problematic for the user. but I don't know if that would clear up the distinction. What can I just say? One thing that just crossed my mind. I hadn't thought about it before, when you were saying about you won't see inside of the groups in Google, but that is the case.
[00:33:00] WP org forum. So if you want a good point, chin through Google, you're going to find really old stuff on you, which is probably going to be wrong. Yeah, that's true. Yeah. I hadn't really thought about that course cause it's hidden behind it. I'm so permanently logged into these things. I just go there these days, I'm just automatically logged in on the rare occasion that I clean out the browser entirely.
[00:33:18] I have a nightmare. yeah, you're right. You are right. And I think that's why things like knowledge bases and so on are really useful. yeah. Yeah. It's really difficult. just going back to the point that you were doing a minute ago, do you think a better structure then is that if you have a, so let's use one plugin that we both use to illustrate this point.
[00:33:37] So if you are a Beaver builder light user, which is the free version, or you are one of the paid tiers, there's a couple of those, but let's call it pro If you are a light user and you want to go to pro you don't add in, the pro bits you've got to on install light and you've got to install pro right?
[00:33:58] So they're completely different things. Whereas if, for example, you're a generate press user, the, you don't have to want install, anything you add in the bits. And to some extent, I feel that the adding in model. Adult means. So you've got the free version and you put the add-ons on top of it. That's much more easy for the end user to understand, because you can see exactly what has been gained, whereas with the Beaver builder model, unless you have both running concurrently or had a very good memory, you wouldn't really know which ones were the free and which ones were not because they get muddled up.
[00:34:34]Yeah. and probably the BeaverBuilder aren't doing themselves a service, but then the visit history, they didn't have the light. They didn't have a premium model. They had the provost at first and then they added the light to the repository. So it's probably, but they're doing themselves a disservice in a way, because most people are going to want to, have add ad-ons because their usage numbers are going to be counted for everybody.
[00:34:59] Free yes. And pro users. Yes. Which is going to be, yeah, it's going to boost their standards. So yeah. Ability, point of view. It's much. It's just so much easier for me to understand, I can tick boxes and I fully. just from the point of view of marketing, you can really see what you've paid for, support aside side.
[00:35:16] You can see the features that have been added and you'd be able to ascertain very quickly. I don't know, in the case of generate press, I'm experiencing a problem with my header. that came along for the ride with the free version. I can't remember whether it did or not, but you get the point, you can quickly figure out, Oh, okay.
[00:35:31] That's not the free version over. We go to the paid support and so on. maybe, yeah. I don't know if it's always so clear though, is a, if you've got an issue, with the complex page builder and you've added on the pro side of it, you probably not going to know if some of your layups.
[00:35:47]screw you. No, it's not. You can't say well, it's this particular model a module that's in the prayer only. It's just so I don't think the user's going to know. And one of the advantages of the Beaver builder model, where you have to install it, which is an inconvenience you do know then that you are a pro user and probably should only expect to go to pro support.
[00:36:08] So this is a complete mess, David. It is. That's just, that's what I've learned from all this is this an absolute mess and we've only got ourselves to blame. Figure it out yourself. Oh, I see. Go on. It? No, I just wondered about it's of interest to be, what support do you think, or is it just me getting grouchy as I get older, but the expectations on support, so much higher than they've ever been, I think unreasonably.
[00:36:36] So do you mean in terms of the answer given all the time, providing the, the time it takes to response or maybe an amalgamation of both? No. I just think the users, what they expect from even, Free, voluntary run organizations on Facebook groups. And that I think what people expect to come out of people's help is more than I think.
[00:36:58] They should expect. And I think also from support, I just feel, I saw a bad review given to somebody who hadn't paid for a pro version of this recently. And they thought that they were quite clear about their, they thought there, they were had dismal support because they hadn't answered them within hours of their support query going in.
[00:37:21] I remember seeing that. I remember seeing that. Yeah. And you see a lot more of that stuff. Do you think that, or is it just me, do you think? Certainly it's not very, it's not very kind. I'll say that much, but also, yeah, that is peculiar. if something is given away for free, the idea that you could expect support to such an extent that you're willing to go out and write a fairly lengthy and critical piece about the lack of support is just weird.
[00:37:48]as an example, I wouldn't go. To, Oh, I don't know. I wouldn't go to my local charity shop and stand outside at 11 at night, complaining that it wasn't open. I want to get something from the charity shop. It ought to be open and it ought to be, it ought to be cheaper than it is because after all it's only charity well, in effect, that's what it is.
[00:38:08]charity is a different word. Philanthropy might be better, but as I said earlier, Take that anger and put it somewhere else because you've got no rights to be complaining about something which was utterly free. You've got a right to, say it. I would really like it if, but you haven't got a right to slag them off.
[00:38:27] That just seems churlish. I know, but I just think there's more of it because I think there's a higher expectation on w we were talking about this. This is going a little bit off topic, but it. I guess it's still on the point, roughly, but with Guttenberg how that's quite difficult, how it's difficult for it to get good ratings, which is still hasn't got, if you go and look at how plugin is rated, it still gets reviews still pretty poor because.
[00:38:52] Yeah, again, it's something that's free out there, but there's a real higher expectation of people coming into WordPress as it's grown bigger and the higher expectation due to things like Wix and Squarespace that you can easily knock up your own website. So I feel it's on the increase a lot and I feel also that's what.
[00:39:09] Damages the chances of Gutenberg doing quite well or getting good reviews, because it's just an expectation on the support. It's a free plugin, nobody supports it, Yeah. I just think the mantra that we have for our Facebook group at the top of the, be polite, always just stick to that and you'll be fine.
[00:39:26] This stuff is free after all speaking. speaking of the repository though, one thing which I did want to address is the, is the ability to gain. The repository. That is one thing that, although it's not nothing to do with support, that is one thing that I've seen time and time again, which kind of irks me as the clear abuse of that, that support system that forum has got limited time to be inspected.
[00:39:47] And one of the limitations on the time is for the ability to remove spam comments. And we seem to have a situation at the moment where. It's pretty clear that, I don't know who's behind it. Yeah. But somebody is behind the spam creation of hundreds of accounts who are going and giving out five star reviews.
[00:40:06] And there's nobody to police that suddenly. And so it goes rampant. So suddenly you get a plugin which yesterday nobody had heard of, which has got 500, five star reviews and you go trolling and you discover that they were all. They were all supplied yesterday on every single one of the accounts that supplied them was a day old.
[00:40:24] And, in the Facebook world, there's probably a lot of well-paid people minds. I shouldn't say well-paid. paid for sitting at desks, trying to weed out this stuff. not so with us, not so with our repository, largely wrong by. the volunteers who haven't got time to go looking for this nonsense.
[00:40:41] And so these people, whether it's themselves or somebody else who knows, can't really point the finger, which is another problem. But, this leads to, more problems for the whole setup. Yeah. I think that, when it comes to that original debate about using the resources well, to look after the repository, did it did to me feel like that would be a kind of support, help not to allow people to game the system.
[00:41:05] I think there still must be some sort of system. Way that could do it because when you see it being gamed, it's pretty much the same format. Isn't it? It's people write in their first review on a plugin, which you probably wouldn't discover for the year. So maybe you wouldn't be worrying about your cashier in, or your SEO or your custom fields or whatever.
[00:41:25] I'm just making these up as your first interaction with WordPress, right? But yet these all first time we viewers with all these, their game because of new accounts and, it's so you think you would be able to remove those you'd hope so. Wouldn't you, and you'd hope you'd be able to do it in a sort of largely automated process because Facebook's clearly got to the point where they've got to automate a lot of that stuff.
[00:41:47] And I don't know what the AI is. Just doing it. There's probably human interaction as well, but that kind of stuff must be expensive and our community doesn't have that. It just has to be policed by volunteers. And so I'm just incredibly grateful for anybody who puts in any amount of time to clean this stuff up and provide any kind of support and Q dos to any of you that have ever written anything of value in reply.
[00:42:11] I'm most grateful for your contribution. I wish that more of a sudden more time to do it. Yeah, no, honestly, when I look, when I see bad reviews, come in for people who offer plugins, for free and have done for a long time. And I'm really taken aback by how gracious some people are take that on the chin with the, they're getting nothing out of it and they still try and help those people who are clearly.
[00:42:36]just angry, probably nothing to do with websites at all. They're just angry and, I'm stunned by that and the people as well as give up the time to do this kind of work on the way puzzle tree is staggering. Yeah. So we end on us. Slightly positive note, we're very grateful to those people.
[00:42:52] However, as always, we've arrived at no firm decision we've, we've completely wasted 42 minutes of your life, and we apologize greatly for that, we'll be back next week for some more. Yeah. Should we knock that one on the head? Indeed. Okay. Bye-bye. I hope that you enjoyed that.
[00:43:09] Always a pleasure chatting to David Walmsley about these things who knew there was so much to say about support, whether you should pay for support or whether you should seek it out on wordpress.org, all those lovely volunteers giving their time and helping one another out. It's a wonderful community that we're in.
[00:43:26] The WP build's podcast was brought to you today by AB split test. Do you want to set up your AB split tests in record time? Like in a couple of minutes, use your existing pages and test anything against anything else? Buttons, images, headers, rows, anything. And the best part is that it works with element or Beaver builder and the WordPress block editor.
[00:43:47] You can check it out and get a free [email protected]. Don't forget. As I said, at the top of the show, the WP Builds black Friday page is here for your delectation. If you're in the mood for black Friday deals, go and check it out. If you've got a deal to submit, click the blue, add to your deal button, and we will try to put it on the page.
[00:44:08] It also does, as I said, support the WP Builds community. And the podcasts, because some of those links are affiliate links and it really does help us out. So I'd be most appreciative. If you wanted to use that page, perhaps in book markets, future reference, we will be back next it's Thursday for a podcast episode, don't forget to join us for the WP Builds a weekly WordPress news live that's 2:00 PM UK time.
[00:44:31] WP Builds.com forward slash live. I'll be joined by some notable WordPress guests. As we chat about the weekly news and stay safe. Have a nice week and are fading some cheesy music. Bye bye. For now. .

Support WP Builds

We put out this content as often as we can, and we hope that you like! If you do and feel like keeping the WP Builds podcast going then...

Donate to WP Builds

Thank you!

Nathan Wrigley
Nathan Wrigley

Nathan writes posts and creates audio about WordPress on WP Builds and WP Tavern. He can also be found in the WP Builds Facebook group, and on Mastodon at wpbuilds.social. Feel free to donate to WP Builds to keep the lights on as well!

Articles: 949

Filter Deals

Filter Deals


  • Plugin (77)
  • WordPress (42)
  • Lifetime Deal (15)
  • eCommerce (14)
  • SaaS (6)
  • Theme (5)
  • Other (4)
  • Admin (3)
  • Design (3)
  • Hosting (3)
  • Security (2)
  • Training (2)
  • Blocks (1)
  • Content (1)
  • Maintenance (1)

% discounted

% discounted

Filter Deals

Filter Deals


  • WordPress (39)
  • Plugin (33)
  • Admin (30)
  • Content (18)
  • Design (11)
  • Blocks (6)
  • Maintenance (6)
  • Security (5)
  • Hosting (4)
  • Theme (3)
  • WooCommerce (3)
  • SaaS app (2)
  • Lifetime Deal (1)
  • Not WordPress (1)
  • Training (1)

% discounted

% discounted



WP Builds WordPress Podcast



WP Builds WordPress Podcast
%d bloggers like this: