I was lurking in the #wordpress support channel on IRC last night and noticed somebody getting the shrug off for a support issue because he wasn’t a native English speaker.
Now, the advice I initially gave him was ridiculed by others in the channel as stupid, but without really knowing the guy’s issue I was doing the best I could with what I could decipher from his broken English. And its not like anybody else was giving it a go, so I invited him into a private chat to get a better feeling for his problem.
We went round and round, him explaining in broken English and me trying to be as clear and concise as possible. Finally, I offered to use Google Translate so he could explain in Portuguese. He was floored that I would do this, but we tried it anyway. Turns out, it made all the difference in the world.
We went back and forth like that, me doing hyperspeed copy pasta with Translate, him doling out the Portuguese and after a few minutes we managed to get his issue resolved.
The problem as I see it is this: WordPress is all about contribution, whether it’s code, knowledge or time. Turning new WordPress users off by turning them away doesn’t really garner much support for the community, especially with the non-English-speaking crowd (who by the way make up about 2/3 of the worldwide community!).
Many users who seek support in IRC support are novice-level and they’re just trying to figure things out. It really doesn’t take all that much extra effort to meet them half way.
OK, so I’m a bit of a Cowboy Coder and after a session with Mark Jaquith the other week at WordCamp San Francisco, I’ve been mildly shamed into learning what I need to start using version control.
At home I have a pretty high-powered gaming PC and when I’m on the go I’m using a MacBook Pro. So the first thing I did using a (somewhat old but relevant) guide by Westi to setup TortoiseSVN on my PC and started hooking up my WordPress Trunk build repo using SVN. Prior to now, I’ve always sort of done it the hard way, e.g. a whole lot of downloading and ftp-ing a couple of times a week.
First impression: SVN is kind of complicated at first, but once you sort of get the hang of it, it’s a heckuva lot less work overall. After I got the hang of doing checkouts, updates and commits with my local repo, I got a little more ambitious and set out to get SVN setup on my VPS.
After an install, uninstall and re-install, I finally got all of the ra_* (See: Repository Access) modules in place that would allow me to checkout code from http & https URLs. Thanks to a very helpful guide by Otto, I managed to setup svn:externals and perform a couple of checkouts and updates directly from the WordPress trunk and my VPS. Pretty neat.
NoteToSelf: Next time: Read about it, read about it, try, fail, try, fail, fail, WIN.
Wow, OK, so this is a random collection of thoughts after #WCSF last weekend.
Never before have I dreamt, thought about or immersed myself in so much WordPress in such a short amount of time.
#WCSF proved to be ample opportunity for networking, learning, eating and traveling. I met a lot of really passionate people out there from bloggers to developers, designers, entrepreneurs, web hosts and many of the people behind the mammoth that WordPress has become. It really was a fun time.
So here’s a shoutout to Adria Richards, Theme.fm, bluehost, Dream Host, the guys over at Media Temple, Matt Mullenweg, Brad Williams, Jeff Kropp, Lou Anne McKeefery, Pete Mall, Brian Tickler, Dan Ross, the guys over at StudioPress, Adam Chew, Linda Sherman and many others.
Probably the best-spent 3 days I’ve had in the 3 years I’ve been developing and designing for WordPress. Until next time!