Making WordPress.org

Opened 10 months ago

Closed 10 months ago

Last modified 10 months ago

#7249 closed enhancement (wontfix)

Support Forum: Show potentially relevant topics to user before they submit a new one.

Reported by: dufresnesteven's profile dufresnesteven Owned by:
Milestone: Priority: normal
Component: Support Forums Keywords:
Cc:

Description

Although the support forums should undergo a significant rethink, in the meantime, we should consider adding potentially relevant topics to the topic submission form to make it easier for users to find relevant information and reduce the number of duplicate topics. This of course is not a groundbreaking feature and comes standard with modern knowledgebases.

Here is an example of duplicate tickets:

Maybe not duplicate but relevant:

Implementation
We should probably do as little as possible seeing that a bigger rethink is necessary but maybe something like this makes sense:

When a users enters the title of the topic, search for:

  • Relevant tickets with the last {time period} in the current forum
    • For most forums, going back too long will likely provide useless results
    • Searching across forums could be problematic as well
  • Display the results before the user clicks the submit button (ideally before they invest time in their description).
    • We could also use the description to search



Change History (10)

#1 follow-up: @Otto42
10 months ago

Here is an example of duplicate tickets:

Neither of those is a ticket. They are threads in a support forum.

-1 to this idea. The forum is not a ticketing system and not a knowledge base.

#2 in reply to: ↑ 1 ; follow-up: @dufresnesteven
10 months ago

Replying to Otto42:

Here is an example of duplicate tickets:

Neither of those is a ticket. They are threads in a support forum.

-1 to this idea. The forum is not a ticketing system and not a knowledge base.

Sure, you pulled out one mistaken reference of tickets and built an argument around it. You are correct, they are topics, not tickets. Knowledgebases are a collection of topics. Reducing the need for users to open support forums is in the best interest of users. I'm not quite certain what improvement you are representing in your response.

#3 @tobifjellner
10 months ago

On the one hand, I agree that sometimes the answer you're looking for may already exist somewhere in our forums.
But on the other hand, implementing this suggestion would lead to several drawbacks:

  • The content in the forums is not quality checked. It's just a forum.
  • The moderators every day archive quite a few comments where users try to ask their own question in someone else's thread. "I've got the same problem - please help me". Whenever possible, we ask them to start their own topic, since "interleaved troubleshooting sessions" quickly gets really messy. (Especially since paginated links to conversations with more than 15 comments sometimes don't work well.)
  • We'll see a lot more of users trying desperately to get in touch with someone who had a similar problem 3 years ago...
  • Also: WordPress and the surrounding ecosystem develops quickly. A solution to a temporary problem from a couple of years ago may simply not be relevant for a similar temporary problem today.

#4 @dufresnesteven
10 months ago

@tobifjellner Thanks for the insight, that's very helpful. I can see how it could become a battle of "my problem" first in the threads. That would be pretty frustrating.

Also: WordPress and the surrounding ecosystem develops quickly. A solution to a temporary problem from a couple of years ago may simply not be relevant for a similar temporary problem today.

True, it would need to only consider a small window of time. Maybe after a specific release.

Hmm.

#5 @tobifjellner
10 months ago

Also:

  • For new WordPress releases, the moderator team (and the Docs team) maintain a list of known issues.
  • Plugin & theme authors are more than welcome to make a couple of posts about releases and regular problems sticky. Hmm. When someone tries to create a new post in the sub-forum for a plugin or theme, we could mention "Did you see the x sticky topics in the forum for this plugin".

#6 in reply to: ↑ 2 @Otto42
10 months ago

Replying to dufresnesteven:

Sure, you pulled out one mistaken reference of tickets and built an argument around it. You are correct, they are topics, not tickets. Knowledgebases are a collection of topics. Reducing the need for users to open support forums is in the best interest of users. I'm not quite certain what improvement you are representing in your response.

Frequently, when I see people referring to threads as tickets, I see them forgetting the fact that it's a forum.

I mean, yes, it's nice to be able to search for and find solutions, however, that frequently is not the case in the forum, because people will simply not use it as a search. Trying to force that paradigm of search first and ask questions later, isn't going to work for the forum, as a whole. For all the reasons stated above, of course, but mostly because that's simply not the way people think.

If we want to start an actual knowledge base or a ticket based system, then we should start that instead of trying to mold the forum into something it is not.

#7 @renyot
10 months ago

I've been thinking that it might not necessarily have to be 'quality checked'. As long as a topic has been marked as 'resolved' at some point, it indicates that a solution for a specific issue was provided. For those who are about to start a new topic, it offers more references. They might directly find what they need from it for the topics they originally wanted to start or get inspiration from them.

This could potentially reduce the starting of relevant topics. Sometimes when I reply to topics, I discover through a quick search of the forum that there are several related threads. Some of these already have the info that new topics need. I'm guessing that many times, users simply forget they have the option to search the forum first. (This reflects how people naturally use the forum to an extent as @Otto42 said)

I know that this may not be the standard definition or the intended use of a forum. But what if, instead of forcing users to search before posting, we just show a prompt with relevant topics, hinting they take a look at those first? This might save users the waiting time for a moderator's response (sometimes moderators might just say the topic has already been discussed here and there), and it would allow moderators or contributors to focus on genuinely new topics.

Version 2, edited 10 months ago by renyot (previous) (next) (diff)

#8 @dufresnesteven
10 months ago

@Otto42 All great points. Very much appreciate the follow up.

@renyot Fair. I think what I'm ultimately trying to improve is open ticket times (for the users sake) and duplicate forum moderator responses, but I wouldn't want to do so by adding any barriers. Nothing frustrates me more than the "modern" customer service labyrinth. So anything that would interrupt the user in that journey would be a big negative. Maybe the touch point is earlier, making topics more visible, more relevant or easier to find.

I think I've heard enough legitimate reasons to not go ahead with this. Thanks for the input everyone!

#9 @dufresnesteven
10 months ago

  • Resolution set to wontfix
  • Status changed from new to closed

This ticket was mentioned in Slack in #meta by courtneyengle. View the logs.


10 months ago

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