If someone asks a question dealing with plugin X or Y, the default response is to ask if they've been to the support forums of plugin X or Y, as clearly those are the best places to get the answer.

In the case of Woocommerce and other Woothemes plugins/themes that isn't always an appropriate answer, as their support forums are paid for, and the person asking may not be in a position to pay, or may have inherited code or sites that use these themes from someone else.

The stance of Woo itself is rather hostile to this situation, here's the founders stance:

So I say, fuck it! I’ve personally stopped helping these users on technical issues (pre-sales questions are fair game obviously) and have also instructed my Support Team to be more ruthless in this regard.



He makes the point:

True customers WANT to spend money with you. They want to spend that money, because we (as humans) are inherently wired to reciprocate the value that we receive. True customers also understand that you have a business to run here, with bills & salaries to pay. Heck, they understand that they are running their own business, making money off your product / service and as such they should most definitely be paying you.

While I agree with this sentiment, this doesn't stop the horde of Woo-product name here questions on this site that people are expecting to be answered.

What then is the appropriate way of handling these kinds of questions, and how should the normal stance be explained when the user is in this predicament?

5 Answers 5


I don't like the idea that we do their work. But that's my personal opinion, not a rule.

If someone asks a Woo-question here and someone else has an answer¹ — fine.

¹ More than a bare link, of course.


I take personal offense at anyone so blatantly disrespectful of their customers - prospective or otherwise. An obviously hostile stance towards existing customers makes me question whether or not I want to do business with that organization in the future.

My personal opinion (and feel free to challenge me on this) is that we should take a public stance of trying to fill the void where Woo is leaving one.

Think of it this way - WordPress itself is free and has never instituted a "you must pay for support" option. I am a huge proponent of that stance and think it should continue and carry forward into the various enterprises that are built on top of WordPress.

We can't force Woo (or others) to offer free support, and all of us can't necessarily offer support (since we don't all own Woo products), but I wonder if this isn't a great reason to revisit our stance on supporting questions on premium themes/plugins?

  • 1
    As for me this is identical to WordPress itself. Someone else can provide you support for free or we can for money (that's what VIP program is).
    – Rarst
    Commented Sep 26, 2012 at 17:49
  • +1 "(...) but I wonder if this isn't a great reason to revisit our stance on supporting questions on premium themes/plugins? (...)" As we're already in a rebuilding process, I guess we can raise that issue too.
    – kaiser
    Commented Sep 27, 2012 at 21:55

I don't see how this makes a difference to us. Business as usual.


I think I don't have to say much aside from "I agree with the other answers so far".

(...) but I wonder if this isn't a great reason to revisit our stance on supporting questions on premium themes/plugins?

- @EAMann in one of the questions here.

Maybe this is exactly the point we should talk about: revisiting our FAQs … again.

We're a community. And our core community (you know that I'm talking about you) now consists out of some old timers knowing each others opinions pretty well. And it seems like we're all at a "No, thank you sir"-point as we've grown mature as a community. Part of that process is to leave things behind us. And supporting filling the gaps of freemium models seems to be one of those things.

For all those who haven't been in chat here's the (pretty short) twitter Q/A between adii and me.

  • I'd agree with your sentiments - enough people come here to vent about problems with support from X as they are using the Free version of X's plugin. ... Communities like this exist to fill the gaps of free & premium models
    – Damien
    Commented Oct 5, 2012 at 20:17

We all have our areas of interest and hopefully that helps fill some of the gaps ...

For example I know nothing about themes and don't want too ... but I hope someone on here might help.

But I know enough about e-commerce ( and woocommerce ) that these questions I will look for and try to answer.

Being a bit 'blunt' if questions about WooThemes were not allowed, would that mean other commercial enterprises -- Thesis, Genesis, GetShopped, Gravity Forms ... and our own plugins ... be out of bounds because someone chooses a paid for support model?

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