As of 2013-09-30 13:22:00Z the menu link at Woo site iscompletely removed.

Related post: https://wordpress.stackexchange.com/q/115966/12615

There, we come to know on the OP words that

That's weird because I got to this forum by clicking the "community forum' tab under WooCommerce.

And effectively yes:

enter image description here

I think a high level contact has to be made with that company requesting a Quality assurance for the type of support request they send over here.

At Meta Stack Overflow:

Related Posts

We have a nice history of WooCommerce questions here on WPSE. Just in case someone thinks that this is new issue.

  • 2
    The grey area here is that woocommerce is GPL and free, but they certainly use it to market their themes and support business model. – Wyck Sep 27 '13 at 19:53
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    Their Community Support link should be an internal page of their own, explaining what kind of support they can get here and what quality we expected from questions. And then a nice link Ask good, on-topic, questions at this fine site – brasofilo Sep 27 '13 at 19:55
  • 4
    Another grey area is whether any Woo staff frequent the site to help provide support for the free model of their software. My thought is no, as that is a feature of the paid version. Methinks they should host their own forum in-house as an "official" community forum. This is not actually a WooCommerce Community, nor a forum. – GhostToast Sep 27 '13 at 19:55
  • Hey @GhostToast I help support WooCommerce and whenever I come across a useful question I try to copy it here so everyone else can benefit. – BFTrick Sep 27 '13 at 22:20
  • @BFTrick, just wondering, for the sake of positive future contributions: As useful as it may be, does that kind of count as seeding content? – TomHarrigan Sep 28 '13 at 2:39
  • 7
    @TomHarrigan in general question with intention of self answer is acceptable on SE. However overlap with between WooCommerce question and what is considered really good question in our scope is quite narrow and challenging. More so as per this and previous discussions (meta/woothemes) at the moment Woo stuff has completely dug itself into a hole with our active users having really bad knee jerk reactions to main/woocommerce tag. In a nuthsell I would advise to tread carefully. Involvement on meta is great first step. – Rarst Sep 28 '13 at 8:41
  • Wow. Maybe they should just link all support requests to Captain Woo and WP Avengers – Chris_O Oct 23 '13 at 10:41
up vote 26 down vote accepted

Since I can't find a contact email anywhere on their site, I've submitted a request via their "Panic Button" sales form. Since I don't know where that goes, I'm copying the text here on the off-chance that someone from Woo finds this post:

Please don't just redirect your support forum to WordPress Answers

It recently came to our attention that y'all are redirecting folks looking for your community forum to WordPress Answers. Folks on that site are not particularly happy about this: WooCommerce dumping its support here in a direct menu link

While WordPress Answers is an excellent place for technical questions on WordPress development - including the use of 3rd-party extensions and themes - it is NOT a general-purpose discussion forum, and folks expecting it to be will be upset to find their questions closed and deleted.

Stack Exchange works really well for technical support, as long as you're not trying to outsource your entire customer support channel to Stack Exchange. There's a good meta post covering the issue below; the top two answers are worth reading:

Is it okay to use Stack Overflow as the support forum for a product or project?

We've had the best results from following the model used by Google Android to support their developers (http://android-developers.blogspot.com/2009/12/hello-stack-overflow.html). Following their example, we've put together a few guidelines about how to use Stack Exchange for community support:

Start with a page on your site listing where members should go for various support-related tasks. Stack Exchange should only be ONE of the options available. Make sure you have other resources for support apart from Stack Exchange. Issues like bug reporting, feature requests, generalized discussions, and specific customer support issues do not fit into our Q&A model, and will be quickly closed by the community.

Please don't try to "seed" common questions about your product on Stack Exchange. Our communities are very sensitive to this type of astroturfing, and they can react very negatively when a company seems to be posting staged questions simply to get them out there on Stack Exchange. You don't want to be labeled a spammer. Communities expect questions to represent actual problems asked in good faith from those who are actually seeking the help.

While we have a very active community, there are some questions that can only be answered by one of your internal team members. Make sure you jump on these quickly to establish your tag as THE place to get help with the harder questions. Have someone on your team whose job it is to monitor the tag daily and respond to any unanswered questions. Monitor activity on your tag using tag filters and subscriptions. You can setup a subscription to notify you or your team whenever there is new activity on your tag at http://stackexchange.com/filters/.

I hope you find these suggestions helpful, and are able to quickly take action to avoid further confusion for your users and distress to our community. If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

-Joshua Heyer, Community Manager at Stack Exchange

The above is based on the standard advice, written by Robert Cartaino, that we provide to organizations seeking to integrate Stack Exchange into their support system. Hopefully, the good folks at WooThemes are able to respond.

  • 8
    Read through that carefully worded mail. Thanks for your quick response. As we're discussing this issue since month and didn't know that this happened, we're extremely happy about your fast reaction. +1 – kaiser Sep 27 '13 at 20:17
  • 6
    That was... fast, nice to see high-level eyes watching over. I've also sent an email to help@woothemes.com linking here. – brasofilo Sep 27 '13 at 20:29

I have maintained the stance that Woo should not be subject to negative treatment because of our personal opinions on their free support policy.

However this action changes situation from happenstance inflow of Woo questions into systematic and willful redirection of such questions here.

Moreover I feel this is made worse by:

  • misrepresentation of destination (we are not "forum" and we do not form primarily or partially Woo community)
  • blanket nature of the redirection without regard what questions about Woo would be appropriate here
  • complete lack of involvement from Woo employees in our main site, meta site and our community overall (I apologize in advance if I simply don't recognize any active users as Woo employees)

Really as a moderator this doesn't shake me far from my usual position - no biased special treatment for better or worse.

However as a member of this community I am fed up with this to the point of making this public issue in a way that shall attract Woo attention.

I do not have action to suggest or endorse for us at this point (I did kick the issue higher up), however I have an action to suggest to Woo - start talking and fast or this will be very one-sided and not in a good way.

First and foremost this is terrible for your users and potential users, which are being treated (in my eyes) unfairly by this action and getting set up for bad crashing first experience with WPSE.

Overall I see a direct link as a negative:

  1. A direct menu link for support on a seperate site confuses users, as seen from the OP's link.
  2. WooCommerce devs and experts do not frequent WSPE, since WPSE is very WordPress centric and not very 3rd party friendly. The link creates an unrealistic expectation with users.
  3. WooThemes has various paid support channels for WooCommerce via it's own site and 3rd party partners.
  4. We already have some major issues with the woocommerce tag, direct linking to WSPE without even engaging in the community is a sure way to make this worse. This is especially true considering the "free" stuff is certainly part of a marketing platform.

We can ask them to remove the link, WPSE should still have a woocommerce tag and be open to related questions but a direct funnel as a support community is a bit much.

Just to add by "remove" I don't mean completely, I like @Shog9 suggestion of explaining the link on a support page or something, instead of just having it in the menu.

I also sent a copy of Shog's letter to the email help[at]woothemes.com and received answers from two Woo staff members. I'll quote the relevant parts, but hope that they join the conversation, or better yet, open new topics here on Meta to try to fill the gaps that the tag <woocommerce> has been suffering.

The link is now Stack Exchange and points to our Help/On-topic. The link was removed.

enter image description here

From Maria (she had the nice touch to link to myself, nice one Maria :)

We do not view this as 'dumping' the WooCommerce community on StackExchange but can see how this was not explained well. We've updated all our links to go here: https://wordpress.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic - so that the community has the option to post the correct type of question or not. We offer this alongside links on our site to the free resources such as our docs.

From Mike K:

Thank you for taking the time to reach out. It seems that this situation has been blown way out of proportion. Let me explain from our side.

[...]

Based on this talk - we decided to explore the idea of applying for a SE site.

We were given this advice - hence the link to the WC section of the WP SE.

We also offer a community forum on our own site as well as a ticket system, knowledge base, and product docs.

By no means did we intend to dump our support channels on SE. I'm not sure where that interpretation started, but it couldn't be further from the truth.

A WC tag already existed on SE. We were simply recognizing the usefulness of that location and suggesting that the general WC users check it out.

Just to clarify WC is a completely free and open source project available from WP.org.

Please accept our apology for any confusion caused here.

I replied to this email urging them to join the conversation here:

Well, the situation is out of proportion for lack of communication.
Personally, I don't agree with a link to WPSE.com/on-topic. But I'm just one among many.

Would the staff of Woo be so kind as to join the Meta discussion that I linked?
One of the representatives of Stack Exchange also tried to reach you, as you can see here

I took the liberty of publishing your responses (not in full, but almost) in our Meta thread.
My intention is really to build a bridge and bring you to the conversation table with our community.

I did it because I feel awkward having a personal response to an issue that's affecting many parties.

And finally, received a last response from Mike:

By all mean, feel free to post my comment. We have nothing to hide and no hidden agendas.

It was our impression that SE would be a good gathering point for WC community members. If that's not the case, we will simply explore other options.

Again, thank you for reaching out.

Net result:

  • the link was completely removed

  • no real conversation between Woo and WordPress Answers happened

  • 2
    Our work here is also free and cc-wiki, Mike. Like I said in my reply to the emails, the situation is out of proportion for lack of communication. Woo and its customers (free and paid) will only benefit from a stronger participation of Woo team here. – brasofilo Sep 28 '13 at 1:38
  • 7
    I'm pretty sure that advice read to get involved in WPSE, not just stick a link on your site... – Stephen Harris Sep 28 '13 at 13:16
  • 4
    Hopefully Mike is aware of stackexchange.com/filters which is mentioned above, the questions related to WC since the link was put into place have gotten even worse and will cause further anomosity without thinking this through properly. – Wyck Sep 28 '13 at 18:14
  • On the plus side, there are a handful of us that work at Woo participating in Meta, WPSE and The Loop – TomHarrigan Sep 30 '13 at 18:29
  • @TomHarrigan, I guess now this matter deserves new meta discussions. Hopefully, the Internet at large will benefit from a better woocommerce tag here at WPSE. – brasofilo Sep 30 '13 at 19:52
  • 1
    Also, now that the direct link is down, hopefully the WooCommerce questions will get better. – helgatheviking Oct 3 '13 at 8:39

What I find extremely bold is that they're actually stating on their support policy site that we're their support forum:

enter image description here

  • For the sake of being precise this is not linked to us and there are two links in menu labeled as community forum. However even if intended to be about different link it is still extremely easy to be confused with being about us due to same duplicated naming. – Rarst Sep 27 '13 at 20:55
  • 1
    The other Community Support link leads to https://www.woothemes.com/wp-login.php. – brasofilo Sep 27 '13 at 21:04
  • I have asked around and second link lead to some kind of forum/KB but it's not clear if it is intended and accessible for non-paying users. – Rarst Sep 27 '13 at 21:05
  • 2
    Partially echoing others, but there is a WooThemes community forum, which contains the same text about not being moderated. Screenshot: cld.wthms.co/XpVt – TomHarrigan Sep 28 '13 at 2:18

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