As @Aussie noted, he created ClassicPress.club to be a place for non-techies to ask questions. Of course, it can’t be ignored that there are already all those same forums right here and they’re for everyone.
The thing is, lots of end-users have technical questions that require technical answers. There are always going to be occasions where a user (or developer) asks a question and finds the answer completely over their head – happens to me all the time. However, this is where that person must take the initiative to ask follow-up questions or do some Googling. I don’t believe that superficial or incomplete answers are a helpful response to technical questions.
The forums don’t cater to developers, those are just the people you’re going to see more of because (between the group) we can answer virtually any question. Technical questions are going to receive technical answers.
In fact, I’ve seen many plain ol’ end users participating all over the place. When they don’t understand something, they follow-up or make an attempt to learn more on their own. Putting in some personal effort (to learn more) is part of successfully working with open source software; it’s not just about posting a question and waiting for an answer that may or may not be understandable.
I set up the forum at classicpress.club as a peer-to-peer forum for everyday users. It is not my role or intention to personally answer every technical question.
It is the forum members who will provide the answers, and anyone is free to join. Even James, the CP lead developer is a member.
John Overall from ‘WP Plugins A to Z’, mentions it at the end of each of his weekly podcasts, as he can see where it can serve a useful, and possibly necessary, function.
Mum and Dad website owners who are only looking for a way to avoid the Gutenberg mess at WordPress could very well find the official forum overwhelming or a bit intimidating. I certainly feel uncomfortable when visiting forums owned by the software developer.
My forum was never designed to replace this one. Each has its place. There are plenty of privately run forums for WordPress support and other CMS’s. Just because they’re not official, doesn’t mean they are second class or pointless.
I’m not saying your forum is second class or pointless. I also registered at your site to help your user numbers and even left a comment on one of your articles. My point was simply that users will sometimes have to take initiative to learn, and that adding more forums here isn’t an answer to that.
Well, you have to expect and plan that there will be users starting fresh with no WordPress experience at all. That is why the forum should be divided for users and developers.
It is not an absurd suggestion rather to simplify and organize the whole support forum from the beginning.
A user oriented subforum (kinda “I need help”) in Support section could solve that probably. It should be a starting point for all site specific questions. And if a question appears more common (e.g. core/theme/plugin bug found) it may be moved to a proper section manually by moderators.
Again, this is the goal of the Support forum – to provide a place for anyone and everyone to ask questions. If a user is uncomfortable asking questions in front of others for whatever reason, that’s a completely different issue that won’t be solved by adding more forums.
Dividing subforums by roles is a bit artifitial. Devs are users, users are devs sometimes. (The same problem as being an “employer” and an “employee” on a freelance sites at the same time — things are not determined strictly in real life). Threads differ by a question scope/target/goal, not by a user role itself.
The most universal and scalable method of solving this is using any “Inbox”-alike folder to collect all unsorted input (GTD analogy) and then processing each item depending on it’s content. This is much more flexible than trying to predict all needed “roles”/“categories”/“question types” and force users to follow that unnatural devisions.
In this particular case (support requests) it is better to build structure depending on real incoming data flow rather than trying to fit undefined requests into predefined structure. E.g. if you recieve 100 questions about green unicorns you just make a subsection “Green Unicorns” no matter if those questions were asked by devs or by users (or even by unicorns
This is also closer to the real usage scenarios, as the main method of getting this kind of data is searching it by keyphrases (topicstarters roles doesn’t matter). Hierarchical trees are not suitable to navigate through chaotic dissimilar input, so it’s more like tagging or clasters.