02 Oct

WordPress Support Forum Moderators’ Micromanagement of the Support Forum Seems Counterproductive

Last week as part of our discussing the continued inappropriate behavior on the part of the moderators of the WordPress Support Forum, we discussed a situation where a moderator had deleted useful information that helped to link together a series of hacks related to a file generated by the plugin Duplicator. We had tried to note that deleting that information was problematic, but that message was itself deleted. Unfortunately the moderators don’t seem to be able to deal with the fact that others disagree with their actions, so instead of being able to have an adult professional conversation that could lead to a better situation for everyone, they simple respond by deleting things like that.  That isn’t supposed to be happening.

If you looked at the page Pre-defined Replies for Moderators the standardized reply if someone asks to have something deleted is this:

Generally speaking, posts are only edited or removed where to do otherwise might lead to serious consequences. Previous examples have included posts that accidentally incorporated proprietary code or where the poster asking has reason to fear for their online safety. Having a posted site url come up in Google in NOT a serious consequence. In each case, use your best judgement or ask for a second opinion. If the final decision to to leave the post “as is”, use something like:

When a post is made and people contribute answers to an issue, that then becomes part of the community resource for others to benefit from. Deleting posts removes this added value. Forum topics will only be edited or deleted if they represent a valid legal, security, or safety concern.

That clearly wasn’t the case with what we had said or is for some much else that we have seen deleted, including someone just thanking us. Since there isn’t any accountability when things are deleted (for example, there is no indication that things have in fact been deleted), it would be hard for others who haven’t run into this to know what is really going on (which seems like it might be the point).

While our reply on that topic was deleted, we still are alerted if additional messages our posted on the topic. Yesterday the following message was posted:

Hi, a friend of mine had been attacked with the same malware. Are you aware of any script/recipe to clean that up?

Considering that multiple hackers are probably targeting this particular vulnerability by now, there probably is a single script that could deal with it all. That would be a good thing to note, especially since security companies frequently write up posts or guides that are supposed to tell how to deal with some issue where they actual only deal with one instance of it, causing problems for those trying to deal with a related hack.

Instead of someone being able to respond with something like that, that messages got deleted almost immediately as well and the moderator that probably was involved in the previously problematic actions in this topic responded with this:

@dirac3000,

Please do not jump into other topics. If the troubleshooting already posted made no difference for you, then, as per the Forum Welcome, please post your own topic.

Your post has been archived.

There is no indication this person was jumping “into other topics”, so that claim seems unwarranted. It also seems rather unwelcoming to delete something like this instead of just explaining that you think creating a new topic would be a better idea, especially when you claim that things are almost never deleted, but unfortunately these moderators seem more interested in controlling the Support Forum than actual helping to make sure they are a benefit to the rest of the community.

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