I worked on my first WordPress development projects in mid-2011. I didn’t go to school for computer science, or even web development. I got a degree in Electrical Engineering – so that wasn’t much help for WordPress stuff. The only place I had to go to, was the internet.
The WordPress Codex is Great
One of the main reasons I love WordPress is the Codex. It’s basically an online encyclopedia of how to use just about any function in WordPress. If you don’t know what arguments to use for a function, hit the Codex! The Codex knows all.
When you’re choosing a framework or CMS (content management system) to build your platform on, it’s always very nice to know that there’s an incredible resource available to you day and night (as long as you’re online), that can help you figure out just about anything.
Sure, the codex can’t answer your complex problems, but it should be able to get you out of most hairy situations.
The Forums are Okay…
The WordPress support forums are usually good for getting advice on simple things, but they’re not exceptionally great for complex advice. Most of the participants on the WordPress support forums appear to be WordPress amateurs, who focus on setting up websites and using plugins, but not doing complex tasks.
There are still some great examples of fine support being offered from the WordPress forums, but the admins also close down threads early on, and it makes it difficult to get extra information about something partially answered.
In short, if you need (free) WordPress advice, the WordPress support forums are likely your best bet.
The IRC Chatroom is Pretty Bad
I think this is probably a general rule with IRC chatrooms, but it’s painfully obvious that the main contributors to the IRC chatroom (on freenode) feel they are the all-time greatest WordPress developers. They’ll constantly use sarcasm to ridicule people who don’t understand simple concepts.
This is the same as YouTube and Facebook comments – everyone on the internet is an expert at everything. The unfortunate bit is that it doesn’t stop there. The “experts” also want you to know how foolish you are for not knowing everything.
I experienced this same problem when asking for car repair advice, on a popular diesel forum. Answers like, “If you don’t understand this, you shouldn’t even be working on your car.” It’s toxic attitudes like this that turn people away from learning new things.
Why bother trying to learn if you’re only going to be inundated with asshole responses?
Unfortunately, that’s the stance most people will take after a couple of experience with self-proclaimed internet experts.
Don’t Be a Dick
My simple advice for improving the state of education on the internet? Don’t be a dick. This goes for everyone.
To the seasoned developer getting ready to smugly answer a beginner question. Don’t be a dick.
To the chat room participant who feels personally affronted when someone asks a previously asked question. Don’t be a dick.
To the owner of a security firm startup who wants everyone to know your with and brains. Don’t be a dick.
This regularly posted blog is my way of not being a dick. I am working my hardest to share the information I’ve learned over the past 5 years, so that it’s easier for other people to get up and running – faster than I did.
Help Me Help You
Seriously, if there is anything I can do better on this website to make it easier for you to learn and set up WordPress, don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments! I will do my best to make this a haven of safe participation and good learning.