Support forums are nothing new. They exist for all sorts of projects, including just about every WordPress plugin. 99.9% of the time they are “users helping users” with the occasional response from a developer.
That’s how WooThemes handled their forum, until recently. Although their official responses were fairly common, users could still help users. Now WooThemes has overhauled their backend (dashboard), along with their support forum.
Users can no longer help users.
Why? Because WooThemes saw people were often posting to resolved threads trying to get answers. This is really common on forums. In fact, many forums will ban you if you start a new thread instead of reviving a recent one on the same topic. WooThemes thinks this doesn’t work well for them. (They also mentioned sometimes posts were creating confusion.)
WooThemes has gone and done two thing in opposition to the status quo. And you know what? It’s for the better.
Better WordPress Theme Support
The reason WooThemes has done this is because they want each and every forum question to get an official response. I don’t know of a single other product support forum that does this. Not even big companies like Intel offer this sort of support.
There are quite a few companies that promise quick response times from customer support. Really those are quite pointless. Often they’re canned responses that are sent simply to get back to you quickly. My least favorite are the one that ask you information you just provided them with like “What browser are you using?” And you already told them “Chrome 15.0.874.15, extensions off, cache flushed.”
WooThemes does things differently. Their responses are always useful. Sometimes they remind users they need more info, but sometimes that’s needed. They offer simply awesome support and not only that, but now they’ve streamlined it as well.
In the end my only complaint is that I can no longer give them a hand by answering questions or help confirm issues.