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FAQ-Tastic For WordPress 2.7 | Coming Soon «

FAQ-Tastic for WordPress 2.7 (coming soon)

January 16th, 2009

It's been a while. FAQ-Tastic has been long overdue for an upgrade and I realise that there have been issues with WordPress 2.6.x. A solution is on it's way.

For the moment, here's an excerpt from a broadcast email I sent out mid-January 2009 which explains various issues with developing FAQ-Tastic for the WordPress community.

2008, as most people may have noticed, was not a pleasant year for the global economy. Was I affected in the UK?

Extremely so. As a recently separated, part-time single dad to 2 kids, I only have a limited amount of time to focus on work. With 3 days doing childcare and general household maintenance (oh joy), this means I only have 4 full days working (and, yes, that includes the weekends). Being a freelance Web Developer, work has been pretty thin over the last year but the bills still need paying and the banks never let up.

As you can imagine, for the last 9 months or so, I've pretty much been maxed out 24/7 with no breaks - basically I've been working to keep enough food on the table and just getting by. It essentially meant either spending my time working (or trying to find work) on projects that actually pay the bills or spending my time on FAQ-Tastic.

As you may or may not know, unlike other WordPress plugins, FAQ-Tastic is a commissioned project. It is completely financed out of my own pocket. Every update to the plugin requires a Developer to be paid to make the necessary fixes. Don't get me wrong - I'm not complaining about that.

However, the reality is that, most people think that just because you can get a WordPress plugins without needing to pay for them, then this means that they are "free". The truth of the matter is that there is (and always will be) some cost to someone along the way. Whether or not you know it, the WordPress Developers that provide you with additional functionality for your blogs have spent valuable time and effort on their part.

...but do you know what's worse? The reality is, most people do not appreciate this fact. Instead of getting support for the amount of time and effort put in, most WordPress plugin Developers spend a great deal of time dealing with irate users who can't manage to get the plugin working.

As an example, there's a guy I know called John who has built a suite of excellent WordPress plugins. Over the course of over 3 years has received very few donations for the work he has done. You could count them on one hand. Last year, John "lost his mojo". He couldn't see the point in carrying on with supporting his plugins. That was a really bad time for me as John is also the guy who builds FAQ-Tastic... If you do use John's plugins then please make a donation or at the very least send him some kind comments.

The "support desk syndrome" (as I like to call it) that WordPress Developers suffer from is the main reason why project get abandoned. After all, why bother continue building a plugin when the majority of email you get causes you stress?

The truth about "altruism" when it comes to open-source applications is that most people just don't appreciate the hidden costs involved. Maybe it's because they simply don't realise how much time goes into building something that saves a community a lot of effort in the long run.

My point is this: if you do use a WordPress plugin, please make a donation to the Developer that created it. Or at the very least be polite when trying to get help. I'm not talking just FAQ-Tastic but all of the other ones that you feel are valuable to your blogging efforts!. Just by doing these 2 things the end results is that your Plugin Developer will feel appreciated and continue building what you need!

(*NOTE: sorry if you've already donated - this is a general "broadcast" email to all users. If you've donated, then please feel good about being one of the very few people who really do help make us Developers feel appreciated and valued!).


So, Am I Giving Up On FAQ-Tastic?

Having considered the options, it's very tempting to just jack it all in and give up on FAQ-Tastic. It's been very frustrating doing something when there's very little appreciation given in return.

However, I think you'll be pleased to know that I'm already in the process of getting FAQ-Tastic working on WordPress 2.7. John's created a new version that will be available soon (as soon as I've tested it and we've worked out the bugs).

I'm going to have to find some time in the next few days to update the files for FAQ-Tastic, after I've finished building a site (and shopping cart) for a client. I'm aiming to have it done by the end of next week (23rd Jan 2009) - sooner if I can get round to it. No guarantees. I have kids and very little time.

Over the course of the next few months I will be doing the following:

- getting round to checking the hundreds of emails.
- updating the FAQ-Tastic website (to demo the plugin on WP2.7).
- switching off those annoying autoresponder emails. I'm really sorry if I spammed you.

How You Can Help FAQ-Tastic?

Now, while a lot of people complained about the automated emails that they received, I'd like to point out that without them, very few people would have bothered to actually make a donation. In a weird kind of way, simply nagging people seemed to do the trick. Personally, I don't like doing this. Or have it done to me. So I'm stopping it right now - even though I know it's going to have a big impact on the amount of donations that this plugin gets. You have my word... (actually, I've deleted them just as I was writing this!).

It's not something I like to do, but like I say, it has provoked more people into making contributions that other Developers have managed. Is it right? That depends on who you speak to - Internet Marketers will tell you that it's a great way of keeping in contact with your (email) "list". Personally, I don't like getting spammed with huge numbers of emails, so why should I inflict it on you? "Do unto others..."? Kant's Categorical Imperative... take your pick. Whatever it is, it just didn't feel right anymore, so I'm s stopping it.

That leaves me a few issues:

1) I don't make enough to keep this plugin properly supported.
2) People don't tend to make donations (unless they're *really* nice people!).

So, having thought about it, here's a solution:

At times, I will be promoting products that I believe in and think may be useful to you on this newsletter list.

What does this mean? Basically, it's something called "affiliate marketing" whereby I promote some products and if you buy them, then I get paid a percentage. All you have to do is buy the stuff you like and ignore the stuff that doesn't interest you. Basically, if you're not interested in it, just pop the email in the trash.

If you really feel this would be too much like spam, then I'd invite you to use the link at the bottom of *every* email I send out to unsubscribe from the list. No hard feelings. I'd be sorry to see you go. However, by staying subscribed (and maybe even buying something) you'll: be helping me out; supporting FAQ-Tastic Lite; be given updates about the plugin, as well maybe finding something that may be of use to you.

My promise is that I'll only ever promote things that I think will be valuable and believe in. So expect very few promotions of courses/products from me on this list (as I'm skeptical about a lot of things). There's actually only 2 products that I currently feel have any value: 1) Anything from StomperNet (e.g. their current Formula 5 course is outstanding and their monthly SEO Magazine is *the* only one I'd recommend if you're into SEO at the moment) and 2) Anything from Eben Pagan. Aside from that, there's not much else I'd be willing to recommend.

I realise that quite a few people may not like this approach, but think about it for a minute: do you receive emails from Amazon or any other online store? I've heard comments in the past from a few people saying that Internet Marketing is unethical and abhorrent. Why? Because a private individual is trying to make a little bit more money than they currently do (but feeding the corporate machines is okay) or is it something about the way that they do it?

As for me, I like to give you a choice. You can choose to subscribe or not. It's that simple. There are alternatives to FAQ-Tastic that you could use (which may not be as good) but the point is that you're getting the plugin for FREE with no cost to you aside from a extra mails in your inbox. The FAQ-Tastic mailing list is CAN-SPAM compliant - basically, we don't send you anything until you confirm that you actually wanted to be part of the list (so, it's your choice). I 'm not twisting your arm (you are!). I just hope you find the additional content valuable.

The bottom line is, this plugin actually means a lot to me. When I have some time, I'll be writing a blog post about the plugin, it's history and what it symbolises. I'm very proud to have created this and I'm glad that thousands of people use it on their blogs.

Anyway, I hope you've found this update useful. I'll let you know about the new FAQ-Tastic update for WP2.7 soon, when it's available.

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Written by edith on January 16th, 2009

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4 Comment on “FAQ-Tastic for WordPress 2.7 (coming soon)”

  1. PiterKokoniz says:

    Hi !! ;)
    I am Piter Kokoniz. Just want to tell, that I like your blog very much!
    And want to ask you: is this blog your hobby?
    Sorry for my bad english:)
    Thank you:)
    Your Piter

  2. Nori Silverrage says:

    Well I don't use FAQ-Tastic but I happened across a thread in the WP forums and decided to visit your site. I totally understand where you are coming from with the whole donation based releases. Its really cut-throat trying to get people to donate to cover your costs. It makes me wonder at how many plugin developers there are out there, because it really is stressful and often not rewarding. I keep thinking that there has to be a better way to get people to give back to the devs... Maybe a donate button right on the WP plugin page, or when the plugin is activated it asks for a donation to support the dev.

    Anyway, I wish you well!

  3. Pet Snakes says:

    Love your writing style and the design of your blog, its very original! Well done, look forward to reading more.

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