Here are some thoughts which I felt like sharing on unread support posts.

Having, like several others, been active daily for a few of years answering support questions on the forum, I have seen all sorts of response. Some are grateful for support, a few are easily offended, and a handful either crazy or stupid. That is to be expected. What discourages me from continuing is more that a very large percentage of posts appears to be unread.

Some who post a question will assume they will receive email notification when there is a follow-up. This is not true. The questioner needs to check back for an answer. Since I have made a point of 'mopping up' questions over 12 hours old, and often over 24 hours old, which no one else has answered, the questioners may have given up looking.

I did raise an issue for Webmasters suggesting a 'follow' button, so a question could receive an email notification. My thinking was that of all solutions, this one has to be relatively easy to implement since it this features exists on issue queues. The issue ( has not received comment since it was raised 15 Dec. 2013.

There are other things which could be done: some other support forums have a button inviting the questioner to accept or reject and answer.

I know that there are not enough people to do everything which is needed in the Drupal community. And I know that the Webmasters are as aware as anyone that there is room for improvement.

To be fair I have benefited form writing support posts. I have received little paid work as a direct result (though like other contributions, writing support posts may give some credibility in the market). Still one learns from the process. Many users have expressed thanks, some with a quick 'thank you' (which is OK), some profusely, and that is nice. A few posts will have been read without acknowledgement (which is also OK).

My guestimate, though I cannot know for sure, based a 'feel' acquired from experience in this work, is that when I specialise (though not exclusively) in answering questions with an average age of 24 hours since posting, something like 40% of my total number of replies are read, and not more than 50%. This means I have worked for (guestimating again) over 1000 hours to give 500 hours value to the Drupal world. This inclines me to think there are better ways to spend that time, either contributing to Drupal in other ways, or whatever else comes along in life to fill that time (I am anyway busy with paid Drupal support work). However, if everyone felt like that, the support forums would die. Maybe it is natural for there to be turnover of those providing answers, just as there is a high turnover of core devs for each version.


Jaypan’s picture

I feel your pain. I've written extended posts helping people with what I thought were pretty good, helpful post, and received no acknowledgement whatsoever. I just hope that someone else will come across them later and find them beneficial.

On the other side of it, I've given up on writing patches for DO, as they sit there for months without acknowledgement. The first time I thought it was an anomaly, and even gave my recommendations about response times since some of the infrastructure team is paid. But after submitting more patches, I came to realize it's the norm. I understand it's all volunteer, so I don't hold this to be anyone's fault, but I find it too stressful/disheartening to be willing to subject myself to it anymore. So I'm done with patches for DO. I know they are trying to fix this with the community tools team, hopefully it works. But it's going to have to work for someone else, I've got too many bad feelings to want to participate now. Maybe I'll check back in a year or two and see if things have gotten better. But for now, I'll just stick with the forums - at least I can decide whether or not I want to reply.

WorldFallz’s picture

I tend to suspect there's a lot more folks reading and benefiting without commenting -- but maybe I'm just being a pollyanna about it, lol. I know I'm guilty of it from time to time when I've found a solution in the forums via googling and not returned to comment that it worked (especially when others have already indicated that a particular comment is the 'right' one).

But take heart-- there will be improvements to drupal support and the forums forthcoming (i tend to believe at minimum, something like an 'accepted answer' flag will be added).

Jaypan’s picture

Here's a post that would seem to support your theory John:

John_B’s picture

The issue I opened was also in response to an OP who complained about lack of notification.

The person who provides a response should probably also receive email notification. Some threads I contributed to do have responses from several weeks back which I missed because old threads with new posts do not consistently rise to the top of the 'Your Posts' block on my dashboard. This is probably related to the D7 upgrade, which also semi-broke the 'New Forum Topics' block.

Of my last 20 support posts, made 24 hours or more ago, 14 (i.e. 70%) have so far received no response from the OP. The percentage of my posts with no follow-up appears much worse during the past three months. Whilst I am inclined to read it as a 'sign' to move on to other areas of work, the rational explanation is that that is when I started focussing on the Installing Drupal and Upgrading Drupal forums, with less input to the Post-installation forum.