WP Site Display Issue
Member Stephen Boatright reports that the display of his site on the Commons has dramatically changed. Wondering if his theme ("Academia") was recently updated? Here is what he reports:
"I am the admin for the site: https://bef2015.commons.gc.cuny.edu, and the display of theme changed recently without my doing anything. Now the header image and background image are distorted and displaced, and the font family has changed. Also, most of the display seems to have a grey flim over it.
I built the site for a conference workshop that will happen at the GC in a few weeks. Is there anything you can see or point me to, so that I can fix it?"
#1 Updated by Boone Gorges over 6 years ago
- Assignee set to Matt Gold
Yes, the theme was updated on April 21, as noted in the April 5 "major update" post: http://dev.commons.gc.cuny.edu/2015/04/05/major-plugin-and-theme-updates-for-april-21-2015/
Matt, please advise on next steps. As a general rule, we need to update themes and plugins. In specific cases, there are things we can do to work around issues. Here, for example, I can re-add the old version of Academica; activate it on the site in question; but make it unavailable for anyone else to use. It's fine to do this once in a while, but it creates a big mess if we make it a standing policy.
#2 Updated by Matt Gold over 6 years ago
There's no question in my mind that we have to keep themes and plug-ins updated, and I think we have arrived at a responsible way of documenting such updates. I do not like the idea of re-adding deprecated themes.
However there is obviously a communication and documentation issue here that we should think about how to address. Are the people whose sites will be affected by theme and plug in updates actually seeing our advance warnings? And if they are, do they have enough knowledge to foresee how such changes will affect site appearances and functionalities so that they can address any problems?
Perhaps, for instance, we should consider whether we can notify site administrators that themes/plugins in use on their sites have been updated and that they should check out our dev blog to learn more? Automating that process might be tricky and I would not want to propose a notification system that would necessitate a lot of overhead to develop, but if there is a low hanging way to do this, we might consider it. Otherwise, we can just let people know what is going on a case-by-case basis as we hear complaints via support email
#3 Updated by Boone Gorges over 6 years ago
Are the people whose sites will be affected by theme and plug in updates actually seeing our advance warnings? And if they are, do they have enough knowledge to foresee how such changes will affect site appearances and functionalities so that they can address any problems?
My guess is: no, and no. A system that puts warnings in front of admins - whether they're emailed, shown on the Dashboard, whatever - will be moderately hard to build, and it will only do any good if the people seeing the warnings can actually understand the warnings. Given how rarely this comes up, I would favor handling these issues on a case-by-case basis.
This suggests that we need to be pretty hard-nosed, though. In this case, the response to the reporter will be: "Sorry, but there's nothing we can do. In the future, please watch the dev blog." Maybe we don't mind doing this in general, but if the user has an event coming up in the next few weeks, it feels like we should do more to try to help.
#4 Updated by Matt Gold over 6 years ago
I like that approach-- something like, "Look, WordPress is a constantly changing ecosystem and one of its greatest strengths is that it evolves over time, both to address security vulnerabilities and to include new functionalities. We have had to update the theme/plug-in you use on your site, and and you can see what has been updated here [link to dev blog]. If you have any trouble updating your site to take account of these changes, please let us know when we would be glad to help you troubleshoot
#5 Updated by Boone Gorges over 6 years ago
I don't have a personal problem with this approach (it's less work for me), but it potentially puts a greater onus on Scott and the support folks, at least if we're serious about the "we would be glad to help you troubleshoot" bit.
Matt, if you are happy with all of this, then Scott, I think you should go ahead and respond to Stephen with something along the above lines. Hopefully only a small amount of reconfiguration will be required to restore his site to its previous appearance.
#6 Updated by Matt Gold over 6 years ago
Thanks, Boone. I do think this involves dev work, too, as we may want to ask the team for help. I would suggest that we assign to Daniel or Christian as a first step
I'm happy with this approach, too. Scott, I know you've shared the link to this ticket with Stephen already, but can you please touch base with him again? Thank you.
#7 Updated by Boone Gorges over 6 years ago
I do think this involves dev work, too, as we may want to ask the team for help. I would suggest that we assign to Daniel or Christian as a first step
Yes, but to what end? Are we going to offer custom dev services in cases where a user's plugin/theme has been obsolesced?
#8 Updated by Matt Gold over 6 years ago
I would say that we can help troubleshoot, as in this case -- helping the site admin determine what changes in the theme caused the new problem/behavior, and suggesting a workaround/fix -- which could possibly involve advice that the theme/plugin should be abandoned. In this case, I would hope that if there is an easy fix, like two lines of custom CSS or a theme setting that could easily be changed to address the display issue, we could advise.