Troubleshooting WordPress

This is an attempt to explain a pattern of troubleshooting WordPress through a specific event and perhaps reinforce the need for me to be humble in all interactions with people. So even if you never have this problem this might be useful. Symptoms An admin for one of our sites using FeedWordPress and suddenly can’t see any feeds in her syndicated sites view for that plugin. She sends me an email. I drop into the site and check. All looks good to me. Sadly. Sadly. Sadly. I respond to her and say it seems to be working on my end . . . has she tried another browser, computer, login/logout/restart etc. It’s easy to end up assuming the person reporting the problem is wrong by default. I get a fair number of emails. Many of them, probably most of them, report problems that are more human than mechanical. It’s easy to fall into a trap of assuming it’s a human issue, especially if a superficial inspection confirms that suspicion. It’s also called a trap for a reason. Avoid it if at all possible and if you fall into it please attempt to climb out.1 A bit later she indicates that she has done these things and the problem persists. I go back to the site. It still works for me. […]


What is Rampages? Part Two

Image from page 776 of “The Ladies’ home journal” (1889) flickr photo by Internet Archive Book Images shared with no copyright restriction (Flickr Commons) Continuing on from Part One . . . I have way too many examples. If you read this blog often, you’ve probably seen most of these being born1 but this is my first attempt at organizing and a more cohesive structure around key categories/processes and all in one place. This isn’t my normal pattern as I’m more of a folksonomic structure guy rather than taxonomic. What this has done is remind me of just how much work has been done in a relatively short time. I’ve only been here three years. Rampages is roughly three years old but wasn’t publicized initially and then had some rough growing pains. The last year or so I’ve been trying to convince people my department still exists . . . and still people find ways to do tons of amazing work. I’m not even including the stuff we do outside of WordPress. I’m only scratching the surface but this post keeps getting longer and longer. I threw a bunch of the links here. Some will be duplicates but there’s plenty of additional sites as well. Courses Rampages supports faculty teaching the full continuum of courses at VCU- from augmenting traditional […]


Rampages Numbers

In responding to some data requests, I delved into the WP tables to pull some rampages data. All users ever . . . I need to set up something more automated but for this I dumped the MySQL tables as CSVs and then just imported them to Google Sheets. With very minimal functions, I got this data. My favorite function combos are to pull the unique values from a range =unique and then do a =countif off those values. It’s a really quick way to get graphs like these.


Rampages Growth Plotted

As part of the gen ed seminar I pulled the user signup data for Kristina Anthony. It was just a straight export from the wp_users table and stripped of everything but the date. She pulled it into Excel and used a pivot table to make it manageable. Which is awesome. So I pulled it down and pushed it back up into Google Docs so that I could embed the chart in this post. It makes me feel better to look at the growth over what amounts to around a year of actual use. I tend to focus on places for improvement (and there are many) but it’s worth looking at what ALT Lab has managed to achieve in a fairly short period of time.1 The July to February jump of about 6000 users is pretty insane. I have every expectation that we’ll add another 6000 or so users next year. Things will certainly only get more interesting. This has been done without huge student training initiatives. For the most part faculty members are able to support their own students. We have some of that filter up and we deal with some troubleshooting online but there’s no dedicated person(s) to support WordPress issues or train students. That’s a testament to WordPress. 1 In the higher ed dimension a year is […]