49 Comments


  1. I’ve always avoided Facebook groups related to ‘serious’ topics because they tend to become just a way to hang out and lose time. I’ll check that out.

    On the other hand, I’m subscribed to few WordPress related groups on Linkedin (i’m subscribed to WordPress, WordPress Developers and WordPress Experts), and I’ve found that there are very interesting conversations, from people asking for help on a specific problem to people that just want to share an opinion about some topic. People there are all very professional and I enjoy conversations with them.

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    1. What you’ve described on the groups your subscribed to is pretty much the same thing I’ve experienced just with this one group. There are other WP Facebook groups for Webhosting and stuff but I don’t want to overrun my Facebook feed with WordPress stuff.

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  2. Facebook is not very appealing to any serious WordPress developer and is losing all its momentum by the thousands every year which is a fact and in 5 years it will wind up just like MySpace. I have no idea why you would promote Facebook on here with an article when it is starting to die off because it is pretty boring. WP groups need to stick to the basics and forget Facebook because that is one place I can assure you that I will not do support requests.

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    1. This Facebook group is not meant to be a support channel for Developers-Clients. It’s for Developers to Developers. That’s a big difference. The group is filled with developers or at least “implementors”. Why not Promote Facebook if that’s where a large group of people are using as a watering hole to discuss advanced WordPress topics?

      I get what you’re saying, and Facebook may not be around forever, but it sure as heck isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon. Facebook has an insane number of people and it’s used as the primary communication channel for a lot of people. You can’t just create a site and hope all the Facebook people use it if they’re more comfortable using Facebook.

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    2. It’s actually a good group and I’ve learned a lot there as a “serious developer” from other developers (who I assume are also pretty serious).

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    3. I’m also an admin of the AWP group and it’s by far my number one resource for information and WP solutions.

      If I have a development issue, I will of course Google and check Stack Exchange first…typically I can find my answers within a couple of minutes that way. However, if I’ve exhausted those methods and still have no solution I will post to AWP before I try posting at Stack Exchange. With AWP you’re almost guaranteed an answer within a few minutes. SE is hit or miss in my experience, and if you DO get an answer sometimes it’s hours/days later…I don’t have the patients for that!

      We actually have a lot of “serious” WP developers in the group…I won’t name names, but some big time WP players hang out there ;) Also, in the short since this article was written, we’ve surpassed 8,000 members. The community is growing at a rapid rate and we are very excited.

      If you haven’t checked it out I encourage you to join…don’t let the Facebook part turn you off.

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      1. I totally agree with you Chris. Before knowing AWP, I use to post my issues on SE and it sometimes sucks when you need an urgent answer for your problem. At AWP, you will surely get someone to answer you.

        One of the important thing that I noticed here at AWP is that people from all parts of world are sitting in this group. Whether you belong to any country or region, someone is available for you with the same timezone.

        I have seen some good interactions in the group. Admins are taking steps to develop and engage in a better way. The group is growing with the new members swiftly and I can see AWP on heights.

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  3. Thanks for sharing this Jeff. It really is an amazing group of high quality and well known professional WordPress developers. I haven’t experienced this really anywhere else at all. At this point, this and a couple other groups are the MAIN reason I log into FB anymore at all.

    You’re very right about the lack of “history” with FB groups, it’s a major feature need. That’s why we’ve been planning a website for a long time (www.advancedwp.org). One day me and the 22 other admins will have some time to make that site an excellent companion to the group and a really stellar resource to the larger WP community. Looking forward to seeing you over there!

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    1. Yeah, the longer I use the group, the more I wish it had features found in a forum. Unfortunately, with the way it’s setup, I think those who stick around long enough will continue to see the same questions just answered is a slightly different way because their is no way to easily point people to threads that have discussed the topic ad nausem.

      Unfortunately, you recognize and so does Michael Bastos that you just can’t create a site and move people over. It’s likely a lot of people wouldn’t switch because they are comfortable with how Facebook operates. Sort of a catch 22 you’re in. But, I wouldn’t worry about it too much unless you have a lot more users wanting you to move away from Facebook to something else.

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  4. Brad Griffin

    I’ve been a member of Advanced WordPress for a while now. And, what I love about the group is that collaboration (with a side of humor every now and then) is always welcome. If you need help with code Advanced WordPress is the place to go. Want to know how to write a hook, go to Advanced WordPress. Want to ask what’s the best SEO plugin? Ask Google! Want to know why a plugin is doing something audacious to your site, ask in Advanced WordPress. Like talking about WordPress security? That’s definitely always a hot topic! Want to know how to speed up your site? Ask me No wait, better yet: Ask Advanced WordPress!!

    Starting to see a pattern? Good! Now come join us! But be forewarned, if you can’t take a joke, and you like spam, you’ll quickly find yourself ousted! ;-)

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/advancedwp

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  5. I’m a somewhat new member of the group (I believe I was added about a month ago). I find it’s a good place to have lively discussions about how to accomplish various things with WordPress (not necessarily sharing code snippets, but theoretical discussions about the ways to do things). It’s also a great place to get news about WordPress. While I try to follow a lot of different blogs, etc. to keep up with all of the WordPress news, there is always something I’ll miss; with this active Facebook group, someone is bound to post just about anything that pops up as WP news along the way.

    Regarding other places to have WordPress discussions, I’m not sure I’ve seen another unified, active place like this Facebook group. I’ve tried quite a few LinkedIn groups, but they all seem to be filled with posts that I’d consider spam, or the same questions over and over again.

    About the only other “forum” I’ve found that has as many interesting and valid discussions is the wp.edu mailing list; obviously, though, that has a pretty narrow audience-scope. It’s also not nearly as active as the AWP Facebook group.

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    1. I secretly use the group to discover new tools or particular stories to write about :) there’s been a couple good ones.

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  6. michaelbastos

    I appreciate the article, as one of the founding members of AWP almost three years ago, I’m firm believer in going to the conversation and not forcing the conversation come to you, it’s one of the reasons AWP has done so well, and also why we’ve had a hard time with doing the website because it’s about going to where people want to talk and not about forcing them to join one site or one discussion thread. The guys at AWP have become some of my closest friends and even if Facebook goes the way of Myspace then I’ll still be there as long as they are too. Do what you do best and then link to the rest right? Isn’t that how the web is suppose to work? I appreciate the shout out…

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    1. I understand what you’re saying. I was in a similar position at one point and was able to move the conversation to a forum which became very successful. I’m hoping to bring it back at some point but I’ve always tried to go to where the conversation is versus bringing it to me. The longer AWP stays on Facebook and continues to grow, the harder it will be to make the move and have everyone come with you. I doubt Facebook is disappearing anytime soon so there’s that.

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  7. Are there any Google Plus groups that fall into this vein? I’ve avoided Facebook all this time, but I’ve noticed that a lot of other WP devs and designers I follow have dropped Facebook and are now starting to use G+ instead for discussions and business promotion.

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      1. Yeah, while we were working on this article, we noticed that. Google+ is made for community building, it seems. They have brought in a lot of the good stuff from orkut.

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    1. Yep, there’s that one and I believe another one but I can’t think of it off the top of my head. The only thing I use Google Plus for is Hangouts.

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      1. Yup – I’ve asked a few questions on the Google+ Advanced WordPress Group, but the responses have been almost non-existent (or low quality – sadly)… such a shame… The Facebook group, on the other hand, seems to be a genuinely pretty top-notch (all things considered) resource that I’ve used a fair few times now and each time been met with not only helpful answers but also a pretty genuine/decent crowd!

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    2. Theresa Jennings

      The only thing I hate about G+ is the sign-in process, but that’s Google’s stupidity, not AWP’s or any other G+ group.

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    3. Thanks, I’ll check that group out and look for the other one. I had started following a couple of the LinkedIn WP groups a few years back, but the ones I’d picked devolved quickly, and got weirder than comments on YouTube or Yahoo News :)

      I should try to find some local WP groups and see what’s going on there, too.

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  8. Cricket Wilson-Harris

    After returning to Facebook I quickly found a home with the Advanced WordPress group. My involvement there has allowed me to ramp up my skills exponentially after a multi-year period of inactivity in web Dev. I’ve developed sites since the 90’s and with WP since the very beginning but all of the changes to core and the new CSS3 had me feeling less-than. Not anymore. The group is welcoming, the community top-notch (as you’d expect the WordPress community to be)…and the admins are aces. In AWP we are all passionate about WP, learning, sharing, challenging and believe it or not, having a ridiculously good time.

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  9. Facebook?!?!?!

    Very ironic that discussions about a platform that is all about being able to have full control on your content is taking place at the place that gives you the least control on your content. It is just so f**king lazy that I doubt how advanced that group can actually be.

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    1. I see what you’re saying but what does any of that matter to you, the user? You don’t own the content or the group, isn’t that their concern? You can’t just take a bunch of people off Facebook and move them somewhere else. It’s where a ton of people are so why not utilize the space to group them together to discuss advanced WordPress topics?

      Now, if there is no way to extract all of that content from the group, then that’s concerning and if I were the group owner, I’d definitely be thinking about moving to something that I control.

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      1. It matters in two ways
        1. You have to have experts around to answer the questions or start an interesting discussion. Experts have limited time so why would they spend it on facebook when they can spend it on the wordpress developers site of stackexchange – http://wordpress.stackexchange.com/. While the content on stackexchange is also not yours, atleast you can build a reputation there, and I actually use it instead of having a portfolio site.
        I can see linkedin being used to build a reputation as well but facebook just doesn’t give you the tools for that.
        The point is that in the end an expert need to have some kind of profit (money or other) to share his advice.and without it sooner then later he will stop and the only people that will remain in the group are the people that ask questions and not those that can provide answers.

        2. Facebook decides for you what do you want to read in your feed. You just can’t know if there was something interesting posted on the group that facebook prevent you from knowing about it.

        “It’s where a ton of people are”

        hmm, this is what the facebook marketing machine wants you to believe, but is it true? Anyway a well established fact is that facebook users are only a subset of internet users ;). Now tell me, when you have a wordpress question, where do you look for an answer? are you searching google or facebook? are you even thinking about searching facebook?
        It doesn’t matter that all the world population is on facebook if none of them is going to bother to look for your group there, and the nice difference between having a website and facebook page is that with good content and some very basic SEO you can promote your web site in search engines but the only way to promote you facebook page in facebook itself is by paying facebook, and doing that doesn’t make sense if you don’t generate any profit from your page.

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        1. The point is that in the end an expert need to have some kind of profit (money or other) to share his advice.and without it sooner then later he will stop and the only people that will remain in the group are the people that ask questions and not those that can provide answers.

          Definitely a legitimate concern but I’ve witnessed time and time again, developers willing to stop and lend a hand when need be. It’s not sustainable if it’s the same people over and over again but that’s the beauty of having over 7,400 members, despite most being lurkers. There is generally someone within the skillset likely to jump in and help out if they see a problem they can help with. StackExchange is setup in a way for user’s to spend time there, answer questions and gain credibility. The group on Facebook just answers questions to the best of their ability, no rep, no street cred needed. Just the satisfaction of helping someone get to that “ah ha moment”.

          It seems as though you have profit on the brain and I can understand that but it’s not always about fame or fortune. Sometimes it’s just about being in a community of people with like minded interests and talking about things, sharing ideas, and helping others in a friendly atmosphere. That’s what the Facebook group enables.

          Maybe I’m taking this the wrong way but are you against participating in the group solely because there’s no profit (rep or money) in it for you? It’s just a waste of time?

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          1. Everybody has profit on their brain, after all it is hard to pay for your shopping in kindness. I have been very long time on the internet and had seen enough “non profit” enterprises die because the people operating them had ran out of steam/free time and there was no external incentive for them to just keep doing the same thing.. Is it bad that people are getting paid to answer questions on wordpress.org forum or to contribute to core?

            In the great tradition of social networks the 7400 number by itself has no meaning.you should impress me instead with how fast a question is answered and the quality of the answer.Is it really faster and better then the answers you will get on wordpress.org? many time on wordpress.org a search will bring you directly to an answer and there is no need to actually ask anything.

            I have no problem with the amount of money the Zuck has, but helping him get richer by serving people that are too lazy to create a wordpress.org account without getting anything in return is not in my book, I am glad to see that there are other people that care enough about the Zuck to help him stay rich.

            Just to make it clear. People should do whatever they want and I am the last person that will tell them what they should do, but I take issue with this emphasize on laziness instead of impact or quality. Quality is getting wasted because no one can search for past answers and impact is low because no one searches for past answers. If those experts have the time they should help with wordpress.org where there answers will have a long lasting impact.

          2. Patty J. Ayers

            I do think he makes one good point. Maybe there are people who can afford to spend many hours doing purely volunteer work only because they enjoy it, with no thought whatsoever of any benefit to their business or career — but most of us can’t. The most successful online community I’ve been part of struck a great balance with this: everybody enjoyed the community and learning and camaraderie, but once you had a reputation, that link in your signature did help you earn money. It was subtle — you never felt like people were only there for profit — but the profit they got indirectly made it possible for them to spend hours helping other people. Which everybody enjoyed. I don’t think it’s necessary for everybody who is helping out to be 100% free of any motive that it might help his or her career, as long as it’s done in a low-key and respectful way. It allows a lot of people to volunteer who ordinarily just couldn’t excuse spending so much time away from working for a living.


    2. markk5, I think you’d just have to experience the group yourself in order to understand just how wrong you are. If you know much about the WP Community in general then you’d recognize that regular contributors to the group like Chris Lema, Ben Fox (Sidekick, WPUniveristy), Devin Walker (WordImpress), Hristo Pandjarov (Siteground, he’s also an admin), Chris Weigman (creator of iThemes Security), David Jesch, Bill Erickson, Michael Bastos, (and I’d like to include myself in there) are some top notch professionals who do spend their time in other forums like.org and stackexchange. But they contribute in AWP because it’s stimulating and you build relationships there. You actually have the chance to discuss the finer points of a broader issue, you also get to hear about news that you don’t really get anywhere else at all.

      The recent discussions on ACF’s 5.0 issue were really interesting, lots of different viewpoints, lots of different approaches. AWP members were some of the first people to hear about Sidekick and it’s not beta Composer, about FooBox and FooGallery, and many other WP centric relevant issues.

      Also, I don’t see any irony in the fact that people who value relationship building and networking go to a networking medium. That’s FB’s purpose, to let people network. That’s particularly true for their “groups”.

      Lastly, one way we mitigate the searchability issue is that within the FB groups you can create “files”. We have made quite a few files to answer the very often repeated questions like “good WordPress hosting”, “security plugin”, etc. Because we have those, and because we have 22 admins we’re able to discourage those types of questions while still pointing them to a good resource. Plus, now that I’ve been in the group for about 2 years, it’s amazing to see that the answers to the questions that get asked over and over evolve even over this short timespan.

      Bottomline is that you can read all the other testimonies of people commenting here and how valuable it is for them, and if you’d still like to call that “low quality and lazy” then I’m not sure you’re actually open to other opinions.

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      1. Patty J. Ayers

        Good points. After reading these comments, I can see that this group is a thriving, positive online community, despite being on Facebook with its drawbacks.

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        1. On your first comment, I would say that you are right. Many people only love to help. But, working without thinking of benefits is quite impossible. Indirectly, either they are earning through it or building reputation or whatever.

          There is one more category where we fall into. It is that we have been paid by our agencies for helping WordPress folks to build a strong community. We are glad to help and learn from the people. Due to a huge amount of posts and questions, there is a big ground to play. I’m happy that people are generous and always available for your WP queries.

          I would say that you must try this out. The group is getting bigger day by day.

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      2. michaelbastos

        I try not to judge people by how they communicate online, but I tend not to judge people in general which is why the AWP model works for me. The kind of cool stuff I get to do at work is beyond even what’s happening in WordPress (like using sqlite3 or MariaDB instead of mysql) so from time to time I get to bring that knowledge back to the community in some way that just wouldn’t seem right in a .org setting because it’s going to break what a lot of people are doing but works for me and I just want a place to share it, not get accolades from it. To each his own but I’d recommend people get to know the community before they pass judgment on it because of the medium it was formed in.

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  10. “It’s hard to locate past discussions without having to wade through the entire archive to find them”
    – hear, hear! The question is: what can they do about this though? Is there anything to be done I wonder or is Facebook just not up to the (this particular – i mean) task?! Maybe there’s a way to take this problem (and solve it) away from Facebook somehow… food for thought perhaps…

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    1. Hear Hear @brin! It seems we can dump our WordPress Posts into fb but not dump fb newsfeeds into our WordPress CMS systems. I remember Crowd Favorite making some inroads on this at one time but, admittedly haven’t kept up with them.

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      1. It looked like FavePersonal by CrowdFavorite was going to solve the problem of using systems like Facebook by forwarding the content to your blog. I tried to get FavePersonal to work on my local host but encountered problems. Maybe someone else could give it a shot?

        http://crowdfavorite.com/favepersonal/

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  11. I love the Advanced WP group on facebook. My only issue with it is – it’s hard to go back and find what I once looked at.

    Also the topics aren’t organized but that’s because the group is on FB instead of another platform.

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    1. This is my concern too. I have discussed it with Matt and other guys. Probably, their website will be the solution for this. High expectations!

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  12. Rightly said by Matt and team.
    “Being a web developer or a designer (or both) can be stand-alone job for some individuals. Even if you work in an office environment, you’re probably the only one in your department that does what you do. That’s why so many people look for interaction and a sense of community online in groups like the Advanced WordPress Facebook group.”

    Thanks for mentioning Cloudways, Jeff. A much appreciated for the review.

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  13. I was an open source developer, advocate and user long before WordPress was even around, to this day I’m one of the few people I know that still does all his development on a Linux machine so I get the open source ethos. Yet back when the Linux project first started Linus actually chose to use a proprietary version control system for an open source project instead of using SVN because that was the tool most of the serious guys on his team were using, he didn’t care about only using free stuff, he cared about the community that already existed, it wasn’t until much later in the project’s history that he would eventually invent Git from the things he liked about this proprietary tool over what he didn’t like in SVN.

    My point in all of this is to say that AWP was never intended as a replacement for .org or stack overflow, it was a place to have a discussion where I knew other devs already existed and we all came together with a 20 dev group that eventually ballooned to 7000+. There is nothing wrong with that, and I get the idea that people want to search for an answer that was given 6 months ago but why not ask again? If you asked me 6 months ago which caching solution I use for WordPress my answer would have been Varnish but that’s totally different than it is today with me only using Redis for caching my sites. Forget what the old answer was and ask again, our opinions do change all of the time.

    I’m personally not looking to build a reputation on a stack overflow page which is itself proprietary service that does a better job of having Google catalog it’s content, it’s also not lazy to say that I’m not looking to spend all of my time on .org answering forum questions because personally I use AWP mostly for sharing stuff that I discovered, cool stuff, fun stuff, code snippets or gists etc. My point is in not caring about garnering attention or reputation I helped create a group that has done just that, it really is amazing what you can do when you don’t care who or what project gets the credit.

    There is a world of development outside of WordPress and a world outside of .org and stack overflow that we can all learn from, this idea that Quality is getting wasted because folks are not sharing stuff on the ‘official’ place to share it or in the place that you spend most of your time on is kind of silly. Crowds will aggregate where they want to aggregate and for me or anyone to think that we can or should control that is hogwash honestly and goes against the very ethos of OSS to use whatever tool you want or need when you want it even if like Linus you use a closed tool in order to eventually perfect an open one.

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  14. Patty J. Ayers

    I just can’t see using Facebook as a medium for discussion. Compared with almost any other type of online group discussion setup, it’s very primitive, as already discussed here. In particular, the lack of any type of threading seems really limiting. I just can’t see spending work-time on it.

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    1. michaelbastos

      I don’t spend work time on it, most of my time spent on AWP is after work catching up and sharing stuff but I’m also the kind of person who codes for fun so maybe I’m not like most. :)

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      1. Patty J. Ayers

        Good point – I think there’s a lot of variation in how much people are able to, and like to, do web-dev work purely for fun.

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  15. I’m a long time lurker on AWP on Facebook. It actually has quite a bit of great information on there. It and one or two other groups are the only reasons why I’m still on Facebook.

    It does have a search function – hiding up on the far right. It isn’t as great as a normal forum search but you will be able to search for specific terms and it will find them (sometimes).

    And unlike other groups that allow a ton of spam links being dropped. This one has 0 tolerance for it. Plus they answer my silly questions I have as someone who is learning how to develop with WordPress.

    So although Facebook is dying. This group isn’t. I hope one day maybe it will migrate off onto a Google Plus Community. But for now its fine where its at.

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    1. Patty J. Ayers

      Thanks for the reminder about the Reddit group, “Bozz” – just checked it out and signed up. This discussion has been interesting and has opened my mind to trying out platforms that I wouldn’t normally use for professional stuff. Considering all of the sincere enthusiasm for the Facebook group by people from complete WP beginners to advanced WP developers, it seems well worth a try. (The name of the group is definitely inaccurate, though!) And I’ve never used Reddit, but a quick look is encouraging. If possible, I do prefer to do serious professional research and discussion without having to scroll through a lot of entertainment graphics! But I’ll give the Facebook group a try too. Thanks for the original article and the posts here, much appreciated.

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  16. I am impressed with the discussions on Advanced WP group. Recently I had launch a plugin and I got a valuable feedback from @Matt and other members. I heads up that there should be a way to see past discussions :)

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  17. Paul

    I recently joined the AWP group and asked some (non trivial and no spam) questions and they got deleted, but no reason was given for the deletion. Thus, my experience with the group so far has not been very pleasant.

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