We are looking for a new person to take over WordPress support for Naked Capitalism. Even though our old WordPress person Kristin was technically skilled and did a fine job with the redesign, the professional relationship wasn’t working out.
The difficulty for finding a replacement is that the overwhelming majority of WordPress specialists have never worked on a site like NC. WordPress scales badly and its Achilles heel is its database. Most WordPress support staff have never encountered a site with large databases (close to 12,000 posts and over 500,000 comments) that loads them the way we do (hundreds of updates a day).
Please also bear in mind we are NOT looking for a host. We are happy with our webhost. But WordPress is complicated and breakage prone enough that any site that is run on a professional basis needs a WordPress expert in the mix.
So we need someone with experience in supporting a WordPress site with:
• Very large database that updates very frequently
• Advertising. We use a third party ad service and often have to change ad code and make layout adjustments
Aside from routine support, we also have some projects we’d like to undertake, like fixing categories and tags.
A WordPress specialist also needs to understand that we are in a news-driven business and work constantly to deadlines. So while there are often weeks where there is only routine activity (monitoring site performance and working on non-time-critical assignments), when we have problem, we have a sense of urgency about getting it fixed.
Kristin operated solo, but if the provider was in a small firm (as in had more than one person who could work on our account) that could be even better, particularly if it got us closer to 24/7 support.
If you have any ideas or leads, please e-mail me at yves-at-nakedcapitalism.com, with “WordPress” in the subject line. Thanks!
I wish to take this opportunity to commend you for one of the better forums on the net, from a point-of-view of user functionality. The ability to see comment-input in real time, I suggest, is a real advance over other sites.
Naked Capitalism is required daily reading for me. It will be a pleasure to repost your search for someone over on Learning from Dogs. Best of luck in finding the right person. Oh, does the suitable applicant need to be within commute distance? Or can they be remotely linked to you?
I would strongly encourage you to learn as much as you can about the process yourself, you will be surprised how empowering,fun,creative, powerful it can be. Don’t experiment on your live site, run another instance on your local computer/laptop/whatever and use that to learn/develop
If only there were enough hours in the day…besides, the tech sector can use the job(s).
The blogging platforms, especially WordPress (which is the most popular) are the simplest content management systems out there, and naked capitalism (to me) appears to be a very “vanilla” install of it. What I am saying is that a few hours of time would be very well spent and would bring immediate rewards in being able to quickly diagnose problems with the HTML produced.
Tools like the DOM inspectors in most browsers or – my preference, the excellent Web Developer Firefox extension, and an external text editor (BBEdit on the MAc is good, or on Windows you can use TextPad or Notepad++ is highly regarded…
can be used to find the causes of problems, for example, I could see that there was a problem with your article 54954 on line 509 you have an em and a strong which may be closed somewhere lower (a lot lower?) because Tidy didn’t flag it, but the em and strong usually should be closed rapidly, usually in the same line, and HTML tags should never overlap – they should always nest..
So they clearly are not doing what they are supposed to, The result, the whole “article” part of the page is rendering for me as bold italic.
I highly recommend finding some basic tools that show how the HTML of a page is parsed (almost every browser has some available, and learning them. For me, being an old school guy, there is no substitute for “View Source” in a browser, which typically pretty prints even bad HTML, then you can see how each tag effects the code because its hierarchical. BBEdit is a Mac only program that I have been using for > 20 years. Its quite good. I wish I had something similar on Linux but nothing that I have found so far even comes close. So sometimes I use Windows text editors under Wine, which works okay.
this has to be satire, if not then, um, no – and dear reader i would strongly encourage you to learn as much as you can about…
The worst is I think he’s serious.
The idea that I should do software support on top of all of the too many things I already have on my plate is utterly mad. Plus I despise learning new software with a passion. I will break any piece of software within two minutes of use. Guaranteed. I can find bugs faster than anyone.
See here for more detail:
I’m sorry, I wasn’t trying to suggest you do it yourself, just that its always a good thing to know more.
That’s a quintessentially Exceptional bit of metaphysics you’re invoking there, to propose that the world will magically crystallize into perfect order around the breath that happens to have been exhaled while uttering The Correct Answer. I suggest looking through the WordPress code and especially its so-called storage layer and DDL before claiming that pouring more milk on the self-licking ice cream cone is the way to success
What is needed is not more thrust and more umbrellas, but a more aerodynamic, more continent, better fit-for-purpose pig. Yves and Lambert and the commentariat don’t seem too enthused about Disqus (and I can’t blame any of them for that), yet with all the gratuitous processing WordPress commenting entails, getting comments out of WP’s realm and into something a bit lighter-weight and perhaps separate would a) open up a wider variety of WP hosts b) seem to make the hosting equation so much easier.
I’ve seen a couple of self-hostable commenting tools in the spirit of Disqus (i.e. a page drop-in), but they seemed to be tightly bound to the prejudices and cooties of the authors, and really they aren’t too hard to write anyway given a solid backend. (I’d have PoCed something up by now if I weren’t stuck debugging mobile web apps this weekend…)
I was serious. However, everything is relative. :)
The problem is NOT hosting. The problem is WP support. Two different beasts.
My mother always said: “Do what only you can do.”
We want Yves to be doing things that only Yves can do.
In other words, the sheer size and interactivity between commenters within Naked Capitalism, make it into more of a community, rather than a simple blog. You need a WordPress Expert who will recognize and appreciate this distinction.
Now I know it goes without saying, Yves, but your post might get passed on to someone who is not familiar with the ethical values of this community. Therefore, it’s probably a good idea to clarify the ethos of Naked Capitalism upfront.
A couple of simple, initial inquiries then would be as follows:
It’s a given that the person or company taking over the WordPress responsibilities should have a verifiable record of working with and hiring minorities. What is the WordPress Expert’s record in this regard? Also, what’s the LGBTQ status of this WordPress outfit? If the principal(s) are not LGBTQ, then I would imagine the Naked Capitalism Community will want to see some LGBTQ-Love on this WordPress Expert’s website (i.e. a rainbow or some other icon of support).
Has this expert ever done any tech/website work for a bank or other financial services company? [As a Naked Capitalism reader, I’m not sure how comfortable I would be with someone who has been a willing cog in the destruction of the Middle and Lower classes by giving these criminals a web-based tool for exploitation.]
What About Climate Change (WACC)? What is this WordPress Expert doing to combat Climate Change? Obviously, mere silence on this issue is no longer acceptable. So what is this person (or company) doing to address the most important issue facing humanity?
Of course, these questions are just a couple of starters and I’m sure the Readers will have more. But again, in order to avoid any thorny issues that might come up later, it’s important to establish–upfront–the importance of Integrated-Value-Alignment.
BITFU, good reminder re. values alignment, but let’s not shoot ourselves in the foot. Surely Yves, Lambert and most of the commentariat won’t want to work with folks who are openly hostile to the issues you list, but in the society in which most of us currently operate, excluding all who are less holy than thou (whatever “thou” you choose as a yardstick) may well work against the objectives most of us share, even those of us who are more, um … morally compromised.
As a former “willing cog in the destruction of the Middle and Lower classes” (IT in a TBTF bank until they outsourced my function, conveniently before I’d groked they were genuinely evil, not just economically harmful), and earlier, tecnicial contributor to the Military-Industrial complex, I believe such experience may in many cases strengthen one’s commitment to Naked Capitalism’s cause. You can fight ’em much more effectively if you know how they operate from the inside — as Yves demonstrates in virtually every piece she writes.
Based today’s post and earlier discussions of this site’s technical challenges, looks like deep technical competence, understanding the nature of the site (no cookie-cutters here, please!), speed of execution, 7 x 24 support capability, and cost-effectiveness are more important than certificates, medals, and Web site banners attesting to the supplier’s purity on any number of important issues. Sure, a vendor who has to juggle site support priorities between Naked Capitalism and, say, the American Enterprise Institute is probably a poor fit, but looking for an outstanding Web architect/engineer/admin who’s equally outstanding on combatting climate change (hand-crank computer, anyone?) sounds to me like Mission Impossible.
Yves, don’t say your database is large – or that hundreds of updates a day is large. The figures you cite are not large..that database sounds small, very small, in RDBMS terms.
Really, most web CMS applications are not very hard on any modern SQL database. What’s hard is when content is generated on the fly and each page is different, content cannot be cached because it involves hundreds or thousands of separate unique SQL queries, updates or record creations..and when thousands of requests are being made, each second.
It IS VERY LARGE by the standard of badly built WordPress! WordPress is notorious for scaling badly and the DB is where it scales badly. And we run it harder than 99.5% of the sites that run WP.
Please don’t opine on matters beyond your ken. It’s not helpful and is frankly condescending. We’ve been living with WP for five years and its failings are well known.
I’ve had a good experience working with Annie Middleton at Nine Planets, LLC. She’s helped me with 2 websites that are based on WordPress.
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Web Hosting, Design and Development
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Toll Free (866) 272-7614
Fax (866) 879-5010
consider keeping your current WP person – if that’s amenable – and hiring a second person.
1. reduces potential for burnout by web staff. that’s actually a pretty big deal, but can be invisible on the surface.
2. some problems are more quickly solved if you can bounce ideas back and forth, 2 heads are better than one.
3. knowledge continuity of website details, functions, tweaks, work arounds, limitations, expansion plans, etc.
It’s a nice thought, but we are past that point. And you can’t make people work together who have not worked together. You get all sorts of professional rivalries and second-guessing and disagreements (“oh X did it THAT way? I would NEVER do it that way….”)
I know you’ve said you’re happy with your web host, but unfortunately a lot of the problems you say that you experience appear to be related to running a relational database system without any sort of load-balancing frontend. Solving these issues typically requires much more direct control over the server infrastructure than what is offered by most managed hosting companies.
I know I’m making a lot of assumptions about your backend infrastructure, but many companies get around the limits imposed by a RDBS by switching to something like NoSQL, and spreading the load over several servers using dynamic load balancers. I’m not sure how WordPress interacts with NoSQL or load balancers, as I’ve only ever done small personal blogs with WordPress using MySQL. I experience daily similar problems to the ones you mention while working on a medium-sized MySQL-based Moodle system (if you think WordPress is inefficient in terms of performance, try an LMS-CMS) at my day job.
As a user, I’ve never experienced any of the speed issues you gripe about from time to time, so usually I’m surprised when posts like this come up. I wish you luck with finding a solution to your problems.
I am commiserating with Yves. I am also in need of a WordPress support person. With only 30 days notice, Go Daddy forced my Blog out when they sold Quick Blogcast. Years ago, an Apple employee referred me to Go Daddy. I have designed the new WordPress site, currently up, but many questions remain. Any thoughts on where to find WordPress support to understand some of the issues?
As much as I would like to learn the intricacies of WordPress, as Yves says there are only so many hours in the day. In addition to formatting issues, that cannot be very tough to fix, I seek an experienced WordPress expert to explain relationship between hosts, such as Go Daddy (who is about to go public and not much of a proponent of net neutrality issues) and overall access to making changes to my site, and another WordPress site I own and that is also hosted at Go Daddy. Through their apparent implementation of the WordPress SuperAdmin feature at the host level and a hosts access to email accounts, I am quite confused over certain URL’s that were created during the RSS Export process. Over four years of Blogging, links and Google analytics were lost in thirty days, due to Go Daddy’s elimination of their blogging service, with no assistance or concerns from Go Daddy. URL’s that I did not create were exported with the RSS feeds to my new WordPress site.
Thank you for any thoughts on WordPress support experts. I was also very surprised to see Naked Capitalism has a similar issue in how to find WordPress support. Thank you, Yves, for the most informative Blog and now this question. I am sorry I cannot offer any ideas.
Just wanted to stop in and say good luck. As one of the people responsible for the complexity of the commenting, I certainly appreciate it :) In all seriousness, the interactivity is what makes this a must read site each and every week.
I alas have no relevant technical knowhow or suggestions on where to turn. I don’t think Aurora Advisors is a nonprofit? In the nonprofit world, there are often IT events for professionals to donate services in-kind. A lot of it is providing advice on what products to use or how to find the right people for the right job. There are some rather catchy names, like Coders 4 Charities.
A little time on the Google finds this group. They at least sound like they’re interested in new business:
Not sure if this review is helfpul, or talking about smaller websites than NC:
And finally, I gag a bit even suggesting this, but I suppose there is also the mega-consulting route. Maybe a company like Accenture could provide advice on what to do? Obviously they employ lots of computer programmers, but I don’t know if they do anything specifically with WP themselves or have partners who do?