I’m good at what I do. I’m really good. I’m an expert, and I’ve rarely run into a WordPress site I couldn’t fix, or at least get back to usable. This doesn’t mean I can code everything, but it means I can take a broken site and get your content back. I can’t, however, perform miracles all the time. You saw how I said ‘rarely’ right?
The real issue here is that sometimes the answer I give people is a horrible, terrible, sucky answer.
While Montgomery Scott always saved the day giving the engines more power, and skipping through the Jefferies Tube like the most bad-ass red shirt in existence, the sad reality of life is that sometimes we can’t save your website. If we can’t figure out why it broke, we may not be able able to fix it.
For example, a site suddenly lost all the plugin settings. They were just gone. Poof. No one had done anything, so the obvious cause is the database having a snafu, right? Well no. The DB was checked, everything seemed in order. We tried a restore, no-go. At that point, the only thing I could tell the person was to re-apply all the changes again, manually. The user was pissed off and it’s totally understandable why! I was pissed off. I couldn’t solve a problem and yes, when I can’t solve things, I get very upset with myself. And I was upset that the answer was so sucky! Redo your hard work? What a crock! But no matter what I did, no matter how I tried to pull the settings back, I was just getting further and further down that rabbit hole, and I knew I absolutely had to cut my losses.
In all likelihood, someone did something without checking it was right and without making a backup first. This happens. We know we shouldn’t mess with ‘production’ but we all do it. So that means sometimes we’re really reckless and we shoot ourselves in the foot without protection. While we can, and do, try really hard not to be stupid anymore, accepting that you (or perhaps your captain) has made a boneheaded mistake is really important. Equally so? Accepting that cleaning up that mistake may not be the answer we wanted to hear.
No one wants to hear ‘Start over.’ That’s pretty much a given. And yet we’ve all done it before. When I studied music, the number of times I had to start over because I’d made a mistake is uncountable. When I was learning to connect pipes in plumbing? Oh I ripped things out a hundred times before getting it right. I even restarted this entire blog post a couple times. And that’s not the only time the answer sucks. You changed user roles and capabilities and now you can’t log in? Congratulations, you get to reset them and start over.
I could go on with example after example of things we do, without realizing how dangerous they are, and how much trouble they get us in, but I suspect the point is made. We do amazing things to ourselves and can’t always fix them. Should you be upset when it happens to you? Of course. And should you be annoyed when you didn’t do anything and they break? You bet! But ….
Your website is like a car that’s always running. Eventually something is going to break, and when it does, the only hope you have of salvation are your backups. Everything really comes back to that, doesn’t it? I deleted the wrong table in a DB and had to restore the whole thing from the day before. Lost a day’s work. Nothing to be done to fix it but that. I had a file, for no reason I could see, go corrupt and refuse to let me edit it. Thankfully the backup was the version I wanted to edit, so I deleted and re-uploaded and moved on.
These things will happen.
The answer will suck.
Decide if you’d rather spend your time complaining about how it’s sucky, or if you want to knuckle down and get to work.
Or drink scotch.