Interview With Product Lead Mark Westguard Of WS Form — Post Status Draft 142

In this episode, Mark Westguard of WS Form joins Cory Miller to discuss OpenAI, the innovation we are already seeing, and what we can and should expect in the future when it comes to WordPress.

Estimated reading time: 22 minutes


Learn from Mark Westguard, founder of WS Form, a powerful, next-generation WordPress form plugin. Mark and Cory discuss how AI is starting to integrate into the world of WordPress and how the WP Form software is leveraging its power. 

Top Takeaways:

  • Harnessing the Power of Open AI. The possibilities are endless with the revolution of AI as an open-source tool. Making the most of its capabilities allows WordPress users to create more intuitive and integrated content, like better fields and options in WordPress forms. 
  • Create, Edit, Moderate. AI should be seen as an assistant working alongside you to help generate your content. You’re still essential in the creation process, and it’s important not to rely on AI 100% for accuracy. You can get creative prompts, edit for grammar or spelling and generate unique images, but moderating that content is essential. 
  • The Future is All-in-One AI Integrated Tools. Limiting time spent running around to different AI software is good for business. So how can that be accomplished? By integrating the AI capabilities into WordPress tools, where everything you need is in one place. These are the things we look forward to in WordPress software and plugins

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Cory Miller: [00:00:00] Hey everybody. Welcome back to Post Edits draft. Um, one of the things I want to continue to keep top of mind because it’s honor, honor, mind, is ai and specifically open a AI and chap G B T and all of that because there’s this. Huge opportunity, uh, for integration with WordPress. And so I, uh, was talking with one of our longtime members, Mark West Guard, from WS Forum, and they’ve just come out with, uh, uh, an add-on. 

I’ll let him share more about that, but I want to talk to Mark, who we’ve had on the podcast before, but specifically about the opportunity and some of the application of using integrating open AI power. Which we were just talking before we started recording is like magical. How, how did the little that make it all work? 

Um, and then, um, really just talk about, uh, what the opportunities are there. So Mark, thanks for coming back to post edit draft. [00:01:00] Hi, Cory. How  

Mark Westguard: you doing?  

Cory Miller: Pretty good. All right. Tell me what you’re doing with, uh, well, let’s talk first about open ai because you were helping, you’ve been digging in with this. 

You’ve created an add-on mm-hmm. for WS forums that leverages some of the power of, uh, Open AI but tell me a little bit about that. The Open a ai, um, you were kind of breaking this down for me and sharing the, the ability, you even got a demo that you can show some of this, which I think would be really awesome, um, to show some of the power and then we’ll get into the application of how you’re using it in, in Ws forum to help users. 

So Sure. First, uh, what drew you to this .  

Mark Westguard: Um, just to talk about it in the industry really. Um, Twitter was just full of open AI stuff. And, um, also, you know, just talking to friends. I have like Andrew Palmer and Stephanie Hudson, who run Bertha ai. Um, they were integrated in with open ai and I’m like, okay, what is, what is this thing? 

[00:02:00] How, how do I, how do I plug into this and use this, um, in a way that’s gonna be useful for our customer? . So, um, the first thing that kind of drew me, drew me to it was the moderation feature of OpenAI. And, um, in short, you can send a block of text to it, it will moderate it and look for anything offensive and let you know how offensive it thinks that content is. 

And I’m being an advocate for reducing as much spam as possible in form submissions. I thought, well, that would be a, a great feature to have in, in WS form , then I started digging into it a bit more and I thought, well, these are the features that it offers would be great for forms as well. So, broadly speaking, there are four main things that OpenAI can do. 

First thing is completions. Um, a completion is where you basically prompt it with a question. Um, so you could say, you know, what is an apple? And it would then give you a response and it’ll write a paragraph about that. Um, you may have used that in chat. G B T Chat. P G P T has really brought that open AI technology to the masses cuz it just makes it [00:03:00] so easy to use. 

In that chat environment. Um, so as you know, you can ask it to write code. You can even start playing nos and crosses with it if, if you want to. Um, it’s pretty incredible what it comes back with. Um, and then, Uh, you have the edit capability, which is where you can give it some existing text, and then you can ask it to edit that text. 

So you could ask it to do spelling, uh, you know, fix better mistakes or improve grammar and things like that. Um, then there’s the moderation component that I just spoke about where you’ve given it content, it moderates it and says, yay or no, it’s, it’s bad content. Um, it, the moderation side of things tends to be more towards, you know, violence and. 

People saying bad things about each other rather than bad words. So, you know, putting the word Viagra in there is not gonna prompt it, but if you say something bad about somebody, it’ll start flagging that content more. Um, but it’s quite a, quite an interesting way of looking for bad content on a form submission. 

And then the last one [00:04:00] is images. So, uh, creating, you may have. Try that with Dolly, um DALL-E where you can type in what type of image you want and it will then return an image. So we’ve integrated that in with WS forms, so you can actually submit those images as part of a form submission. Um, so you could use that for maybe creating an avatar on a user or a featured image on a post or, you know, anywhere that you are looking for an image, you can use that, um, as an optional feature. 

So tho those are the four main kind of broad areas of open.  

Cory Miller: That that, that’s awesome. Um, Similarly, it’s like, uh, just working with chat t p t. You’re like, there’s pretty cool power . It’s kind of mind blowing. You’re, I was asking it all kinds of questions and coming back. Um, but hearing, hearing is a n Amazing opportunity for us that I love that you and others in our community have started to go, let’s test some of these things out. Let’s use this. That integration potential, which just the things you just said just now. Mm-hmm. There’s [00:05:00] immediate, practical opportunities and then there’s some far reaching ones. 

Yes. Um, so would you show us a little bit then? I just want to talk. Show us what you’ve done. You’ve got a demo and I know how that works, but go. Would you screen share and share what you’re your Absolutely. You’ve done so far. Then we’ll start talking about some of the opportunities, this integration between this for what WordPress can do on the web. 

Mark Westguard: So this is a, a knowledge-based article on WS form that just describes how open AI works, um, and how our, our add-on works. And below here we’ve got a, a demo. This is probably the thing that we wanna show people. Um, so here’s an example of a completion. So as I said before, you could say, you know, what is an apple? 

Uh, not a very good. Prompt, but it’ll just show you how, how it’s working. Um, so this is now making a query off to open ai and it will then put a completion in whatever field I want on that form. So that could be a text field, it could be, you know, it could even be a section of HTML on the page if you wanted it to be. 

Um, the [00:06:00] way the open AI works, it’s all token based, so the more tokens that you allow open AO to use, the longer the content’s gonna be that it, that it will come back. So if you are asking it to maybe produce some code, I mean I can show you a quick example of that. So, uh, write me some PHP code for WordPress. 

If I could type properly, it would be nice, wouldn’t it? Um, that loops through posts with a category of book. Let’s try that. So we do get completion. So now it’s gonna go off to open ai. Again, this is using the same technology as the Chat GBT , and there’s the code that it has come up with. So that’s an example of a completion. 

Um, you can also use that completion technology, more of a chat environment. So this is kind of like ai, human, and again, I can say, you know, what is an apple? Oh, 

submit. And then it’s gonna give you [00:07:00] a response back and then come back to the human prompt as well. So this, this is more of a chat format, so it’s kind of remembering what you’ve asked before and you can keep that conversation going. Um, editing. So with editing, what you do is you provided some content. 

So you can say, you know, my name is Mark West Guard, and then you can give it some instruction on that. So let’s say I spelled the. The word name wrong. I can say fix the spelling and then get the edited output. It’ll now look at that, look at my instruction and correct that output. So you can do stuff like fix my grammar. 

You could say, you can even do stuff like. Um, write an additional sentence that describes this a little bit further and actually it’ll actually do that. It’s pretty crazy what you can do with that edit. Um, moderation we don’t have a demo for, cuz it’s actually just, um, uh, masking the form submission of spam or not. 

So I can’t re demo that. Um, but essentially it works like most of our other spam features where, you know, if it finds spam, it’ll [00:08:00] move that to the spam box, um, in your submiss. the image one. Um, with images, what you can do is I can say, um, enter an image description that’s say, uh, cat on top of a dog, and then you get image 

So you can put, you know, all kinda the crazy stuff in here. And what that’ll do is then load that image into, uh, our image field, which can then be submitted as part of a. Or, you know, it could be used for an avatar for a user, or whatever you want to use that image field for. You could even push that through to any of our add-ons like Slack or, um, any of the third parties that we integrate with. 

We, we have a URL version of that as well. So if you just want to get the URL of that image from open ai mm-hmm. , you can do that. But, um, I’m sure this one will probably be the most popular. So really what we’ve tried to do is just. Open AI as accessible as possible for people that are using forms. Um, and you can actually put multiple requests on a single page as well. 

So [00:09:00] you could have one for a tech bit of text content, have another one for image, and you could also include the editing functionality on the same text field if you wanted to. So yeah, that’s where we are. Okay.  

Cory Miller: I want to geek out with this in just a minute, but I want to take the next step and show what you can do inside of WS forum like we’ve this. 

Incredible. We’ll talk hours for this, you know, . Um, I wanna see the application side, how these are, I think, excellent examples of the power of it now, the application of it even more powerful.  

Mark Westguard: Yeah. So let’s go into WS four and you’ll see where this gets added. So, um, this is our add new pay for creating a new form, and you’ll see there’s a new tab called Open ai. 

So these templates here are basically designed just to kind of get you started. Um, you can add to these, modify these. You can even just use an existing form and add the open AI functionality if you want. Let’s just do a simple one. So we’ll do a completion, so we’ll use that template. So WS forms now building the form for [00:10:00] you. 

Um, and you’ll, you’ll notice on this form we’ve got the prompt. We’ve got a button to actually go off and get that completion, and then we have the completion itself, and there’s a submit button for actually sub ultimately submitting that form if you, if you wanted to do that. Um, and the way this works, very simple. 

Uh, we have conditional logic on here, which actually runs the a, the AI request. So we’re saying if that get completion button has been. Then make the open a req open AI request and run that immediately. Um, and if we go to actions, you’ll see here is that open AI request that gets run. So what we’re saying to open AI is we want to do a, a completion. 

This is the open AI model that we want to use. So there are different models. Um, G P T three is currently the best one that’s out there. Um, and then you can actually tweak this as well. So I can choose how many tokens I want to. Um, the more tokens you enable, the more likely you are gonna get charged more cuz the charging is done on a, on a token basis, [00:11:00] but, um, actually running a completion is, you know, a couple of cents at most. 

Um, it’s quite inexpensive. And then below that we have, uh, different things that you can tweak to modify the output. So here’s an example here of tempera. So temperature actually determines how much that output’s gonna change each time I submit that completion. And if I put completion up to one, I’m gonna get much more different content every time I do a submission. 

If I do it at zero, it’s gonna be pretty much the same each time. Uh, and there’s a few other options on here. Some of ’em I actually don’t really understand them , the, um, but we’ve included them just so if somebody does understand what’s going on with that, they. Go ahead and, and tweak those. So pretty much everything that the OpenAI API gives to us as a setting, we have made that available to you within WS form. 

And of course, uh, all of the, um, fields and everything that are created in that template can be adjusted [00:12:00] just like you can any, uh, you know, on any other WS form. So you can move things around, um, make it responsive and, and make it look how you want. And then you can just preview that and, and change, you know, uh, test that out, make sure it’s working completion. 

And there you go. So, very, very easy to, uh, implement this on existing forms and creating new forms as well. Awesome.  

Cory Miller: Oh, okay. So what does the front end of, like, something like this look like?  

Mark Westguard: Uh, it’s basically whatever you want it to be. So you can do, you know, multi column output, single column output, mobile responsive. 

Um, you’ll see here we have the break point selector in WS form. So for example, on mobile you may wanna have full width. Um, and then I could actually move between different break points here, um, and make that responsive. So for a larger screen, you may want to present that in a two column format, entirely up to you what [00:13:00] you wanna do. 

Cory Miller: I’m sorry. Uh, so, so like this example, what mm-hmm. , what does the front facing website person say? Or  

Mark Westguard: it’ll look pretty much like this demo. Yeah, I gotcha, I gotcha. This is actually a WS form form on our knowledge base page. Okay, gotcha. This is, this is not, um, an open AI component. This is actually WS form, uh, and we’ve just created these demo forms to show you what it may look. 

I gotcha. But again, you can, you can make that look however you want. You can start it with CSS . You can use our starting tools for that if you want to change the columns. Yeah. Um, so really it’s completely flexible in terms of how you want it to look.  

Cory Miller: So essentially you can say, uh, Ws forum can, can be a conduit for the open AI stuff to be like this built in research thing for a team or different stuff to leverage some of this power. 

Like if you’re a blogger, you can create within WordPress Publishing, [00:14:00] you know, I need an image for this blog post that is this type and, and then go over here. So really doing that tight integration with the open AI, where you don’t have to go over to chat d p t and copy stuff. It’s all right here. Yeah. 

Yeah. I mean,  

Mark Westguard: usually just experiment with Yeah. Yeah. I mean, but usually what will happen is the form would be on the front of the site with somebody creating some content. Uh, so they may log in to access that, and then the form will come up. And then if, if you’re creating a post, maybe that would be, you know, PostIt the post content. 

Um, and then you could, in that post content, have a little prompt that says, what do you want me to write about? Yeah. And then object that into the post content. And then what, what, you know, upload a featured image or I’ll create an image for you. What image do you want me to create for you? And then it would then put that into the file upload. 

Um, and then, so Rudy, you’ve. Full AI on creating a post if, if you wanted to, you know, um, you don’t have to use all the features if you don’t want to, but, uh, [00:15:00] uh, it’s funny, I was talking to, um, You know, Bob WP yesterday about this, we actually did a podcast about it and yeah, there’s a lot of talk about it being quite a scary technology as well. 

Um, so I, I think that, um, anything you create with it, you wanna check it, you know, don’t trust it a hundred percent. You wanna check what comes out of this system and, and make sure that what it’s giving you is what you’re looking for. But it can certainly be a great tool. Getting you started with a blog post or getting you Yeah. 

Help with editing and improving grammar. Maybe writing it in a slightly different way that you haven’t thought of. Use it as a creativity tool. Um, yeah. But don’t trust it. A hundred percent .  

Cory Miller: Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. Um, so, okay. When we were talking before, uh, we started recording, you know, you’re like, there’s basically like three categories. 

You said create, edit, moderate. Yep. I’m really. By the create and edited edit capabilities of open ai. And I’m curious to get your perspectives on that, that [00:16:00] applica not from the software side, applying what the power is of, open AI to WordPress inside of there. And it’s just intriguing. Um, you kind of started with this like you. 

What are some of those things you’re seeing that you could do? Like we’ve seen, this is great, you know, be able to kind of moderate content, create videos. Mm-hmm. , uh, or not videos, I’m sorry, images. You know, those I can try back to. What the power WordPress is, is publishing, creating, and publishing. Mm-hmm. 

Um, so what, what are some things you’ve seen messing around with all of this and seeing some of the power of it that you, that’s not here today, but like, you’re, you’re curious about interest in,  

Mark Westguard: you know, it’s really early days with this technology. It’s, um, it’s interesting. I’ve, I’ve had some customers already coming back to. 

Um, one of thems been using this in a support environment and they’ve actually got it on their support form because a lot of their contact is online. [00:17:00] Um, so they’re able to query open AI about their own product with questions that have been typed in by a user, and it then can spit results back. So, you know, there’s one application. 

Um, just some others that people have spoken to me about has been creating avatar images for users. So we have a user management add-on that you can use to register users on WordPress. Um, and you can use a file upload field to specify the avatar image for that user. So, um, Open AI could be used to create that image. 

If you want to create a funny one-eyed, fuzzy monster, then you can , you can use it to do that. Um, and then, you know, improving grammar on blog posts I think is a great thing. I I, I love that. Edit feature. Um, I wasn’t even aware that it could do that before I started writing the open AI add on. Um, but just having that as a feature where maybe you’ve written a blog post and you need some help with part of it, um, that would, I think that’s a, a great application for it.[00:18:00]  

Um, in, in terms of kind of the code writing part of it, um, I don’t think US developers need to worry too much about it. It’s not gonna take our jobs. Uh, it has an upper limit of about 4,000 characters. . So it’s never gonna, you know, I can’t go into it and say, Hey, write Yost, um, or write WooCommerce. It’s not, it’s not gonna do that for you. 

But, uh, in terms of giving you some pointers towards smaller snippets of code, it’s certainly helpful for that. Um, again, I wouldn’t take it on face value, always make sure that it’s, it’s working properly. One example of where I don’t trust it is obviously we always want. Make sure our inputs and outputs with code are secure. 

They’ve been escaped and, uh, we’ve made sure there’s nothing malicious in there. Typically, when you ask open AI for a bit of code, none of that happens. It’s, it will literally just take, you know, what’s coming in on, on a post request and just spit it out. So, um, definitely take that in mind when you’re using this tool. 

It’s not intelligent enough to, to do that type of stuff. 

Cory Miller: [00:19:00] I, I the utility of what WS Forum does for sure. Like I see that, like I love the moderation thing about spam stuff. Um, sky’s the limit. My background, I draw to content creation and editing because we’ve all hit that dreaded rider’s block or just needed a little spark or inspiration to get going. 

And I’ve, I’ve heard and talked to enough people to go like, Those are the type of things that I think could really light of fire to this. Mm-hmm. is, it’s an assistant. Yes. It’s, it’s assisting you and, um, doing all the functions you want, particularly on your WordPress website. But when that subset of function create content, edit content, like I saw you say that, fix the spelling, you know, and the very simple example you gave and it’s like, yeah, I might use Grammarly, but there’s. 

So much more power out there that, uh, and, and AI obviously is getting way, way, [00:20:00] way, way better. Yeah.  

Mark Westguard: Um, maybe if you had a big article that was referenced in someone’s name and maybe you had the name incorrect, you could just say, change the name to whatever, and it’ll go through and change it. So, um, it’s a great, great editing tool. 

I think. Um, it’s almost kind of like, You know, Google 2.0, whereas, you know, on Google, you’ll, you’ll type at a question and it’ll give you URLs for you to then trundle through and try and find the answer. This is kind of jumping in that step and trying to give you that answer immediately. Um, and I think it does a pretty good job of it. 

Um, it’s not always accurate. Um, and I, like I said, you and I have said it’s, it’s gotta be an assistant tool. It’s, it’s not gonna give you the a hundred percent the correct answer every time. , but it does an impressive job. Um, I’ve been amazed by some of the stuff that it spits out .  

Cory Miller: Yeah. And, and that headstart that sparked to help you. 

Uh, you know, so I, I’m, I’m excited. I’m gonna go play with WS forum. Um, you’re [00:21:00] opening cuz uh, it didn’t click for me until yesterday. I go, these people are all doing all this stuff, but they’re not logging into chat G B T and I just hadn’t taken the time to go. There’s an API that you can buy, and what you do with your add-on is make that, oh, I can use it now. 

Um, it sounds a lot like, like aws, you know, you buy mm-hmm. computing power and all this stuff. And I looked at the pricing and I was telling Lindsay last night, I was like, oh, this is a, a WS type, you know, resource. Um, and you’ve done that integration point to leverage it within WordPress.  

Mark Westguard: Yeah. It’s basically about making that data accessible. 

Right. So, um, and making. Essentially no code. So all you gotta do is just drag and drop a couple of input fields, tell, um, WS form, which is the input, which is the output, and off you go. Um, so it’s pretty easy to to, to build forms that integrate that open AI technology. Um, and by, you know, by all means, use those template, they templates are ready to go. 

So you just [00:22:00] click it, it builds a form for you and you can start playing with it. So it’s, it’s pretty straightforward. I  

Cory Miller: wanna play it around with the. That you were saying and how, um, when you do the completion chat function, um, it’s reading what you’ve already talked about. So if you have a thought, okay, I’m trying to create a blog post on WordPress hosting, whatever. 

Mm-hmm. . Or something, you know, and then it reads, I wanna do some experimenting with that. So now you give me a new toy to, to go take for a test spin. 

Mark Westguard: Yeah. That should behave relatively similar to chat G p T, um, cuz that’s, that’s how that one works, so  

Cory Miller: yeah. Awesome. Mark, what else do you got going on over at WS Forum? 

Mark Westguard: Oh, you know, we’re just right now getting ready for work Camp Asia. Um, we’re gonna be,  

Cory Miller: I was about to say, I think I knew you were going to Asia and probably Europe too, right? Yeah.  

Mark Westguard: That’s gonna be some serious jet lag . Yeah, no kidding. And, uh, I’m gonna actually go to work at Birmingham at the. [00:23:00] beginning of February, so I’m looking forward to that as well. 

And then we just got approved to sponsors for Work Camp Europe again, so right on getting, getting ready for Athens. So we’re looking forward to that. Um, and yeah, just, you know, day in, day out, answering those support tickets, keeping customers happy and, and doing what we need to do to grow the business. 

So, Love it.  

Cory Miller: Thanks Mark for sharing, um, the integration you’re doing with Open AI and talking a little bit about this opportunity. Um, and again, I want, I wanna see more and more, uh, I want great members like yourself to lead that, but more and more innovation. Yeah, absolutely. So All right, thanks. Thanks, Mark. 

We’ll talk to you last time. Thanks. Appreciate it.  
Mark Westguard: Thanks a lot. Take care.

This article was published at Post Status — the community for WordPress professionals.

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