For example: https://wordpress.stackexchange.com/questions/82571/how-to-restore-post-titles-on-archive-pages-after-moving-titles-above-content-si

Looking at the code posted in the question, I really don't think it is answerable without seeing the template files. And since the Theme in question is commercial, we don't have access to them.

Just looking for clarification: based on our scope, questions about commercial Themes/Plugins aren't inherently out of scope; however, most of the time, the questions are of a nature (such as the linked question) that they cannot be answered without access to the commercial code.

For this reason, I tend to close-vote such questions as too localized.

Note: related but different: Extend FAQ to deny support for stolen/not-paid commercial plugins & themes

In this case (both this question, and the linked question), I'm referring to legitimate owners of the commercial code in question; so the legality/ethics of providing support really are not in question. I'm more referring to the practicality of having such questions.

5 Answers 5


I handle this depending on the specific case. Sometimes the underlying problem is not bound to this specific code. Commercial is probably not a useful criterion. It doesn’t necessary mean the source code is not available, and Open Source doesn’t mean the source code is written in a readable form.

In most cases, we have to send the asker back to the vendor. But we should still try to find a way to help here first.


Just because you don't have access to the relevant code, it doesn't mean that everyone else is in the same position.

I see no reason why questions like this should be closed automatically. If a little community forms around a paid plugin or theme, then fine.

  • Regarding a "little community" forming around a commercial Theme/Plugin, doesn't that fall under, "it is only relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet"? Commented Jan 22, 2013 at 18:57
  • @ChipBennett No.
    – anu
    Commented Jan 22, 2013 at 19:14
  • why not? How is a "little community" around a commercial Theme/Plugin (or any Theme/Plugin, for that matter) "generally applicable to the worldwide audience" of WPSE, much less "the internet"? Commented Jan 22, 2013 at 19:21
  • @chipbennett don't get hung up on my use of the word 'little', ok?
    – anu
    Commented Jan 22, 2013 at 21:29
  • I think if code is involved then lack of access to it is major negative factor. It bars people from answering as well as even being able to evaluate quality of the answer.
    – Rarst
    Commented Jan 27, 2013 at 16:37

Free or commercial source is not the criterion for a question or answer. I think the quality and the requirements of the source is different. Often I think it is topic for the support of the team from the commercial plugin, but the users like a help, maybe different from the support possibilities of the dev team. If the question is usable, good quality then is it enough for add a answer, if possible without code.

Important for me: I think we should not separated on the basis license; is not a practical criterion for Q/A.

  • 1
    I'm with this line of thought. If a Question is on-topic and contains enough elements to provide an Answer...
    – brasofilo
    Commented Jan 23, 2013 at 14:57
  • There are other questions in meta that deal specifically with scope as it relates to Theme/Plugin licenses. License isn't really applicable to this question (intentionally). Commented Jan 27, 2013 at 4:30

I'm new to this stack so my opinion may not be worth much but here it is if you are interested.

While I fully understand that questions about commercial software can be considered "too localized" at times, I do not think it is fair to group all of them together. In other words, saying questions about commercial software are not permitted or are all permitted (although I don't think anyone is arguing for the latter) isn't a proper classification. Instead, I think mods need to use judgement in how "localized" a question really is. Especially as some of these commercial frameworks gain traction, more and more developers are using them and may become less localized.

In my opinion, a question where a dev is using the wrong hook or missed a semicolon and posts the error he/she is getting and a couple specific lines of code is far more localized than a general question about a commercial framework. Is anyone else really going to benefit from the answer to the first question? Maybe in a few one-off cases but probably not very often. However, as it stands now I believe the former question would remain, probably get answered in about 2 minutes, and live on while the latter would be closed and eventually disappear.

This may not align with the StackExchange mission statement but for me most of these stacks serve more as a reference point than a support system. I'm sure we can all relate to googling for some obscure combination of problems and finding that the exact question had been asked and answered 9 months earlier. Hell, I've even seen questions that were years old that didn't really have any activity until several years after they were asked, but that activity ends up helping.

It goes back to what they always told us in school, if you have a question someone else probably does too. I know that realistically we can't have this approach and keep every question but I think before closing/deleting a question a mod should seriously consider whether or not it is possible that anyone else down the road may wonder the same thing.

  • I should add that I am not a mod on any other stack and totally understand that I may not be approaching this right. This is just here so you can all see how a regular joe-schmoe uses these communities. I have mad respect for all of the mods and all the crap I know you put up with and see on a daily basis. Anything I can do to improve the community and I'll do it
    – Matt Dodge
    Commented Jan 22, 2013 at 21:50
  • 3
    I have a lot of opinions on the topic of providing support for commercial Themes/Plugins, but am trying to focus on the practicality of doing so in this question, rather than any of the myriad other perspectives. And from a perspective purely related to practicality, anyone not a paying customer of Genesis simply doesn't have the resources available to answer a question asked and answered entirely based on Genesis, rather than WordPress, code. That's why, in my opinion, such questions are too localized: by definition, they cannot be answered by or help the WPSE community at-large. Commented Jan 22, 2013 at 23:05
  • And P.S. - we may be an opinionated and blunt group (looking at myself, especially), but we do welcome all feedback, contribution, input, and opinion from anyone who wants to be part of our community. So don't be shy. :) Commented Jan 22, 2013 at 23:14

I am one of those who asked such a question and was closed down (https://wordpress.stackexchange.com/questions/52236/using-woocommerce-with-hidden-prices)

You'd think I'd be against this practice, but I actually found it sobering... indeed commercial themes should provide this support for themselves, and we, as clients, should encourage and demand it.

I do think, that big products (i.e. major frameworks and super popular plugins) should be considered for answering as they are used by a huge number of users.

For example in my original question above, If I would have changed the question to be about WooCommerce plugin, and requested a technique to customize the default price output (instead of being super specific to the (free) theme and specific field), I think it could have been of interest.

(In this specific case the answer is clear and support by plugin provider exists - so a simple link could have been the answer, but I'm just trying to explain my point).

Thanks to all the mods, you do superb work!

  • 1
    You should rewrite your question accordingly, and then ask to have it reopened. :) Commented Jan 28, 2013 at 4:27
  • @ChipBennett I will, and answer it myself this time :-) Commented Jan 28, 2013 at 8:05
  • @MosheEshel This is encouraged and runs under "share your knowledge" (see bottom when writing a question).
    – kaiser
    Commented Jan 31, 2013 at 1:58

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