... where the best answer is a link to codex?

This question made me think about it: How to pull blogposts using shortcodes? But I'm sure there are better examples out there.

I know such questions can be politely answered, code from codex nicely copypasted and everybody's happy after. But it seems to me that in a long term it could make this place quite polluted with such a basic stuff. The Codex is a great resource but there's no need for a duplicate :)

It's great that new people are willing to learn the basics (I'm not that far from there)
my question is if this is the right place? If yes then I'll be happy to help.

5 Answers 5


There Jeff wrote a blog post about this recently: Are Some Questions Too Simple? They are thinking about adding a "General Reference" close reason, so that Stack Exchange must not duplicate what can be found in other generally available references.

This is not added to scare away new users, but to keep the experts on the site: "There’s nothing useful any expert can learn from ultra-basic questions. Allow your Q&A community to fill itself with enough “General Reference” type questions and you’ll soon find no experts there at all."

  • 1
    Beautiful graphical answer. And coupled with @kaiser insight in Jeff's answer, my librarian heart says: yah!
    – brasofilo
    Oct 30, 2012 at 0:37

see my answer here:

Should we drop WordPress.com questions from the site?

But in a nutshell, unless the question is interesting to answer in some way, I don't think it belongs here. Certainly if the best possible answer is an exact duplicate of the Codex then why bother?

  • 4
    I want to note that Codex is quite a mess and only few topics are covered in thorough tutorial-like fashion. Often simple pointer to appropriate function in Codex and giving it bit of context makes considerably useful answer. There is no value in copy of Codex, but there is value in accurate pointer to what would be efficient for context of question. Huge amount of WordPress code floating around is ridden with improper use of most simple functions, etc.
    – Rarst
    Jan 16, 2011 at 21:53
  • @rarst that's fair, so long as it's adding value to the internet, I support it Jan 17, 2011 at 2:22
  • 3
    @Rarst: I know you "don't hang around" in Codex, but to be honest... if you'd spend some time to extend the codex instead of posting it here and afterwards link to the codex, the world would be a better place. After i realized this myself, i always edit the codex. That even helps myself, when i don't want to search thousands of closely similar sounding google results. Codex has one large thing ahead of systems like SE: Less noise!
    – kaiser
    Mar 11, 2011 at 18:22

Hi @Maugly:

I mostly concur with @Rarst's comment to @Jeff and will elaborate that I think we should duplicate what's on Codex, and go beyond it. I'm rarely satisfied with what I find Codex whereas I'm often satisfied with a good answer on StackExchange. Here we can elaborate on use-cases that can't really be done on StackExchange and people here often add screenshots which Codex never does.

Frankly for me the best answer is one that is complete that does not require me to go to another page. Having links for further reading is great, but I find it a lot more valuable to actually find the answer to someone's question here on the site vs. seeing a link to Codex. FWIW.


  • 2
    You're right in a lot of ways. I know that some people don't like the codex (like myself), but it's where 99% of the people look first if they're searching for a) basic explanations b) functions and ways to do things. After i realized that i look at (even incomplete) pages like the function reference pretty often, i started editing the codex. Often i simply add a link to a WA-answer which might save my life later. I can only recommend to link from the codex to WA answers or update some examples over there with answers from here. This helps WA too :)
    – kaiser
    Mar 23, 2011 at 2:37
  • @kaiser - Yes, +1. Mar 25, 2011 at 3:52

I learn almost everything I do from examples. So here, even if there is a straight link to the codex, giving an example which explains what the Codex says in another way I would always find useful.

The question ('How to pull blogposts using shortcodes?') raised as an example of a question that is too simple, was actually answered very well by @Bainternet and really helped out a wordpress developer. I can't think of a better reason for WPSE to exist.


I think there are many bloggers out there, which have often problems with the basics. Why not introducing a basic Tag or Section?

  • 3
    Basic would be a little too meta and hard to define (my opinion on basic can be very different from person who sees WP first time). We already have quite a few issues with tag (useless version tags, multiple tags about same thing, etc) so personally I would really like to not introduce any major concepts to those. At least until current situation is cleaned up.
    – Rarst
    Feb 28, 2011 at 15:26

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