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EDIT: Let's try this again (again). We're about community, and this one's been passionate about its needs. Please go check out the third (and hopefully final) chapter in the naming trilogy.


Both the Community and the Community Team have spent a lot of time actively discussing this Meta post:

★ A better name for our site ★

Unfortunately, after agreeing that a change to "WordPress Development" made sense, as posted here, additional internal conversations have convinced us that the change would help with some problems, but cause others, and we're not comfortable making a name and design change that we think lacks long-term viability.

It's painful to be conveying a reversal here. But we owed it to you to do so as soon as it became clear that we have more work to do to solve the problems that made you want a change in the first place.

Key points:

  • We agree that Wordpress Answers... ain't great. We need to help figure out something better.
  • We realize that the community needs a better way to instantly communicate that the site is really dedicated to problems in running or working on a Wordpress.org site, not those having problems with Wordpress.com.

The problem we have with "Development" is that many people not already active in the site misinterpreted what that meant. Many people assumed that it meant that people who are administering WP.org sites, but who don't actually ever manipulate code, were in the wrong place. Some even assumed it was a much narrower site, for those working on the open source project itself.

At the end of the day, we felt it would cause potential new users to bounce before they realized that some of them are exactly the kind of experts you want.

I'm genuinely sorry we didn't do a better job ensuring comfort before announcing the change. We can do better, but we believe in this site too much to stick with a call we think may hamper its long-term prospects to attract more experts.

So, here's my question: What are the key things the header needs to convey to address the very legitimate concerns the community has?

My sense of what we need to communicate is the following:

  • The site is for questions about programming or administering wordpress.org sites.
  • The site is not for problems that are limited to wordpress.com

Is the above complete? Is it missing anything? We really want to get this right for you, so I want to start by ensuring we have decent consensus on what we need to convey (other than a dislike for the word "Answers" ;), and then we can work on proposed suggestions for names and/or bylines that will communicate what we have agreed are the key things the community is about.

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    Any chance we can convince you to respect our community decision? – fuxia Dec 16 '13 at 9:47
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    That the decision-makers in this instance think that the WordPress-vs-wordpress.com confusion is even 5% of the issue demonstrates that said decision-makers are woefully, laughably unqualified to make the decision at hand. You might as well start the process of folding WPSE back into SO, because your unwillingness to listen to and to trust the WPSE community is going to result in long-term non-viability of WPSE. We suffer under a deluge of poor-quality, off-topic questions, primarily because users mis-interpret "WordPress Answers" to mean general WordPress support. – Chip Bennett Dec 18 '13 at 18:55

11 Answers 11

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For the record, I am one of the supporters of a new name change to WordPress Development.

But at the same time I have no issue with the site remaining named as WordPress Answers. Cue downvotes, now!

I support either.

Anyway I've said it several times before and I'll say it again, the amount of poor questions or off topic questions that get asked on this site can be reduced by better INLINE contextual help when people are posting their questions on the question edit screen.

Look at the originating question thread that spurred the name change debate to begin with. Kaiser posts an excerpt from our FAQ that read:

What topics can I ask about here?

WordPress Stack Exchange is for WordPress developers and administrators to ask questions about:

  • theme and plugin development
  • development and management best practices
  • server configuration for WordPress

The very information shown above ↑ should also be shown on the question editing screen to new users or very low reputation users.

Roughly speaking something to this effect:

enter image description here

I'd possibly go as far as providing a checkbox that asks if the user consents to have read and understood our FAQ or the inline statements of what is and what is not an appropriate question for this site.

You can try and convey as much as you'd like in the header and sure that'd help too but we really need some contextual help, inline, that captures the users attention at the point of asking their question so that they may consider or re-consider its appropriateness here.

  • 1
    Not bad suggestion but a "I have read..." checkbox will 95% of time probably be ignored. Checked and unread. – GhostToast Dec 7 '13 at 16:13
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    @GhostToast the checkbox is superficial and to some extent I agree that it will be ignored, but it is another user-action and it should be mandatory and probably should also read "...failing to read our guidelines may result in your question being removed". It's all about re-enforcement. Drum something into people long enough and they'll eventually get it. We need to be educating people more proactively in the UI than not, to help reduce some of our problematic questions. Otherwise we can't expect people to go read a FAQ and always comply. Problems will persist otherwise. – Adam Dec 8 '13 at 0:53
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I am not very clear who are "many people" here. I have a lot of trust in SE administration to do, well SE administration. Groking currents, under currents and under under currents of WP ecosystem is slightly different and differently acquired skill however.

"WordPress Development" fits damn well from the point of view of active users here. There wasn't other answer upvoted as high in whole history of our meta.

Please look at our questions per day number. We are not afraid to scare some people away. At this point I am ready to start throwing some people out myself if it helps to get questions under control. :)

In a nutshell you are offering to address issues we have, but at the same time put metrics we might not have a care for on the throne.

Why is it important to not scare some users away? Why is it good deal for us to alienate people who are focused on core of our scope (development) at the cost of catering to users who are de-facto fringe of our scope (administration)?

You (administration) seem to have formed opinion on what experts we need. Could you please explain that opinion in detail and back it up? Because so far it seems well off from what community thinks we need (or well - me personally and there is that up arrow for people who agree).

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    If WPSE is intended to be "WordPress Administration", then we might as well all pack up and head on back over to StackOverflow. I have no desire to wade through user/administration questions just to find the occasional question focused on development. – Chip Bennett Dec 18 '13 at 19:11
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I have upvoted every answer here and downvoted the OP, for the record.

Honestly, the logic is a bit ridiculous. We can't have "WordPress Development" because some users will think that development === administration but "WordPress Answers" implies that equivalency much more strongly, in my mind. "WordPress Answers" means "ask whatever you want" and people do, but a more specific name is worse somehow. It is hard to take that logic seriously.

And where did you find users who confuse "development" and "administration" anyway? If those are the users you are afraid might "bounce", then no worries. Those are the uses who should bounce.

"WordPress Answers" means "ask whatever you want" and people do, so we close the topics, spending time on that that could be spent helping someone with a real problem. That is better than letting people know up front what the site is about and having them "bounce"? Again, it is hard to take that logic seriously.

Additionally, I can't recall seeing a whole lot of "administration" questions so I am not sure why that needs much prominence.

I actually understand the confusion that this might be about developing the WordPress Core, so how about this: "WordPress Theme and Plugin Development" If that isn't a "club you over the head" title I don't know what is.

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As I have come to understand, the confusion regarding wordpress.com is minor. What is a problem is the flood of questions that come from users who are asking off topic questions.

The overall quality of the questions has been poor, and not sure how best to address that.

  • We get questions that have nothing to do with WordPress, but maybe do pertain to PHP, jQuery, etc.

  • We get questions that show no comprehension of WordPress' inner-working code (templating system, difference between a theme and a plugin, etc.)

  • We get questions like "recommend me a free plugin that does all these things" or "I have free version of this plugin but it doesn't fit all my needs. Recommend one for me or fix this one for me please."

  • And more "do this work for me now" type questions.

What we need to make clear is that this site is for users who have an interest in understanding WordPress, and how they may use it as a tool alongside PHP/CSS/jQuery to create dynamic websites.

That is why WordPress Development was our front-runner. We are developers. We use WordPress to develop websites.

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At the end of the day, we felt it would cause potential new users to bounce before they realized that some of them are exactly the kind of experts you want.

I really do not believe that an expert , or even a potential one, would bounce from this site after a 2-3 minute browsing. And if he / she does - They are really not an expert - at least not the kind needed here .

This site has the highest level of answers to some very complicated and "tricky" technical wp issues - and no one that is even half a wp expert can ignore that and "bounce" - even not as the greenest new user/developer that there is .

I somewhat have the feeling ( and I might be wrong here ) that the OP itself ( and the "community" he speaks for - do not understand themselves what this site has grown to be , and the mere fact that they think that distinguishing wordpress.com and wordpress.org would solve the problem proves that . I do not remember when I saw a wordpress.com related question in here ...

It might well be that the initial intent behind the opening or the scope of the site was different - but since that time of opening , the site evolved - wordpress itself evolved greatly and has become something a lot more than a simple blog system . it is a whole giant ecosystem now that requires different expertise - and the site matured and evolved with it . and like a child that is growing up - you need , as the "parents" to let it take it´s path and way ... I really do not believe there is someone outside of this site that knows better what this site needs . And I am talking as an "outsider" - I am not an admin, not a "high level" user , and not really active as I should . But I realize that one of the reasons that I am not so active ( and I was ..) is exactly due to the reasons that the admins here are trying to communicate .

So please - listen to them

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    Here here! These are my feelings as well – GhostToast Dec 11 '13 at 15:02
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Then, please, use WordPress Development and Administration or WordPress Developers and Administrators for the new name.

It doesn’t matter if it is a little bit longer. What matters is a clear message: questions seeking for recommendations or about wordpress.com are off topic.

There is also the open bug: Hidden on topic page without any response from SE stuff.

We need a fix for that, very soon. The number of off topic questions has increased, while our visits went down. There is currently no clear message about our scope. Our vague name and the broken help pages hurt our site. Please fix both.

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First off: You (SE moderation team) have really not done your best job with handling this issue. You've done better jobs - remember sending us WPSE-swag across the globe just because we care about the site? That's the sort of things that keeps your top users motivated. Saying "yes" first and "no" 5 minutes doesn't.

Then there's the point that it's hard to read things like the following paragraph:

The problem we have with "Development" is that many people not already active in the site misinterpreted what that meant. Many people assumed that it meant that people who are administering WP.org sites, but who don't actually ever manipulate code, were in the wrong place. Some even assumed it was a much narrower site, for those working on the open source project itself.

I don't even want to ask who the "many people" were that you've asked. And I surely don't want to ask how many "many" (out of how many?) is.

In short: I hope you girls and guys from the SE mod team trust us who have invested that much time into this site that we know what this site needs. And what it suffers from. And how the WordPress eco system works, what parts it got and what can be fit together. Some of us like @toscho and me are moderators on Google+ groups as well. We're already trying to push stuff like plugin recommendations there to help this very site.

Please just change the name to what we voted as best fit - we are what drives the community and keeps this site alive. We got a focus that we reworked several times (see meta questions) and that got narrowed down as best as we could. Yeah, most of us don't like the design, but what we all really got a problem with is the name.

The things we want to have changed? Better "help" and "how to ask" links. And: A new name that exactly tells with what you'll get help here. And with what not.

This answer might be harsh, but at least it's honest.

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    True. We haven't handled this as well as we could have, and for that, I'm sorry. – Jaydles Dec 9 '13 at 18:37
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Can it have a sub heading? We could combine the current with the suggested ones like:

WordPress Answers

For Developers and Administrators

  • We're definitely open to a sub-heading to help here. – Jaydles Dec 9 '13 at 18:36
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With the current state of affairs, WPSE is extremely hindered in any effort to attract any new experts, or to attract the kinds of questions WPSE experts can and want to answer. We are WordPress developers, period. We develop WordPress core, Plugins, and Themes. Such are the people we, the WPSE community, want to attract - both to ask and to answer questions.

What will happen when such people visit WPSE for the first time right now? They're going to bounce because they will be confronted with questions that are primarily low-quality and out of their area of expertise.

WPSE would be far better-served missing out on a few "administration" questions in the name of eliminating low-quality, off-topic questions that cause desired experts to avoid WPSE altogether.

To answer your question:

So, here's my question: What are the key things the header needs to convey to address the very legitimate concerns the community has?

It's simple, really:

WordPress Development

That's what the header needs.

This misses the point completely:

  • The site is for questions about programming or administering wordpress.org sites.
  • The site is not for problems that are limited to wordpress.com

WPSE isn't about administering sites at all. It's about development: WordPress core, Plugin, and Theme code.

You're so focused on site administration that you're missing the freaking gold mine of expertise that comprises the WPSE expert base: development. Self-hosted WordPress (protip: nobody calls it "WordPress dot org") or wordpress.com is irrelevant; we're not primarily site administrators. We're coders. We don't administer; we develop.

This is not a long-term-viable misunderstanding.

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    "you're missing the freaking gold mine of expertise that comprises the WPSE expert base"... understatement. +1 – Adam Dec 20 '13 at 2:21
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This has been said before but if you look at the data wordpress.com is not the issue, WPSE's focus is on developers and not administrators, unless you can define what a WordPress administrator is because I have no idea what that implies.

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    "unless you can define what a WordPress administrator is"... blogger? In which case, we definitely want to suggest that isn't our audience. – webaware Dec 13 '13 at 6:36
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At the end of the day, we felt it would cause potential new users to bounce before they realized that some of them are exactly the kind of experts you want.

As compared to the current situation, where the flood of non-developer questions causes potential answer providers (like me) from answering anything, because it's too bloody hard to find a question that's on topic?

I can't speak for others, but I can tell you that when I come to WPSE and find a huge pile of "send me teh codez" I just close-tab-didn't-read. Which is most days. I don't know how the mods manage to wade through it all, must have some serious grade booze or something.

The name WordPress Develop[ment|ers] would likely put the correct emphasis on what this answer board is about. Maybe then there'd be a reason to persist looking for questions to answer.

The problem we have with "Development" is that many people not already active in the site misinterpreted what that meant. Many people assumed that it meant that people who are administering WP.org sites, but who don't actually ever manipulate code, were in the wrong place. Some even assumed it was a much narrower site, for those working on the open source project itself.

Smells like something I'd have added a {{who}} tag to when I could be bothered moderating Wikipedia before similar issues drove me away from there...

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