I contend five points:

1. Specifically: my question was put on hold but is directly relevant to WP development

A simple reality is that Wordpress is a CMS, not a framework. Therefore development within Wordpress entails more than just modifying or writing code - it also involves creation and formatting of content. My question was directly related to making the creation and formatting of content, easier/better. There is, conceptually speaking, no difference between asking how to extract a taxonomy term from a query, and how to highlight shortcode syntax in the editor. Both are related to development within Wordpress, and unless the title of this stack exchange means something OTHER than "Wordpress Development", differentiating between the two is illogical.

2. Generally: the use of plugins and extensions is inherently part of Wordpress development.

It's GOOD for the Wordpress ecosystem if developers aren't constantly re-inventing the wheel, and are using well established, tested, vetted, pre-built solutions to solve common problems.

  • This keeps development costs down
  • It keeps more eyeballs on potentially buggy code
  • It improves the overall quality of sites built in Wordpress
  • It helps provide some standardization to Wordpress development, which in turn...
  • Allows a developer to interoperate between Wordpress projects more easily (e.g. a new hire that is already familiar with the Wordpress ecosystem can more easily jump into a project that has existing pre-built solutions)
  • Is consistent with the spirit of open source development: many hands, one result.

Thus any knowledge shared regarding the Wordpress plugin ecosystem is good for the Wordpress development community as a whole. And similar to the above, extensions and plugins as solutions to problems are no different than answers related to the Wordpress Codex. Wordpress Codex is only ONE part of Wordpress development. Usage of its plugin ecosystem is another part. Both are equally important.

3. All answers are inherently opinionated

The text regarding the off topic nature of asking about plugins or extensions says this:

library or off-site resource is out of scope of the site, as it attracts opinionated answers and spam

There is more than one way to do just about everything in software, and there is no single right answer. Ask how to get the date one week from today in PHP, and you'll get 10 different, but equally valid answers - each based on someone's opinion as to what an appropriate solution would be.

Yes, there are lots of wrong answers, but there are many right answers as well. Wordpress is no exception. There are multiple ways to solve problems in Wordpress, and that includes problems which can be solved via usage of existing plugins. The ENTIRE POINT behind the answer voting system is to have crowd-sourced validating of someone's OPINION as to what the solution is. The concept of upvoting and downvoting answers is essentially moot if you are looking only for fact-based answers.

At the end of the day, people post answers which they may or may not support with facts or evidence. That is why we have voting. They are at least presenting some information and it is up to the asker, as well as viewers, whether they consider that information valid or not. The votes help them decide what other people think of that information so that they can make an informed judgement on the quality of the answer.

4. It's my bloody question, I will decide for myself how to handle the replies

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Stack Exchange is not an encyclopedia. It is a service whereby a person can ask a question specific to their needs, and get a tailored answer from those willing to help them. Being a service, that conceptually shifts the ownership mostly to the consumer of that service. Put rudely, you shouldn't be attempting to save me from my own question. If I am ok with opinionated answers, then that is mostly none of your business. Yes, my question does not exist in a bubble and does impact the question river. Some moderation is definitely needed. But it's still MY question, and I should be entitled to the opportunity to get an answer (this being a service and all).

5. GUIDANCE is as valuable as a concrete answer

If the fundamental point of this stack exchange is to aid in the development of Wordpress as its name implies, then answers which provide guidance are just as valuable as concrete answers. Therefore by extension, questions seeking guidance are just as valid as questions seeking concrete answers. If someone's answer has helped me, then it has helped me. End of. This exchange has done its job. And by extension, it has helped anyone else who has the same question.

Failing the above points, then I would recommend this Stack Exchange be renamed to something more specific than "Wordpress Development" (I'm not being flippant), as help with general Wordpress development inevitably must allow for questions which are presently beyond the scope of this exchange.

  • Please note that the downvotes on meta just indicate that someone did not agree with your stated opinion. The title attribute is wrong on Meta.
    – kaiser
    Mar 19, 2014 at 10:34
  • 2
    It seems that you're arguing against the basic conventions of Stack Exchange sites. To understand how the WordPress Development SE works in the context of Stack Exchange conventions, please read here. Apr 1, 2014 at 15:29

2 Answers 2


Plugin/theme/hosting recommendation questions are shopping questions: either too broad for a definitive answer or too narrow to be useful for others.

They were on topic for a long time, and our community got so annoyed by them that we finally decided to focus on How to solve a problem, not on Where to find a ready solution. See Update our FAQ and abandon theme/plugin recommendations

No more questions inviting link litter, self-promotion and answers without explanations.

All answers are inherently opinionated

That’s true. But code in an answer can be tested, it exists on this site. Links are just links. Sooner or later they will be broken or hijacked by spammers. Who should clean that up? Who should judge complete plugins?

It's my bloody question, I will decide for myself how to handle the replies

Nope. Everything you publish here is licensed under a Creative Commons license. It is our question, that’s why everybody can edit it, and why we close it when it doesn’t fit. You are responsible to ask properly, ownership is a different thing.

GUIDANCE is as valuable as a concrete answer

True, with some limitations. If you ask how to solve a structural problem in your code we will guide you. If you ask where to find X … no, that’s still too broad.

  • 2
    I totally agree. +1 toscho Mar 19, 2014 at 8:52
  • "we finally decided to focus on How to solve a problem" - Plugins that solves problems, are answers that qualify as "how to solve a problem" // "Either too broad for a definitive answer" - An answer doesn't have to be definitive to be useful. You are ruling out an entire class of potentially very useful, very helpful answers. // "If you ask how to solve a structural problem in your code we will guide you" then this meta stack exchange is inappropriately named. Mar 19, 2014 at 12:56
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    @AgmLauncher Our name is WordPress Development. Downloading a plugin is not development.
    – fuxia Mod
    Mar 19, 2014 at 13:00
  • @toscho - 100% disagreed. Raise your hand here if you've never used an existing plugin on a production Wordpress site. I've made several strong points as to why this is an inextricable part of Wordpress development. Mar 19, 2014 at 13:03
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    Not every task during a website set-up is development. Downloading and installing a plugin is certainly not.
    – fuxia Mod
    Mar 19, 2014 at 13:12
  • No, it is not "certainly not". Plugin usage is an integral part of Wordpress development. Wordpress development is not pure code. If it was, then it wouldn't be a CMS in the first place, let alone a CMS with a plugin ecosystem. It's almost as if you're advocating that Wordpress be treated like Codeigniter or Laravel... Mar 19, 2014 at 14:34
  • @AgmLauncher If you want to discuss this further, I'd suggest to drop by in the WordPress Development Chat named "The Loop".
    – kaiser
    Mar 19, 2014 at 19:52

I feel that your issue is down to the (not uncommon) problem of painting role of WordPress developer in overly broad strokes. People are stretching "development" term far beyond limits of what it really is:

  • formatting content in editor is not development
  • research for an existing plugin is not development
  • using WP admin interface is not development

The term best capturing such tasks as activity is "site builder", rather than "developer". It is true there is some overlap and builder might perform minor developer tasks, just like developer might perform builder tasks.

However these roles are not both development.

WPSE had historically been very developer heavy. While we tried to accommodate builder tasks over years, simply put we were unable to make those questions work in our format.

So you might disagree with me (and our community) on definition of WordPress development, but you need stronger case to overturn significant amount time and meta discussion than "you are wrong, I am right".

  • Your argument is one of semantics. The bottomline is this: delivering a Wordpress site to a client as a business value entity does in fact entail everything from writing code, customizing themes, formatting content, and selecting/configuring plugins. It's the whole package. Call it whatever you want (I call it development, which I think is accurate), it doesn't change the fact that "doing Wordpress" involves all of those things. Given that this is the defacto WP exchange site, it doesn't make sense to limit help to only SOME aspects of "doing Wordpress". Mar 19, 2014 at 16:34
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    @AgmLauncher please less absolute statements. :) I am talking for myself and for history of meta discussion. I get that your opinion is different to these. However talking at me/community about it as some kind of fact is not going to be too productive. You need to convince community to support your point of view, not tell it to.
    – Rarst
    Mar 19, 2014 at 17:30
  • I am stating facts, so I don't know what else would be required for convincing the community. It's not exactly an opinion that "doing wordpress" involves more than writing code. Mar 19, 2014 at 18:21
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    @AgmLauncher plugin recommendations are not getting back in scope by you "stating facts", that's just not the process.
    – Rarst
    Mar 19, 2014 at 18:26
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    I feel that Developers use code to solve problems / create content. Just Because my client decides to install a plugin doesn't make them a developer. Now if they decide to code their own plugin...
    – Howdy_McGee Mod
    Mar 19, 2014 at 18:35
  • @Howdy_McGee No, that doesn't make them a developer. As I've said numerous times, development in Wordpress isn't any ONE thing. Mar 20, 2014 at 18:07

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