I have noticed that pretty much any questions tagged with woocommerce receives downvotes, most of the time instantly.

The current tag page of it looks insane.

Basically, what is going on? I saw some threads about the official site linking WPSE for support but that does not seem to be the case anymore.

I am all for downvoting poor questions, or poorly asked questions, but I think it would be more beneficial to find a way to help these users to ask it better, as some of them may end up being regular contributors.

There might be a flux of poorly formulated questions on this particular tag because it is likely the most asked about plugin here, and it is a relatively complex technology designed for and used by many who know nothing about coding.

  • 4
    It isn't worth an answer, hance a comment: Sorry to say Christine, but I, for one, am starting to not only get annoyed by poorly researched off-topic questions on the site itself, but by totally unnecessary meta-questions on an issue dealt with by the community a long time ago. -1 for flooding WPSE.meta with another flippin' redundant WooCommerce question... Commented Nov 8, 2014 at 14:03
  • @JohannesPille I disagree. If the problem is still current, as in, the posts are still appearing (hence your annoyance), then, in my opinion, you should have posted this meta-question before me. Although I do understand your frustration...
    – Christine Cooper Mod
    Commented Nov 8, 2014 at 16:31

4 Answers 4


Third party plugins are formally not in scope, simple as that.

While I believe that some WooCommerce can be asked and answered in generic form, I also observe that it is exceedingly rare occurence. In part precisely of reason you pointed out — it is less techy users, looking to fulfill their needs with it.

The only thing we can do for such questions (in current circumstances) is to send them elsewhere. So downvotes, and close votes, and comments go that way.

  • It seems to be a bizarre tag nonetheless. An e-commerce store plugin. Questions specific for this plugin are off-topic.... Then why does this tag exist...
    – Christine Cooper Mod
    Commented Oct 24, 2014 at 14:26
  • 2
    We are basically deadlocked on tag, at one point it was nuked, but then restored. Sans new discussion and decision it's just left alone at the moment.
    – Rarst
    Commented Oct 24, 2014 at 14:29
  • Currently it serves as a wiki page summarising what WooCommerce is =D
    – Christine Cooper Mod
    Commented Oct 24, 2014 at 14:36

The current tag page of it looks insane.

I looks exactly as what it is: A series of questions that have no research, but read like a RFP for a developer. They show no research, no interest in what this sites scope is and no attempt on solving the problem before asking the question.

I am all for downvoting poor questions, or poorly asked questions, but I think it would be more beneficial to find a way to help these users to ask it better, [...]

We tried to help those users before this was moved out of scope. This lead to an insane amount of "explanation on top of explanation", comment floods, the need to explain programming basics like "where put this codez?" and hundreds of outdated questions and answers when the plugin development continued and the API changed.

Also keep in mind that a downvote just is an indicator that something is wrong with a question. I noticed that more and more people leave a comment and explain what's wrong with a question - most even using snippet plugins for browsers to help with that task. Downvotes can be removed and are removed on a constant basis. The system even encourages users to do so: A vote is locked after an hour and can only be redone when the question is edited and the contents have changed. We had enough scenarios where -3 questions turned out to become +5 questions. There's a reason why the SE staff has this mechanism in place on all network sites.

[...] as some of them may end up being regular contributors.

We already know that this is not true. Nearly every user who asks questions on that topic did not and does not participate in any other way than asking the question s/he needs an answer too. Most are simply users running a shop for their business and not developers supporting shop owners.

Here's an example (just the newest question in the tag queue):

"Hi I am using woocomemrce and was wondering would it be possible to get the checkout form and payment stuff onto another page?

I want to create a template which will have a single product on and the checkout form directly below."

That's the whole question and even the plugin name has typos. It's the 6th question in a row at that level asked by that user.

There might be a flux of poorly formulated questions on this particular tag because it is likely the most asked about plugin here, and it is a relatively complex technology designed for and used by many who know nothing about coding.


About the tag itself: We already have a problem with not enough users participating (or having the user level needed) in our clean up process. We (as a community) merely manage to close new off topic questions as this involves commenting, pointing to the [help] and the off/on topic page, etc. and handling the review queue. As the SE staff hasn't ever risen the minimum needed reputation to create new tags to above 200 points, we simply don't have a chance to keep a tag closed. New tags spawn daily, no one cares about proper tagging and in most edit processes the tags go through unnoticed. Just look at or to see what I'm talking about. We had the same problem with the which gladly was banned by SE staff (or better: one of the owners). This won't happen for all those plugin tags like , , , etc.


I think the simple reason is that many users don’t understand the difference between down votes and close votes. Down votes are for bad questions. A question might be off topic, but not necessarily bad.

Combining close votes and down votes is almost always wrong.

  1. Questions with many down votes do not appear on our front page, so it takes longer to collect enough close votes to actually close them.
  2. The asker is discouraged from fixing the question once it is closed, because it costs less reputation just to delete the question and to start again or to go away.

Many new users who start with an off topic question are scared away, because some existing users let them feel that they are not welcome here. This is bad. It violates our Be nice rule, and it harms our site, because we don’t get enough new users who will stay.

  • I understand your point, and is like I stated in my answer, I don't downvote borderline or well written off topic questions as some can be salvaged. I think the system has one big flaw and our community is not commited. Most blatant off topic question is really really bad quality as pointed out by me and kaiser and really deserves downvotes. Yes, we with 10K reputation can see which questions are highly downvoted and then check them out and cast close votes if necessary, but what about 3k-9K users that don't have that privilege. Also, most 3K+ users don't want to get involved in close votes Commented Dec 4, 2014 at 11:49
  • Have a look at who does all the close voting. So it is time for other 3K+ users to get really involved in helping the few that are trying to keep the site alive. Also, highly downvoted questions with one or two close votes should be stuffed in our faces by the system so we can get them closed and removed Commented Dec 4, 2014 at 11:51

I do think it is important to downvote outright low quality questions (and answers for that matter) and questions that are off topic, and I really make good use of this. I think 99% of all woocomerce downvotes comes from me.

OK, I tend to not downvote borderline (grey area) questions or very well written questions. These are normally questions that can be salvaged with a little bit of editing and also actually has more to do with Wordpress itself that the actual plugin.

As @kaiser already explained, almost all woocommerce questions are very low quality, sometime simple one or two liners, and almost all is do-my-job-for-me type of questions. These type of questions are blatantly off topic, and not just because they are all about woocommerce, but they just doesn't show any type of research or effort, neither does the OP take his/her time to construct a proper question according to the help and ask sections of the site's help. Also, these questions are too broad to answer successfully.

If we could get paid to answer these types of questions, we would be earning big bucks, as these are quite intensive worksorders that requires a lot of manhours, lol.

There is actually a new question posted by a user. This is that specific user's 7th question. I have already explained once before that woocommerce and third party plugins and themes are off topic, and still that user come back and ask these off topic questions.

This brings me to returning users. I've realized that almost all returning users that ask woocommerce questions come back at some stage and ask woocommerce related questions again (and for that matter, any questions regarding other plugins). I have not came across anyone that returns later as a beneficial member of this site.

So, to answer this, yes, we should downvote. It is beneficial to the site. Up until now, this site has been kept very constructive and beneficial to the stackexchange community, and we should keep it this way.

  • Downvotes helps to keep the site clean. The system automatically removes downvoted questions on cleanup if it does not have any constructive (upvoted or accepted) answers. This way, we ensure that these questions get deleted when their status goes to "closed"

  • Some users simply just don't worry about continuously asking low quality or off topic questions. By continuous downvoting of these questions, the system will eventually punish that user. Their account will be locked for a week. Continuous behavior of this kind will lead to an account being banned. If you really think about that, and I know it is a bit harsch, but does this community really need non constructive members.

To conclude. It is all up to you if you want to downvote or not, and no one forces you to do that. I hope this has shed some light on the subject

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .