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I recently asked a question related to a certain WordPress setup, and was put on-hold with a statement that this is a third party question that is out of scope.

I think this should be changed. WordPress' power is because of the use of its Plugins and they play an integral part in it. If we cannot ask questions about those plugins, than we are eliminating a very high number of valid and helpful WordPress questions.

I think this policy should be removed, just due to the nature of WordPress. I am not sure what the reasoning is behind banning such questions.


Update

After reading the comments here, and after reading the details in the link provided by toscho, I conclude that this problem/debate is never going to to be resolved, not anytime soon. There will be always people on either side of the fence with both valid or invalid reasoning (depending on which side of the fence you stand).

Anyway, I got to think, maybe there is another solution; and this is what I came up with:

  1. Create a new sub-subdomain, plugins.wordpress.stackexchange.com, that will only focus on questions related to WordPress plugins (It does not have to be the sub-subdomain I suggested, but something along those lines, just a space for this type of questions).
  2. All questions in that new space are only related to WordPress plugins, with some available tags being the names of those plugins.
  3. Restrict questions in that space to plugins-specific questions. Those should only be about plugins that already exist. If you have a plugin development question, then that should be asked at wordpress.stackexchange.com

This way, we separate the plugins-related questions from the plugin-development questions; and wordpress.stackexchange.com remains the way it is for purists.

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If we cannot ask questions about those plugins, than we are eliminating a very high number of valid and helpful WordPress questions.

The issue is — answers are what is valuable, questions not so much. And the rate at which such questions get good answers is horrible.

Painted in broad strokes the “integral” landscape of WP extensions potentially includes the entirety of all PHP code ever written, public and private. Just because it is PHP code someone can add few lines of comments to it and bam — WordPress plugin.

To get extension–specific questions answered and capture that value we need their developers and independent experts on them answering. Because in most cases no one else can.

And they don't answer them. This isn't theoretical, this is practical past we lived through. In early days we actively hoped the stack will be great place for any and all extensions questions. That didn't happen. More so at least one large vendor started to openly dump their free users here with their questions, sans any cooperation effort to handle it.

We had the egg, but no chicken came out. For running into that wall again there better be very good and new reasons to.

  • I agree mostly, however, not the statement 'answers are what is valuable, questions not so much'. If so, then we should eliminate the vote up/down for the questions, nor we should have a 'favorite' question option. We should only have that for answers as per your suggestion. This however is not realistic, because you would not have a good answer if you did not have a good question. It is a combination of both. – Greeso Jan 18 '15 at 17:40
  • And yet you can have good question without any answer. Or worse — excess of not-so-good questions without any answers. – Rarst Jan 18 '15 at 17:45
  • You are right. However, you cannot have an answer without a question. There are two types of questions. Poor quality questions (with or without answers), and good quality questions (with or without answers). Now, if you do not have an answer, it could be either one of them. However, putting questions on hold, would prevent someone in future from answering any question that is probably good in future. Maybe this is not the right approach. – Greeso Jan 18 '15 at 17:50
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I was the one who declined your flag, albeit I agree with your suggestion here.

Your question is very broad – there are multiple questions actually – and too vague at the same time:

there are other features that affect the application server

What features? You don’t expect anyone to check every feature of that plugin, do you? Please be more specific.

Now to your suggestion. We made plugin specific questions off-topic because their average quality was lower than every other question, and we had (and still have) far less experts to answer these question than for any other topic.

If you read my answer to Rarst’s proposal, you will see that I opted for a keep it open if the answer to the question can be applied to other plugins or themes. Looking back now, I think this was still too narrow. We don’t need to exclude plugin and theme specific questions at all.

  • Low quality questions can be closed for other reasons. They are usually too broad or unclear.
  • Many first visitors here start with such a question. They get a very negative feedback, because some of our members vote down even very good questions just because they are off-topic. This is a disaster. We don’t just scare away new members, we create a very negative feedback loop, and we encourage exclusionism.
  • The real problem with these questions is not that they are specific to second-party code. The problem is insufficient information. That’s not plugin/theme specific.
    No one knows the complete WordPress core code, we all have to look it up from time to time in order to answer a question. We can do the same thing with themes and plugins if their source code is easily accessible. A link to that code would be a requirement.

We should drop this rule. Questions about specific plugins and themes should include a link to the source code and they have to meet the other requirements.

And you should improve your question: be more specific, maybe split it so that the answer doesn’t have to be a novel.

  • Thanks for your reply, and fair suggestion. I will modify the questions section to be more specific. I hope the discussion about WordPress plugins does not stay a discussion, but rather, an action should be taken. – Greeso Jan 18 '15 at 4:15
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    The probability of initially poor and ignoring rules (often knowingly ignoring rules) question improving is extremely low. Keeping them open neither improves that (it can be edited closed just as fine) or addresses the issues of missing expert pool for extensions, core experts getting annoyed, and vendors using the stack as garbage bin for free support of their products. – Rarst Jan 18 '15 at 10:09
  • @Rarst A tag like second-party-code could be used for these question, so people can set it onto their ignore list. Our rule to forbid such questions didn’t stop them coming in. – fuxia Jan 18 '15 at 12:15
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    @toscho but it did reduce time in which they are closed and volume of complaints about such questions – Rarst Jan 18 '15 at 12:30
  • @Rarst And exactly this very fast closing is what I think we did wrong. – fuxia Jan 18 '15 at 12:40
  • So when Qs weren't closed people complained about that, now that they are people complain about this. :) I am perfectly open to fine tuning suggestions, but simple going to not closing anything would be a regression. – Rarst Jan 18 '15 at 13:01
  • Of course. If an answer is impossible, we have to close the question. – fuxia Jan 18 '15 at 13:10

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