3rd party services (such as Google) are off topic on this site. Speaking of them is stated clearly as one of the reasons available for closing a question. See: https://wordpress.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic

But.. a simple search shows a number which cannot be ignored: site:stackexchange.com "google" => 1.490.000 results site:wordpress.stackexchange.com "google" => 43.600 results

Often, in every branch of the human society, rules are there and no one is applying them.

Rules are a simplified model of the reality (a psychologist would explain it better).

Rules don't fit the real world, but we need them. Rules pretend something to be black or white, fair or not, the world is more complex. If someone doesn't agree with this point there is no need to reinvent the wheel. He can go and study. Just ask me for some books to read.

The point is: how do we deal with this facts? Should we blame who speak of Google and really go closing all the question which are speaking of 3rd parties?

Should we ignore my question?

Should we edit the "on-topic" section of the help taking the facts into account?

I'm just a guest here. Which solution are you going to choose?

  • 3
    I am not sure why you took Google as example, since "on topic" pages makes no mention of it. Could you include examples of specific questions on 3rd party services you have in mind? Practice shows it's best to discuss nuances on real examples rather than too far in abstract.
    – Rarst
    Commented Mar 17, 2015 at 18:53
  • 4
    Ravious asked a question about embedding google image searches inside a post via a short code on the main site. I should note that your question isn't being ignored and hasn't been closed
    – Tom J Nowell Mod
    Commented Mar 17, 2015 at 18:56
  • As this question is related to this comment: May I ask, where those "tons of bad experiences" are when your whole activities are 3 questions and ~9 comments? I'm trying to fill in the bits to get the whole picture for that question. Thanks for the explanation in advance.
    – kaiser
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 0:04
  • @Rarst: mmm... I'm a bit disappointed. The comments appear OT against the problem I have raised. Btw, I disagree with this opinion: "Practice shows it's best to discuss nuances on real examples rather than too far in abstract" - in my experience going away from the abstract (which also mean from the original question) is a rhetoric technique often used when it's hard to provide an answer to the given question.
    – Revious
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 13:44
  • @kaiser: yes, you can ask. I've had tons of bad experience on the Meta section of various communities of Stack Exchange. You can have a look in cogsci. After a suspension I got really pedantic (and terribly boring) at providing written evidence of where the moderator had made a wrong choice. I've put almost one day of effort for proving that his behaviour wasn't so much professional (it can happen, we are all humans). The "problem" of SE community manager is pretending to be perfect while acting in a very human way..
    – Revious
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 13:50
  • 3
    @Revious the thing is we might be not entirely clear about which problem you are raising precisely. In abstract it is harder to communicate. Also note that despite English being language of the site, plenty of people here (like me) aren't native speakers.
    – Rarst
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 13:51
  • @Rarst: ok, I really appreciate your comment. Going away from abstract the problem I'd like to point out is that often I see this pattern by the community manager: "The OP is wrong and we are authoritative (in the good way)!" --> Community Managers and moderators here are very nice, but pretending to be always right and defending the same positions against factual evidences is annoying.. Of course they are also fed up by tons of annoying users but becoming extreme in the defence of the "rules" is not helping the community to grow. Rules are just a simplified vision of the world.
    – Revious
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 13:58
  • @Revious You are mixing different SE stack sites into one pool. The communities are as different as the moderators are. On other sites we have have zero capabilities. Please also note that we are community elected and are in this position because of yours and others decisions. Vice versa this means that we can't reach out of this stack. You may want to ask this question om stackexchanges general meta site.
    – kaiser
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 15:45
  • @kaiser: I am banned there.. I think this gives already a measure of the fairness of that system. But I like the answer here.
    – Revious
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 18:05
  • More than being off-topic for referencing a 3rd-party service, I believe the question that Kaiser references was rather of poor-quality for showing little to no research effort and off-topic for being overly broad. In my experience, the community is alright with mentions of 3rd-party products to the end of providing background, the key is that a question becomes off-topic when a proper answer requires intimate knowledge of a 3rd-party product in order to answer. If you make a reference to a 3rd-party product, strive to eliminate all doubt that your question may be regarding that product.
    – bosco
    Commented May 1, 2015 at 23:17

1 Answer 1


3rd party plugins and services related questions are more likely to be treated based on the quality of the question itself then any formal rule about 3rd party services. The rule gives an agreed reason to close vote a question but it doesn't prevent anyone from answering the question.

You have to remember that the people answering questions here are doing it on their free time without being paid. A good question is one that an expert can figure out a general answer to it in less then a minute which means that you need to put all the available information right there in your question as no one has the time to invest in research just to answer a question.

When the question is about some aspect of wordpress people might be willing to spend more time investigating it because it increases their knowledge of wordpress, but people here in general are not very interested in SEO, twitter, facebook or whatever other 3rd party services there are, therefor your question should assume that they know very little about that 3rd party service and supply all the relevant detail necessary to answer it. If you don't provide the details then no one is going to bother to search for them and learn them just to answer a question on WSE.

So specifically, the answer to your question about google image search integration is "Maybe yes, maybe no, my time dedicated to answering questions on WSE is too limited to start doing the research that you should have done yourself"

  • 2
    This is really a great answer. What I hate of SE is that often there is an attempt to mask a pragmatical reason (which you explained very clearly) behind some ideological reasons. But this leads to something very annoying when the OP is skilled in Philosophy or Psychology because the real (or the most influential) reason is not the one declared from the Community Managers and moderators. This creates confusion also in the other users of SE. Thanks for your answer.
    – Revious
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 14:03
  • Brilliant answer Mark. Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 15:51
  • 1
    Well said, Mark. Expanding on good questions showing research effort - if valid answers to a question may be a link or list of links, it's frequently an indication of a poor question. If your research is coming up blank, generalize your question, break it into smaller ones and research those first before asking the community to conduct research for you.
    – bosco
    Commented May 1, 2015 at 23:07

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