I kinda hate to ask this question again, but are WooCommerce questions off-topic/out of scope? I try to hit the review questions whenever I visit and while the questions may be well formed and even reasonable, they seem to be Woo specific. What is the current state regarding these questions?

  • 1
    All 3rd party plugins, including WooCommerce even though Automattic acquired it, is still considered Off Topic.
    – Howdy_McGee Mod
    Mar 1, 2016 at 16:43
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    Also, if anybody ever tells you that a plugin ran or owned by Automattic is 1st party, rest assured they're mistaken ( at the time of writing this I am an Automattician ), and direct them to the difference between WP.com and .org
    – Tom J Nowell Mod
    Mar 1, 2016 at 16:48
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    I wonder how many WooCommerce questions come here through per day on average, surely many but then I wonder why so few supported the new Woo stack, that didn't make it.
    – birgire
    Mar 1, 2016 at 17:00
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    Dear Ray, please take this +1 for having Herpes in your questions title.
    – kaiser
    Mar 1, 2016 at 17:26
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    Unlike what happens IRL it appears the question has been de-herped. The herpes in the title was an allusion to the recurrent nature of the Woo Commerce question. Unfortunately, the de-herpening now has turned this post into the same generic carping about Woo Commerce questions Mar 1, 2016 at 22:33
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    gah censorship! Original title was so much better.
    – Adam
    Mar 2, 2016 at 4:54
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    The problem I see is that questions about WooCommerce often gets down rated without any comment on why this happend. Specially for new users this can be a really frustrating signal. Maybe the general purpose of this platform should be introduced more prominent.
    – David
    Mar 2, 2016 at 16:12
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    @David believe you me, if you are going to post comments to each and every downvoted poor quality Woocommerce question, you are going to be extremely busy just doing exactly that. There are freely available guidelines on how to ask a good question. First time askers are actually prompted to read that section first, but no one reads it, it simply gets ignored ;-). That is why I seldom leave a comment to poor quality questions I downvote Mar 2, 2016 at 18:22
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    One user simply ignores the guidelines. When one hundred users »ignores« the guidelines, they might be not optimal.
    – David
    Mar 2, 2016 at 18:42
  • A bullet list of guidelines directly above the ask a question form with a link to the full guidelines might be less ignored...
    – majick
    Mar 9, 2016 at 13:15
  • @David With »they« you mean the users, right? ;) Btw I tried turning it off and on again, still not optimal. Mar 15, 2016 at 14:37
  • @ialocin exactly ^^
    – David
    Mar 17, 2016 at 11:32

2 Answers 2


3rd party questions are off topic in general. WooCommerce (and Woo products in general) are 3rd party software and not automatically on topic, just because the company acquiring them just so happens to also run hosted WordPress installations as a service. As mod colleague @Tom J Nowell, who works for Automattic at the moment, pointed out, there's a difference between Automattic (the company) and WordPress(dot org, the self hosted software package).

But, in case someone can replicate an issue in a way that WooCommerce is not necessary to reproduce an issue or some custom code, it is welcome. Many third party software packages (plugins/themes) use the WP "API" anyway. The easiest way to do so is using a service like GenerateWP, mock up a quick plugin and post your question. This only includes copy-pasting the File Header, clicking together whatever you need (post types, taxonomies, etc.) and throwing your custom code on top of it.

In every other case, please do not ask questions about specific usage or implementation details of 3rd party software. As soon as plugin/theme specific hooks are in place it is impossible to test without fetching those packages. Such tasks are better kept with either the vendors support routes or just with a developer you hire and pay enough to jump on it. Or, as @birgire pointed out in the comments, you could have supported the WooCommerce.StackExchange announcement on WPTavern site.

Hope that helps.

  • 1
    I think this is the key phasing and decision point - "please do not ask questions about specific usage or implementation details of 3rd party software". "Implementation details" deserves special emphasis as this is akin to "How do I" Mar 1, 2016 at 17:32
  • @RayMitchell You are right – fixed.
    – kaiser
    Mar 1, 2016 at 17:36
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    The only real 1st party software in the WordPress ecosystem is Hello Dolly, the default themes, and Core itself
    – Tom J Nowell Mod
    Mar 2, 2016 at 22:38
  • With WooCommerce having been acquired by Automattic wouldn't it make it part of WordPress related questions? ma.tt/2015/05/woomattic ?
    – Anagio
    Mar 10, 2016 at 14:53
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    @Anagio Please read the answer in detail. Automattic is just the company that is running wordpress.com – not the organization in charge of developing wordpress(.org), the free software. There's a big difference between that.
    – kaiser
    Mar 10, 2016 at 15:13

I think what we should consider off topic and on topic should be decided by the context of the question itself. We should have some kind of grey area.

For me, the big issue with third party plugins and themes related questions are the quality of the questions. As @birgire stated, we do get quite a number of questions per day regarding Woocommerce, which should not be a real issue. The real issue is quality. Almost all questions regarding third party software are really bad quality with absolutely no context at all, almost all questions require that the reader (us) should do all the work for the person who asked the question.

I'm not attacking anyone, but most people coming here to ask questions about Woocommerce expect that we should help them regardless of their lack of effort/research or the really really poor quality of their questions. These people are the ones that want a quick fix and are really just interested in a ready-made copy/paste solution that we must provide them. These are the questions that we should close and down vote as these are the questions that does not bring any quality to the site, community or anyone else. These are the questions I consider off topic.

The very few good to excellent quality questions that we do get which are specific to third party software should be treated on merit. These are questions which are in the grey area, they are off and on topic, off topic due to their third party nature, on topic due to their good quality. I do think we have members that are prepared to invest time in answering these questions, and I'm honest in saying, if I had the knowledge, I would answer some of these questions myself.

I do feel for the very few people who really put effort into trying to solve a specific issue, then asking a question, adding all their efforts and codes, etc, just to get their questions closed with a crappy message that their efforts are off topic here. I know we should not create presidents regarding that one question is off topic and one is not, but I think we should rather reward great quality questions regardless of being third party related or not.

More than often, the people who asked these proper quality questions will come back and will eventually be a useful addition to the community. If we are going to treat their questions the same way as we do with the really poor ones, that person might never come back. People who asked poor quality questions usually never comes back anyways, or never adds anything useful to the site/community.

This is just my opinion. I really do feel questions should be treated on merit and not just the fact that they are related to third party software. I still however totally agree that generic PHP, JS and CSS related issues should be closed or moved to SO as they really do not belong here

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    I agree very much with your third paragraph, I'll often just ignore those type of questions and move on... Some people do think things need to be handed to them on a platter and the more we allow low-quality "give me the answer" questions on Woocommerce (or any third party plugin/theme) then the more people will expect it to be ok. I personally am often guilty of answering Woocommerce questions that I know are going to be closed anyway (often with pending close votes) just for the challenge and the fact that I work with Woo a lot. In summary, I agree, questions should be treated on merit.
    – Adam
    Mar 2, 2016 at 9:52

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