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I'm talking about development questions. I understand the stack's policy is not to allow 3rd party plugins questions, but given Woo's size, are they not allowed, at all?

I'm talking about heavy-duty development questions, about a plugin that's (within the more knowledgeable crowd) as popular as WordPress itself.

Edit 2

There's some misunderstanding, not sure if widespread but some people have voiced opinions. I agree with you, 100%, that we shouldn't allow questions such as "what plugin to use" or questions that clearly have no development background, first of all because this is not the spot and second of all because, come on, lowkey advertising on the stack? My proposal is for development questions related to plugins. Here are some very good questions about plugins (in our case, Woo):

how to change value return by _stock_status

Taxonomy Brand Archive with Product Categories Integration

Here are some bad questions, but clearly, the user have no ill-intent:

Move brand on product page and product listing

WooCommerce: Allow users to change the displayed text on product

WooCommerce Expiring Products without Subscription

WooCommerce catalog images are blurry in Google Chrome but not in Mozilla of Edge

Clearly, these are meant for a Q&A site and they certainly overstep the purpose of this site.

Edit 1


Semantics:

After having read other topics and some highlights by some members, it seems a lot of people have this thing for semantics. Some claimed that "questions should be related to WordPress development, not plugin development". Well, sorry, but isn't plugin development still WordPress development? I've written a medium-sized framework that will get out come the next year. It's a plugin and it does a lot of logic, but, damn, while I handled my logic on just pure PHP, one can clearly say it's meant to ONLY ever work within WordPress. I've been asking questions about it for the past few months and they were all WP related. It's the same thing I see with WooCommerce. Most questions are proper WP questions, clearly using functions we're all familiar with, so what does it matter if we write WordPress-targeted code in a theme or a plugin? Even if it's on top of an existing plugin already.


The semi-problem, even if the questions will be allowed:

It's harsh to accept the probable fact that we just won't have enough people to answer them. WordPress questions? A lot of people can answer these questions. WooCommerce? There's a lot of Woo developers, sure and currently, they have no "Q&A home", but it's hard to say they'll come here and that they'll answer questions, so that we have a health exchange, so we risk being left with a lot of questions that are unanswered.

Is this a problem? I'd say so-so. People might get discouraged if they don't see answers on any of their questions related to the plugin,but I've seen some really good activity on WooCommerce related questions.

We can't also ignore the reality of our lives. It's hard to make time to answer questions. I've answered a few questions when time allowed me, but running a lot of things, you just don't have time and you're left at this state of "leech" where you just ask questions, but rarely contribute back. So, once again, as per my initial point, WordPress is big, a lot of people to answer / ask, Woo is also big, but it's a dwarf in comparison to WordPress as a whole - we might have a shortage of both questions and answers.


The state of WooCommerce questions everywhere:

There's currently no proper place to ask questions about Woo. Proper, solid development-related questions. Their github is not for this, altough they're helpful! The slack channel is virtually dead and there have been some off-putting members which I won't name, who are known in the channel for their somewhat bizarre need to let others know about their politically correct views and having asked a few members, it actually is a problem there.

While I'm not advocating for pity, or using it to justify allowing questions related to Woo, I'm saying that, seeing how many people ask there / ask me / ask friends of mine, there's a clear need for a place like that and we could all benefit by bringing these developers here.

It's wishful thinking to say there'll be a huge influx of developers once the gates open. Probably not a lot of people will notice, but I imagine, in time, these people will stick to the site, if their questions get answers.


The experiment.

If I remember / understand correctly, at some point in the past, you guys allowed questions regarding plugins and it went badly. People thought this was a support site for their plugin. Thing is, if you were to re-allow them again, but clearly stating what questions are allowed...what does it change? As it stands right now, people who think they can ask support questions here will still do it. Let's face it - no one checks rules in-depth, then parses their question to see whether or not it's allowed before posting the question - they just ask! It'd be my guess that developers, just as it was my case as well, that are regulars / know the site know not to ask questions related to Woo, since they'll get closed. So, really, if I had to guess from my experience, we're only losing here. Support-related questions are being closed now, they'd be closed then, with the only difference then being that, if we were to allow dev-related Woo questions, we'd start building some trust in that direction. Developers will now know that it's safe to ask these questions and there's a real chance of them getting an answer.

I really don't see the issue - these questions, bad or good ones, are still being asked, but we're killing two birds with one stone and in this case, that's not good - making good-willed developers go away from the site.

The more I talk about this, the more it seems a problem on the moderation side of things.

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    I think this was discussed enough times. There is a point in revisiting the discussion only if something has changed, or previous discussions had missed anything. popularity or code quality was never the reason for plugins to be off-topic, therefor I do not see the point of starting a discussion from that irrelevant angle – Mark Kaplun May 14 '18 at 19:29
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    While plugin specific questions are currently off-topic, I think it's something we should revisit in the near future. – Howdy_McGee May 14 '18 at 19:34
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    @Howdy_McGee Yes, please think about it – I am the Most Stupid Person Jul 4 '18 at 10:16
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    I participate in the Close Votes review queue from time to time. Recently almost all the close votes I gave was related to Plugin specific dev questions. Now a days I'm feeling like: Plugin suggestion questions should always be off topic, however, Plugin Specific dev questions should be on topic. For now, I'll just skip these in review queue. Since WPSE is community driven, it doesn't matter what was previously decided, what matters is what the community in general thinks now. So revisiting should always be on the table. – Fayaz Jul 8 '18 at 5:13
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    @MarkKaplun I myself prefer not to allow 3rd party Plugin Dev questions, but I'm being moved somewhat because of popularity. So I'd disagree with you on this topic: popularity does matter at least because of the fact that WPSE is community driven. e.g. even now there are more than 200 posts in the close vote queue. Not to mention, there are many more that are not even in the close vote queue thanks to a lot of 3rd party plugin dev questions. So unless there's some moderator hammer over them all together, they are being already allowed by the virtue of popularity anyway, LOL. – Fayaz Jul 8 '18 at 6:26
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    @Fayaz, yes, but the argument in the end is that there is no one around to answer those questions, so it just generates noise. This was the argument for years, and so far no one showed how this problem can be fixed. In addition even things like WC are so unstable that an answer from two years ago might not be applicable for the latest version which makes answers less useful (busy right now fixing deprecation notices from WC in hope that at some point I will be able to actually upgrade to the latest, and then probably fix more deprecations... ;) ) – Mark Kaplun Jul 8 '18 at 7:23
  • @MarkKaplun LOL. Yes, there is not enough people to answer & all the other issues as well. However, there's not enough people to close all those either, so we practically are in limbo :D ... So the reverse argument is getting traction (to get out of that limbo): may be if those are allowed, then perhaps in time there'll be enough people on the site to answer those. – Fayaz Jul 8 '18 at 7:31
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    yes, we are in limbo, therefor I downvote so at least it will not pop up in the future as something the system thinks that should be answered. The reverse argument.... well right now I think that only tom and me are the highest "ranking" that actually bother answering questions and I feel like I am on the way out as I have no appetite to do free work for automattic answering WC questions which they should just put someone to answer them, and it is not fun at all close voting and downvoting. The more noise there will be IMHO the less long term precipitation there will be. – Mark Kaplun Jul 8 '18 at 9:08
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    I agree with everything you said, but I still feel like something is missing :( ... there must be a better way to handle this situation than to just down voting & closing while those questions keep coming in an increasing rate. At least it demands more discussions IMHO. – Fayaz Jul 8 '18 at 20:46
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    The idea of some sort of "popularity threshold" appeals to me to some degree... but at the same time I find the notion of the community providing free support to commercial extensions fairly disturbing (I would certainly feel less inclined to answer questions for such plugins). I also wonder about the rate at which users might be posting or modifying third-party code in such a manner that violates licensing terms, either by attribution or commercial restrictions. Not that that's the community's responsibility, but it does seems like something else that might degrade the site's reputation. – bosco Sep 19 '18 at 17:50
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    @bosco Rarely have I ever seen actual off-topic "support questions" related to any of these plugins. Most of these questions come from developers who are trying to create stuff within that plugin's space. Take this for example: wordpress.stackexchange.com/questions/302352/… , perfectly valid developer question that I'm sure a lot of people had. Closed. For what? Woo / ACF / VC / Elementor have become extremely popular. Every developer I know uses them. Just close the actual support questions who are clearly not okay. – coolpasta Sep 25 '18 at 1:54
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There's currently no proper place to ask questions about Woo. Proper, solid development-related questions. Their github is not for this, altough they're helpful! The slack channel is virtually dead and there have been some off-putting members which I won't name, who are known in the channel for their somewhat bizarre need to let others know about their politically correct views and having asked a few members, it actually is a problem there.

I’m with you on this one.

Before the 5.0 was released, we’ve allowed Gutenberg questions (and they were off topic, as Gutenberg was a third party plugin).

There are a lot of valuable questions regarding WooCommerce ([woocommerce] was the top tag of 2018) and there is no good place to send these people to. And WooCommerce isn’t exactly third party any more...

And to be honest, the only questions I wouldn’t allow are the questions related to premium themes/plugins/services - not everyone has access to them, so not everyone is able to answer. And in most of such cases, users are paying the authors for support - so they should use that support - this allows authors to fix their products and make them better.

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    The Gutenberg plugin development was being led by WordPress developers with the intention for it to be merged into core. WooCommerce is developed by Automattic and (as far as I'm aware) there is not intention to ever merge it into core. So there are definite differences between the two. But I do think that development questions regarding third-party plugins should be on-topic. Premium plugins and support-type questions should remain off-topic. – Nathan Johnson Apr 2 at 18:08
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TL;DR

Plugin recommendation questions are clearly off-topic, but plugin development itself is on-topic and plugin development related to interacting with other plugins is not clearly defined as being off-topic, this is a bit problematic and grey area. Maybe we need to set some guidelines about this.

Ask how, not what

It's all about asking how to achieve/develop something, not what to use or to install.

You want to use a specific plugin so that you could add some functionality to your WordPress website, you know what you want to accomplish, you only need to formulate your question to how to develop this yourself (in your own WP theme or plugin).

So just ask how you should do what you want to do, and leave the plugin recommendations - if any - to the answerers.

  • Maybe someone recommends a great plugin, library or framework and includes an example of how to use it.
  • Maybe someone points out that there's a standard library routine to do what you want.
  • Maybe someone writes a short bit of code that does it from scratch.
  • Maybe it's impossible or unfeasible and someone tells you that.

By asking how to do something instead of what to use or to install you're not only learning something from it (and therefore becoming a better Web/WordPress developer) but you've also invited answers that will be more useful to you, now, and others, in the future.

Plugin development interacting with other plugins

Plugin development related to interacting with other plugins either using API's and/or custom code is not clearly defined as being off-topic, this is a bit problematic and grey area. Maybe we need to set some hard guidelines about this and/or only allow highly popular/most used plugins.

The rules/guidelines

Asking to recommend a product (plugin, theme, book, hosting provider), tool, library or off-site resource is out of the scope of this website, as it attracts opinionated answers and spam. Instead, describe the problem and what has been done so far to solve it.


What topics can I ask about here?

WordPress Stack Exchange is for WordPress developers and administrators to ask questions about:

  • theme and plugin development
  • development and management best practices
  • server configuration for WordPress
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    Not sure why you got down-voted but I assume it's because of misunderstanding what the topic is about. I agree 100% with you, these questions are...eh, come on dude, you're a development Q&A site and you ask us about plugin recommendations? Go to your favorite "guru" to help you with that. The topic is about allowing developers to ask about how to write code aided by that plugin. In fact, I'll give you a thought experiment: WordPress' Gutenberg is split into packages which themselves are plugins. Should we allow them because they're into core? Who decides? – coolpasta Jan 20 at 7:10
  • @coolpasta Yes that's exactly what i"m saying. When you need to develop a plugin for a cool Woocomeerce setting or another popular plugin. Right now this is or voted off-topic or on-topic. It's grey area. It's just random, that is what I'm referencing to: Plugin development related to interacting with other plugins – Remzi Cavdar Jan 20 at 18:49

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