It is no secret that I find WPSE the least pleasant SE going. I think it would go a long way to improving things if we found a way to make sure new user first posts that are closed are off offered a bit more of an explanation than "off-topic". Especially as blatantly off-topic questions attract answers and upvotes which would make the closed questions look like bullying.

You do not have to agree or even like my opinions but that does not mean we cannot work together to make sure first questions that are closed get a gentle explanation.

  • 2
    This is what the close reasons in the blue box are for, if you have suggestions for better text that would be helpful
    – Tom J Nowell Mod
    Dec 15, 2020 at 1:00
  • I have found in other SEs that new users stick around and become helpful community members when higher rep users assume good faith and give a personalized comment that gently educates the user. This is the only SE where I see negative votes and close flags without the slightest effort to talk to the new user. Dec 15, 2020 at 17:17
  • I do try plenty to write comments, but comments take time that isn't always available, I'm the most prolific commenter of all the moderators according to the stats. Even then, high ranking users aren't in those stats, and don't always see these meta questions. Moderators can only do so much
    – Tom J Nowell Mod
    Dec 15, 2020 at 18:43
  • I have a text file filled with templated comments for the most common cases. I can then edit them to fit the case better. As I said, I stopped welcoming new users and pointing them to the guides because a mod did not like me doing that. So now I have a text file that I never open. Dec 15, 2020 at 18:48
  • @MatthewBrown would you be interested in sharing the template answers you have here? I think Howdy's answer below is a good start and it would be great to have more. Maybe if there were more people adding helpful comments, then it would become the new norm and way of doing things here in WPSE. But I do think that sometimes the default close reason is enough as the person asking the question should do their part and spend few minutes reading, and understanding, the "how to ask" guide text. Mar 19, 2021 at 17:16
  • @MatthewBrownakaLordMatt I would be interested in the context around a mod asking you to not welcome users/point them to the guides, if you wouldn't mind elaborating on that. I used to do a fair bit of that myself, to the point that my profile bio has been the template I used the most for several years now. What was the criticism?
    – bosco
    Jun 11, 2021 at 4:56

1 Answer 1


I think it depends on the situation. Some questions really are better off on Stack Overflow where there's tech specific communities that watch tags and answer questions. Simple HTML, CSS, JS, and PHP questions belong over there and closing as such I makes sense and, I think, is thoroughly explained in the closed question flag.

That being said there are many edge-cases in which there are simply better places to get answers, most of these edge-cases are 3rd party plugins. Maybe we can collect some predefined responses to types of questions here that may be easily copy and pasted into questions as they are closed/voted.

General 3rd Party

Welcome to the WordPress StackExchange! Unfortunately, questions exclusively regarding 3rd party plugins are [considered to be off-topic](https://wordpress.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic/) and better asked using their respective support methods. Please [take the tour](http://wordpress.stackexchange.com/tour/) and visit our [help center](http://wordpress.stackexchange.com/help/) to learn more. A better place to ask this type of question may be [The Official WordPress Forums](https://wordpress.org/support/forums/) or the plugin-specific support.

In the above reply it may be beneficial to switch out the WordPress Forums link with the 3rd party specific WordPress Support Forums link.

WooCommerce Specific

For WooCommerce specific questions I also like to leave the following reply to point the user in a helpful direction:

Some alternative options: The [WooCommerce Slack Community](https://woocommerce.com/community-slack/) is very helpful for support. The [WooCommerce plugin support forums](https://wordpress.org/support/plugin/woocommerce/) can also be very helpful. If you're looking to hire help we suggest checking out the [WooCommerce Customizations](https://woocommerce.com/customizations/) section. Good luck!

We could list all 3rd party plugins here but modifying the above is usually a good starting point or boilerplate. One to keep in mind is to not link to any unofficial sources.

  • I was doing that until I got told to cut it out by a mod. Dec 15, 2020 at 17:14
  • 4
    It's difficult to understand why without proper context. Do you have a link of where this happened?
    – Howdy_McGee Mod
    Dec 15, 2020 at 17:16

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