Okay, so I had an answer on this question here. In that answer I referenced Chip's answer. The reason I mentioned his answer is because one of those plugins (Role Scoper) is a fine alternative if the OP prefers the interface. However, in my experience, the plugin I suggested is the 'right' one for the job - most frequently and recently updated, greater flexibility, better RTL language support, etc. The moderator (EAMann in this case) removed my answer and made it a comment on Chip's answer instead, ensuring that I can't get answer or upvote credit for what (in my opinion) is a better solution. I'm not normally one to question the mods, but I don't understand why an answer that is standalone "should be either an edit to or a comment on" another user's answer.

Not trying to throw a tantrum, just trying to follow the logic and requesting insight so I don't make the same mistake again.

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4 Answers 4

It is an edge case. If you label an answer as an addition to another answer and don't add extra information converting it to comment seems legit.

What we may learn:

  • Make your answers a useful standalone resource, something understandable without the need to read other answers.
  • Explain why you recommend an approach, a plugin or a theme (like you did here in your question).
  • Tip: Add a useful(!) screenshot. These cannot be taken to a comment, so we may hesitate even more to convert it. ;)
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After some time and thought, I have to say I agree. I should have spent a bit more time explaining why I'd pick that specific plugin over Chip's choices (beyond just "I use it, therefore it's the best"). –  SickHippie Apr 10 '12 at 17:18

No worries.

Your answer was actually flagged specifically because it did reference Chip's answer. Remember, answers aren't displayed in chronological order when viewing the site, so it might appear either before or after Chip's answer.

It was suggested that your answer be added as an edit to Chips ... proposing an alternative plugin. But as a moderator, I can only convert answers to comments, not to edits on other people's answers.

If the answers were substantially different (i.e. detailing what the features of each plugin was and why they are the best fit to the problem) then they'd make sense as separate answers. But both answers were along the lines of "Try X plugin, it's what I use" and don't stand well enough on their own to warrant being separate.

Of course I could be wrong and I'm open to feedback.

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No, that makes perfect sense, and that's what I gathered from the FAQ (which I really should do more than skim, apparently). I didn't go into as much detail as I should have when answering and after a little time and distance I think it sits well as a comment on Chip's answer. I'm still relatively new to SE, and I'm still not quite comfortable with injecting my opinion directly into someone else's post. At any rate, thanks for the reasoned response, and I'll see you at WordCamp Seattle! –  SickHippie Apr 9 '12 at 23:31
    
I disagree. While answer mentioned Chip's, actual content payload of the answer was pointing out different plugin. This answer should have been urged to expand beyond the link and clarify why this specific plugin, not deleted. –  Rarst Apr 10 '12 at 10:13
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For future reference: all site content is CC-licensed, and the community members are encouraged to edit each others' answers, to improve them. I welcome all such edits to my answers. :) –  Chip Bennett Apr 10 '12 at 13:59

There is a problem with consistency here that I don't understand.

Why was SickHippie's suggestion/answer moved to a comment yet there currently is an answer (RyanS) on that page that is older and does the exact same thing.

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Because I referenced another user's answer in my answer without going into more detail on my own. It's in the FAQ, although like @toscho said, it's an edge case. –  SickHippie Apr 10 '12 at 17:21

I'll "out" myself here, and say that I flagged the answer, because I thought combining the answers is the correct approach in this case. But, I didn't want to add your answer to mine, without some moderator feedback.

In this case, the reason I believe it to be the correct approach is that my answer wasn't "use X Plugin", but rather, "use a Plugin to add an additional, custom user role, to which you can give specific user capabilities." The distinction is especially important, since the underlying premise of the Question was that the user wanted to edit core files to change user roles.

The specific Plugin to be used is meta information to this answer, and I listed the two I have seen the most. Listing additional, similar Plugins is merely an extension of this meta information. Thus, another answer that says, "use a Plugin" - regardless of the Plugin being recommended - is a duplicate of the existing answer, and dilutes the ability of any one answer to become a definitive/canonical answer.

I try to keep in mind that one of the purposes of SE sites is not merely to answer users' questions, but to develop a definitive source of information about a specific topic. If the roles were reversed, I would have edited (or commented) your answer, to add to your answer my list of alternative Plugins (and in fact, have made such comments/edits several times, where I have thought that my additional information didn't warrant or constitute a separate answer).

But for future reference, I welcome edits and improvements to anything I write at WPSE. After all, all site content is CC-licensed, and the community members are encouraged to edit one another's answers, to improve them.

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The answer in question didn't say use a plugin, it said use the plugin. It could very well be extended and explain how the plugin answers the question. I don't see a reason for answers recommending different plugins (from different authors of different experience with them) to be combined. –  Rarst Apr 10 '12 at 14:53
    
Which provides a more useful resource to the WordPress community: an answer that describes a method to resolve a problem, or an answer that simply says "use a Plugin"? I suggest that the former approach would result in far better and more useful answers overall for WPSE. Questions to which are added multiple answers of, "Use X Plugin," "Use Y Plugin," and "Use Z Plugin" do not further the stated objective of WPSE. –  Chip Bennett Apr 10 '12 at 14:56
    
While we are collecting knowledge we are also not writing a book. The existence of method ("You start by learning PHP..." :) does not de-value suggestion of specific plugin from personal experience as an answer to specific question. –  Rarst Apr 10 '12 at 15:02
    
And on the point of my last comment: I've started another meta discussion to address it specifically. –  Chip Bennett Apr 10 '12 at 15:10
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With these explanations, it does make much more sense. As we all know, plugins are not consistent (abandoned, slow development at times, missing new features for new WP versions, etc). It really is more important to explain HOW to solve the problem at hand, with some options for what tools to do so. "Use a plugin" doesn't help, "Use XXX plugin" helps for now until that plugin's dead, "Use a role management plugin like XXX or YYY to do these specific tasks" will help indefinitely. Thanks everyone for the honest and direct feedback, and for the approachability. –  SickHippie Apr 10 '12 at 17:48
    
Just as a follow-up, I've taken a stab at improving my own answer to the User Role question, with respect to the other-referenced meta discussion. –  Chip Bennett Apr 12 '12 at 15:45

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