In the past I supported answering WordPress.com questions here on WordPress Answers. However, now that we've lived with it a while I think our real value add has been to support the higher end users who need to drop down into code, things that WordPress.com users simple can't do.

What's more WordPress support does a reasonable job of answering WordPress.com questions but a poor job in general of answering the more technical questions we excel in answering. @Rarst's question about making it clear which site the question is about triggered me to write this. If it were simply a matter of making the questions clear it might be okay but that requires the asker to take action which they won't even know to do.

So I'm calling the question. Should we aim to refocus the site on self-hosted WordPress and ask StackExchange to help us make that clear to visitors, or do we continue to answer WordPress.com questions?

-Mike

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I think the answer will depend on two factors:

  1. Which sort of questions are your skilled users more interested in answering? Satisfying your most avid and expert answerers is arguably the most important goal of the site. That's not to say that all questions should be hard, but all questions should be interesting. Certain classes of questions simply aren't that interesting and enjoyable to answer.

  2. Which sort of questions dominate in practice? If the questions you want are rare, and the ones you don't want are common, declaring the site to be about the rare stuff will be like swimming upstream. It basically means the site is failing to reach its intended audience or is positioned incorrectly.

It's a balancing act, and sometimes it takes time for sites to grow organically, so be patient -- but I think keeping those guidelines in mind will help.

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Thanks for commenting. I think I'm viewing this objectively when I say that the WordPress.com questions are boring and tedious, and that the questions that dominate are the good ones so I think we fit both your litmus tests. OTOH, I'd really like to have others corroborate my perspective because it could easily be me seeing what I want to see and frankly I care more about what's right than being right. –  MikeSchinkel Jan 9 '11 at 8:36

There are currently 38 questions tagged with , and 9 of them are from the same user. Some questions also deal with migrating from WP.com to a self-hosted site, and may thus be on-topic (when dealing with importing attachments for example). Also, some questions might at first look like a "can't do that on WP.com", but then get an interesting answer that requires programming.

Currently I am still not convinced that closing or migrating WP.com questions will advance our site. I still value the clarity of the idea that this site is about everything related to WordPress, and that most questions on other sites tagged with [wordpress*] should be migratable to us.

I know that WP.com has extended support methods, but can't the same thing be said about everything that is discussed on the Web Apps site?

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Fair points. –  MikeSchinkel Jan 9 '11 at 18:34
    
"I still value the clarity of the idea that this site is about everything related to WordPress". Excellent point that hopefully won't get lost among all the calls to attract WP 'super-users' –  icc97 Jan 26 '12 at 10:44

As Jan said .com questions can be very interesting and challenging, precisely because of .com limitations and how to work around them. It is certainly not majority, but .com platform can be used for professional blogging and raise complex webmaster questions (realm of XML-RPC, custom CSS mods, etc).

Also formally denying all .com question will not stop newbies from asking them anyway, but will block more interesting questions from more technical (semi)professionals.

So I am against dropping .com questions, but I stand by my original thought that we need clear visual segmentation for it to work efficiently.

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@Rarst - Fair points too. But as for visual segmentation, I don't believe newbies arriving here w/o knowing our site will ever do that. What do you propose? –  MikeSchinkel Jan 9 '11 at 18:33
    
@MikeSchinkel [mandatory?] radio button to choose between org/com when creating question should be simple enough even for newbies. Anyway this probably belongs on my question and not this one. –  Rarst Jan 9 '11 at 20:31
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if you are asking newbies to self-classify correctly, this is untenable .. honestly per @mike if you aren't getting many of these questions then as long as you don't encourage them, you should be fine, no other technical solution is required. –  Jeff Atwood Jan 9 '11 at 21:28
    
@Rarst - I agree, but we are not in control of the platform and since Jeff didn't offer I don't think we're going to get it. OTOH, it would really be nice if StackExchange let a community add a set of qualifying multiple choice items. Maybe that could get traction? –  MikeSchinkel Jan 10 '11 at 3:32
    
Would it be possible to ask for the person creating a question to provide the domain they are asking about? It should be fairly obvious from that if it's .org or .com. –  dma Feb 10 '11 at 0:48
    
@dominic hamon not everyone is comfortable with disclosing domain (it can be sensitive, client work, etc) and wordpress.com blog can have arbitrary custom domain (they have that as paid upgrade) so not reliable indicator. –  Rarst Feb 10 '11 at 6:03

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