I just noticed a question that was about specific issues that one user was having with their code. The question pasted lots of their own code to which one user tried to help them and then the user answered their own question with "Oops, it was a coding error on my part."

While it might be hard at times to draw a line between questions that are broadly useful and this type of post I'd like to discuss if anyone else things the question I links it appropriate or not, and how we can keep this from becoming filled with a site with one-off individual support issues.

UPDATE

So here's a great example of someone who is mostly asking tons of support questions. It's clear he is struggling with WordPress and probably has a corrupted install, or does things to corrupt installs. I think the consensus (of 3 people here) was that this really shouldn't be a support site but not sure how to really handle it. Should we close all his questions? When do we start closing and where do we stop?

Why is this important? If we don't police then the site becomes a graveyard of unanswered support questions. I know I'm losing interest in helping someone who has so many problems, whose problems are likely not applicable to the broader user community, and worst of all answering questions that become a time-consuming back-and-forth diagnosis of the problem with someone of unknown competence to resolve the issue, and I'll bet others who answer a lot of questions will soon feel the same way. Having those questions unanswered makes the site look like we don't answer questions. If we were to be a specific support forum then those questions would be acceptable but we're about solutions that can apply to more than one person, right?

Help me know how (as a pro tem moderator) know how to handle this.

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2 Answers 2

It isn't always easy to see whether a problem is site-specific or points to a deeper problem. Once the answer is clear ("Oops, missed a comma"), I think we (those who can close questions: moderators and users with more than 3000 rep) should consider future use: will this question and answer ever be useful to someone else? If not, close the question.

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That's what I meant by the "fine line" in my response. Sometimes, what appears to be site-specific might turn out to be a missing semi-colon, or ehco instead of echo. In those cases, the question should be closed by a moderator. –  EAMann Aug 17 '10 at 20:57
    
Agree - the question referred to should be closed because it's far too specific to be of general use. –  Bobby Jack Aug 18 '10 at 12:04
    
I'm just running over something similar here and that's exactly what I asked myself: Maybe what turns out in comments and the solution might be of use for others even that one is pretty individually while having a widely formulated question: wordpress.stackexchange.com/questions/4367/… –  hakre Nov 21 '10 at 14:44
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While I think that these kinds of questions can occasionally be useful (i.e. when they focus on the proper use of specific WordPress functions and hooks), the question you linked to was immediately apparent to be a site-specific coding issue. Not even really a WordPress-related question or concern.

For site-specific questions (that don't seem to hinge on a proper understanding of WordPress functionality) I think we should close the question with a reference out to the WP support forums. If the question does indeed involve WP, we should answer the question here.

It's a really fine line when you try to make the distinction, but I don't want this site to turn into a I-can't-really-write-PHP-so-please-fix-my-coding-typos site when it should really be focused on WordPress.

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+1 - Now how do we make this a reality? BTW, I participated in wpquestions.com briefly and it turned out to be a quagmire of people[1] who barely knew WordPress and would ask questions without giving the information one would need to answer only to find out after spending an hour on an answer that, oh by the way, their site used a major plugin that completely changes everything about WordPress related to the question and no wonder things didn't work. Arrghh! [1] I wanted to say "quagmire of idiots", but I held back. ;-) –  MikeSchinkel Aug 17 '10 at 19:32
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WordPress Answers will die a quick miserable death if it gets filled with these types of questions. I think we need to get the FAQ updated ASAP (how?[2]) and start policing now. Once the site goes to public beta the floodgates will open. --- [1] meta.wordpress.stackexchange.com/questions/28/… –  MikeSchinkel Aug 17 '10 at 19:33
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To whoever down-voted, please voice a reason and critique here ... it's not nice to negatively flag someone's post without an explanation. –  EAMann Aug 17 '10 at 20:22
    
Agreed. Please tell @EAMann why you voted down or vote back up to resolve the fact you did this. –  MikeSchinkel Aug 17 '10 at 23:26
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