I wanted to bring up the topic of the questions and answers as they relate to specific WordPress releases. Since we're discussing a specific product rather than a topic, our information has a greater potential to go stale as new versions of WordPress are released. Functions become obsolete, new functions and features are created that may more succinctly answer the original question.

Some possibilities:

  1. Encourage questions, or at least answers, to mention which WordPress version they are targeting
  2. Tag with version numbers a la "wordpress-3.0.1" (tested here, I hadn't used periods in tags before)
  3. Request a custom SE feature to display the current WordPress version number at the time the question was posted. (Might not always match the user's version of WP, and I'm not sure how feasible this is.)
  4. Just ignore it, people can post a new question if the existing answer doesn't seem to work.
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3 Answers 3

I wouldn't worry about this too much. Yes, WordPress gains new features, but in my experience it also has good support for older plugins. So an answer that would be written for 2.5 might still work for 3.0, even though it could be done more efficient in 3.0.

There is nothing wrong with a question having two different answers for two different versions of WordPress, one for 2.5 written two years ago, and one for 3.0 written now. If you come to a question and the answer does not seem to work anymore, either leave a comment so the original author can update his answer, or re-ask the question, stating that you tried the other solution, but that it didn't work. In the best case, the original question will get a new answer, and you can delete your question. Otherwise, at least a link will be created under the Related questions sidebar widget, so people can go from the original question to the updated one easily.

People could also just downvote your now-obsolete answer. Then you also have the option to update your answer, but if you don't, it will just sink to the bottom of the answer list, as a form of "natural selection" to let the best survive. It hurts your reputation score, but only a little bit.

I think requesting a custom extension for one site will be very hard, if not impossible. I assume the owners want to keep all sites on the same codebase, to keep maintainability under control.

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I quite like your the third item in your list (displaying the current WP version number at the time the question was posted). I suspect that might be hard to get implemented, though. In the meantime, I think encouraging askers and answerers to mention the version they're working with is our best bet. Tagging with a version number (in my mind) will just add a lot of tag bulk, and probably won't be a reliable means, since inevitably, people will forget to tag.

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Actually, I'd like to see this as a moderator-control feature. Some functions that we discuss will still be relevant from 3.0.1 through something like 4.5 ... I'd hate to think a useful answer would be overlooked just because of its age. If moderators could update a tag like "this answer valid for WordPress versions 3.0.1 through 4.X.x", though, it would be a powerful and useful feature. –  EAMann Aug 23 '10 at 0:21
    
I think that's a great idea. However, it would be an AWFUL lot of work for moderators to dig through old posts and tag them with applicable version numbers. Think about it - we've been in beta for 11 days and have 179 questions. If that rate keeps up (and there's no reason to think it won't increase), that's 5,939 questions a year from now. A major change in WordPress with a new version a couple of years from now could mean a few thousand questions that would need to be marked as obsolete... not something I'd relish doing! –  tnorthcutt Aug 23 '10 at 3:26
    
"people will forget to tag" - can't that be mitigated with required tags? Also, moderators (+ those with edit-perms) should assist if we decide to go this way. I'm in favour of tagging - seems more structured (and reliable) than in-content mentions. –  Bobby Jack Aug 23 '10 at 11:00
    
Would we then require a version number tag on all questions, all answers, or both? I'm open to doing it that way (with tags), just want to make sure we think through all the (reasonable) options and scenarios. –  tnorthcutt Aug 23 '10 at 20:50

I very much like the concern but do think we'll have some issues with making it work w/o a custom version request in SE. If that's possible having a field that asks the user what version and defaults to the current?

We really need a minimum version (i.e. this works with 3.0 and better) and a maximum version (this works for versions 2.5 thru 2.9, something like that.) I tried to think through using tags but don't see how that could work effectively.

Another thing I'm thinking we might want to do is create an index question where we as moderators manually organize an index of really good questions. This would be helpful by itself but then when a new version comes out we could divide and conquer to review all of the "best questions" and make sure we update then to say what versions they are good for (in the title, in the content, with tags, with a custom SE feature?) What about that?

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