StackExchange is Testing a Proposed Q&A Site for WooCommerce

woocommerce-qa-staging-site

StackExchange community members have proposed a new Q&A site for users and developers of WooCommerce. The proposal is currently in the “Definition” phase, which means that participants are working to design the community by proposing hypothetical questions that embody the topic’s scope.

So far for WooCommerce, popular hypothetical questions include:

  • How do I handle the EU VATMOSS regulations in Woocommerce?
  • How do I create an Order using WC REST API in my application?
  • How to hide “add to cart” on free products?
  • How to implement multiple versions of one digital product with different buyers’ customizations?

In order to move on to the next milestone, the site must have at least 40 questions that have a score of at least ten net votes (up minus down). The WooCommerce staging site needs the following:

  • 5 more followers
  • 33 more questions with a score of 10 or more
  • People to max out upvoting quality questions already in the proposal (users can only vote 5 times)

The StackExchange for general WordPress Development is thriving with 17 million page views and 14K new questions in 2014. However, questions regarding third party plugins are considered off-topic and will be closed by moderators, hence the need for a separate WooCommerce Q&A site.

Alex Miller, one of the supporters of the WooCommerce StackExchange proposal, believes that the WooCommerce community needs a place where developers can quickly get answers to questions.

“The WooCommerce Community Forums seemed like a decent place but was shut down months ago for unknown reasons,” he said. “My experience with the Woo Community Forums is that it was too broad and the upvote downvote system was poorly handled – good questions got buried too quickly with the large influx of new questions.”

In contrast, the StackExchange model pushes questions that have activity (edits, comments, answers) to the top of the frontpage and lower quality questions (downvoted, flagged) receive less attention.

“Having a WooCommerce StackExchange site is also a great place for people with a great understanding of WooCommerce to document their knowledge for search engines to easily find,” Miller said. You can see an example of this by sorting the WPSE questions by votes and reading the first few questions and answers.

“I can only hope that with Automattic’s acquisition of WooCommerce, the forums will be reopened (WooCommunity forums have been shutdown for a few months now),” Miller said. “But either way I don’t think there is a much better platform than what the StackExchange offers.”

As StackExchange Q&A sites are entirely community driven, WooCommerce community members who are interested in seeing it succeed are encouraged to log into StackExchange and create/upvote quality questions that represent the community’s interests.

5 Comments


  1. Its pretty cool its gone that far. Really goes to show the popularity and reach of WooCommerce (if one disregards the acquisition which is also a really big sign).

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  2. There’s a WooCommerce tag as well http://wordpress.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/woocommerce

    There’s a huge amount of unanswered questions relating to WooCommerce being closed as off topic.

    No doubt there’s massive demand for a forum that answers these questions but why should they allow this for WooCommerce and not other plugins?

    Why can’t Automattic create their own community forum for WooCommerce questions and man it with the big list of Developers they recommend to start with?

    I don’t think S.E is the best place for a WooCommerce forum and generally find the code quality poor as some top reputation points holders have also stated.

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    1. I should mention, I’m a moderator at the WordPress Stack Exchange

      It’s not that simple.

      For one, any user past a certain reputation can create tags, it’s not a sign of official support. I could delete that tag, but it would be recreated by another user at some point. That being said it also serves a purpose.

      Questions about WooCommerce are off topic on WPSE, as are all 3rd party plugins and services. Questions must be about WordPress development, to ask a question about a plugins 3rd party APIs and usage wouldn’t be a good fit for the site, and there are better places to ask those questions ( e.g. the plugins support ). That doesn’t mean WooCommerce is always off topic.

      For example, if someone needs to add something to a filter in WooCommerce, but doesn’t know how filters work, or if someone says they read that WooCommerce uses post types, what are post types? Questions that require WordPress knowledge to answer, not WooCommerce specific. These kinds of questions can be tagged as WooCommerce, and can get answers without WooCommerce knowledge, and can be useful to all involved.

      But a question such as how to empty the cart, or give different prices to different countries, those are valid Woo questions, but they’re out of scope, and get down voted and closed. Such questions would be in scope on the proposed WooCommerce site, and if such a site existed, questions could be migrated there, so that WooCommerce developers can answer them, avoiding the down vote and close situation.

      At WordPress Stack Exchange we’ve discussed that we’re happy to help, guide and encourage use of the proposal to get the site up and running. We’re pointing new users to the proposal when they ask WooCommerce questions and trying to explain. Not every user casting close votes does this though, and it’s a lot of work given we’re not paid employees, but we try. At the end of the day there just isn’t enough WooCommerce expertise on the WordPress stack to answer all these WooCommerce questions if they were left open, and a WooCommerce specific stack was the best answer.

      Now that i’m an Automattician, and that Woo has been acquired, I hope that I can encourage other Automatticians and WooNinjas to participate, but at the end of the day Automattic can’t assign a handful of people to work on answering questions at Stack Exchange, aside from the friction and problems that can create at Stack Exchange, like most agencies services and companies in the WordPress space, we already have jobs to do. People need to freely contribute their time.

      I’m glad that Matt linked to the proposal recently, and I’d be glad of anyone who participates and helps. Any WooCommerce stack exchange that succeeds will need a lot of cooperation with the WordPress Stack Exchange, and we’re happy to do that and help bootstrap things at the start.

      Right now the proposal has gained the followers it needs and only requires new questions :) If you’re curious how Area51 graduates new Stacks you can look here:

      http://area51.stackexchange.com/faq

      Finally, we have chatrooms on Stack Exchange, and if you’re curious you can join the main WordPress Stack Exchange at LoopChat here:

      https://chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/6/the-loop

      Most of the highest ranking users and moderators idle in that room. If you’d like to discuss the site, there’s a Meta site were we discuss changes and answer questions about WordPress Stack Exchange here:

      https://meta.wordpress.stackexchange.com

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  3. As a sidenote:

    “However, questions regarding third party plugins are considered off-topic and will be closed by moderators, hence the need for a separate WooCommerce Q&A site.”

    Any high ranking user can vote to close a question, and it takes 5 users in agreement to close a question. No moderator involvement required. Users can also vote to reopen a question.

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  4. Good news! The proposal has hit it’s required followers ( though please, don’t let that discourage you from following it! ). Now we need to, as a community, figure out quality questions one would expect to see on the QA site. Once logged in, you’re able to upvote and downvote certain questions in the proposal list and preferably discuss why using the comment section of each. Just as important, voice your opinion on what you think should be on / off-topic:

    http://discuss.area51.stackexchange.com/questions/20320/woocommerce-whats-on-off-topic

    Or you may post a discussion of your own on the proposal to crowdsource ideas / opinions. Thanks for everyone’s help in trying to push the proposal forward!

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