Today there was a big fuss about this on twitter started by this tweet from Kris Brown that escalated very quickly.

The question is, "How should we tackle issues posted by non-technical users that require technical responses?"
These questions usually spawn a few other questions like "But how do I do that?" or "What is that?"

Some of the opinions were to close others say to be patient and guide the users in the right direction.

I know the action should depend on the question, but can we come up with some general guidelines on handling them?

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    Don't help them! Helps keep us developers stay rich ;) – Ben Lessani - Sonassi Jul 25 '14 at 8:20
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    @BenLessani-Sonassi. Sure..."rich". watch out BillGates. I'm going for first place. – Marius Jul 25 '14 at 8:25
up vote 8 down vote accepted

This website is for both programming and usage questions.

With official Magento forum being closed we are the last source of knowledge so please be patient.

However separate stupidity from ignorance (expressed in the linked question) and flag it without mercy.

  • I have one curiosity....the Magento forum is being closed, or it's a temporary measure? It will exit the read-only mode? – Marius Jul 25 '14 at 13:35
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    There will be another forum hosted at Magento. – benmarks Jul 25 '14 at 13:39
  • Do they plan to leave the current forum as read-only archive? – Amasty Jul 29 '14 at 21:49

I think you're looking at this thing from somewhat wrong perspective. You're not really answering to the specific person who asked the question, but rather the community as a whole (why else do we have duplicate flag). Perhaps someone else knows what to do with your answer.

Also, many Magento specialist are not really technical guys (we even have special Magento Certified Solution Specialists certification level for them), but as their experience and knowledge grows, they inevitably start asking questions that wander more and more into "technical" turf. They have to start from somewhere and since official forums are now read-only, this is pretty much their only choice. Also knowing that answer to their question is technical has sometimes value of its own (do you want to shoot trespassers first and give warnings later?).

All in all -- the more people have Magento knowledge, the more Magento installations we have, the more Magento installations we have, the better off are those who have black belt in the Way of Magento.

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    I guess this is a good approach, but I don't think the problems are the "magento solution specialist" questions. If you are a certified solution specialist, you know how to ask a question. – Marius Jul 25 '14 at 8:39
  • I know, but before you can start asking smart questions, you have to ask those dumb and embarrassing ones first. – Pronto Jul 25 '14 at 8:46
  • Before asking dumb and embarrassing questions you have to look if that dumb question was not asked before and think of to do with the answers you get. – Marius Jul 25 '14 at 8:48

Out of curiosity, I searched for "what is a configurable product?" There are a number of answers, of course, that deal with them in specific ways, and I didn't search through all the answers, but nothing jumped out at me.

There are a number of really case-specific type questions that someone new to Magento might ask, but there are so many that are not seeing the big picture and they should be asking a different question. I've seen a number of questions lately that are easily answered by a quick Google/SE search using the right phrases. Nobody wants to have all that clutter of questions that have no long-term value, yet it sometimes feels like I shouldn't bother to answer since the question they asked would need to be rephrased in order to make it valuable.

As a developer, I understand the obligation to provide users with a place to go to answer their questions, I just think that some of the basic questions are never asked in the right manner. Fairly soon I will likely be pointing some of my own users here as a way to answer their questions, but I think ultimately users need to treat SE appropriately and take five minutes to research their problem accurately.

  • Just comment their question linking a google/SE search ... they'll feel stupid enough for not doing it themselves. – Julien Lachal Aug 5 '14 at 7:41

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