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Is it appropriate to ask questions about specific third-party extensions?

Or if there are extensions out there that do 'X'?

Also, what about people's experiences with particular extensions?

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These are largely separate issues, so I will answer them one at a time:

Is it appropriate to ask questions about specific third-party extensions?

If third-party extension are an integral part of the Magento landscape, then certainly they should be on topic. As a matter of fact, if the developers of these extensions tend to have communities of their own, we should encourage them to become part of the ecosystem of this site.

We get a lot of requests from project teams about how they can use Stack Exchange to support their communities. I see no reason why this site couldn't provide fantastic technical support for add-on products closely related to the use of Magento. But just like the scope of Magento support provided here, this site should not be used for typical customer support issues for these add-ons (bug reports, feature requests, etc). Magento SE should be but one support option for these add-ons.

This is really no different than the product-specific support we provide on Stack Overflow, and the top two answers from the link below are worth reading:

Is it okay to use Stack Overflow as the support forum for a product or project?

Or if there are extensions out there that do 'X'?

Please see How do I ask a question that may require recommending a product.

Overly general questions asking for product recommendations (e.g. "what's the best smart phone?") are what prompted this blog post — Q&A is Hard, Let’s Go Shopping! But seeking a solution to a VERY specific problem doesn't necessarily fall into the problematic "shopping question" often discouraged on these sites.

If the author asking about a well-researched problem which only incidentally needs a specific product to solve, it isn't likely a "problem" shopping question. That's not really the same thing as asking for a recommendation — "Which add-on is best?" — for which that blog post was written.

Also, what about people's experiences with particular extensions?

Generally, no. These poll-the-community -type questions don't generally work well with our format. Questions are supposed to represent specific, answerable problems where users vet and vote on the solutions and the best answers rises to the top. Asking "what is your experience?" is essentially a discussion. Anyone can contribute and there's no sense that anyone's experience is better than anyone else's. There's nothing inherently wrong with the question itself, but that type of on-going discussion is not a good fit for this site.

  • I was drawn to this answer just from my frustration from the volume of growing shopping questions. There is getting to be more and more of people just asking what extensions can do what or what are recommended. Can we draw up a formal answer on these? As the answers given are likely to be out-of-date or irrelevant in months. – Ben Lessani - Sonassi Mar 26 '13 at 22:58
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While I agree with most of this answer, I really don't have a clear understanding of what is meant by

If third-party extension are an integral part of the Magento landscape

More over, I'm not sure why there would be any concern about how "integral" or not an extension is to the "Magento landscape".

For me it seems perfectly reasonable that if an extension is developed for use with Magento then asking questions about it here would not in anyway detract from the focus of this community.

The extension is presumably built by developers who understand Magento and questions about the extension by those who employ it surely add to the overall Magento discussion.

Honestly I don't see how the cost (whatever you imagine it is) outweighs the benefit.

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