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Stack Exchange ExpressionEngine Site Proposal

The ExpressionEngine community really is unique. When the community wants something, they sure get it done.

In efforts to provide a centralized place for asking community questions about ExpressionEngine, a proposal has been setup on Area 51 of Stack Exchange, and we, the community, need your support to get this proposal to beta stage.

Patrick Pohler (who was a speaker at EECI this year) proposed this project, and it has been well received.

… this is a place for all users [of] the ExpressionEngine CMS to post questions and receive answers. Front-end developers, add-on devs, designers and non-tech users are welcome!

This would provide an alternate location to post your ExpressionEngine questions and get feedback.

So, for the good of the community and spreading knowledge about ExpressionEngine, commit to this project!

Posted on Oct 24, 2012 by Kyle Cotter

Filed Under: News

Justin Kimbrell10:22 on 10.24.2012

Following this trend, a number of developers have shown interest in a community supported API for StackExchange that would help standardize support from one developer to the next. Offering a consistent experience with all the public threads in one place will save us all a lot of time and money. This move is good for both developers, end users, and their clients.

With that said, here is the proposed StackExchange API spec for ExpressionEngine. This is meant to be an open and collaborative process, so feel free to fork, comment, and make pull requests. I am extremely excited to see the community come together on this movement, it’s really encouraging as a developer.

Justin Kimbrell
Objective HTML

Ira Salsberg10:34 on 10.26.2012

The EE support forums have become irrelevant over time,  because EllisLab decreased the quantity, quality, and frequency of their responses.  As a result,  their customers (us) stopped counting on the forums,  and stopped visiting,  turning instead to use social tools like Twitter,  G+, etc.

This resulted in having fewer of us in the forums to answer *peer-to-peer* questions as wel while therel,  which decreased the value of the forums even more.

Now,  after a comment in a presentation,  there’s a large effort under way to fragment the community even more? 

I admit, I don’t use StackExchange,  but just had a browse through the site.  I see a confusing UI experience,  segmented mini-communities without any proper structure aside from taxonomy,  and each containing dozens of old and unanswered questions. 

With the Digg / Reddit stye voting,  many questions will never really see the light of day,  as they would in a Forum structure.

AND you guys need to jump through hoops just to get accepted into this site?  REALLY don’t get this.  This can *only* fragment our ailing EECMS community even more,  likely to its breaking point.

Why not try to use this energy just to get people supporting each other once again in the EE Forums?  And demand that EllisLab take its future more seriously as well…



Ira Salsberg,  Owner, The Red Eye Design

Adrian Macneil15:27 on 10.26.2012

Ira - Stack Exchange has already proved itself a great place for the community to help each other out. You only need to look at the existing questions tagged with ExpressionEngine to see its power:

Most of us pushing the Stack Exchange proposal have already used it for a long time and can see the power it will bring to the community. It won’t fragment the support community any more than it already is, and will provide a huge improvement over using Twitter to help each other out.

Regarding whether or not questions will be left unanswered, that is precisely why it is so difficult to start a new community. Stack Exchange require a certain number of committed users to even launch a beta, and during the beta it will be closely monitored to ensure it is being actively used and that questions are being answered. For an example of the sorts of metrics they track, check out this proposal already in beta:

Stack Exchange isn’t just another forum - it’s a better way of asking and answering questions, and we truly believe it will provide a better support experience than EllisLab could ever hope to provide on their official forums.

Convinced? Commit with us:

Patrick Pohler15:31 on 10.26.2012

Thanks for posting a great article Kyle about the efforts of the EE community to create an independent and strong community centered around peer-to-peer help.

In the past two years StackOverflow has changed the way I develop, even though before I used it in a very “lurker” style. I’m very excited to see the ExpressionEngine community come together not only on the Area51 proposal, but populate the ExpressionEngine tag on StackOverflow

I think the best argument for a StackExchange Q&A site is that the software is specifically designed for users to offer help & support. Unlike discussion forums, the best answers float to the top of a question and the topics are focused on specific issues & technical problems. This can free up the EE discussion boards for pre-sales questions, general discussion, and other conversations that aren’t specifically around help.

Far from fracturing the community, I strongly believe it will draw us closer together (I certainly have become closer and more active as a result).

Thanks again! And if you haven’t committed to the proposal, please do at and participant on the EE tag at StackOverflow

Ira Salsberg16:30 on 10.26.2012

Agreed, I’ve used StackOverflow for development issues over the years. I guess I just don’t get the advantage or methodology of StackExchange.  The whole SE workflow is just developer-y,  in that when you visit, you are dumped into an already evolved ecosystem, with assumed knowledge of how everything works.  Between the main site, “Area51”,  the proposal blurb, the beta ranking / header,  the sample questions,  and tags, it’s hard to make sense of what’s being proposed…

The “Code Review” example is even less intuitive.  90% of my screen ( granted, I’m on a tablet)  is filled with tags and metrics,  so much so that I can’t even see one full question on the screen,  which I’d have thought would be the key focus for Q&A tool.

It may just be me, so I wish you the best of luck getting things going,  and hope it doesn’t turn off others like it does me.

Justin Kimbrell16:51 on 10.26.2012


One of the great things about SE is that it is a fairly open platform, and by that I mean they have a public API. I only expect this portion to improve overtime, but even with the current set of tools, it’s my goal (among others) to integrate SE into our sites as seamlessly as possible.

By using SE as an engine to power dynamic content, it can be leveraged to build repositories on our own developers will sites will benefit the entire community. It will give better search results, and all be maintained in a well established and credible ecosystem. If our sites go down, users can still get help on SE. And if SE goes down, that content is still available on our sites and traditional support systems can be used.

This initiative will allow developers to give better support to their users. I know at Objective HTML (, our add-ons will be always supported through email and UserVoice, the same as it is now, but I hope in the future those can be used for private conversation or as a last resort. The main difference is that users will be encouraged to use SE to get their questions in the archives for others to benefit. Even if users don’t ask their question in the public space, chances are someone else did and we (the developers) can just link to it without spending 30-40 minutes composing a technical email. Right now, linking to forum posts are hard because the answers and posts change and nobody knows what the actual answer is.

I think by unifying the overal support system into our sites, into a searchable public knowledge base for all to contribute, will result in a much more enriched experience. Even if all users don’t use SE, most will, and the knowledge base will grow and get better over time. The end result will be less time spent on support, and more time implementing new features and writing new add-ons.

Hence the community API spec:

On a side note, of all the years developing I have never actually “used” StackExchange or Stackoverflow. I did (and continue to) look for search results from these sites because I know I will always find my answer, and it will be easy to find. I use Google to find my answers, and SE resources are top notch, regardless of the interface. So I am perfect example of person who has never contributed or posted a question (until now), but have benefited enormously from the site.

Objective HTML

Ira Salsberg16:59 on 10.26.2012

I see, thanks for the clarification Justin. I too have usually used SO via Google search links.  But yes, the leveraging the data via API does make more sense to me now. Gonna peruse the API specs soon.