After EECI many people in the ExpressionEngine community focused on a proposal for a Stack Exchange site for ExpressionEngine. That proposal moved to private beta and is nearing the end of its public beta. In order to reach the goal of having a permanent SE site for EE, one of the requirements is that at least five people need a reputation of 3,000 or greater. As I write this we have
I applaud the effort of everyone involved in making this happen. It is a lot of work to answer questions, especially ones that are very specific. Sometimes a quick Google search is all that is needed (which makes me wonder why they didn’t just do that in the first place) but I’ve come across many questions that are difficult to unpack and answer. Some of these questions are answered but many of them sit in the purgatory of the Unanswered Question list.
I’ll be honest, though. I find the Stack Exchange system and rules difficult to understand. I feel like a dummy using it. It doesn’t help me along with hints as I’m trying to use it. Getting off the ground with reputation can be difficult and you can’t even hop in a chat room and ask for help unless you already have some reputation. You also can’t ask for clarification on a question until you have a certain reputation. The tools you need to give good answers are unavailable to you at first. The draconian requirements help foster a good community long term but they are terrible when you’re trying to help get one off the ground. I hate using it but I feel so drawn to it because I understand the greater good it can do for the ExpressionEngine community.
If you have ever had to use Google to help solve a coding problem you ran into (with PHP, Ruby, Python), you know that Stack Exchange answers come up frequently in the results. It seems like there is always an answer to your problem.
And this is what makes a SE site for ExpressionEngine so exciting. With the pruning of official EE forums, the obvious lack of care by EllisLab in not breaking in-bound links (which is tantamount to breaking the Internet itself) to the site and resources (hello, wiki), so many new users to ExpressionEngine can be alienated.
I’ve been publishing about ExpressionEngine for four years on this site and more than five in total. I know how hard it is to get people to find the information you created that can help them. Stack Exchange gives us that opportunity because of the value and weight of its domain in search result algorithms.
While I think Stack Exchange is a frustrating, user-unfriendly system to use when trying to build up a new site, I know it will be help people more and more as it matures. A single question with an answer could probably help hundreds of people beyond the original poster.
And that right there is why it’s worth the effort to up-vote good answers and questions, participate when you can, and encourage others to do the same.