New WordPress Stack Exchange Offers More Features Than WordPress.org Forums

New WordPress Stack Exchange Offers More Features Than WordPress.org Forums

A new WordPress Stack Exchange is now in beta. This is a resource that covers the exact same material as WordPress.org’s existing forums. Not familiar with Stack Exchange? It’s a programming Q&A website that synthesizes aspects of wikis, blogs, forums, and Digg/Reddit. You can ask and answer questions for free. Whether you’re a WordPress beginner or a seasoned developer, the new WordPress Stack Exchange is bound to be a valuable resource for you.

Joel Spolsky outlines why the Stack Exchange may be more helpful to you than existing forums at WordPress.org:

  • WordPress.org’s forums don’t have voting, so you have to read through every answer and decide for yourself which one might solve your problem.
  • WordPress.org users don’t have reputation, so there’s no way to see whether you’re getting an answer from someone who knows what they’re talking about.
  • The WordPress.org forums don’t have wiki-style editing, so collaboration is impossible.
  • A WordPress user has to log on to answer a question, so the burden of participation is higher.

The WordPress Stack Exchange offers multiple sorting options.

Right away you will notice how many more options there are for sorting questions: newest, featured, hot, votes, active, unanswered, as well as sort by tags or users. When you’re having trouble articulating your problem but want to see if it’s already been answered, you can select the sorting option that makes the most sense to you.

Badges help to motivate user participation.

As you use WordPress Stack Exchange to ask and answer questions, you can earn badges, which will appear on your user page and in your user card. This helps you to be able to gauge the value of another user’s advice, especially if you are selecting from multiple answers for your problem. It taps into the basic human drive for achievement and is more motivating than you might imagine.

While reviewing the site I found it remarkably easy to surf around to various topics, without feeling like I was digging through pages and pages of text. Features I enjoyed most:

  • Live previews of your response to questions as you type
  • Clean, attractive and cheerful UI makes it feel more like fun than troubleshooting
  • Activity timelines and reputation graphs
  • Usage stats displayed, including the percentage of answered questions
  • Individual user RSS for questions, answers, and comments

This is certainly not a replacement for the WordPress.org forums, nor is it to say that the WordPress.org forums are not helpful. Rather, it’s a comparison to the forums that you already know and many of you have been using for years. If you want to try a new way to find answers to your WordPress problems, head over to the WordPress Stack Exchange and give it a spin. Feel free to leave your thoughts and a personal review here in the comments.