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A cut and paste of my answer to a question and a comment from the same original poster in two very different questions caused one one of my answers to get deleted as duplicate so I am just trying to get some clarification around what I should do next time this situation arises.

Content plugin doesn't add text to articles

Add Options to {loadedmoduleid ID}

I saw it is two quite different threads where the OP asked where can learn more about Plugins and anyone doing a search is unlikely to see those two questions side by side, so I felt it was okay to copy the answer. I have copied a previous answer before but because it was weeks apart no-one probably noticed.

Am I not allowed to cut and paste an answer?

Should I put my response in the comments and not as an Answer?

Do I rework my answer as a 'FAQ' or whatever is JSE approach and then just point the next person that asks where can they learn more to that post?

Terry

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I haven't yet consulted with the other moderators, but...

Extension development questions tend to be on the "heavier" / "more demanding" side of questions that are posted here. When a question is dumping extension requirements and does not include any coding attempt, then it is probably asking too much of volunteers.

Whenever you feel the "answer" to a problem is to recommend a book or offsite resource, there is a fair chance that the question is Too Broad or Off-topic: Requires professional hands-on involvement.

Many well-intentioned volunteers want to lead askers in the right direction, but it is more important that the questions are kept narrow so that volunteers are not abused and answers are brief and valuable to researchers. The OP on those pages doesn't have a long track record of posting here, but there is such a thing as Help Vampirism and it is generally not a good thing.

I do not mean to shame anyone who has needed support; I've been there too, in the deep end with not much to grab on to. Just keep in mind that if you are attempting to "develop an extension", then you are attempting to be a "developer". A developer should be expected to exhaustively research and try something. When becoming stuck, clearly explain where you are stuck and ask a question that gets you over the most immediate challenge. (rinse and repeat until you are successful)

Both responses at Add Options to {loadedmoduleid ID} are benevolent yet vague hints leading to directions to resources, but Stack Exchange doesn't endeavour to be a traffic controller -- it wants to be the final destination. If a question is sufficiently narrow, a concise/articulate/educational answer should be hard-written into an answer. (supplemental hyperlinks and references to resources re-enforce an answer but do not solely constitute a good answer)

When you wish to offer general guidance or resources, often writing a comment under the question is ideal. There's no real downside to doing this and you aren't likely require the special formatting that answers enjoy. You may also include in the comment that you'd like to see their efforts so you can better understand where they are stuck.

As for posting answers in the future, if you feel the urge to post redundant advice AND the two questions are not duplicates, then go out of your way to tailor your advice to be unique/specific to each question.

  • Mick,I appreciate the time you have taken to reply. I probably don't agree with all of it, but that is fine i will just be aware of your thoughts when or if the situation arises again. Thanks. – Irata Aug 9 at 10:00
  • Perfectly okay to disagree. My words/thoughts are not gospel here (or anywhere). When you offer sound counterpoints, I stand to sharpen my thinking. – mickmackusa Aug 9 at 10:07
  • Mick, the remark '... benevolent but vague hint' is where I disagreed slightly. I have been where the OP is trying to teach myself and follow old and redundant documentation and for me that plugin book was what made programming in Joomla click for me, without it I probably would have given up again. Now that is perhaps what I should have put in my answer as I don't see recommending a good book any different to a good link to learn more, i just didn't want to provide the link to the .pdf I found. – Irata Aug 9 at 23:06
  • JSE is a great resource for Q&A, but the lack other really good places for help with Joomla means that it also attracts people just wanting help and direction in their learning, not always a specific Q wanting an A. Excluding the occasional vampire :), at times the rules of SE seem to be counter intuitive to just helping the OP. – Irata Aug 9 at 23:08
  • We want your help and hope that you don't stop volunteering / sharing your insights. The more I think about what has transpired, I think the page should have been closed as Too Broad. There is nothing wrong with posting a series of questions that represent the individual spots where you get stuck developing an extension. If you are stuck "at the beginning", then post a question that asks the general structure of an extension that does X. This is narrow, clear, and good. From there, try to flesh out that structure. If/When stuck again, ask another narrow question. – mickmackusa Aug 10 at 5:51
  • It will take a bit more than deleting one of my answers to get rid of me, my skin is a bit thicker than that. :) – Irata Aug 10 at 6:13
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Widely agree with mickmackusa's post here.

By the way, I am the moderator that deleted the second answer.

For general information, make sure you are familiar with how things work here. Please read JSE Tour and JSE Help.

Duplicates copy/paste answers are getting flagged automatically here. Besides this:

  • There are rules regarding Duplicate Questions. There is no point in having the same questions getting asked again and again. So duplicate questions are getting deleted/closed/marked as duplicate and linked to existing questions that already have answers.

  • For duplicate answers read:

    Especially from this page I am quoting the part that is most close to your case:

Are they promotional in any way?

Duplicate answers across questions that promote external links or resources are considered astro-turfing and will likely result in the immediate deletion of all the answers involved. Most often, these answers get posted to questions which are only remotely related to the link or product they're trying to promote, and they often consist of little more than a vague explanation of what the link contains or what the tool does. Depending on the degree of astro-turfing and status of the account, a wide range of punishments could get issued, from a simple warning to account destruction.

As you can see, basically you can't copy/paste (including tweaking a little) the same answers to many questions.

Also, it's clear that the second answer is far away from trying to provide a solution to the question asked. In my opinion, it doesn't provide a clear/straight solution to the first question as well - but the OP found it helpful so it's ok.

Apparently, things can't work like this, otherwise try to think it like this: Your answer should be the answer to all questions here mentioning anything about Joomla plugins. How that would sound to you?

....

As to what you could possibly do if you think an existing answer can be helpful on another/new question? You can comment below the question and include the link to the existing answer. Note that you need to be sure that you link to a really helpful and related answer. For the current example that we are talking, making that connection between the Questions/Answers would not be any helpful at all.

Let us know if you have any other concerns or questions.

  • Thanks for taking the time to reply. It is a bit unfortunate the OP accepted the Answer in the post he did otherwise I could have cleaned up both replies as I think where he asked for more information in his comment i should have answered with a comment while the other post where he asked in the Question then I think that providing my response as an Answer is within the rules? When I recommend the book again I will be more careful to explain why I am recommending that particular book in context to the question so I am not accused of astro-turfing. – Irata Aug 9 at 22:53
  • @Irata: As a follow up, an answer recommending a learning book would be related to a question asking about something like this. FYI we have a few such questions in JSE which you might want to checkout: joomla.stackexchange.com/questions/3579, joomla.stackexchange.com/questions/16529, joomla.stackexchange.com/questions/17108 – FFrewin Aug 10 at 14:43

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