NB: It should be noted that Stack Overflow is an very useful, however, unofficial source of support/help, and is unrelated in any formal way to the Joomla! project.
Joomla Q&A - what? why? when?
Like many, I'm sure you've come across the Stack Overflow website (or maybe one of it's many cousins). Like most people you've probably landed there after searching for an answer to a question. No doubt you found an answer that helped you out. While Stack Overflow is well known, you may have used or found one of it's cousins like Server Fault, Super User, Wordpress Answers, Ask Ubuntu or the Photography site, or possibly the Science Fiction & Fantasy site or Home Improvement site.
At this point, if you're not familiar with the StackExchange family then you're probably wondering what they do? why there are so many? and do they have one for LEGO® (the answer is "Yes", yes they do).
The StackExchange family of sites are specialised Question and Answers sites that are moderated and curated by their members. The system is built around the concept of having the best answers float to the top. This is achieved by providing great moderation, searching, commenting, review and tagging tools (which is why Google et. al. recommend them so often).
But, I hear you ask, why are there so many of them? There are two reasons for this:
- Specificity and
These two reasons combined with the aforementioned tools help make each site the best place to get a great answer.
Specificity is why a lot of Joomla questions get killed off on Stack Overflow. Simply put they are not questions about programming issues, they're about things like "How to use Joomla for online shopping?" or "Is there a plugin that will add Facebook buttons to my articles?".
While these are perfectly valid Joomla questions they are not about Programming, and so are not welcome on StackOverflow.
This specificity keeps Stack Overflow focused and useful but also leaves a lot of Joomla users out in the cold.
StackExchange sites are formatted to promote the asking of good questions and the provision of great answers. They are supported by chat rooms and a meta site and communities focused on a specific area.
As your reputation grows on a StackExchange site you are invited to participate in helping others improve their questions or answers, reviewing edits and defining tags and generally making the site a better place for everyone.
This format, using these tools, allow you to recognise a contributor's value by upvoting questions or answers, or if you've asked the question and got the answer you need, by accepting the answer. These actions add reputation points to the user and in turn allow you to reliably access the reputation of a user based on the point they've earned. (And because people are humans there are mechanisms to deal with those that try and game the reputation system).
The very attributes that make Stack Exchange sites so successful are the reason we need a separate one for Joomla users.
At this point you're probably saying, “well what about the official Joomla forums?” Well the answer is simple, they are forums. The forum platform is built for discussions, which it does well, but it doesn't have the focus on Questions and Answers that you find in a Stack Exchange site, and frankly finding existing answers in them isn't that easy.
The proposed Q&A site is for administrators, end users, developers and designers for the Joomla! platform. To put it simply, nearly anyone who uses Joomla will benefit from this site.
The comparable WordPress Answers site launched just over 2 years ago, and in that time 41,582 questions have been answered with nearly 30 a day being added from over 3100 users. Looking at the stats for WordPress Answers and the number of Joomla questions that get shut down on Stack Overflow the need for a Joomla Q&A site is obvious.
So if you would like a place for clear questions and answers about Joomla, would like to answer questions and build your reputation or really need some help with a tricky Joomla issue consider signing up to support the Joomla Q&A proposal.