In our very first question on Tridion meta 'How strict should we be on the Q&A format?' We decided the purpose of this site is to allow both general ‘best practices’ type questions which are likely to generate subjective answers and more specific questions which will generate objective answers.

I am a little worried we are starting to see some questions that go beyond even what we envisioned when that meta question was posed.

Despite the up votes it has received, as written, the question 'Examples of altered XSL files for Rich-Text fields' doesn’t really seem like a good fit for the Q&A format of this site.

The OP hints at what they are trying to do (block script tags) but then proceeds to ask for generic examples of XSLs for rich text fields. This just seems to be very overly broad in nature; while Bart provided a good pratical example of an XSL in his answer, basically any working XSL would be a valid answer.

I do think it would be entirely possible for the OP to re-write the question so it addresses a specific need

So, is the question ‘Examples of altered XSL files for Rich-Text fields’ a good fit for the site? If not, what should we do with it? Close, rewrite, ask the OP to consider re-writing?

3 Answers 3


I'm definitely not in favor of closing questions like these too soon, we noticed on Stack Overflow that the SDL Tridion community is relatively new to Stack Exchange and are looking for an accessible location to get answers from. When we start closing their questions (even after giving comments) I'm afraid they will find the threshold to high. Not saying we should never close a question, but certainly also not be too fast in closing of a question which does have potential (questions where somebody asks for a job or other type of spam can be closed immediately of course).

In this case I have to agree that we are pushing the boundaries a bit, and even though I don't want to wander off too far from the concept, I do see a fit for these type of questions. Agreed the OP should get a remark on this question, that its doesn't really fit a Q&A format and should be rewritten in a more specific direction, rather than asking for any type of example.

But also instead of us flagging questions, closing them or even leaving a comment asking the OP for a modification. If you think the question can easily be rewritten with the information available, then we should do that ourselves. We have the power and the ability to edit questions and we should never let that stop us if we feel the question will be a better fit with a (small) edit. Then we can leave a comment afterwards explaining the OP why the edit was made to educate him/her for the future.

It is interesting to see that a question like this does get a lot of votes, so it is an appealing one apparently.

  • +1, I think removing the request at the end or changing "the community" to "someone" would change it from a very generic question to a question asking for one example. Mar 30, 2013 at 5:49

So, I asked the question and then never answered it myself as I didn’t have a good response at the time.

As written, the question ‘Examples of altered XSL files for Rich-Text fields’ pushes the boundaries of acceptable questions for this site as it is not a real question. Further, I suspect if it had been asked 6 months from now it would have been rewritten or closed pretty quickly by the community.

In general I agree with Bart we want to try to avoid doing anything that unduly discourages participation in this community and a close vote for this question would have been overkill.

In this case, the OP did broadcast one of his main intents (to block script tags in the RTF) so the community could have reasonably safely rewritten the question along those lines. Hopefully whoever did so would also have left a comment for the OP letting him know the question had been rewritten and prompting him to edit the question further if he thought the rewrite did not reflect his original intentions.

I think for this question, the bigger issue is that the re-writing (or even prompting the OP for clarification on his question) should have taken place early on. Once large numbers of people upvoted the question and the answer it seemed to me to be too late to take that path.

With that said, one thing I am worried about is making sure we don’t go down a road similar to that taken on this question on the cycling stack exchange site where the original question was unanswerable but the community tried so hard to make it fit in that the final question (which was subsequently migrated to a different SE site) was so completely different from what the OP asked that it wasn’t even the same question.

This indicates to me, if the intentions of the OP had been less clear, a better approach would likely have been to either prompt the user for more clarification in a comment or to initiate a close vote reasonably closely after the question was posed.

  • Fortunately, there's only one answer. I think you could safely edit the question fairly heavily to address his specific problem, doing so in a manner that retains the validity of Bart's answer, without bothering either the asker or the answerer.
    – Shog9
    Apr 17, 2013 at 2:22

I'd say that the Q&A format can deal well with a question about a specific technique or problem related to an RTF XSLT. If it ends up being a shopping list of all the possible techniques you might want to use, then it's not Q&A any more.

I hope I can be forgiven for the shameless plug when I say that a collection of notes and examples on these techniques is a far better fit for a site like Tridion Practice, where that's exactly what we're trying to do. Volunteers are welcome. (Of course, I'm not claiming any exclusivity here. Other sites may be just as appropriate.)

I think it's great that tridion.se is only part of the community, and not its sum total. During our time on SO, I've seen questions answered by linking to "practice" (done it myself even!) and recipes and articles on "practice" inspired by seeing on the stack sites what things people have difficulty with. Long may it so remain.

  • I think we're safe in referencing our posts, wikis, or other community contributions if they're relevant. Even occasional commercial references might be okay per this Meta SO discussion. May 9, 2013 at 21:57

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