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I'm confused about the guidelines for asking questions about 3rd party software/plugins on this site.

On one hand we close questions where people ask for help about a 3rd party software/plugin (commercial and non-commercial). But on the other hand, it states in the What topics can I ask about here? article that

We also accept questions about community-owned, open source products based on the platform.

I have seen quite a few examples of questions about community-owned, open source products (i.e. non-commercial) that have been closed or put on-hold because they are (ta-daaa) questions about 3rd party software/plugins.

Is it a matter of opinion for the individual person (with enough privileges) to cast a closing vote on questions like these?

The reason I ask is because I've recently noticed people adding tags for 3rd party software/plugins that they are asking about and I have by default rejected any edits made to them because I'm of the understanding that unless the software/plugin comes from a Microsoft (SharePoint) official, they are best asked/answered elsewhere, e.g. the board/forum of the 3rd party project site.

How should I go about determining which questions/tags are allowed and which aren't?

  • Personally, in this cases I scout the product homepage (if it exists) to see if it is an open-sourced product or not (freewares are not automatically living up to the "community-owned, open source" part). I have yet to see a case where a question about a true open-sourced (SharePoint related) product has been closed, do you have any great examples? :) – Robert Lindgren Nov 27 '15 at 7:24
  • @RobertLindgren This is exactly how I moderate here. Examples would be great since true open source add-ins are allowed here. – Benny Skogberg Nov 27 '15 at 8:15
  • To me, this is no an open-sourced product for example: itunity.com/community/stratusforms (since wh do have a question the last day considering this product, the question is still opened though) – Robert Lindgren Nov 27 '15 at 8:21
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The basic rule of thumb for me, if it comes from Codeplex or Github, it is going to stay open, but really it is a better use of those platforms to engage the authors and contributors as they are the most knowledgeable.

Other more widely used libraries will stay open, but they must be SharePoint specific. We have seen an uptick recently of programming questions related to popular libraries that aren't SharePoint specific and these get closed.

Freeium things can go either way, I tend to err on the side of closing.

Straight up commercial third party stuff gets closed without a second thought. Use the dedicated support channels for those products.

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