Follow up on Do we have "Canonical questions", on DA?.

Since it was cleared up there that we "can", although we implement it ourselves, I want to suggest we consider having canonical question.

I tried to "kickstart" the idea by writing what I though could pass for a canonical question and answer, How should I implement hook_menu()? as well as a discussion on having it canonized Suggestion for canonical question on hook_menu, however, I recieved very little feedback, none so far, on the canonization idea itself.

So I'm taking a step back from my own Q/A, and ask instead, Could it be beneficial to our community implement canonical question?

And if yes, how do we go about selecting, and implementing them?

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    I am all for it. I started to look into how other sites have been handling this, but I have been swamped at work. It isn't really an official thing that SE does, rather, sites have been handling it in their own way.
    – mpdonadio Mod
    Commented Feb 20, 2013 at 15:27
  • I think it's a good idea, but we need to be careful that we don't just become a "documentation repository". There's already d.o for that :-)
    – Chapabu
    Commented Feb 20, 2013 at 16:42
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    Well, d.o is a documentation repository, but finding what you need can very often be an exercise in frustration.
    – mpdonadio Mod
    Commented Feb 20, 2013 at 17:35

1 Answer 1


Moved out from original question:

We've previously concluded we see a great deal of low quality questions: Very poor quality questions everywhere (like panels everywhere but without the magical feeling...) and personally I feel there's a high number of posts on the same topics, with very slight variations. For example, why doesn't my particular implementation of hook_menu work. All such variations can be answered by explaining how hook_menu should be implemented. Thus I see canonical questions a one (small) way to combat low quality questions.

So I vote yes.

Suggestion for procedure

  1. Stick a template at the top explaining it's a canonical question, example below.
  2. Tag it "Canonical". The tag serves two purposes. 1) It's easy to find all canonical question to check if they need updates, and 2) It should make for a very interesting "topic" to follow.

This is a [canonical question][1] about [Insert topic here]

[canonical question][1] would then link to an explanation about what a canonical question is, probably another meta post.

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    Locking a canonical question (i.e. protecting it from further edits) is quite the opposite of what we want, since locked questions cannot be voted, commented, or receive new answers. A canonical question should just contain the question; any further information, if that is not clear from the question itself, should be put in a comment.
    – apaderno Mod
    Commented Feb 20, 2013 at 16:54
  • Not sure where I got the idea that questions needed to be protected from. Removed it. The "header"-template idea I stole from serverfault: serverfault.com/revisions/449296/4
    – Letharion
    Commented Feb 20, 2013 at 17:20
  • @kiamlaluno I think we are talking about protecting them, not locking them. Protecting will just cut down on the non-helpful comments and non-answers coming from new and unregistered users.
    – mpdonadio Mod
    Commented Feb 20, 2013 at 17:33
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    @MPD I didn't use the right term, but I meant that protecting the question from further edits would be locking them. Protecting them from answers written from new users who are trying to ask a new question is fine with me, and I am going to do it with the few canonical questions we have.
    – apaderno Mod
    Commented Feb 20, 2013 at 17:38
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    The only real problem I see is that meta tags are frowned upon, and we would ideally want this to be moderator only, and I don't think any non-meta sites have moderator tags.
    – mpdonadio Mod
    Commented Feb 20, 2013 at 17:39
  • I've just closed this question as a dupe of the hook_menu() one which got me to thinking...would all questions marked as canonical be closed as duplicates? And if not what would be the distinguishing feature?
    – Clive Mod
    Commented Feb 21, 2013 at 22:02
  • @kiamlaluno Is this discussion the reason you made the question a community wiki? I don't quite see why that was done. Making canonicals into wikis has not been mentioned here, nor, for example, here: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/116087/…
    – Letharion
    Commented Feb 22, 2013 at 15:04
  • @Clive One of the purposes of canonical questions is closing those very similar questions that keep to be asked.
    – apaderno Mod
    Commented Feb 22, 2013 at 16:06
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    @Letharion Canonical questions are community posts by their own nature. Users like chx, or greggles should be allowed to contribute to them without suggesting edits.
    – apaderno Mod
    Commented Feb 22, 2013 at 16:09
  • @kiamlaluno That makes sense, although it's a bit of a shame, since it's less motivating to put in the effort, when less credit is given. :)
    – Letharion
    Commented Feb 22, 2013 at 23:23

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