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Currently, we are starting to see questions that could potentially be duplicates. A recent example is Which tables are safe to clear (truncate)? which is a potential duplicate of Which tables are safe to clear? The only difference is that a question is asking for Drupal 8, while the other one is for Drupal 7 or earlier versions.

There are a few problems we face with this.

  1. Version numbers are not required for questions. In fact, they should not be used just to say "I am using Drupal X" (which has been happening a lot lately, but that is a different topic). They should be reserved for when a question specifically is about a particular version.

  2. Assuming a question isn't about a specific version, in many cases, an answer for Drupal 7 would also apply to 6, or would only require small changes.

  3. In many cases, the Drupal 8 answer for a question is radically different from an answer for previous versions.

The main issue we face is the possibility of having questions that essentially are just asking about the same topic, but a different Drupal version. This dilutes the questions we already have, and it is a possible way for users to game the system in order to gain reputation.

So far, Drupal 7 and Drupal 8 introduced many new features and new APIs, even if some aspects/concepts are still present passing from a version to a newer one.
The issue I can see is getting new questions for Drupal 9 for concepts/aspects that changed few from previous versions.

So, how do we want to handle this moving forward?

References:

  • I have an opinion on this that I am going to hold off on posting for a bit. – mpdonadio Jan 11 '17 at 23:14
  • IMO this is covered with the numeric version tag being used on the question. It can be a small pain to change the question title due to the question being asked in another version. But unique question title in a small pain for all questions really. – LittleCoding Jan 12 '17 at 19:33
  • @LittleCoding Version tags don't cover what asked by this question, which is essentially asking when it makes sense to ask two different questions for two different Drupal versions. – kiamlaluno Jan 16 '17 at 6:43
  • Exactly. Identical titles can be allowed when both are using version tags that are different. – LittleCoding Jan 16 '17 at 13:37
  • @LittleCoding Question titles are not the focus. Two questions that are identical except being asked for two different Drupal versions are still identical even if they have different titles. We don't care about titles, not even when deciding if a question is duplicating another one. – kiamlaluno Jan 16 '17 at 20:59
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    I do feel the questions "how do I do this in 7" and "how do I do this in 8" are two different questions, even if the answers are the same. – LittleCoding Jan 16 '17 at 22:32
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    How far do we take that though @LittleCoding? A contrived but probably reasonable example: "How do I clear the cache though the UI?". The same solution spans 6, 7 & 8...do we need 3 separate questions all with an identical "go to the performance admin page" answer? Is that more useful than a single question for all 3 versions? Of course the same logic doesn't apply to all, maybe even many, questions, but that's why I think this is quite a difficult problem to solve with one blanket rule (and if we do go that way we need to make sure it's the right one) – Clive Jan 17 '17 at 0:37
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    The version tagging could be excluding "how do I do this in 7" from a search by someone looking for "how do I do this in 8". Also if the answer includes screens of the UI that do evolve as does the exact verbiage of the admin navigation, there is value in having a single answer for each. – LittleCoding Jan 17 '17 at 2:29
  • @LittleCoding Stack Exchange is against using tags in titles. If you are searching for a question about Drupal 7, there is a special syntax the search engine accepts and that allows to filter questions by tags. If there isn't a question with that tag, it's the case to make the search more generic by not putting the tag in the search. – kiamlaluno Jan 17 '17 at 9:44
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    But for example people discount a result because it is tag with the wrong version when looking over results, as well as when they are asking the question to begin with (auto-search that goes on during title creation). You also have brushed on the likelihood that search results are effected by tagging not just what is in the title and content fields. Could the UI change to have version tags directly follow the question title? – LittleCoding Jan 17 '17 at 14:35
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    @LittleCoding The problem we are dealing with is that not every question needs or even warrants a version tag on it. They are not required, and adding a version tag is discouraged in many/most cases. Read Atwood's posts, and the answers and comments on them for some historical background. That said, I think we are in somewhat of a Catch-22 situation here. I have opinion which I think we should move forward with, but I think it isn't a perfect solution. – mpdonadio Jan 18 '17 at 1:34
  • @mpdonadio : it looks like another mod has invalidated the "potential duplicate" part of your question, by marking my question as a so called duplicate of some other D8 question (which is ONLY about cache tabes ...). Maybe update your question now to use some other "example" questions? – Pierre.Vriens Jan 24 '17 at 14:23
  • Looking at the timeline of this question (and its answer), it seems this "discussion" has come to an end. And looking at the vote-balances for each of the answers to it, it seems that those who voted made it clear what the "majority" of them prefer/recommend. So maybe time has come now for "any of the moderators" to post the conclusion of this discussion, which is to be considered as the rule about this topic that will be imposed from now on? – Pierre.Vriens Feb 4 '17 at 16:56
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    @Pierre.Vriens There is no conclusion to this yet, and while one post did receive more votes that the others, there is enough up/down votes on each to show that we are fairly split. I wish more people had voted on this. The post with the highest votes goes against some SE principles. I have talked with moderators of other sites, and they are a little stumped on what is best from a site and an SE perspective. Stand by; this isn't being ignored. – mpdonadio Feb 6 '17 at 22:28
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    @Pierre.Vriens The mods will post when they have full guidance and a plan. Essentially, it looks like we should continue to only use tags when necessary, just everyone is supposed to be doing according the tag wiki (and not what people voted for nor what they are doing), but we are still getting more deailts. There is no target date for wrapping this up. – mpdonadio Feb 22 '17 at 12:15
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The main issue we face is the possibility of having questions that essentially are just asking about the same topic, but a different Drupal version. This dilutes the questions we already have, and it is a possible way for users to game the system in order to gain reputation. - mpdonadio ♦

Asking a question that gives you a different answer is not gaming the system.

They may look the same, since we do not use version numbers on titles, but they are not the exact same question.

Its like asking how many tires a bike has vs how many tires a car has.


I think the ideal scenario is to one question, with either multiple answers (for different versions) or a single answer which explains how to do it in different versions. - googletorp ♦

I don't like the idea of grouping/keeping them all in one question. Exhibit A:

This D8 answer to a D7 question - Pierre.Vriens

At the time of this writting, there is no D8 tag on this Q, so pretty much that D8 answer is hidden.

Editing an existing answer and adding the D8 or newer version. So +10 free rep for the D7/original answerer? Doesn't sound fair to me.

Adding new answers, I could see this turning into a scrolling nightmare, like in Exhibit A, and having to figure out if this is the D7 or D8 answer. Also, answer will not be able to be accepted assuming the D7 is already accepted. OPer could change the accepted answer, but that affects the D7 answerers rep. Where is my +15?

In addition, the question would endup in the Active tab rather than the New tab. I don't know about you, but I rarely use the Active tab since most of them seem to be edits. So editing a D7 Q and saying, "I need the D8 answer for this" could go unnoticed.

IMO repeating the Q for each version is better, SEO friendlier, and the answerer is able to get his/her well deserved +15 for accepted answer.

In the long haul, old Drupal versions will become irrelevant - googletorp ♦

True, by the time D11 is out, I highly doubt anyone will be looking for D7 answers. This would leave the door open, should SE want, to delete/unpublish OLD/obsolete Drupal version questions, EX: tagged with 7, from the Database (without affecting rep, I hope).

We'll end up diluting the SE, making it harder for poeple to find the correct answer. - googletorp ♦

Not at all, most of the traffic probably comes from Google. Take a look at the following Google searches:

Programmatically update field Drupal 8 Vs Programmatically update field Drupal 7

Notice how none of the other version questions show up, easy to find.

If you don't like Google-ing, you can always add the [8] tag if you are searching from Drupal Answers search bar.

In conclusion, mixing the answers all into one will just add extra scroll, time, complexity, and unfairness that we don't need.


Actually, it is not "How many tires does a bike have?" versus "How many tires does a car have?" but more "How many tires does a bike in Massachusetts have?" versus "How many tires does a bike in Texas have?" - kiamlaluno ♦.

I disagree, because you will always get the same answer of 2 tires whether you ask it in Massachusetts or in Texas. So it is not more like that.

Also, adding the Drupal version in the question title doesn't make the question different from another one. - kiamlaluno ♦

I agree with the fact that we do not have version numbers in the title, that makes reading the questions title easier in the new/active etc tabs.

So Programatically update a field tagged with the 7 tag Vs Programatically update a field tagged with the 8 tag. The title looks the same, but in reality we are asking Programmatically update field in Drupal 8 Vs Programmatically update field in Drupal 7.

You can't tell me that Programatically update a field is the same for D7 and D8.

since a cache table is still a cache table in any Drupal version - kiamlaluno ♦

True, but the cache table has changed from D7 to D8. There are more/new cache tables now, if I recall correctly. Also, they work differently, clearing the cache for a field in D7 was to simply truncate/empty 1 specific cache table, in D8 you have to empty/truncate like 2 or 3.

Therefore, asking again Which tables are safe to clear (truncate)? for Drupal 8 is a legitimate question. Do you know if the new tables are safe to clear?


You missed the point: Caching on Drupal 8 is still caching. The cache backend that uses database tables is still using database tables - kiamlaluno ♦

So according to your logic, fields are still fields, themes are still themes, template files are still template files, Drupal still Drupal. Everything is a duplicate then...

That's like asking how much RAM the PS4 has and someone saying that's a duplicate question, it was asked how much RAM the PS3 has 5 years ago. ← That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard.

Even when the answer is the same, What's the max screen resolution of the PS4? Both PS3 and PS4 have 1080p. Just because the answer is the same, this does not make the PS4 a "duplicate" nor illegitimate question. Different MAJOR version numbers should never be considered duplicate/dumb/illegitimate questions in anything.

As a programmer you should know better why it's a MAJOR version change. You should know why Drupal 8 is not called Drupal 7.3000 nor Drupal 7 Delux, nor Drupal 7 Advanced, Drupal 7 S, Drupal 7 Pro etc...

Simply the "duplicate" argument does not hold.

I get the idea/suggestion of googletorp ♦ wanting to keep them all in 1 place, but the problem is that this is a Q & A site, not a Wiki where you can keep things neat and organized. As Exibhit A shows this is going to turn into a scrolling nightmare with answers of different versions all over the place. As a website builder you should ask your self, is this UX friendly?

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    Voilà, finally somebody who agrees with my viewpoints ... Maybe you also want to add/consider the scenario where it will become pretty tough to ignore "old release" answers which won't work anymore in new releases, eg because of some module mentioned in such answer has not been upgraded (or not yet). Example: answers to questions tagged with "7" and "Rules", imagine there is no "7" tag (anymore), and somebody wants to use some answer (which is OK for D7) in D8 ... Now that will be interesting, frustrating, funny, etc, no? It's like assuming all D7 API docu is also for D8 ... – Pierre.Vriens Jan 15 '17 at 9:41
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    @kiamlaluno I have edited my answer to counter your comment. – No Sssweat Jan 16 '17 at 7:27
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    @kiamlaluno perhaps because your point is not logical. (see edit). – No Sssweat Jan 17 '17 at 0:21
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    Your argument (which otherwise has weight IMO) would probably be stronger without all those references to "where's my rep?" etc. We're not interested in a solution that gets people reputation, just one that solves the stated problem. As far as the aims of the site go, good content is the goal, reputation is more of a side-effect. Even a mention that people losing/gaining reputation should affect this decision suggests you might be focusing on the wrong thing – Clive Jan 17 '17 at 0:43
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    And if that example is the "dumbest thing [you've] ever heard", you've had quite an easy life :) It's exactly the same example that's already been given, the question would simply be "How much RAM does the Playstation have?", and it would have several answers, one for each version. I mean this nicely: the metaphors aren't having the impact I think you hoped they would, they're too loose to be applicable really. I think you have a strong enough position without them anyway – Clive Jan 17 '17 at 1:02
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    @Clive Rep is the reward for the Free work that people here do. Taking away rep will result in less incentive for people to contribute. You cannot simply ignore this. There is a good reason why they added the rep system, right? and probably a key reason why the people here contribute here rather than in the drupal.org forums. – No Sssweat Jan 17 '17 at 1:31
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    @Clive re-read my last paragraph. I get the idea/suggestion of storing them in 1 place. But this is no Wiki and I have already proven storing them in different questions does not make them harder for people to find considering most of the people come from google. Also, as I mentioned it will not be UX friendly. Are you willing to compromise UX friendliness? – No Sssweat Jan 17 '17 at 1:38
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    Well I've yet to see any proof for either side, just opinions and isolated examples, but I'm not disagreeing with you. Personally I don't think a perfect one-fits-all solution exists, there are good and bad points to both approaches in the context of different types of questions. We need to come up with an approach that works for the majority I think, I don't know which that is. About rep, it's simply not something that needs to be discussed here. Do people get rep? Yep. Do we want to make rules on content classification based on people earning rep? Nope. – Clive Jan 17 '17 at 1:39
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    Well I've yet to see any proof for either side here is the proof by the time we get to D11 this Q is going to have 10+ answers. Do we really want that? If this was Drupal Wiki Answers, the other side has a case, but there is just no way to organize the answers. Plus, people here come to search an answer to a specific question. People searching how to programmatically update fields in Drupal 8 will most likely not care about the D7 answer because they already know it or don't plan on using D7. – No Sssweat Jan 17 '17 at 1:52
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    And plenty of people look for an answer just for "Drupal", assuming they'll get one for the current version. You're not wrong, but you're only telling one half of the story. Or maybe more than a half, maybe less, my point is that the approach you've outlined, while with merits, is not without flaws, just like the approach in googletorp's answer – Clive Jan 17 '17 at 1:56
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    And plenty of people look for an answer just for "Drupal" I wouldn't be too sure about this. The current generation is not dumb/out of the loop. @Clive They know versions exists. They are well acquainted with these. Consoles, phones, OS, etc.. all use versions. Even if they search "How to programmatically update a field in Drupal?" in Google, I think they can figure out at the ones that start with 7 is for D7 and the ones that start with 8 is for D8. – No Sssweat Jan 17 '17 at 2:05
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    Plus asking a question how to do this in D7 and in D8 is too broad, don't you agree? So if we keep them all in one, we are pretty much doing this... – No Sssweat Jan 17 '17 at 2:31
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    @Clive Like I said. Say the D7 Q & A already exists. Now I want to know how to do this in D8. What am I suppose to do? Edit the D7 question and say Hey everybody I need the D8 answer for this...? – No Sssweat Jan 17 '17 at 2:33
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    I think there are way more major flaws with the other side than my side. – No Sssweat Jan 17 '17 at 2:34
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    @Pierre.Vriens Extended comments are tolerated to an extend on Meta sites, mainly because they are needed to hash out discussions (Meta tends to operate under different operating guidelines). Comment cleanup may lose important information. And, in that example they are totally different: the new question is about scripts in head and the old is about CSS on the front page. – mpdonadio Jan 18 '17 at 13:57
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When you ask a new question, in the block to the right of it it says (without the bold markup):

Remember to report the Drupal version and relevant modules you are using.

If that's not clear enough, then read on ... (and if it's wrong or no longer valid, then get that fixed).

Approach I recommend:

  • For questions for which the answers depend on the Drupal version, have one question for each Drupal version, with only answers allowed that are related to the version in the question.

  • Questions that do not depend on the Drupal version (eg: What's a block?), might have answers that, if appropriate, also include a version indication (eg: In D7 the BEAN module got introduced, which in D8 got integrated in core).

  • Extend the list of existing version tags with something like "Any" (to indicate a question is not Drupal version specific) and make a unique (!) Drupal version tag required for any question (use that "Any" tag to simply confirm the question is not Drupal version specific). While doing so, fix their tag excerpts also (especially for : what about the "latest" in it when it's time for D9 + it is mostly a recommendation to avoid using it ...).

  • Do not allow version tags to be removed, or changed. Such as in this recent edit, which was applied after I flagged this D8 answer (as "not an answer") to a question tagged with as of revision 1 of it. By removing that tag, for 4 out of 5 of the existing answers (from 2011/2012) the impliciet assumption (not mentioned in the answer) is that that answer is about D7. If you disagree, would you rather see we all start all our answers like this answer (to ensure your answer remains valid, no matter what happens to the version tags)?

Advantages of this approach:

  • When searching existing questions (to check if your potential question has been asked before), you can use version tags to narrow down the search results. Which should result in answers also that are appropriate to the release the question is about. As an example, have a look at the results of these searches:

  • In the long haul, old Drupal versions will become irrelevant. So using version tags, you could either decrease the ranking of questions about old versions in search results, or maybe at some point even consider closing and/or deleting questions (and there answers) of such old releases. As a sample, have a look at the D4 questions, or the D5 questions.

  • If you're not interested anymore in (eg) D6, then you simply add to your Ignored Tags. And if you're especially interested in (eg) D8, then you simply add to your Favorite Tags. That way you somehow narrow down the questions (and their answers!) to the Drupal version(s) you're mostly interested about.

  • It'll make it easier for anybody to:

    • better understand what Drupal version a question is about (and hence eliminates answers that don't apply for the Drupal version in the question).
    • to know what version of Drupal a question is this about (instead of having to post comments to ask for it).
    • find the correct answer (narrowed down to the Drupal version of your interest).
    • find possibly related questions, via the Related questions block which is typically shown to the right of each question. At least that's what I assume, since one would expect that other questions tagged with the same version tag should get a higher ranking in that block (as compared to the ranking of a question with a different version tag).
  • It somehow helps understanding a specific user's interest, expertise, etc about a specific Drupal version. E.g. if you wonder which users ever required any reputation related to the D5-tag.

  • It's a kind of incentive to encourage users to make the catalogue of questions evolve with new Drupal versions also ... instead of considering it as "users to game the system in order to gain reputation" (= quote from the question here, which is NOT why "I" posted my question included as the (only) example).

    As an example, consider my question linked in the question here: "I" (as the author of the question) wonder what the answer is for D8. Assume some day Someone Answers "my" question ... I then ALSO want to "have an additional option" to mark some answer as the accept answer, i.e. the answer that best answers "my" question for D8. If you disagree, then what's the alternative for me to find my answer for D8? I doubt posting a comment to the D7 question to ask for a D8 answer is going to help (except via a bounty ...). And since I'm not the OPer of the D7 question, am "I" allowed to change the meaning of that question?

  • ... (need I add another dozen of advantages?).

Answers will remain valid

The idea and the way SE works, is that you create a catalogue of answers to various problems that always will be valid. This could also be true for Drupal ... provided the question (and related answers) clearly indicate which Drupal version you're talking about. Because even though D4, D5 and D6 is EOL, the D4 questions or D5 questions (and their answers) should remain valid ... and possibly still of interest to somebody still using those Drupal versions (for whatever reason).

Answers can't be invalidated due to missing info in the question

Have a look at this comment, which got added after I answered to "How to use Rules to limit the number of searches to pull data from a remote API?", and in which I added this PS: "I'm assuming this is about D7". If a Drupal version tag would be required, I wouldn't have been forced to make that assumption. If OP-er later on would add that clarification to the question, it would invalidate my answer ... nice!

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I think the ideal scenario is to one question, with either multiple answers (for different versions) or a single answer which explains how to do it in different versions.

In the long haul, old Drupal versions will become irrelevant. If we do like what was done in this example we will end up with

  • Which tables are safe to truncate 7
  • Which tables are safe to truncate 8
  • Which tables are safe to truncate 9
  • Which tables are safe to truncate 10
  • Which tables are safe to truncate 11
  • ...

We'll end up diluting the SE, making it harder for poeple to find the correct answer.

I think it's better to either add answers or even better edit answer to improve it and include "support" for other versions of Drupal. The idea and the way SE works, is that you create a catalogue of answers to various problems that always will be valid. This isn't quite true for Drupal, but I think trying go down this road would be better than the alternative.

  • Using this approach, do you think it is also OK then for (eg) D7 related questions to also post answers like "If this question was about D8, this is how the answer looks like ..."? Similar to this D8 answer to a D7 question. And if D8 answers for D7 questions are OK, then what about D7 answers for D8 questions also, e.g. for these questions? – Pierre.Vriens Jan 13 '17 at 12:43
  • This is essentially what I was going to write up, and it similar to what other SE sites do as software evolves. – mpdonadio Jan 13 '17 at 16:22
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    I -1 this since I disagree. – No Sssweat Jan 15 '17 at 7:48
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    If anything, I can argue that the current method is making it more concentrated. On initial thought, this suggestion may sound nice, but logistically how will this work? What happens when a D8 question is asked that has a D7 answer already? Are mods going to merge the questions? Are we willing to lose the D8 question's body, which could contain valuable info. How do we know if the D8 answer has been accepted or that it works? If someone wants to know how to do something in D8 and they know the D7 question already exists, how are they suppose to ask this D8 question? – No Sssweat Jan 17 '17 at 4:51

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