We have a number of questions tagged on the site. When questions about this product should be allowed is a grey area. InfoPath is used to design electronic forms, however it does integrate with SharePoint. Specifically:

According to our FAQ:

We accept questions about the SharePoint platform

Therefore, examples of InfoPath questions that are probably on topic:

  1. Best way to deal with a large form to list submission
  2. Restrict other user to access opened web-based InfoPath form
  3. InfoPath forms not working when ViewFormPagesLockDown enabled

Examples that are a grey area (for me anyway):

  1. Can you email different sections to different people from one form created in infopath and submitted to sharepoint?
  2. How to constraint InfoPath form page view to certain group of users
  3. How do I close an InfoPath form page programmatically?

Examples that are probably off topic:

  1. InfoPath 2007 field that depend on other field outcome
  2. How to clear / reset a group of fields in a InfoPath form
  3. Save Web-based InfoPath form with the title as its file name

One indicator is whether the answers given explain using the SharePoint platform, or configuring/editing something in the form itself that isn't related to SharePoint. However I don't think we want to leave questions open waiting for the right SharePoint-related answer to come along!

One important point that should be made is that just because an InfoPath form is rendered in SharePoint, it doesn't mean that any questions about InfoPath should be allowed on this basis.

So, when do you think questions about InfoPath on topic?

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4 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

To summarize our discussions with Stack Exchange community manager @GraceNote, we will allow InfoPath questions as long as they clearly demonstrate integration with SharePoint.

If the question is only about InfoPath it will be considered off topic. We can recommend users ask their question on InfoPath Dev.

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2 of 3 answers 'marked' as off topic are mine so I feel obligated to post something :)

I would say that any InfoPath question that is not directly connected with InfoPath Forms Services is off topic.

Problem is that it is sometimes hard (maybe because of low question quality) to determine is question on or off topic eg. 3rd question you marked as off topic is IMO 100% on topic.

Another problem is that most of users never worked with InfoPath until they started developing things on SharePoint (I know I am one). So is it wise to forbid some simple InfoPath questions here?

According to our Faq:

Questions that are extremely off topic, or of very low quality, may be removed at the discretion of the community and moderators

I don't see so many 'extremely off topic' questions here on SPSE. I also see that some are closed after no answer is provided - IMO this should be community policy. Let all InfoPath questions in but keep an eye on them and close them if no answer is provided in month (?)

Last month there were 26 questions tagged with InfoPath and only few of them were off topic. They cannot have too much impact on overall site quality.

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I wasn't targeting your questions by the way, just looking through more recent ones! I didn't realise a couple were yours. –  Alex Angas Sep 18 '11 at 22:58
    
Out of the answers posted so far, I think @Vedran's is the closes to how I feel. In general, we want to help people get answers to their question. We should use the policy to our benefit when trying to clean up but allow questions about Infopath integrating with SharePoint. –  Kit Menke Sep 19 '11 at 15:56
    
It seems what you are saying is that any InfoPath question is valid as long as it applies to a form published to SharePoint. Up until SP 2010 I wouldn't have agreed. Now that we have SharePoint list forms that can be created in InfoPath, this starts to become true. My biggest worry is that we mix in the size and breadth of content similar to InfoPath Dev. Will this be a positive thing for the site's users and the quality of its content? –  Alex Angas Sep 20 '11 at 8:15
    
I have also noticed that lately we are receiving IP questions in bulks - one user posting several IP questions in row. Now if one or even few of them are off topic... by answering few, closing few - I think we will send wrong message. –  Vedran Rasol Sep 20 '11 at 19:22
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After talking to @GraceNote, I think Infopath now falls in a similar category as SharePoint Designer.. especially with the release of 2010. For consistency, I think they should be allowed as long as they are clearly integrating with SharePoint. We should consider the question off topic if is only about Infopath (maybe we can forward them to InfoPath Dev?). –  Kit Menke Sep 21 '11 at 15:54
    
@KitMenke, I do agree with you that Infopath falls in a similar category as SharePoint Designer. I also post some InfoPath questions with InfoPathDev (infopathdev.com/forums) but have not get any single reply yet unlike in SharePoint stackexchange. (I was wondering if my questions was "off-topic" at InfoPath Dev - if that is the case, may I assume if "off-topic" question posted at InfoPath Dev can be posted in here?) –  Larry Morries Sep 23 '11 at 1:09
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I think that when using SharePoint you get in touch with so many technologies that it may not be obvious to some people if the problem is SharePoint related or not. Just think about the "Disable loopback check" issue. Strictly speaking thats not an issue about the SharePoint-platform but a Windows Server one. However the answer is very useful to people who use this platform.

So maybe we can find a "softer" definition about what is on- or off topic, like:

Questions about InfoPath are welcome as long they seem to be relevant the people that are using SharePoint.

I know that's vague. But I think it reflects our status quo where we allow a lot of these questions. We could do the same discussion about Outlook, Office, Visual Studio, FIM, SQL Server, etc.. In the end we try to offer a place where people can ask question they are facing when working with SharePoint.

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I don't think we should make the FAQ more vague... but I do agree that we could be a bit more lenient with some questions. –  Kit Menke Sep 19 '11 at 15:54
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I do agree with Vedran on the following point:

Another problem is that most of users never worked with InfoPath until they started developing things on SharePoint (I know I am one).

In fact, most questions on InfoPath are much related to the Form library and the InfoPath Form services and also Web-based InfoPath form while the remaining ones may be related to Office Form Server.

In my opinion, I do suggested that unique InfoPath question remain in SharePoint Stack Exchange since InfoPath and SharePoint are like "brothers and sisters". (Unless one day, we have a InfoPath Stack Exchange.)

Also, regardless the question is simple or hard, as long as they are related to SharePoint, it should remain as a question. This is because some hard questions to someone may look simple and some simple questions to someone may look hard.

Lastly, edit or customizing InfoPath form to be used in SharePoint platform should also be classify as SharePoint question. This is because, the editing or customize of the form may indirectly or directly have impact to the form library in the SharePoint. (Unless the user is referring to InfoPath form used on Office Form Server. Yes, I know that there can be still grey area but I believe that the community can ask the person who post the question on his/her objectives.)

Just my opinion and for all to consider.

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