Proposal: Expatriates

I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask this, but I myself and others have listed off topic examples of questions before, using the 5 example questions we are allocated.

Since each sample question in Area51 has a close menu beside it and a series of close reasons, specifically, off-topic, is it really a good use of our 5 questions to submit examples of off-topic questions?

I myself have stopped purposely posting examples of off-topic questions because they get downvoted or closed, which suggests that this isn't in fact what we're really looking for.

While I'm pretty certain the answer to this question is that the goal is to post 5 great examples of on-topic questions, I'd like to hear this from the official source before I go around commenting on everyone's sample questions, politely suggesting that they replace them with on-topic examples. ;)

To clarify, are we looking for the 40 questions with 10+ upvotes to include questions marked as off-topic that have 10 upvotes, signaling that the community agrees, using upvotes to signal that said questions are off topic.

Here is one example:

Off-Topic Example: How can I set up my computer to handle Japanese/Chinese/Korean/Sanskrit/... documents

And another:

Off-Topic Example: Where can I eat great Portuguese food in London?

From the FAQ:

The goal is to come up with at least 40 questions that embody the topic's scope. When at least 40 questions have a score of at least ten net votes (up minus down), then the proposal is considered "defined."

One might argue that off-topic questions, explicitly declaring what the site is not about through great, examples of bad questions, does indeed help embody the topic's scope. The most important part of a scope is sometimes identifying what you are not going to do.

So, what is the official word on this? If what we're looking for are examples of on-topic questions only, then can we clarify that in the FAQ? If we're also looking for off-topic examples, as provided in the above two examples, could we also clarify that in the FAQ as well. Does the question box in Area51 clarify this too? Could we add something that says: "Reminder! We're looking for on-topic questions".

I believe this needs to be more clear. Thank you ;)

1 Answer 1


Please read the faq: http://area51.stackexchange.com/faq

What makes good questions?

Ask real, expert questions

Ask questions that can be answered

Off-topic questions are important, too

If you have a good, useful question in mind, but aren't completely sure that it's on topic, ask it anyway; others can then discuss the subject and together determine if it is appropriate for the site. Questions that simply don't fit in the scope of the site should be closed, indicating that, while perhaps interesting, this topic is inappropriate for this site. This helps to define the very outer boundary of a site.

When voting, focus on your site

So, ask REAL questions you might ask on the site. If you're not sure if it is on topic, ask it anyway. The voting (and close votes) will tell you if will be on topic for the site.

Incidentally, we stopped soliciting purposely off-topic questions as part of the definition process a long time ago.

  • Incidentally, we stopped soliciting purposely off-topic questions as part of the definition process a long time ago. - That's what I thought, and I did see that in the FAQ. But I'm still confused. Thank you for your reply. But since the proposals need 40 questions with 10+ score or higher, am I correct in assuming it's in our best interests for me to, for example, remove my downvoted/closed question and try to write a great, on-topic one instead? I think that's where I'm confused. Should closed questions be upvoted so it counts as one of the 40? Or should we replace them with better ones?
    – jmort253
    May 29, 2012 at 14:10
  • 1
    @jmort253 I'm confused about your confusion. Submit questions you would actually ask on the site. Up-vote the ones you think are useful and on-topic. Why would anyone up-vote a close or off topic question? May 29, 2012 at 14:35
  • 4
    I think the question is: Does a closed question with 10+ upvotes still count for the purpose of moving toward the commitment phase?
    – Flimzy
    May 29, 2012 at 19:03
  • @RobertCartaino - I think it's clear now. Thank you, but it wasn't clear before, despite the information in the FAQ. And it isn't clear to some other users. To put it bluntly, if you're saying we should ask good questions and upvote good questions, then someone needs to tell this guy not to purposely post off-topic questions because he's wasting them. Make sense? Thank you again for your response. Can we clarify this in the FAQ, because apparently the language either isn't that clear, or there's mass hysteria on Area51.
    – jmort253
    May 30, 2012 at 3:01
  • Sorry if I'm coming off as blunt. Your incredulous response made me feel like you think this was a stupid question to ask. I know you're busy, but I hope you know I'm just trying to help ;)
    – jmort253
    May 30, 2012 at 3:11
  • @jmort253 No, I didn't think it was a stupid question. The faq was updated and announcements posted. The whole process has become rather broken, so we're in the process of creating an new process: discuss.area51.stackexchange.com/a/5102/5. In the meantime, if a user isn't posting useful questions, tell them. That's a valid use for comments. There aren't likely to be many improvements added to the current system in these latter days. May 30, 2012 at 14:00
  • @RobertCartaino - Thanks again for your help! I will start commenting and helping people improve the use of their 5 example questions.
    – jmort253
    May 30, 2012 at 19:24

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