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Proposal: India

I am feeling like the site is too broad, since asking questions about each and everything related to India would be too fragmented. Can we have a list of topics which should be there in the site? And can we please shoot down the questions which are off-topic. I am giving it a headstart, with the following list and will keep editing it, as the discussion goes forward. Please keep suggesting more topics.

On Topic:

Off Topic:

  • Bollywood - The questions which can overlap with Movies SE. However implications of any particular movie or any such entertainment product on our culture, should be On-Topic.

Topics yet to sort out

Important Points:

  • Questions which can be answered by simply Googling should be discouraged, especially when the intent of posting the question is just curosity of the OP.
  • Questions that can hurt any community's sentiments should be highly moderated.
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    I think History should be on-topic. Agreed with the other on-topic and off-topic points. I have a question about Indian literature are they allowed or not? I think they should not but wana be sure. – Ankit Sharma Feb 8 '13 at 15:30
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    Great, will add Literature to the list too – noob Feb 8 '13 at 15:32
  • I think we should stop refering to google about every point and another point is that someday someone might look for an answer and find out a better answer on this site about INDIA rather than visiting various sites on google. I think this site(as its name suggests)should be a container for everything about INDIA. But every question asked should be strictly related to INDIA. – DroidDev Jun 25 '13 at 8:49
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Disclaimer: I think India is not just a country, it is an idea which got around and held its ground since times immemorial. We are not an ideal country, but I think no country is. There are people in every country who are unhappy with their country, who feel misrepresented/marginalized, and who would rather live in some other country. I am trying my best to be neutral and to not embarrass India or any Indian or anyone else. So, kindly do not treat this answer, in part or in whole as anti-India or anti-anyone/anything.

IMHO anything and everything that relates to being Indian, or experiencing India from an inside or outside perspective should be on-topic. Expecting readymade, cookbook answers to off the top of your head questions should not be a priority. Therefore, most questions will need to be evaluated at their individual merit, including how well a question was written. A good reason explaining the thinking before a question can be very helpful in such cases. For example, I would call the following question invalid:

What were the emoluments of European employees working in Indian Government before our independence? How did it compare to their Indian counterparts' salary?

This is because such information can be easily accessed via the internet, or some local library. Adding it here will be of no value.

But the following question seems valid (albeit it can be made a lot better):

How did the difference in emoluments and benefits of European and Indian employees working in Indian Government before our independence affect the course of our Independence struggle?

I think it is a valid question since it can lead us to the socio-economic issues that led the people to start questioning the authority of British rule, like different roles and standards in duty and ceremonies (parades etc) for Europeans and Indians serving in the Army, and the visible and glass-ceiling-natured limits that were imposed on Indians serving under the crown, military or not.

I think the following types of questions should be allowed:

1. Information for the benefit of some Indian national for getting work done in our government offices.

We are not the luckiest of nations in having a very opposite of smooth frictional system of public-government interaction. Almost everyone can narrate some experience of being treated as a second-rate citizen in a too-lame-to-be-false experience (like "I helped a person who was hurt in an accident, took him to hospital and all, and the police made me the main suspect in the subsequent hit-and-run case because ..."). Most of the people, educated or not, do not know about their rights and are mostly not interested in getting their rights enforced even if they know what these are. But, questions related to a specific problem only should be entertained here. Mostly, these will be questions involving dilemma on the part of the asker, or a deadlock-like situation between two or more departments/offices etc. For example, the following question is invalid (because information is available via Google):

What is the procedure to receive an Indian passport?

But the following question is valid IMHO since the person has a valid, specific problem and needs to know what to do:

I applied for an Indian passport, but the people at the Passport Office want me to bring a birth certificate signed by the Chief Medical Officer of the district that I was born in. I do not remember my date of birth (to people in first world: this happens) and my birth was not registered in my home district. Passport office people say they cannot process my application further, and CMO office people tell me that it is not possible for them to provide me said document in the absence of any information about my birth. What should I do?

2. Questions about our culture

Questions about our culture, from insiders or outsiders should be welcome, but again, a google test should be applied to those. In addition, questions that are too specific to some subject other than India should not be allowed. Invalid question:

What was the diet of the people in the Harappan times?

This is more suited to history or dietary forums. This is supposed to be a forum about India.

Valid (but still not polished enough) question:

What have been the effects of our history of foreign rule over the last few centuries on the diet of Indians?

This question can lead to the acceptance of Muslim rulers, and later the British. It can include the fact that the general population went through a lot of suffering and hardship during the British rule, with frequent famines etc. (so dietary habits just went off the radar for some time, and continued if you survived), and also the recent invasion of fast/junk food in our diet.

I think culture includes literature and art, including movies. A question that includes Chetan Bhagat's book Five Point Someone, the movie 3 Idiots and our education system in general and its insistence on producing rote learners and not self-dependent, self-aware citizens can rarely be wrong. On the other hand, a question about Chetan Bhagat's other book, say the Night in a Call Center book may not be such a great question.

Culture also should include other things like sports and general public practices, like dowry and child marriage.

3. Government Policies (and National Politics)

Interpretations of different government policies. Invalid (too board, non-specific) question:

What are the implications of changes in major monetary operations in our economy?

Valid question:

What are the implications of increase/decrease in the Repo/reverse-Repo rates by RBI in our economy, especially for the costs of items of daily use, like food, clothes, paper etc?

IMHO, normally questions regarding our national policies should be focused around recent events, unless the content is related to some unique/exceptional or historically important policy decisions.

I think foreign policy and politics at national level should be accepted to a limit, since these topics can divide opinions faster and more effectively than most other topics, and in a manner that is bad for forum discussions (flame wars!).

4. Things related to concepts originated in India

Including, but not limited to:

5. Life

This part might overlap with culture. Life in India can be discussed under two heads: concepts of life in India and our performance vis a vis the world in terms of Human Development Index etc.

The concepts of life in India can include questions involving caste, religion, demographics, regionalism, support for the differently abled, economic divide, generation gap in our context etc. Again, there is a risk of foul tempers in Q/A, so questions in this category might need to be heavily moderated.

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    Great!! Thanks for the time you took to make that post. It surely clears many of the doubts regarding the site's future. – noob Feb 11 '13 at 7:35
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    I read everything you said, but cannot agree with everything that can be found on the net should be discouraged.See Jeffs blog on this issue: Are some questions too easy to answer! – Mistu4u Feb 11 '13 at 14:20
  • @Mistu4u I get what you are saying. I think you want to say that there has to be a balance between content-quality and (new)user satisfaction. I think Jeff himself has answered our dilemma on this topic with his flowchart image. And I think this is what we should follow. – KK. Feb 12 '13 at 15:05
  • @Mistu4u p.s. I think I think a lot, its utility is a matter of question, though. :-) – KK. Feb 12 '13 at 15:05
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As I've said here, the current scope is too broad. History, Culture, and Government/politics are very different topics, and will probably create a site with disjoint communities.

  • As this site is going to be about INDIA so it doesn't matter if the questions are about History, Culture or Government/politics, they might be different topics but these questions if fall under INDIA should or can be asked on this site. – DroidDev Jun 25 '13 at 9:11
  • @Vishwas Fine, I never said anything contrary to that. However, that doesn't stop it from being too broad. – Manishearth Jun 25 '13 at 9:15
  • I agree with you saying that this will be a broad site, but don't you think my friend that a site about a whole nation has got to be broad as this is going to be? – DroidDev Jun 25 '13 at 10:21
  • @Vishwas Thing is, a broad site won't work as well in the SE framework unless it quickly gets a whole bunch of followers. On the other hand, three separate sites seems reasonable as they focus on a topic. – Manishearth Jun 25 '13 at 10:24
  • yes you are right about working of site, but another point is that this site truly will not be about INDIA until or unless it doesn't cover up all of the topics about the nation. I think we should tell more people about this site and get as many folks involved as we can, to get a good and healthy site. – DroidDev Jun 25 '13 at 10:31
  • I agree with @Vishwas. India in itself is a broad nation and as a matter of fact, any discussion about our nation will also be broad. If we decide to shell out certain topics from this site, we will definitely not be creating a perfect site about India. But I do understand your concern about the site's possibility of gaining quick followers. Could we not do something to spread the word about this site? There are millions who are interested about our nation and their interests are diversified too. We could probably use social networking sites to increase the popularity of our site. – Dharmaputhiran Jul 1 '13 at 14:13
  • @Dineshkumar No, I mean broad horizontally. "India is a broad nation" doesn't really do anything about the site's broadness. Splitting it into three focused sites is better as it will lead to a more coherent community. – Manishearth Jul 1 '13 at 14:21
  • @Manishearth don't you think that splitting the site into three sites will also get the same bunch of followers as a single site is going to get. Same people will be following three different sites or there might be minor variations in followers. But people who want to know about INDIA will want it on one place, but not divided into three different places. – DroidDev Jul 2 '13 at 7:06
  • @Vishwas No, the active community. Not followers. – Manishearth Jul 2 '13 at 7:10
  • @Manishearth your concerns about a very broad site are true, but i don't see many people supporting the idea of individual sites for a particular domain. So i guess, what we can do now is to gather support for this proposal, so that it can be a success. – DroidDev Jul 2 '13 at 10:24
  • @Vishwas From what I've seen, there has been a steady trickle in the individual domains, it will get there eventually. The main issue with a broad site is that it will launch prematurely -- there will be a lot of people wanting the site, but very few experts since the overall topic is too broad. – Manishearth Jul 2 '13 at 10:27
  • @Manishearth I agree with your point of premature launch of site and also with less expertise in starting, but question is what we can do to prevent it? Either we should gather support for(your idea of) individual sites, so that we can have a healthy site or we can tell people about this proposal(INDIA), so that this site can flourish. Either way you have to get more and more people involved, which for now, i don't see happening around here, at least in this discussion. – DroidDev Jul 2 '13 at 10:33
  • @Vishwas I repeat: the individual site proposals exist, and they were steadily gaining support (though the creation of this proposal has slowed that down) – Manishearth Jul 2 '13 at 10:35
  • @Manishearth I have seen those proposals(Indian Culture), there are others for hindi and sanskrit language and there is another for INDIAN languages.But all of those are in definition phase and yes this site proposal has slowed their growth. But we shouldn't discuss what should be done, rather we should discuss what we can do now, in current circumstances. That would be more productive. – DroidDev Jul 2 '13 at 10:43
  • @Vishwas Yes, and I only brought that up because you mentioned that they weren't getting traction -- I wanted to point out that that was false. What can we do now? I don't know. I posted this answer while this was still in definition, when such discussions made sense -- you're the one who started this particular discussion. What can we do now? Nothing, just wait and watch and hope the site doesn't fail due to low quality. – Manishearth Jul 2 '13 at 10:50

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