There seem to have been a lot more closures lately for questions that are unreasonably scoped and / or solicit discussion. Do we have a canonical answer to refer these questions to, especially the ones that solicit discussion? I would prefer to close those questions as a duplicate and include some high level guidance on where to look for answers.

Maybe even specific other places to look, maybe just criteria to look for. Seems most of the time peoplrle just don't know what to look for.

I know the FAQ handles this at a high level but it isn't a great resource for where to go or what to look for given that category of questions.

  • 1
    Isn't that what meta is for? Feb 4, 2013 at 6:50
  • 1
    I was thinking about creating a meta question ask 'what alternate venues exist for asking discussiony sysadmin questions'.
    – Zoredache
    Feb 4, 2013 at 9:09
  • 2
    I take exception to the idea of closing a question as a duplicate because it's off-topic. There's an off-topic close reason built-in that should be used. If you want to provide the question asker more detail as to why it was closed then add a comment. But using the duplicate option just because you can link to another post is a mis-use of the close system. (If that's not what you were suggesting, then disregard, but you did say "I would prefer to close those questions as a duplicate".)
    – longneck
    Feb 5, 2013 at 14:05
  • @longneck, I've come across at least one instance where I voted to close a question as a dupe of another, without realising that other one had already been closed. Feb 6, 2013 at 8:18

2 Answers 2


I don't think the numbers are up but there are more people bringing their grievances to meta which is a good thing providing they get listened to and in return take on board what the community advises.

As to making things clearer, the new /about page (which is broadly the same for the whole of SE) has a few words to say on this ...

SF About

and later it says

what not to ask

Where to send people, there is Where can I ask questions that aren't IT questions? which may be a start or as @Zoredache suggests a new meta question with an answer pointing people to other places. The only trouble there is curating them as, as can be seen from my example it is woefully out of date.


This is a puzzlement.

We can't dupe-close main-site questions with meta-questions, so a meta-based canonical doesn't work so good (for a good example of this, look at the *AMP canonical questions).

We could try to make such a question on the main site, probably by doing the 'answer your own question' thing since it would get NC-closed within minutes. And it would get closed, as it would so flagrantly not belong there. We'd have to historical-lock it, which makes updating it tricksy.

This one is going to take some planning, but I think there is some value there. Though in all honesty, chat is the, er, canonical spot for discussiony things. It's just that our chat isn't.

  • 1
    Our chat is fine for discussions. I point people there all the time. It's just not a place for "Help me troubleshoot my dead Exchange server step-by-step in real time"
    – MDMarra
    Feb 4, 2013 at 13:12
  • 3
    @MDMarra: 'Our chat is fine for discussions' - providing you are able to control the web content filtering for your $site and are brave enough to leap into somewhere that is pretty much an electronic locker room.
    – user9517
    Feb 4, 2013 at 13:28
  • @Iain If it's really as bad as you're making it out to be, why don't you chat ban people? You're a mod - moderate.
    – MDMarra
    Feb 4, 2013 at 14:18
  • 3
    @MDMarra: I believe y'all can swear and be offensive if you feel the need but as ever you miss the point. It doesn't make for a pleasant environment to join in and engage in discussion.
    – user9517
    Feb 4, 2013 at 15:18
  • 1
    @Iain Chat is a Stack Exchange product meant to extend the main site. It's where the discussions that are not allowed on main are supposed to happen. That might be part of the reason we have so many disgruntled users lately. Seriously, if you think it's a problem then let's do something about it. Personally, I think the level of cursing is fine, even for a noob just joining, but there's plenty of other stuff that should be bounced out of that room. I'm not being factious.
    – MDMarra
    Feb 4, 2013 at 15:20
  • If you think there is stuff that needs bouncing then either ping one or more of the (many) blues or flag it, the former being preferred as it doesn't bring every man and his dog to the party.
    – user9517
    Feb 4, 2013 at 20:21

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .