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The On-Topic section is really the core of what defines a site. In the former FAQ sections, it was prominently placed and easy to identify. Now in the Help Center, it is buried half way down and 3 columns over. I knew what I was looking for and it still took me several minutes to find.

Such a key piece of information about what defines a site should be much more readily accessible. I propose that the On-Topic section should be somehow worked in to the main Here's How It Works graphic or at least directly on the Tour page.

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You may want to add your suggestion to the list on meta.stackexchange.com/questions/182812/… –  apaul34208 Jun 5 '13 at 18:47
    
@apaul34208 - good idea, I will do that as well. –  AJ Henderson Jun 5 '13 at 18:49
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We're going to make some tweaks to the help center landing page next week that will do more to highlight the "what's on topic" page –  Laura Jul 5 '13 at 19:22

3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Based on a bunch of feedback from people who felt the new help center under-emphasizes the on-topic list too much, we've added a big ol' link to the "What topics can I ask about here?" page, front and center on /help.

featured link: what topics can I ask about here?

I'm still thinking about the best way to reorder the categories on this page as well. Several different orderings have been suggested, so no matter what I change it to, someone will be unhappy, but I agree that we can do better than what's currently there. :)

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The The Stack Exchange Model column should switch places with the Asking column.

The first thing you see when you come up right now is stuff about how to edits posts or searching through the site which is important but only when you know the topic of the site.

Current:

enter image description here

Proposed:

enter image description here

I'm sure there a more asking than answering new users so the order would make more sense.

Now,

I'm an experienced StackExchange user and it took me over 5 minutes to find it digging through the Help Center.

Seriously? It would not take anyone more than 10 seconds to find it. The categories make sense and could not be more clear. Maybe if a user has trouble in English it could take him 5 minutes or so but then even changing the layout wouldn't help.

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The problem was I ended up spending time digging through the incorrect headers before I spotted the correct one. I was looking through the tour and the about and What should I avoid asking before I finally got to it. I'm not the only one either. I checked with a few other people in chat and they reported similar difficulty and it was originally raised because another person couldn't find the info anymore to link it to someone posting off topic. –  AJ Henderson Jun 5 '13 at 19:03
    
@AJHenderson I understand. But then I recommand you read the headers before digging. That's their one and only purpose. But as stated in my answer I agree that it should not be in the third column since it's the first thing new users should see. –  ʞunɥdɐpɐɥd Jun 5 '13 at 19:04
    
Yeah, if you take a very careful look in trying to select where it is, then you are likely to find it correctly pretty quick, but all the places I checked are places that really should have the information. Swapping Asking to the first column and putting what's on topic as the first in the column would help a lot though. Once I got to the section with categories, it was the second thing I tried, but I expected it to be before the categories. –  AJ Henderson Jun 5 '13 at 19:06
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The proposed layout makes more sense: Asking and Answering would be in the same column. They are about the essential activities on a Q&A site, and they should be the first two sections visible to the users. –  kiamlaluno Jun 5 '13 at 19:06
    
I don't know when, but this proposed layout change has been implemented (somewhat). Now "Asking" is on the top left, and "Our Model" is on the first row, second column. –  Old Checkmark Jul 20 '13 at 7:01

Alternately, linking that information to About would also work well or any other mechanism that makes the On-Topic section easily accessible.

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This is a good suggestion. But in the help center it is not hard to find at all. –  ʞunɥdɐpɐɥd Jun 5 '13 at 18:48
    
About page is something everybody should read, but they only do it after they realize there is a badge to earn with it. –  Esa Paulasto Jun 5 '13 at 18:49
    
@ʞunɥdɐpɐɥd - I'm an experienced StackExchange user and it took me over 5 minutes to find it digging through the Help Center. That's rather a bit more than I think we should expect of brand new users to the site who we want to become valuable and effective contributors. –  AJ Henderson Jun 5 '13 at 18:50
    
That information is already on the about page... –  animuson Jun 5 '13 at 18:53

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