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It seems to me like there is some confusion as to what can and cannot be asked on Meta.

For example,


  • Why does x not work?
  • What the heck does Welbog's avatar mean?
  • Will x be implemented?
  • Is Jeff Atwood a vampire (I have evidence)?
  • Is there a way to do x?
  • I just killed Jon B with a pony-mounted laser, what is the best practice for hiding the body?


  • If I kill Batman will I become Batman?
  • Why does SO not have x feature that y site has?
  • Why did I lose x rep?
  • User x is posting spam, what to do?11!
  • Why am I not as cool as Welbog?

Definitely cannot

  • Which is better, unicorns or waffles.
  • Why are Welbog and Jon B vandalizing my questions?
  • Why don't we all downvote Jon Skeet and see what happens?
  • What happened to Rich B.?
  • When will Jon Skeet reach x rep?
  • What questions should NOT be asked on Meta?
  • What is your Google Wave ID?

I realize this is partially covered in the FAQ, but there is still some confusion. Stuff is still getting posted that ought not to.

So please summarize for me, in the best way you can, what should NOT be discussed here.

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closed as not constructive by Ladybug Killer, Jon B, fretje, Neil Butterworth, perbert May 19 '10 at 18:37

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

........ this one :p – Randolpho May 19 '10 at 17:45
@Ran: C'mon, I'm asking an honest question. – uɐɯsO uɐɥʇɐN May 19 '10 at 17:51
I think this is a valid question, but some realistic "Cannot" examples would help this from being closed... – Jon Seigel May 19 '10 at 17:51
Okay. Give me a couple minutes to think of some. – uɐɯsO uɐɥʇɐN May 19 '10 at 17:54
There. Hope that's better. Feel free to edit if you think of others. – uɐɯsO uɐɥʇɐN May 19 '10 at 17:59
Your new examples aren't really cannots. "Why did I lose rep" is a valid support question. Any discussion about features is fine. Questions about how to handle spammers are fine. – user27414 May 19 '10 at 18:00
That was Welbog that added "that question", for the record. – uɐɯsO uɐɥʇɐN May 19 '10 at 18:03
@Welbog wins. :) – user27414 May 19 '10 at 18:07
I like where this edit history is going. – Jon Seigel May 19 '10 at 18:07
Sigh... 10k users... – uɐɯsO uɐɥʇɐN May 19 '10 at 18:12
All in a day's work, citizen! You're safe from harm now, @George, now that The Encapsulator is your protector! – JSONBog May 19 '10 at 18:15
But... what exactly did happen to Rich B? – Randolpho May 19 '10 at 18:22
@Rand - banned for one year. – user27414 May 19 '10 at 18:25
@George - that's not for me to say, and it's really none of our business. – user27414 May 19 '10 at 18:43
@George - I voted to close early on because the tone of the question seemed "pointless". – user27414 May 19 '10 at 19:32

From the FAQ:

What kind of questions should I not ask here?

Avoid asking questions that have nothing to do with the above websites. This is not a random discussion board, this is a place for improving our community and websites!


  • Questions about specific users are generally frowned upon.
  • Anything the community considers "pointless" (including jokes).

There are exceptions to every rule, but these are few and far between.

share|improve this answer
Then how come "Jon Skeet Facts" is still open? – uɐɯsO uɐɥʇɐN May 19 '10 at 17:53
"generally frowned upon". The Jon Skeet Facts question is a rare example of a post about a specific user that the community considers worthwhile. – user27414 May 19 '10 at 17:54
@George, It was a migration. – Lance Roberts May 19 '10 at 17:54
@George There's a blog post that covered why the Jon Skeet Facts were kept. – Grace Note May 19 '10 at 17:56
What about some of the others? Like the "StackOverflow Conspiracy"? – uɐɯsO uɐɥʇɐN May 19 '10 at 18:01
I'm not familiar with that one, @George. However, examples of exceptions to the rules do not invalidate the rules. – user27414 May 19 '10 at 18:02
Jon - Here you go: – Grace Note May 19 '10 at 18:03
Oh yeah. I tuned that one out. – user27414 May 19 '10 at 18:06
@Jon Yes it invalidates it when the exceptions out number everything else and Im willing to bet its much closer than you think. – Locutus May 19 '10 at 18:10
@Locutus Outnumber everything? There are 11 thousand questions on Meta. Probably no more than 3% of them are these exceptions. Only ~1800 non-deleted questions are closed. We have a lot more on-topic questions than not-on-topic. – Grace Note May 19 '10 at 18:12

Don't ask questions that make it look like you're bored (unless it's Friday).

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But every day of the week before Friday is when I'm the most bored – Bob May 19 '10 at 18:04
(Or unless you add freehand circles) – The Unhandled Exception May 19 '10 at 18:30

People who hang out on Meta more than a little — i.e. too much — know that it's looser than the "real" sites; see shameless plug for my FAQ proposal, where I encourage you to add to the discussion. Depending on the day new users come to Meta cough Friday cough, they might get a skewed impression of the site. Specifically, what gets lost sometimes is the true purpose of Meta: discussion about how SO-family sites work and suggestions for how they can be improved.

The items in your "Cannot" "Definitely cannot" list are out-and-out jokes, or at least intentionally silly. Jokes aren't banned, but they don't support the true purpose of Meta, either. Meta is not officially the Third Place. So yes, go ahead and joke if you like, but if the community doesn't consider a given joke to be funny, don't expect it to get upvoted or even stay open.

The edge case is Rich B.; that's just disallowed because it's considered a private matter for that user.

EDIT: The items in your "Cannot" list are instances where the user should have read the FAQ before rushing to post, and/or dupes. But they're usually answered satisfactorily before being closed.

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No question can escape being relevant in the infinite suck hole that is META!!!!!

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Why did you change your name, Chacha? – uɐɯsO uɐɥʇɐN May 19 '10 at 18:06
@George Happened after several "-1 for tradition" comments – Grace Note May 19 '10 at 18:08
@cco: There has been a recent string of name changes... – uɐɯsO uɐɥʇɐN May 19 '10 at 18:11
@George It will be returning Jun 10 2010 – Tyler Carter May 19 '10 at 18:14
@Tradition @Chacha are you trying to lower your rep? – rlb.usa May 19 '10 at 18:15
@rlb.usa Well, you are successfully lowering yours :) – Tyler Carter May 19 '10 at 18:18

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