On both the Gaming site and the Board and Card Game site, I asked the following question:

Is there a single player PC game with similar mechanics to the Twilight Imperium board game?

This question spans two topics: board games and video games. It was closed on the board game site because video games are off topic. It was closed on Gaming because game recommendations are off topic. I understand that the question is technically off topic for both sites, but it is also related to both sites. Is there a way to ask this question and get an answer while on the Stack Exchange network (or in other words, without having to go to other forum sites)?

The reason I ask is because as the number of Stack Exchange sites increase, it seems questions like these could become more common. I did find this question that seems related to what I'm asking; however, the difference is that my question did not fit nicely into either Gaming or Board and Card Games and therefore was technically off topic for both.


No, there are certain types of questions that are generally considered off-topic across the entire Stack Exchange network because they're not a good fit to our Q&A system. In particular, questions that have multiple correct answers (polls), or those that invite mere opinions and extended discussion.

That's what the Gaming folks were really trying to tell you when they said that game recommendations are off-topic there. And not only are they off-topic there, they're off-topic everywhere. You can find a more thorough discussion of this topic in this blog article: Q&A is Hard, Let’s Go Shopping!

The reason I ask is because as the number of Stack Exchange sites increase, it seems questions like these could become more common.

Yes, that's true. It seems that there are a lot of people out there with these types of questions. But that doesn't make them on topic for SE. We've experimented with allowing these types of questions before, and it just didn't go well. Some people/sites still have battle scars from the experience.

Unfortunately, it isn't possible and doesn't make sense to just create a Stack Exchange site for questions that are off-topic on all other Stack Exchange sites. As you mention, there are other forum sites on the Internet that fill this void (pun intended). We simply can't be everything for all people. In order to be the best, you have to pick a goal or a focus, and then stick to it.

As far as the more general question here—i.e., where to ask a question that is on topic for a SE site, and is actually on topic for multiple SE sites...

You should take a look at and/or refer others to this recent blog article: Respect the community – your own, and others’.

Basically, if your question fits within the scope of allowed topics on one of the sites, then you should be able to ask it there, regardless of whether it might also fit on another site. Pick the site where you think you'll get the best answers (i.e., the one where you think the community includes more experts on your topic of interest), and then ask your question there.

  • Very well put. Thank you.
    – Dave
    Mar 30 '12 at 3:06

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