Is it just me, or are there more off topic question here on Meta lately?

I'm just wondering if there is anything that can be done about it, or if anything has changed recently that is pushing people here by mistake.

For instance today we have:-

All in the last 3 - 4 hours!

Maybe its just an impression I have, I'm not sure how I would get data to support/disprove my impression.

  • 1
    Looks about normal to me... – Oded Apr 18 '12 at 11:52
  • hmm, maybe I just started noticing them :) – vascowhite Apr 18 '12 at 11:53
  • 1
    Possibly. The moderators may be busy with other things and not removing them as quickly as usual... – Oded Apr 18 '12 at 11:53
  • @vascogotlost Quite possible. I also only started noticing them after a while. – Daniel Fischer Apr 18 '12 at 11:53
  • Nope, that's normal. We get those in waves...and this is duplicate, but I'm too lazy to look for it. – Time Traveling Bobby Apr 18 '12 at 11:54
  • 2
    Just point us in the right direction - we'll throw out close votes that-a-way! There are enough people working on their fancy meta rep and meta fanatic badges to obliterate any off topic post here swiftly ;) – Lix Apr 18 '12 at 11:55
  • I couldn't find any duplicate, I did search, honest I did... – vascowhite Apr 18 '12 at 11:55
  • 1
    One of us moderators usually goes through the front page of Meta each morning and deletes 4 or 5 off-topic questions, so this seems like the normal amount. It looks like you just beat us all here this morning. – Bill the Lizard Apr 18 '12 at 11:58
  • I suppose that could be it. Although I change timezones a lot and tend to see the site at varying times of the (GMT) day. – vascowhite Apr 18 '12 at 11:59

It comes and goes in phases.

We've always had a steady stream of people that find their way here - usually, it appears, as a result of the question ban message they get. Someone usually tries to ask the poster why they came here, but more often than not they don't reply.

If they're not that bothered about posting in the wrong place, then (the argument goes) why should Stack Exchange make it clearer about what's going on.

  • 2
    "If they're not that bothered about posting in the wrong place, then (the argument goes) why should Stack Exchange make it clearer about what's going on." Yes, that seems reasonable to me. – vascowhite Apr 18 '12 at 11:56
  • Someone recently said that they were redirected here and that's why they posted on meta... The plot thickens... – Lix Apr 18 '12 at 11:57
  • 2
    @Lix - They may have mean the link to Meta that comes up when a ban is in place. – Oded Apr 18 '12 at 12:42
  • @ode - Then the message should categorically state that meta is not a place for technical questions... not sure how much that would help - but its a step in the right direction. – Lix Apr 18 '12 at 12:44
  • 1
    @Lix - Possibly, though these people tend to be the ones that don't bother reading anything... – Oded Apr 18 '12 at 12:46
  • Maybe clippycorn would be a better choice then ;) – Lix Apr 18 '12 at 12:50

There are so many reasons for these off topic questions, some of them are-

  1. New user does not read the Faq.
  2. User is banned on one SE site , so they go to another SE site to post their question without thinking.
  3. In the absence of good answers people copy their question between different SE sites without thinking of violation of the Faq.
  4. 1 reputation user may do this for fun, because they have nothing to lose(reputation).

And many more.
We can only flag it for moderator attention or cast close votes if we have enough reputation. A user who does this repeatedly may then be blocked by SE.

  • Thanks for your answer Jason. I am well aware of the reasons, that wasn't my question. It just seems to me that it happens more frequently lately. – vascowhite Apr 18 '12 at 12:30
  • @vascogotlost its a coincident if it appears in some time interval more rapidly – Ankit Sharma Apr 18 '12 at 12:36

Per my observations it looks safe to assume that frequency of such questions follows white noise pattern.


  • Wow! I have no idea what it means, but it looks impressive. You have used colour too, so it must be the right answer :). Seriously, thanks for going to that effort. How did you get the data? – vascowhite Apr 18 '12 at 14:07
  • @vas - that image is taken from the wiki page on white noise :) – Lix Apr 18 '12 at 14:09
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    haha, fell for that well and truly!! – vascowhite Apr 18 '12 at 14:10
  • 1
    Dang, you missed a really good chance to use the science. – Cody Gray Apr 19 '12 at 2:01

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