I recently asked a question on SO that was related to Scrum as a development process (More productive Grooming Sessions), and it was closed within a day for being offtopic. A comment suggested that it would be a better fit for programmers.

Before asking the question on SO, I had a look and noticed that there were quite a few questions related to Scrum as a process, which received answers and were not closed:

Based on this, I thought that the question would be fine for SO and posted it.

Now looking again after the question was closed, I noticed that a good deal of the questions in the scrum tag (https://stackoverflow.com/questions/tagged/scrum) are closed for being offtopic.

It would be great to have a better detection of potentially offtopic questions when composing the question. If SO had told me that the question would probably a better fit for programmers, then I would have posted it there in the first place.

Wouldn't it make sense to detect questions with similar content and then see that a good percentage of them have been closed as being offtopic and then communicating that to the user?


I think the major problem with such an idea is that there would be far too many false positives, making things extremely more difficult for users who are posting on-topic questions. Additionally, there would be way too many false-negatives, meaning it wouldn't be very useful, to begin with.

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  • Oh, I absolutely agree, that's definitely a risk. – nwinkler Feb 21 '13 at 10:01
  • agreed .. we can not create enough intelligent robot at present .. or in other word AI is not yet developed at that level – NullPoiиteя Feb 21 '13 at 10:04
  • It still would be nice to have some more advanced guidance. Taking a look at the scrum tag is quite frustrating, with a good amount of the questions being closed as off-topic. If we could somehow avoid that ... – nwinkler Feb 21 '13 at 10:21

In most cases, you would still need actual people to assess whether the flag was indeed correct. Telling the user upfront that their question has an off-topic likelihood of 67.8% doesn't really say much.

Having said that, this idea may be useful to flag certain questions (just like posts of new users) for a potential "off-topic" review queue.

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This is the reason why particular tags are removed - to stop people from selecting them. If you can't select a tag you want to use then it should be a clue that the question you're trying to ask is off-topic for the site.

If scrum questions (or any other topic that tends to get asked incorrectly) are off-topic for the site then the better approach is to request that tag itself be removed rather than blocking all questions that refer to it in the question text.

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