Here's an issue that I perceive:

  • Google Groups and systems that mimic Usenet are technologically poor avenues for Q&A (at least relative to what Stack Exchange has evolved.)

  • Stack Overflow has fairly aggressive criteria for closing or downvoting "unwelcome questions". While I've found out that "too localized" has gotten the axe as a close reason, I am skeptical that a question like "Why can't I compile dungeon.red" would receive a welcoming response.

(Correct me if I'm wrong, but established convention seems to be that questions regarding problems or bugs in an incidental demo program I wrote, would be deemed as unfit here... and belonging on, say, a Google Group instead. But this gets back to point #1: why shoo people and make them use something not good... with no markdown preview, no versioning, no wiki updating, etc. etc.?)

Could certain questions that are "not good enough for Stack Overflow"--be marked with some kind of "second-class-citizen" status? Maybe they don't show up on the general site, but only to users who are subscribed to a certain tag... or go to the absolute bottom of search results? Could there be a way to let Q&A which may not be of paramount interest live here? A softer triage than "close", allowing the interested parties to have access to the questions and answers?

  • If I understand you're propsing allowing off topic questions to survive in small sub communities? Feb 9, 2014 at 10:32
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    It might be worth seperating this into a background and question section. As it takes a bit of reading to get to the main point Feb 9, 2014 at 10:38
  • @RichardTingle The famous saying is "I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead." I notice that people on SO seem to always ask people to write more, while on meta there's a constant refrain to write less. :-/ I prefer context, myself, but it's possible to throw it all away and get to the point... so be it. Feb 9, 2014 at 11:48
  • Thats not what I mean, I just mean make the question stand out from the background <edit> although actually you seem to have done that Feb 9, 2014 at 11:49
  • This was already discussed before. Feb 9, 2014 at 12:44
  • "questions regarding problems or bugs in an incidental demo program I wrote, would be deemed as unfit here" -- why? If it's about programming, it's welcome on SO (if not asked before and if asked properly). But maybe you're adding too much irrelevant context to those questions?
    – Arjan
    Feb 9, 2014 at 13:10
  • (And I am not a native English speaker, but searching deems "non-notable" gives your post as the 2nd hit...! Maybe rephrase that?)
    – Arjan
    Feb 9, 2014 at 13:13
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    @HostileFork more context is fine, but you need to try some more formatting tricks to avoid long paragraphs. When you do just write long paragraphs, people tend to skim them rather than read it in details, and for questions, that can be extremely problematic. Feb 9, 2014 at 13:33
  • God, I swear, this site is abrasive at times. Downvotes, eh whatever. I appreciate @ShadowWizard finding a related post to help focus the discussion. But I don't appreciate the apparently Twitter-attention-span people who think my edited question is somehow "too long". There's a highly upvoted "can we be nicer to the noobs" post (also generally ignored in practice) but how about being nicer to the people going to bat for the SE methodology? Too much to ask? Feb 9, 2014 at 14:58
  • @HostileFork people just disagree with your suggestion to create a separate site for those questions. Nothing here is personal or hostile. Feb 9, 2014 at 15:00
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    @ShadowWizard I understand disagreement and downvoting as a meta convention. It is not that. It's the baseline lack of friendliness or civility. If I get sick to my stomach trying to interact with people on meta nearly every time I use it, I call that a usability problem. Feb 9, 2014 at 15:21
  • @HostileFork sorry but why is there "lack of friendliness or civility" here? Who was unfriendly or not civil towards you? Feb 9, 2014 at 15:26
  • @ShadowWizard Let's invert your question and invoke some psychology: who was friendly and civil? Zero validation of concern. Accusations of question being too long. Accusation of search rank regarding usage of the term notability (I don't know how to respond to that). Downvotes. All in response to me trying to figure out how to convince google groups users to embrace StackExchange? And I wonder why they stay away... Feb 9, 2014 at 15:37
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    Think I now understand what you mean but while true, I don't think it's that big of a deal. Once you're inside for long enough you get to see the patterns, get to see some internal humour and most important develop thick skin to defend yourself when delving into a discussion or expressing unpopular opinions. Been there, done that. Feb 9, 2014 at 17:33

1 Answer 1


Too localized

This close reason is long dead. Questions which are highly specific are not automatically closed (they may be off topic for other reasons). Small groups can certainly be well served and probably wouldn't even fall foul of "too localised" which even when it existed was largely used to mean "not likely to be useful to anyone but you".

Off topic questions hidden to all but a few

The majority of closures aren't because they are "off topic" in the conventional sense. It is that they can't be answered in their current form, for example they are unclear. They need editing, not hiding away.

The remainder truly are off topic; these again shouldn't be hidden away in a sub site, this dilutes the focus of the site. If they have sufficient support they should get their own site, which should be proposed in Area51

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