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I'm sure we've all seen questions asked on MSE by new users, who think that this is a place to ask questions about parenting (as one did just tonight, but was deleted very quickly) or programming or any other topic under the sun. I think (though I have no evidence) that this happens because people hear about "stackexchange.com" being a good place for getting answers to questions (which it is), but don't realize that we have a network of sites. Meta is probably the site that comes closest to being a central site of Stack Exchange, so they'll post their "blatantly off-topic" questions here.

I think one way to help fix this is to block users that don't have accounts on other sites from asking questions here. In any event, they shouldn't have anything to ask about (bugs, site policy, etc.) if they don't use the network at all.

  • 4
    Meh, there's an extremely high chance that they'd just post somewhere else on the network. At least here there's a good volume of users prepared to deal with it. – Tim Stone Jan 18 '15 at 5:00
  • Related (I think): meta.stackexchange.com/q/177485/266359 – Shokhet Jan 19 '15 at 2:47
10

I agree it would help solve programming and other wildly off-topic questions, but it would be at the expense of at least several legimate uses:

  • Site recommendations and asking if particular questions are suitable anyhwere on the Stack Exchange network.

  • Companies seeking information on subjects such as advertisting and Careers 2.0.

While the person who posted Can I post a survey for my masters thesis on stack exchange? does have an account elsewhere despite the negative reception the question received it's still better than having them post their survey on 100+ SE sites without asking beforehand.

  • Your first bullet point makes sense to me, but wouldn't the second be accomplished much faster/more officially by contacting SE directly by email? – Shokhet Jan 18 '15 at 20:30
  • I guess in most cases and especially for pricing, although I've seen a few posts about general policy that could be handy to know (for them and others) upfront before making official contact. – PeterJ Jan 18 '15 at 23:16
  • I guess that makes sense. Have a silver badge ;-) – Shokhet Jan 18 '15 at 23:21

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