It's not even remotely uncommon for people to be confused about which site their question goes on. I like to think of myself as a rather seasoned user, and even I have to frequently check the help > tour for multiple sites to see which one my question really belongs on.

I think it would be beneficial for the entire network if we could have some cross site collaboration to create an official Stack Exchange Network flowchart.
Following the flowchart would allow users to determine which site their question belongs on, and it would everyone participating in moderation a standard benchmark for determining whether something is on-topic for the site or belongs elsewhere.

It would help us all see where the gray areas are and remedy them, where perhaps multiple sites are overlapping more than they should and where we should trim and better define them.

We might also discover the inverse - spaces where a question doesn't belong anywhere at the moment, indicating that either an existing site should expand a bit to allow that question to be caught, or where a new site exactly for questions of that nature should be created.

I can think of a few places where this flowchart could be accessed via:

  • The site switcher in the top left corner
  • The help menu in the top right corner
  • On the right sidebar when you're writing your question. It could be there to help make sure that you're really putting your question on the right website.
  • 4
    related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/77955/…
    Jul 21, 2015 at 18:02
  • @Dronehinge - That was a question of whether such a tool exists. I'm making a suggestion for something better. With the current system, we have a lot of questions that end up being created on the meta sites asking whether things are on-topic or not, which run completely against the spirit of Stack Exchange in the first place (which is that questions should only ever be asked once, and that every future asker should be able to find the prior question along with the still valid answer.) We end up with a bunch of localized but related questions asking whether things are on-topic or not. Jul 21, 2015 at 18:06
  • There's also a shortage of cross-site collaboration on deciding whether things are on-topic or not. You'll find questions which moderators from each site will try throwing back and forth at each other. Jul 21, 2015 at 18:07
  • "Following the flowchart would allow users to determine which site their question belongs on" and "It would help us all see where the gray areas are and remedy them" - how?
    – James
    Jul 21, 2015 at 18:41
  • Note that each site maintains its own scope. With the rare occurrence of SE coming in and mandating a significant correction quickly, this is within the site's definition rather than something someone else maintains. Furthermore, you get things like "Hey! There's OpenSource.SE - now where do my questions about BSD licensing go?" (just to pick out something that is likely to be in flux on a few sites in the not distant future).
    – user213963
    Jul 21, 2015 at 19:42
  • @MichaelT - What is OpenSource.SE even about? If only I had a flowchart that showed me what qualities my question would have to make it appropriate for that website - I could see how it contrasted from the other sites. Jul 21, 2015 at 19:50
  • @ArtOfWarfare It is a new site billed as "Q&A for people organizing, marketing or licensing open source development projects". While they haven't fleshed out their help center yet, I assume that they will do so once they get some mods. It is important to remember that there are constantly new sites appearing.
    – user213963
    Jul 21, 2015 at 19:52

1 Answer 1


A flowchart would have to contain some prompts "is your question about...? Yes/No" which will be
(a) difficult to formulate and keep up-to-date as sites are created or drift in scope;
(b) not easy to answer;
(c) not as predictive as one might hope.

I think the existing network search engine is more effective than any flowchart would be. Type in key words from a question ("BSD license", to take an example from comments) and observe the sites that appear. Click on a few questions from different sites to see what they are and how they were received.

For example, a couple of top hits are from Stack Overflow, but they are closed as off-topic: so, not that. Most of top hits are from Programmers. Digging a bit further, there is Open Source.


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