I've noticed that many new users post questions that fall out of the scope of a particular site and get closed. Often these are very common (such as idea generation on Worldbuilding SE or homework problems on a science SE site). These get closed with only a two-line explanation that doesn't adequately explain what the scope is and why it is needed and why the particular question doesn't lie in scope.

Therefore I think there should be a clear page that explains the concept of scope and also a list of site specific examples of commonly received types of questions from new users that actually fall out of scope. These examples can be crafted using hypothetical users. Examples do help teach scope properly. And it is easier to convince someone that their question is similar to an example that is declared off-scope rather than an abstract explanation like 'idea generation not allowed'.

P.S. This is perhaps even more important than explaining how reputation works, which can be explained to users who actually plan to stay longer than a couple of questions.


I think the requirements you describe are already covered by the availability on each site of:

I have linked to those of this site above to serve as examples.

Every user of every site is expected to take the Tour when they join, and before making their first post, and then to review the On topic page soon after that.

The On topic page is at the start of the Help Center which is linked to at the bottom of the Tour:

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  • Thanks. I had read the first link. It could have had a link to the second page; that would have helped. – J D Doe Mar 30 '17 at 8:57
  • The Tour has a link to the On topic (first page of the Help Center) at its bottom. – PolyGeo Mar 30 '17 at 9:00
  • They should reword that... Maybe "Please consider going through some info at the help centre" or something like that. Also increase the font. – J D Doe Mar 30 '17 at 9:40
  • In my experience, the "On topic" page is generally so vague that it barely provides more information than the title of the site does, while the only value the "Tour" page has is that you can swipe the scroll bar up and down for a bronze badge. – Mark Mar 30 '17 at 22:38
  • @Mark the on-topic page can be customized by a site's moderators in consultation with its users so if you think one you look at could be improved then feel free to propose improvements on that site's Meta. – PolyGeo Mar 30 '17 at 22:47

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