Each Stack Exchange site has a two-branch structure:

  1. Strict Q/A – No holds barred. No mercy. No wounds tended. An unending stream of excellent questions is accompanied by an unending stream of those well-intentioned but closed.

  2. Meta – Ideas. Whines. Chest thumps.

Why not a third branch to where inadequately-structured questions can be diverted for percolation? Who knows, it might produce something surprising. Again and again. At worst, it could be a graceful way to filter contaminants:

  1. Stewpot – Questions that may be all but ignored until they develop the right flavor.

    Then again, they might spur incidentally helpful discussion without diluting functions of the first two branches.

    Opinion-seeking questions might just nestle in and receive opinions.

    (SE’s storage capacity already accommodates these questions. in closed form.)

This could be more constructive than stomping on questions and their novice askers. This could be more politic than shedding questions off to other sites to see how they handle them.

Some sites have “sandboxes” that, in a way, seem to approximate this. This might also require too much reprogramming, well understood.


2 Answers 2


I'm relatively new to the Stack Exchange Network as a whole, and I'm, at best, semi-active on most of the sites I've joined. Therefore my 2¢ probably will be refunded. Nevertheless, I think a global Stewpot is not needed, and probably would fail to serve the envisioned purpose anyway.

The questions that have been closed can still be edited by the OP, and in cases where it really matters to the OP they are. Sometimes they are revised recursively until the get reopened, at which point they usually get an answer as well. Since the closed questions are there for all so see, any simmering that might occur will also happen on the original site. Additionally, since they are visible there, those on that site that see them just might be spurred by the title to ask a similar, hopefully high-quality, question. Or, as I've seen a few times, start a discussion on the site's meta about that question, or its topic. Of course, the opinion seeking questions really don't belong on SE anywhere - SE is intended to be a knowledge resource, not a soapbox.

The shedding of questions to other sites, where the question is closed, again, is something I see happening far too often. I don't know how migrations work, but I think only high-quality questions should even be considered for migration. I also think that the migration shouldn't be done unless it's done by someone who is an active, high-rep user on the proposed target site. Such people are in a decent position to know if it will be closed there or not.

The novice askers are, unfortunately, often stomped, and in seemingly less than civil ways on some sites. Closing a question is valid, and necessary. It does not, however, have to be done with lead-lined, steel-capped Wellingtons.

The downside of your proposal is that by moving the questions off of the main site into the Stewpot they are removed from normal viewing patterns. Off to the side, like a discarded drink bottle in the weeds, they will receive scant attention, at best. Without the attention they can't develop the right flavor (and nobody would notice if they did), they can't spur any discussion, helpful or otherwise, and the can't even collect the stray opinionated reply. Assuming it's not for being off-topic, any chance of revival for closed questions will be best if they are left on the main site they started at, where people involved in that topic are most likely to see it, and maybe notice that it has, finally, developed enough flavor to make it worth taking a bite.


The best way to deal with behavior that isn't wanted isn't to encourage it, or do it in a backroom.

Back in the day I do believe SE experimented with a site like what you talked about. It was pretty much a failure, though it grew into Programmers.SE and softwaredevelopment.se if memory serves. (if not, someone will comment).

I feel there's a misunderstanding of what SE's trying to do. Main sites are meant to be low noise, high content places for useful answers to practical problems people face. There's been a few exceptions over time

An unending stream of excellent questions is accompanied by an unending stream of those well-intentioned but closed.

Isn't really correct IMO.

Meta on the other hand isn't about whines and chest thumps. I've been tempted to liken meta to an (idealised) agora of old - its a space where people share ideas about improving their 'society' - in this case their site, air grievances (and legitimate ones are worth airing).

What you're describing is roughly xkcd 1838

The pile gets soaked with data and starts to get mushy over time, so it's technically recurrent.

Its not something I see working. You'd basically get a site that's a complete madhouse where anything goes, with a trickle of somewhat quality content that probably should have been asked on the main site anyway. To me educating new users makes more sense than trying to coddle them in this way.

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