On this site, we routinely get questions that are about one specific site. Oftentimes, it happens that users search for things related to their meta question, and end up discovering our site, or because they were linked here from a help page.

After having looked at the help center page and the sidebar shown to users, nowhere do they say that site-specific questions are in fact off-topic. They effectively boil down to "your question should be about Stack Exchange", and questions specific to a particular site are indeed technically about Stack Exchange. Additionally, there are a lot of old questions from back when this site accepted questions specific to Stack Overflow, many of which haven't yet been closed.

Since nowhere in the guidance does it say otherwise, and given the large number of not-yet-closed SO-specific questions, I think it's safe to say that users aren't made aware of this policy until they actually ask their question and it gets closed. I've been leaving a canned comment on such questions, and in the majority of cases the authors have honestly apologized and moved their own question to the correct per-site meta.

The answer below argues against this, because they think this would be creating a new, fixed rule, and that many users are aware of the per-site meta and choose to post here anyway. However, from what I've seen, the vast majority of users who post site-specific questions here are honest users simply asking about one of their posts or suggestions (and not venting criticism against a site's population), and once I politely tell them that it's off-topic here, they then apologize and go on their way. Additionally, it's just wrong to not indicate that something's off-topic in the help center if we routinely close questions about them and have a dedicated close reason for them.

Can we please add an explicit statement to the help center page and the sidebar that "questions about a situation on one specific site should be asked on the relevant per-site meta instead"?

1 Answer 1


Personally - I'd rather not. There do exist questions that are about a site, that can have broader applications. MSE's not the place to air grievances with specific mods/mod teams, especially suspensions - and these should be closed.

I also suspect many of these users know exactly what they're doing.

I'd prefer to let the community to make the judgement based on the merits of the post over having it as a specific, fixed rule, simply cause folks would interpret it as all questions that could be about a specific site should be closed.

We're after all, amongst other things the helpdesk of the network.

  • 2
    Well, I've left my canned "off-topic, site-specific" comment on a lot of questions, and on the majority of them the author has honestly apologized, deleted their question here, and re-asked on the per-site meta. If that weren't the case, and if most of these site-specific questions were like the one that just appeared, I wouldn't be asking this. Commented Apr 13, 2019 at 19:01
  • 1
    Also, it's just improper to not indicate that something's off-topic in the help center if we routinely consider that thing off-topic when curating questions. Also, regarding your third paragraph, the close reason itself was recently reworded for that reason; similar wording can be incorporated in the help center. Commented Apr 13, 2019 at 19:02
  • Do we have any examples of questions that are site specific but on topic?
    – dustytrash
    Commented Dec 28, 2019 at 15:58
  • @dustytrash Maybe. This question was closed as "site specific", but does serve a purpose as another place to make a site specific announcement (and a discussion about migration, in general). While deemed applicable to a single site only there are other single sites that have their own (but different) migration-routing problems. --- The examples are site specific, but the general subject is applicable to at least a couple of dozen (but not every) Stack Exchange sites. --- It's useful, even when it's closed (with their point made).
    – Rob
    Commented Dec 29, 2019 at 14:12
  • Some helpful links that might be added to the "Help Center > Asking > What topics can I ask about here?": 0. "How do users navigate to Meta?", 1. "Why does every SE site have its own Meta site?", 2. "Introducing a brand new, consolidated, Help Center" (ironically). --- People new to SE might require some guidance, many sites have lengthy customized X.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic webpages.
    – Rob
    Commented Dec 29, 2019 at 14:31

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