We are discussing this topic at Earth Science Stack Exchange, because our homepage has many questions asking to identify their rocks based on a picture.

Some of us want to no longer accept such questions, for the reasons given here.

Who decides if a subject is allowed or not? In which cases is a tag no longer appropriate, and who removes/blocks it?

  • 1
    This question is much better now than it used to be before it was edited—but the final paragraph continues to mention tags specifically. Is this question really about tags, question topics, or both? (They are related but quite different.) Jul 17, 2019 at 16:34
  • The change on site scope implies somehow the tag. I guess the tag won't be deleted but blocked to stop the input of users from the searcher if the purpose goes on.
    – user486893
    Jul 17, 2019 at 16:46
  • Right. However, tags are frequently asked to be removed (or so-called burninated here) not because the subject of the tag is off topic but because the tag itself isn't seen to be as useful as other tags that also apply to the same subject. A tag question can be something explicitly different than a scope question. If a subject is removed from the scope of a site, I would assume that all tags related to that subject would be removed as a consequence. But if it's really just the subject you don't like, then talking about tags is mostly irrelevant. (The subject could be asked regardless of tags.) Jul 17, 2019 at 17:44

2 Answers 2


You're essentially asking for a scope change. Just blacklisting/banning the tag won't help; users will simply use other tags (such as the country they've found the rock in, or even random tags) for their questions.

Scope changes should be discussed on the site's own Meta and Idea - make identification request posts off topic and I've had enough. Let's ban rock id questions seem a good start. If you can get enough support, you can turn it into a formal request to make all rock identification requests off-topic; then, the ♦ moderators can change the existing close reason

Please review our rock identification guidelines to provide the missing information so that your question is both answerable and useful to new users.

into something like

Identification questions are off-topic, because they tend to attract low-quality and low-effort posts. The community has decided to no longer support these questions. Please refer to [this meta post] for additional details. You may also check [this list] of external identification resources.

(borrowed from Movies & TV Stack Exchange; your site should provide appropriate links)

and the Help Center article What topics can I ask about here? should be updated by them as well.

  • How does it turn into a formal request? Should we send a request to stack by email, or moderators will turn it?
    – user486893
    Jul 17, 2019 at 12:14
  • 1
    I'd suggest comment-replying one of the moderators, e.g. here, so that they can discuss how they want to progress. Maybe they're already convinced it has enough support, or they want to set up another poll which they can make [featured] so more users on the main site will notice it.
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Jul 17, 2019 at 12:20
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    @Universal_learner: I don't think it's a matter for SE themselves to deal with. Sites generally tend to define their own scopes and enforce their own policies, within the bounds of standard SE policy. That is, it was your site's decision to allow such questions, and it is your site's decision to forbid them. Jul 17, 2019 at 16:30

Each community creates its own rules for what's on topic and that generally starts with a meta post as has already happened here.

If the meta question gets enough upvotes you can start flagging such questions as off topic and your site's moderators will likely start agreeing to respond positively to such flags.

Is 4 upvotes enough on the question though? That again is for the site itself to decide. A similar question on Movies and TV as to whether film identification was on topic there that ended up changing policy received far more votes and community input in the form of answers before the policy changed.


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