There's a question currently posted at What unexpected things can happen if a user runs commands expecting a text file on input lacking a file-final newline? that's closed as it's been deemed unanswerable. I wonder, though, if it's on topic or not and so I'd like to get a look at whatever the charter/purpose statement is for that site but so far haven't been able to find one. Are there charter/purpose statements for each SE (including SO) site that'd help us understand the purpose of that site and so which types of questions are on/off topic so if someone asks an off-topic question we could refer them to that charter?

2 Answers 2


Well its in the help center - you can find the one for unix.se here, and it's under the menu triggered by clicking on the question mark on the top bar for each site.

  • Thanks! I've never noticed that question mark, had no idea that help center existed and didn't come across it searching. I believe this answers my question but I'll give it an hour or so to see if anyone else chimes in with different and/or additional information before accepting it.
    – Ed Morton
    Commented Mar 9, 2023 at 15:01
  • 3
    It may be worth noting that every site has a /help/on-topic page that's customizable by the mods of the site; there's also a /help/dont-ask page, but it's not customizable per site so it just describes some categories of questions that aren't a good fit for most SE network sites in general.
    – V2Blast
    Commented Mar 9, 2023 at 15:39
  • 1
    Some sites have some of that information on the about / Tour page. Example: Code Review (or least what makes an acceptable question) Commented Mar 10, 2023 at 13:33

Tl;Dr: Go to https://unix.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic:

Unix and Linux Stack Exchange is for users of Linux, FreeBSD and other Un*x-like operating systems.

Regarding how to refer people that post off-topic questions, you might use [help/on-topic] in a comment. This is a feature known as "magic link" that turns this markdown into a link to ../help/on-topic.

As an established user you might have to go to the site homepage using a browser in private navigation / incognito mode to see how the same one-liner / elevator-pitch purpose statement from ../help/on-topic plus is shown to anonymous users:

Screenshot of "Join this community" banner

Unix & Linux Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for users of Linux, FreeBSD and other Un*x-like operating systems. It only takes a minute to sign up.

On any site page, you should see the site toolbar (the top bar). Clicking the question mark button opens a dropdown menu that shows, among other options:

  1. Tour. It includes the same one-liner plus very short "who", "how", "what" explanation.

    Unix & Linux Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for users of Linux, FreeBSD and other Un*x-like operating systems. It's built and run by you as part of the Stack Exchange network of Q&A sites. With your help, we're working together to build a library of detailed answers to every question about Unix or Linux.

  2. Help Center. In the case of Unix & Linux the help center homepage, at the time of writing this was not customized yet.

  • ../help/on-topic. This is customized for each site.
  • ../help/dont-ask. This is standard for all sites.

On the homepage, clicking the "Ask question" button, the "Asking a good question" modal is shown:

In the case of Unix and Linux, at the time of writing this it has not being customized yet.

Once dismissing the modal, the Ask question form, shows the input fields with their respective field help. At the right there is a side panel:

It has not yet customized for Unix & Linux

By the way, there is a "well known hidden" URL to open an old wizard:


The above linked old wizard includes links to help articles

  • ../help/how-to-ask
  • ../help/on-topic

And to famous external resource

At any site page you should be able to see the footer. It includes the links to the Tour and to the Help Center too.

Off-topic close post notice

The off-topic close post notice includes a link to ../help/closed-questions. This help article includes a link to ../help/on-topic in the first paragraph:

Questions that need additional work or that are not a good fit for this site may be closed by experienced community members. Closed questions cannot be answered, but can be edited to make them eligible for reopening. If your question is closed, you will receive private feedback on the reason why it was closed.


Besides using [help/on-topic] you might referer the OP to [tour].

Customizable elements

The Tour and Help Center can be customized by the site moderators. The elements of othe Ask Question form require a posted in the per-site meta.



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