I wonder if we need to change the wording used for "off topic" suggestions in Area 51. I think some people take this too literally.

I believe a good "off topic" question is one that some people would think was appropriate, but the community feels doesn't belong on the site.

To take SO for example, a great off-topic question might be "What kind of chair do you sit in while programming". In Area 51 I think many people would say this was "on topic", but a poor question. Taken too literally, "what's your favorite color" would be "off topic", when in reality it should just be rated a poor example.

In other words, I think some people are getting these two choices confused.

Has anyone else noticed this problem? What can we do to clarify it.


I actually had a slightly different understanding of "off-topic"; I thought it was for questions that didn't really belong but were likely to be posted in good faith.

So, no, people don't get what "off-topic" means on Area 51. One of us has to at least be more right than the other.

  • That's exactly what I think. I'm saying that some people visiting the proposed site would ask an "off-topic" question, thinking it was on-topic/appropriate for the site. – user27414 Jul 23 '10 at 18:56
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    To put it another way, "off-topic" questions are questions that are likely to be asked and likely to be closed. – user27414 Jul 23 '10 at 18:57
  • Hm, I was thinking of new users unfamiliar with the SE model. I did misunderstand you. Very good. – Pops Jul 23 '10 at 19:40

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