There's seems to be a fair bit of confusion about "great off topic" and "not a good example". In many cases I see questions that are way off topic being voted as great off-topic examples and questions that are slightly off-topic being voted "not a good example", when we really want to reverse to happen in order to define the boundaries of the site.

I think part of this is because people expect "great off-topic" to be the opposite of "great on-topic". This could be fixed at least in part by renaming "great off-topic example" to "slightly off-topic" and "not a good example" to "very off-topic". This would cause people to vote in a way that encourages defining the site's boundaries even if they don't understand which type is good or why. I think it would also help people asking questions understand what is desired for off-topic examples.

Since some people think having two options with off-topic in the name is a bad idea, not a good example might also be renamed to not helpful. I'm not convinced people would be unable to decide between slightly and very off-topic though.


2 Answers 2


I like your reasoning (it is confusing) but not your suggestions. Having two off-topic answers ("great" & "slightly") only makes it more confusing.

And I can't think a better way of naming the answers than the existing way.


I agree that this is confusing to have both Not a good example and Great off-topic, but renaming them won't solve the problem at all. It seems even more confusing then it was before.

What should be done is to remove Not a good example and if something isn't appropriate it should be flagged instead of marked as Not a good example.

Note : I am not saying we should replace all Not a good example with flag, but that we should remove that option and in the case something is really innapropriate it should be flagged. For the question that are just not that good, just don't vote for them, they will stay at bottom of the list and won't be featured in the Top 5 best On-Topic and Off-Topic questions.

  • replacing Not a good example with flagging might work but if Great off-topic isn't renamed people are still going to think it means "way off-topic".
    – Brad Mace
    Oct 31, 2010 at 15:40
  • Flagging won't work. Flagging is if something is judged to be deliberately inappropriate, whereas not a good example does not imply any bad intention. Oct 31, 2010 at 16:33
  • @Mark See the note I added.
    – HoLyVieR
    Oct 31, 2010 at 20:52
  • Lyx Vierx - disagree - if a question is voted "not a good example", and the voter explains why, this can be a useful learning process. I've edited my questions after this has happened and the commenter has changed their vote; win / win! Oct 31, 2010 at 21:03

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