Currently, we don't have a centralized set of rules or general rule that we can refer to if a question is off-topic or not. While we do have the proposed FAQ, not a lot of people link to it or use it when discussing why a question is on- or off-topic. Which is why I'm proposing that we have a site maxim, or general truth, about what is on- and off-topic.

If you remove the words 'Raspberry Pi' from the title and question, would you be able to say for sure that the question is about Raspberry Pi?

The above maxim is what we've discussed and tend to use in the official chat room. We feel like this rule express the general idea of what questions are on- or off-topic about this site. Ergo, I'm proposing that we adopt the above rule as our official maxim in determining whether a question is on- or off-topic.

I feel that if we have an official maxim, that everyone agrees on, confusion between askers and answerers will decrease. Along with the quality of questions being asked improving, as we would have an easy to understand rule for whether a question is a good fit for this site. Community, what is your opinion?

By the way, if you currently aren't a part of our chat room you should really join us. We would be happy estatic to have you!

1 Answer 1


I participated in the original discussion of this topic, and this morning I read your whole argument with bngtlrs about it, which I assume spawned this meta discussion. Since that time this issue has arisen again in a different question. So here is my input.

Although the maxim proposed is a good one, I urge that it only be used as a guideline. There will never, and should never, be a de-facto description of questions that will be closed. We must judge questions on a case-by-case basis.

It is clear that we have an question overlap with Unix and Linux, however we need to think more carefully about what questions should be migrated (which I will elaborate on later). It's becoming apparent that not all Unix questions are off-topic and it is difficult to find a clear cut-off point.

Let's take a few example questions. These don't fit with the proposed maxim, but remain open.

These questions could be quite at home at U&L. But are equally at home here, for reasons that have been explored already.

My conclusion would be to not be quite so heavy handed with the close votes. When considering potentially off-topic questions several factors need to be considered, and these cannot be identified by the use of one principle.

Therefore I propose that before casting a vote to close, you should consider:

  • Will this question help future Raspberry Pi users?
  • Is this a question of a genre we wish to see more of?
  • Will this question be more answerable here than elsewhere?

And if not, then finally;

  • Can this question be reformatted in a way that will make it apply to the above points?

In addition to this, think of the user asking the question, if the user appears to be a valuable commodity to this site, should we be redirecting them to a different one? The last thing we want to do is build bad relations with users, which I believe may have happened a couple of times due to hasty voting.

  • Is this a user we wish to see more of?
  • Could this user benefit more from us, or from another SE site?

I am making this answer community wiki. Please discuss, and if you feel points need to be added or taken away then the change can be made here.

  • "if the user appears to be a valuable commodity to this site, should we be redirecting them to a different one" On the other hand, if a user can be a valuable commodity to another part of SE, should we be trying to keep him here?
    – Joost
    Jul 4, 2012 at 11:50
  • @Joost: It's understandable that we would wish to hold onto users as best we can. If a user would be more suited elsewhere then it's likely none of the previous considerations will hold true.
    – Jivings
    Jul 4, 2012 at 12:03
  • @Jivings: I agree. If the site can be useful, and answer the slightly more general questions that new users might have, they're more likely to stick around to get answers to the more RPi specific stuff that may turn up later. Jul 5, 2012 at 13:43
  • @JonEgerton: Nice summary. The frightening away of new users is what I'm afraid of.
    – Jivings
    Jul 5, 2012 at 23:56

You must log in to answer this question.