In the last few weeks, I saw quite a bunch of questions similar to this one, where (usually new) users fail to grasp the intended topic of UX.se.

In the above example, the user, when pointed towards the FAQ, stated:

I did read the FAQ and don't see any reasonable fact that could make me not to ask this question!

In fact, he's not that wrong – the FAQ provide no constraint as to which topics are welcome at UX.so and which ones should better be taken elsewhere.

Thus, I'd like to propose an extension of the "What kind of questions can I ask here" section to provide better topical guidance for new users.

What do you think?

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2 Answers

Eh. I don't buy it. Random sites get random off topic questions, I don't have a shadow of a doubt that he read the FAQ, understood the apparent scope of the site and thought that post was appopriate here.

I'm all for improving the FAQ, but explicitly listing everything that's off topic is the opposite of an improvement. If there's a very common new user hang up we're seeing, I'm all for addressing that, I really don't see this as one of them.

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I'm not proposing listing more off-topic examples, but providing a clear definition/examples of what is considered on topic. –  vzwick Aug 29 '12 at 1:20
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@vzwick I'd hesitate to provide any sort of "these are the questions we like" advice as that implicitly makes other types of questions sound off topic. If your question really is about UX it's on topic here; even if it's not about personas, UCD, UI, wireframes/whatever we'd lay out –  Ben Brocka Aug 29 '12 at 14:10
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The problem with that question is a misunderstanding of the term "user experience" - Naji felt that this is a website full of "experienced users" so he can ask them anything and get help. I don't think it was because the FAQ didn't cover what is allowable here.

As for other questions, even if we amend the FAQ with improvements to scope, there will still be people who misinterpret it or neglect to read it, and such questions will continue to be asked. It's not really a problem that needs to be fixed, it's just a symptom of having a site like this.

Having said that, thanks for thinking ahead on this. If you have any concrete examples of how you'd like to change the FAQ, feel free to post suggestions here on meta!

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