One of the reasons on which many users are confused is on-topic and off-topic. If you once look at our meta home page, you will see that many questions are like Are questions about X on-topic here?

Are essential oil topic questions on-topic here?
Are recipes related questions on topic or should they be moved to cooking.stackexchange?
Are sorta-vegetarian diets on topic?
Is nutrition on-topic?

These are the questions I found and on the main site, we are seeing some questions. For example:

  1. How to remove pesticides and harmful bacteria from fruits and vegetables?
  2. Are mango seeds edible?
  3. Is boiling orange or lemon peels and drinking it as a tea healthy?

From the above list,

  • Question 1 is closed.
  • Question 2 is closed but has a reopen vote.
  • Question 3 is closed as off-topic.

To me question 2 and question 3 are off-topic. They fit in Health.SE. But one of our friends answered of the above questions and said this:

Being on topic somewhere else doesn't make them off-topic here.

To remove confusion about on-topic and off-topic, can we add the off-topic reasons in help center? Currently there is nothing defined as off-topic. Same applies for on-topic.

If we consider our personal opinions as on-topic and off-topic, it greatly affects the site quality. Adding these reasons would decrease duplicate questions and off-topic questions, and it would also reduce the number of disputed flags and burden on experienced users and moderators.

For example: The on-topic page of Hinduism.SE.

Keep your answers short and simple and add reasons why they are off-topic. Please one reason per answer.

  • 2
    I agree that the help center should give such guidance, once a reasonable degree of community consensus has been arrived at through discussion here on meta :)
    – Zanna Mod
    Feb 3, 2017 at 8:40
  • Related, my question about whether we consider "Is X veg*n?" off topic. The consensus seems to be that it is. Feb 3, 2017 at 10:16
  • @SuperBiasedMan to clarify, you mean "The consensus seems to be that it is off-topic", correct?
    – Riker
    Feb 3, 2017 at 18:08
  • @EasterlyIrk Sorry, yes I meant to say consensus indicates that it is off topic. Feb 6, 2017 at 9:38
  • @SuperBiasedMan Gives your views in the answer field so that mods can add status-completed or [status-declined] later.
    – Nog Shine
    Feb 6, 2017 at 9:43
  • 1
    Also, now with mods: we can edit this. What would you like to add? 1 big answer would be nice.
    – Riker
    Mar 8, 2017 at 19:02
  • @Riker One big answer isn't cool. One person can't add all the on-topic and off-topic reasons. COmmunity should add them.
    – Nog Shine
    Mar 9, 2017 at 5:31
  • @SS. only mods can edit the on-topic reasons. I meant a community wiki answer, where anybody can instantly edit it.
    – Riker
    Mar 9, 2017 at 14:26
  • @Riker Yes. I know mods can add. As you wish. Anything which would help the site get a basic structure on which is on-topic is fine.
    – Nog Shine
    Mar 11, 2017 at 2:18

2 Answers 2


I asked

Are questions asking for local or travel advice on-topic?

and it seems the answer is no.

But this should be interpreted sensitively I think: only close as off-topic if the answers are likely to be highly opinion based and go out of date quickly. A question with broader scope like "Vegetarian foods in Japanese culture" should be considered on-topic in my opinion, as answers are likely to help many people and remain useful over time


I've already asked about whether or not we should allow "Is X veg*n?" and the consensus is that these questions are off topic.

Should we allow questions on defining what is/isn't vegetarian?

I'd suggest a close reason along the lines of

Asking whether something is vegan/vegetarian is off topic as it's mostly down to personal opinion. They're broad lifestyles without anyone to lay out strict guidelines, so there wont be any definitive answers.

  • 1
    I'm on-board with that being in the help certain, but I don't know if we should make it a close reason. We only get 3 custom ones, and we may come up with others.
    – Riker
    Mar 9, 2017 at 15:33
  • 1
    we seem to have lots of questions asking whether x y or z is vegan so I'm downvoting this suggestion as nobody seems to object to those questions and they are for the most part pretty answerable with qualifications
    – Zanna Mod
    Mar 10, 2017 at 14:39

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