7

I am in a few vegan FB communities and people frequently post there asking for advice about local services, for example (using my current home city):

  • I'm visiting London for a short trip, and I'm looking for a place to stay that offers vegan breakfast.
  • Where can I get a good vegan meal for under £10 in North London?
  • Are there any vegetarian restaurants around Oxford Circus that are convenient to visit with kids?
  • Is there a beauty salon in London that uses only vegan products?
  • Can anyone recommend a vegan tatooist within the Greater London area?

I wonder whether, or to what extent, we should allow such questions here. Possible reasons to close:

  • recommendations could be Primarily Opinion Based
  • advice could go out of date quickly
  • do we really want a compendium of stuff like this for every city/town/rural area on Earth?

How should we deal with such questions if they are asked?

  • 3
    Personal advice questions like you have said should be off-topic. FB communities serve that role perfectly. So no need of those questions here. – Nog Shine Feb 3 '17 at 16:45
7

No, for 3 reasons:

  • Advice can change quickly. Where I live (southern california, near Pasadena), there are many short-lived "health food" or "vegan cuisine" restaurants/stores. They rarely last longer than 6 months, due to the local culture/area not tending towards veganism. I'm fairly certain this is the case many places.

  • These wouldn't be questions the same way. The point of SE is to have a constantly growing and unbounded knowledge base that's helpful to future users. Let's break this down.

    • "constantly growing" - more or less, probably a bit more
    • "unbounded" - no. There's a definite limit here, no matter how deep we want to go. i.e. if we do a question for every zip code in the USA (as an example, no slam on non-USA users), we're going to run out of zip codes eventually. Even if we do one per city (which I highly don't recommend), the same problem still happens. In practical purposes, this can be somewhat unbounded, but not in a good way. It's more of just a giant list, where SE's goal is to fill every nook and cranny.
    • "helpful to future users" - think about this. What are the odds that, outside of big cities like LA, NYC, Seattle, etc. that a user is going to find these questions helpful? And the line of "big city" is a bit too subjective to draw, it's probably best we don't create list questions like this for "big cities like LA, NYC, Seattle".


    Only 1.5/3 (I gave it half for unbounded) of these are towards it being on-topic...

  • These are list questions. The answers are never done. Heck, you can even say "hey mary lou smith cooks a mean veggie burger you can probably go over to her house". There's a close reason for these questions: "too broad".

    too broad "too many possible answers". That's really the main problem.

Also, depending on the question, they can be opinion-based. "Who makes the best vegan food in Seattle" is obviously OB, others such as "Where can I find a good veggie burger in LA" are a bit more subtle. (note I say "a bit")


So in short, no. Close these questions as too broad or primarily opinion-based on sight. They just aren't a good fit for the SE model.

  • Thanks, I agree with everything you said and I appreciate the strong response so we can have an unambiguous line on this. – Zanna Feb 3 '17 at 16:56
  • @Zanna happy to help! – Riker Feb 3 '17 at 17:07
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At this point I don't think questions specific to such regions will be answered very well. Unless the community is much larger, it is unlikely that such specific (current) local advice will be available. Even if it is, it seems inappropriate to allow it for say US cities and either exclude other regions or have a massive number of similar questions for other regions unanswered.

Questions about a specific city or state are not appropriate here. There are many other local forums and groups supporting these: if bottom-of-nowhere Invercargill, New Zealand has several active social media pages dedicated to vegan and vegetarian communities, large cities in the USA are bound to as well. If they don't, well that just answered the question. So I think STFW is appropriate here considering most vegetarian restaurants host web sites and many sites such as TripAdvisor have "vegetarian" tags to find them.

However I think there are some exceptions. Questions about travelling a different region of the world, such as Asia, would be more appropriate with more general concerns such as which dishes in a particular culture are vegetarian (or which have hidden non-vegetarian ingredients). Another exception would be addressing the products of large franchise health/food stores as these would benefit the wider community rather than being more suitable to a very specific region.

  • Perhaps searching for trip advisor / local community pages could be recommended on the "before you ask" page? Or is that too specific to travel? – Tom Kelly Feb 6 '17 at 13:03
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Yes. Really.

Compare to StackOverflow: the credo there is one of specific question for specific circumstances with actionable answers, and a rather huge number of them. The possible issue with OP's question is it may change over time, but things that won't change in time include:

  • is there generally a vegetarian scene in Dallas, TX (history tells us this usually only improves
  • what principles can one use to find vegetarian restaurants in Dallas, TX

Love specific questions!

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