Before I was asking a question, I had a look whether it could be off-topic (help). Since I didn't consider it as off-topic from that page, I asked the question.

Quite soon, it received comments to vote it as off-topic, which made me wonder.

Finally, I found that the on-topic help page lists much better reasons for questions to be off-topic. That made me delete my question.

This violates the principle of least astonishment. Is it possible to migrate the off-topic reaons from the on-topic page to the off-topic page?

  • Not both are about the question's topic. On- and off-topic are both on the on-topic page. The other one is about categories of questions that shouldn't be asked regardless of their actual topic.
    – Helmar
    Oct 27, 2016 at 21:08
  • I see @Helmar's point. The "don't ask" page isn't really the "off-topic" page.
    – MetaEd
    Oct 27, 2016 at 21:31

1 Answer 1


You should note that the off-topic page you are referring to as "off-topic (help)" can't be edited by anyone other than Stack Exchange employees. That means moderators can't change a word in it. If you compare it with that of Japanese SE, you will notice there is no difference at all.

Only on-topic page could be edited by the moderators here. You will see big differences in Japanese SE's on-topic page. Japanese SE has a more lenient policy and approach towards off-topicness because they cater to very basic questions about the language while English Language Learners SE take care of learners' basic questions about English.

As @Helmar commented, off-topic (help) page lists types of questions that should be avoided on all Stack Exchange sites. The reason the on-topic page (What topics can I ask about here?) is on the top is it is more important than the off-topic page.

  • I now know about the "technical" reasons behind it. I still don't like it. Should I downvote and accept now? Oct 28, 2016 at 10:39
  • @ThomasWeller As far as I know and based on my experience, no user has complained about this issue. Regarding voting and acceptance, it's entirely up to you. As I mentioned, the on-topic page (What topics can I ask about here)? contains the most important guidelines. Just because you don't like it, we can't change the order.
    – user140086
    Oct 28, 2016 at 10:43
  • Everyone who didn't find that misconception will of course not complain. Well... be it like that Oct 28, 2016 at 10:55
  • @Rathony I might have discussed the need for the help-center to be improved in such a way before. The main reason I haven't gotten around to making a question like this is twofold. One is that I wanted to have a proposal for how the pages should look ready, and the other is that I am a procrastinator. Are they able to edit the off-topic pages on a per-community basis? It looks like this is more complex than I thought, but if they can, I think with enough community support we might be able to convince the higher-ups to aid with a reasonable proposal, since S.E. believes in community management.
    – Tonepoet
    Oct 28, 2016 at 19:39
  • @Tonepoet I believe it is possible to edit the pages and close reasons which are currently common across sites and make them site-specific. It may involve technical measures (like actually making them site-specific rather than just invoking a site's styling), so it does need a proposal to take to TPTB.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Oct 29, 2016 at 9:34

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .