I've just looked at the help center's don't ask page, and it doesn't seem quite right for this site:

  • you are asking an open-ended, hypothetical question: "What if ______ happened?"

Almost all our questions here are this in some form or another: what if everyone had horses, what if I could scale down the Solar System... you get the point.

It might be an idea to reconsider the text on this page. I assume it's an SE-wide standard text (though I haven't checked), but it seems it doesn't quite apply to every site.

Can we change this?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I say let's change it. $\endgroup$
    – HDE 226868 Mod
    Feb 13, 2015 at 16:42
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Also inappropriate: "You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face. Chatty, open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site and push other questions off the front page." $\endgroup$ Mar 23, 2016 at 22:19

3 Answers 3


First off, yes, it does appear that the page in question is not editable by moderators.

That said, I'm not so sure that phrasing is necessarily a problem in practice, even if people were to take it more literally. Notice that the bullet point specifically talks about open-ended questions. That's basically what we call idea generation questions: every answer is equally valid, and there is little or no way to judge how well each answer actually answers the question. That is what the bullet point aims to discourage (not even disallow, a blog post which I strongly encourage everyone here to read; also, hence the heading "avoid asking ...").

Keep in mind what we say on What topics can I ask about here? (my emphasis):

Note that questions must be specific as well as answerable. If you are looking for discussion, brainstorming, or an overall process rather than specific question-and-answers, the Worldbuilding Stack Exchange might not be a good place for your question.


Unfortunately I don't seem to have access to edit this page, so our options are limited unless Stack Exchange want to add this as a feature.

I agree that particular line is unfortunate but most of the page is reasonably well suited to our needs.

  • $\begingroup$ It's just that if everyone took that page literally we'd have no site. I've tagged this a feature request so someone from SE should notice... $\endgroup$
    – ArtOfCode
    Feb 13, 2015 at 23:05

The Ask Patents Help Center, for example, has content that is different from the usual boilerplate.

However, most of the Help Center pages are not editable by users or moderators. What Code Review has done is draft the pages on Meta. When ready, you can ask a Community Manager to publish the draft.


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