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Just stumbled upon the closed question about professional car driving in India. It got closed as being too localized. Do we all agree on this sentiment?

edmastermind29 comments that

"Sports related questions" are allowed based on its constructivity, objectivity, and usefulness toward a worldwide audience, aka community.

First of all, our FAQ does not mention "wordlwide" audience. Thus I do not accept that restriction as a reason for closure. There are quite some questions that have no worldwide relevance (NBA anyone? NFL?). Who wants to argue that Indian race car driving is not of international interest? Consider population numbers.

The FAQ does mention

How is it relevant to the community? Questions that are "too localized" (not useful to a wide range of users) are not encouraged at SE sites.

Now, India as a country, both areawise and populationwise certainly has a relevance to a huge part of the world population. Just looking at the population, which should be a metric preferred here over area, it's about three times more relevant than the USA. The criteria of a "wide range of users" is thus certainly met by restricting a question to India.

The question was viewed 34 times. Considering the user population of Sports of 844 users, that is a percentage of 4% and above a couple of other questions that weren't closed because of locality.

Update: Also would like to add that an open question about Indian race car driving might attract web users from that area, and motivate them to login to answer. More participants to this site would certainly be helpful. /Update

I'd vote for reopening. I'd also encourage the asker to change the question slightly to ask about the structure of Indian professional car driving organizations and leagues.

Where's the point that Jeff and others often make about we should constructively criticise and encourage wherever possible, and think twice about voting down or closing questions.


EDIT: Here's what is currently stated when questions are closed for being too localized.

This question is unlikely to help any future visitors; it is only relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet. For help making this question more broadly applicable, see the FAQ.

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    I don't think the number of views is relevant (especially at such a low number); people view questions for all sorts of reasons. But your other points make a lot of sense. – Michael Myers Nov 2 '12 at 14:16
  • Agreed. The posting was an attempt to bring the possible arguments for closure in the open. I may have slightly missed the major point of the Q asking about a personal recommendation. I tried to address that with the vote to reopen and suggest rephrasing, but the amount of words spent on each point is not in correlation to weight. Still I don't want to edit/rephrase this answer that much when discussion already started. – cfi Nov 2 '12 at 14:28
  • I cleaned up our clutter on the main question as the discussion is in full swing here. – user527 Nov 2 '12 at 14:51
  • FYI: blog.stackoverflow.com/2013/06/the-war-of-the-closes/?cb=1 – user527 Jun 25 '13 at 17:43
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Thanks for your post.

Although I agree with "worldwide" not being a reason for closure (and have since changed my verbiage), I disagree that major league sports do not have a worldwide relevance (although arguable to an extent).

Here's what SE (not I) currently states when questions are closed for being too localized:

This question is unlikely to help any future visitors; it is only relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet. For help making this question more broadly applicable, see the FAQ.

The "too localized" close reason is used for questions that are likely to only help a select few. A majority of questions on this site help and educate oneself about different sports, even ones that are not relevant to an individual, but to a community as a whole.

The question you reference isn't indicative of questions on this site, as it aims to help and educate those of the "sign-up" process of racecar driving in India. Is the sign-up process constructive from a sports perspective? The fact that it is for pro racecar driving is where the constructivity lies, but what does that tell us about the sport itself? Rhetorically speaking, if you are not a racecar driver seeking to become a professional in India, is this relevant to you?

Now, your request to revise the question will help increase the number of those helped and educated by said question. Right now, the audience is a select group of people (professional racecar driving is broad, India is broad, professional racecar driving in India, narrows a bit - A intersect B, for example).

This is something that we, as a community, need to sort out. Also, myself personally, I need to see what the community says and does so I can, in part, be a better moderator. This is a great example of that. Unless the community contributes, I cannot and do not know what will fly on this site.

Please see this for more information: Approaching users regarding off topic, non-constructive, ambiguous, or localized questions

  • I agree with the A and B intersection, but still fail to see that the result of that intersection is smaller than the relevance criteria. And since you're not really making a statement to that yourself here, I'm wondering why you closed the Question. If other people's opinion counts then wouldn't we only close it on the 5 votes threshold? Or is that threshold =2 for Sports due to it's size? – cfi Nov 2 '12 at 14:31
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    There have been questions in the past that have had three or four close votes for a long time, and the question was reasonably off topic or not constructive. Our core group of users are small, and do rotate every 6-8 weeks. I prefer to take care of things as they come up instead of letting them sit, but they sit due to the low number of core users at the moment. I'm sure this will not be a problem in the future. – user527 Nov 2 '12 at 14:37
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    That (userbase) is hard to work with. Kudos for any volunteering! – cfi Nov 2 '12 at 14:38
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I just can't help but mention that this is fantastic meta question! Well formulated, and very beneficial for the site. So kudos on that! :)

Otherwise about the actual question, I agree that at its current state it is a bit too narrow, but I believe that can be salvaged with better phrasing by the OP.

As for localization in general, it's pretty hard to decide what's too local nowadays. Example of that would be sports like floorball or canadian/aussie-rules football; all too localized essentially, relevant to a small portion of the world population if you think of the bigger picture. I know I will take some heat from our american friends but even baseball is rather small in comparison to what population it speaks to outside the U.S. In any case, I don't think we should worry too much about a sport being too obscure or too localized, as long as the question is well formulated, and has the potential to add value (i.e. new knowledge) to the site.

Below are a couple of examples; relatively bad formulated questions, with what I would say better counterparts. You might notice that the essential piece of information the questions are after are practically the same, with the difference that the formulation leaves the door open for others who might not be from that region, so that they can give their two cents, and maybe someone else can also learn something out of this question later on.

BAD: "I want to do sport S in [city/country]. How do I go about it?"

BETTER: "I am enthusiastic about my training in sport S, and want to take the next step. What are common ways to get in touch with local clubs/sponsors? (Note I live in [city/country], in case someone is from around here)."


BAD: "Why does team A have [some special feature] in their stadium?"

BETTER: "I noticed that some stadiums can have [feature], e.g. team A. What is the story/regulation behind this?"


BAD: "I live in [city/country] and would like to do outdoor sport A, where can I do it?"

BETTER: "I live in [city/country] and not sure where I can train sport A. What are common ways to find out local fields/training facilities/etc...?"

  • Agreed that localization of a sport should not be much of a concern, especially if it adds value. Also, on point with the examples. – user527 Nov 5 '12 at 13:54
  • How would the question above compare to this one (all constructivity aside)? – user527 Nov 5 '12 at 13:55
  • I think that's a tragically ill-formulated question for this site's format, and the only answer that I find useful (as someone on the other side of the ocean) is Tonny Madsen's. Given that there has not been an edit to make it interesting for everyone, I am behind the closing decision. It's completely irrelevant for the majority of the users. – posdef Nov 5 '12 at 15:25
  • Thanks posdef, for actually making better points and splendid examples of how to phrase questions to open them up to a wider audience. That's what I'd like to see. What do we do with a Q such as the one I linked to? We cannot edit them for the asker in a way like posdef demo'ed here. We can only nudge the asker in the direction. What do we do if the Q is not changed, but we'd like to keep it - if it would be phrased a more open way? Resubmit it like a copycat? No idea. – cfi Nov 5 '12 at 16:32
  • On a side note: I'm with the closing decision of that one. And agree to the fact that Tony Madsen's answer answers a better question that unfortunately hadn't been asked. I believe the order of things is important: First, nudge asker in better direction, second wait a bit (maybe a Tony pops up and answers a unasked broader Q), third close if not changed. – cfi Nov 5 '12 at 16:33
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    @cfi a veeeery late answer to your question: "What do we do if the Q is not changed, but we'd like to keep it - if it would be phrased a more open way? Resubmit it like a copycat?" Simple: edit it! ;) That's the beauty of SE sites, it's all about the community effort. We create the content for this site, altogether – posdef Dec 17 '12 at 20:22
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    I disagree with that sentiment: Editing should be done to correct minor errors without introducing a new meaning to the post. Granted, if editing a post of a user who's obviously no longer interested in it, that may be ok. But most people feel bad if their content is manipulated without prior consent. Also, remember, that even though others can see it has been edited, the post is still attributed to a user. Editing has to be done very carefully in order to support users and not alienate them. – cfi Dec 18 '12 at 11:36
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    On the other hand, and to disagree with myself and agree with you @posdef, an edit can help educate the user, and if it considerably improves the question, said user may earn more reputation based on the work of the editor. It's a difficult topic, I suppose. – cfi Dec 18 '12 at 11:37
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    @cfi Once a question or an answer is edited, the original poster is notified to review the edits. You can then edit the edits, or do a complete rollback. Besides the editors name and badge are shown, so anyone can see what whether or not the question/answer was edited, and if so, what was changed. – posdef Dec 18 '12 at 13:58

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