The question What is the most popular running (and fitness) application for mobile devices? was closed (partly) with the reason "Running questions must specifically relate to competitive running."

But what exactly do we mean then with "competitive running" if that is the requirement? Does that leave out all the questions related to the training in-between races (competitions)? LSR? Junk runs? Or is it only the runners on teams that can ask questions?

Also, we should be careful not be appear too chauvinistic: Why should a mobile app be less good than a dedicated sports watch like Garmin? (With the current trends where everything is integrated into mobile devices as apps, this seems a bit peculiar to me...)

I understand that this question also relates to What should we do with equipment recommendations? and we might close the question for that reason, but that is a different story.

4 Answers 4


I completely agree that we need to have a clear line between Sports questions and F&N questions, because if not it will turn into a maintenance nightmare. In my opinion, and in order to avoid a lot of overlap with the F&N site, I think that we should only host questions about running (or any other recreational sport) that are specifically about the competitive aspect of the sport.

In that vein, questions such as "How should I pace myself on a 5K race vs 20K race" would be on-topic. But questions such as "Which mobile application should I use to help me stay in shape" would be off-topic. I realize that this is somewhat ambiguous because staying in shape could relate to training for the next race. However, I think that this should be explicitly outlined in the question along with things such as what type of race you are training for, etc.

I think that the main problem right now (along with the fact that so many other proposals were merged with this one) is that there is no definition about what is on-topic and what is off-topic which is leading to the confusion. In my opinion, this is something that definitely needs a clear definition.

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    I'm close to agreeing with this. But... we will have a very large grey area where the apps, shoes, devices are used equally for fitness (the recreational) and to get better results (the competitive). Feb 9, 2012 at 14:34
  • @TonnyMadsen agreed. But, I think we can judge the question based on the intent of the person asking the question. Why do you want to use this device? For what competition? For what sports training exercise? To answer the question you will need to know the intent regardless of whether it is fitness or competition. And this will help us identify what is on-topic and what is off-topic. I'm just thinking out loud here. Thoughts? Feb 9, 2012 at 14:45
  • I think a big part of this headache could have been solved by not having merged the Running proposal with this one. For those who decided to, what was the rationale and was this problem considered? Feb 10, 2012 at 16:27
  • @MarcusSwope Questions about "improving your exercise performance and technique" or "gear and gadgets used during exercise" are completely on-topic for Fitness.
    – user107
    Feb 11, 2012 at 7:53

Questions about apps are perfectly acceptable on Fitness. Questions about training, improving your technique or physique, or achieving an increase in performance are perfectly suitable for Fitness as stated in the faq.

Why does there need to be a differentiation between casual and competitive? Does that mean someone who is looking for something "recreational" goes to fitness and the "competitive" go to Sports. What if someone is looking to jump from a recreational activity into training for a competition?

Splitting the definitions of the Fitness.SE and Sports.SE as "casual" and "competitive" (especially when the Fitness scope has already been defined) is going to cause huge problems in the future. Saying Sports.SE is competitive when Fitness.SE allows for those questions is asking Fitness to have its scope redefined (again).


that question should have been closed for a different reason: its a shopping question (off topic on all SE sites with few exceptions). I'm up in the air about running questions in general. It will be hard to determine if they are about competitive running or about recreational running. They are probably on topic here regardless, however I'd much prefer we stick to competitive sports.

Questions like this one are exactly the kinds of questions I'd prefer we avoid. However I won't fret if they remain on topic.

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    Do we have a good definition of the two? "Competitive" versus "Recreational"? In how many races must you participate before your daily runs stop being purely recreational? Feb 9, 2012 at 12:53
  • How about specific vs genera?. Specifics of training for a particular kind of race (100m, 5k, 10k, marthon/iron man etc) are on topic where general running questions go to F&N?
    – wax eagle
    Feb 9, 2012 at 12:57
  • Definitely brain storming here. I don't know the "right" answer, I'm just taking a stand and seeing where the chips fall.
    – wax eagle
    Feb 9, 2012 at 12:58
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    My particular sport is running, and I fear that any definition that is not more or less obvious will mean F&N and Sports will be in a constant migration pattern... Which could result in confusion among the users... and consequent migration to other sites outside SE... Feb 9, 2012 at 13:02
  • @TonnyMadsen fair enough. So self answer and see where the votes fall :) I'm not afraid to be wrong.
    – wax eagle
    Feb 9, 2012 at 13:07
  • @TonnyMadsen see my edit for an example of a question that I think is best left out of our scope.
    – wax eagle
    Feb 9, 2012 at 13:10
  • And I agree completely with your edit :-) Feb 9, 2012 at 14:23
  • @waxeagle That example question -- training for a particular kind of race -- is okay to ask on Fitness.
    – user107
    Feb 11, 2012 at 22:15

I think "Sports" should tend towards competitive sports, not so much for fitness-y participation. For me, as a runner, I do think that there is a distinction between running for fitness, and "training". The kinds of questions that people would ask about the two would tend to overlap in some places (shoes), but would differ in most others, such as the question about interval training (not too many people who jog 20 min 3 times a week are worried about intervals). That being said, almost all people running 3 hour marathons (fast), started as 20 minute joggers, then did a 10k, then muddled through a marathon. So it's a continuum.

Soccer is another continuum sport. There are people who play for fun at lunch, and they might not be so interested in a question about offsides traps, or some technical aspect of soccer. So maybe they would feel more at home in F&N, asking about how to rehab a twisted ankle, or something. But many of those people will often play in a more competitive league, and/or watch professional soccer, and/or coach their kid's team.

For a site called "Sports", if it is to end up being a place where people involved in sports gather, then there are always going to be a fair bit of overlap. Does the lunchtime soccer player think she's playing a sport, or doing a fitness activity? Or both?

That being said, it seems odd to allow questions about competitive running, discourage questions from recreational joggers, and yet also encourage questions about sports that are being viewed on TV (pro basketball trivia). There's a disconnect there.

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    The disconnect is caused by the merging of sites with dramatically different purposes. We have people here to ask about rules and stats and we have people here to ask about participating in sports. However, to be quite honest a rule or stat question is equally valid to both a fan and a participant. As are strategy questions quite often (although what defines an "expert question" may change dramatically). I think that we can coexist peacefully. the real question is how our site interacts with F&N
    – wax eagle
    Feb 11, 2012 at 4:33

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