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After discussion among users from the community, we seem to be in agreement to redefine/further define the scope/subject matter of the content on Sports SE.

As a result, this would work hand-in-hand with improving the On-Topic Page to be more specific to Sports SE, rather than general question/answer considerations (which should still be referenced and considered).

Please feel free to contribute.

  • great job! it looks pretty good – posdef Feb 8 '13 at 9:50
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Mistu4u makes an excellent point in his response. This has been reflected.

Jon Ericson has written a very helpful post in making our on-topic page more friendly.


Sports Stack Exchange is for participants, hobbyists, and fans of all sports and forms of competitive physical activity. We welcome questions of all levels. For a non-inclusive list of example topics, click here.

Please formulate your questions and answers to be relevant among the Sports SE community. Subjective questions are subject to the following guidelines.

For discussion, you may use The Clubhouse, Sports SE's chatroom.

Sports Stack Exchange is NOT a forum. Some kinds of questions should NOT be asked here:

  • Who is the better [team/athlete/etc.]?
  • Who will win the [event/award/etc.]?
  • Requests for sources/research
  • Fantasy Sports
  • Recreation, Fitness, or Outdoor activities
  • Medical/Legal advice
  • What is or is not a sport

For more help, see "What types of questions should I avoid asking?"

Please search our site to see if your question has been asked before. It’s also OK to ask and answer your own question.

If your question is not specifically on-topic for Sports Stack Exchange, it may be on topic for another Stack Exchange site. If no site currently exists that will accept your question, you may commit to or propose a new site at Area 51, the place where new Stack Exchange communities are democratically created.

  • I must say it makes hard for the new users to ask questions here at first place. – Mistu4u Feb 6 '13 at 20:10
  • @Mistu4u How is that the case? In general, most new users do not read the faq before asking their first few questions. How would you present it to make it "easier" for new users to ask questions here? – user527 Feb 6 '13 at 21:08
  • See my answer.... – Mistu4u Feb 7 '13 at 4:32
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    A much much better draft. Until any other thought strikes my mind, it is completely okay. Very nice. – Mistu4u Feb 10 '13 at 16:33
  • I have one concern about the shopping question. Let's put golf up for an example. this would like to seen a valid question: "If I tend to hit my ball low, should I get golf club A with X loft or B with Y loft?" looks like a shopping question, but it really could help any other golfer. Maybe the same for tennis raquets, or any other implement for sports. This question is easily solved changing the I to "a player" – gbianchi Feb 14 '13 at 17:28
  • @gbianchi True. For your golf analogy, can it be tailored to ask, "I tend to hit my ball low, would a golf club with higher loft help? Why or why not?" How would you address a "personal recommendation" that helps only them? – user527 Feb 14 '13 at 17:32
  • @gbianchi With such recommendations, we should promote “how can I make a better decision” vs “what did you decide”...so it doesn't sound like a recommendation. – user527 Feb 14 '13 at 17:37
  • Me, as not native english, take shopping as "where do I buy X element". Personal recomendation is "Do I have to get A or B". The last one can be solved by us upon a edition, if the question has the proper amount of info on it. Maybe the faq should state something like: Direct shopping question (using the example) and on another bullet Personal recomendations (without a background). – gbianchi Feb 14 '13 at 17:39
  • I like this version... a lot. Thanks for maintaining it. – Jon Ericson Aug 5 '13 at 15:13
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    @gbianchi I know our discussion is 2.5 years old, but I found a meta answer that explains your point nicely. – user527 Aug 24 '15 at 13:57
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Although I am fairly satisfied with the excellent construction of the FAQ you made, but I am likely to point several banes of this FAQ.

The FAQ contains important points regarding the asking a good question concept. But the problem is if new users see too much constraints before asking questions here, they would not likely to take the risk of asking question here, rather than asking on Yahoo answer. We should not drive new users away, rather invite them. The FAQ should be shorter so that users dont get the phobia of their question being unanswered/closed. A relevant post from Robert read as:

Creating a long list of all the ways you can go wrong on this site is somewhat user hostile. The two lists (what belongs, what doesn't) is there to convey the gist of what this site is about. Certainly you know better than I, but this additions looks a bit reactionary. Wait until there's a problem you feel warrants announcing to every new member of your community when they first come to visit.


Retaining the points in the FAQ page somehow suggests all the question must abide by all the points cited there. Albeit IMHO they are some suggestions regarding how can we ask good question not only here, but also in all SE sites. Some users are born with good asking skills; they need not to learn. Again some users don't have a clue how to ask good questions. For example, when I at first entered SE, I did not know how to ask good questions. Then I visited FAQ and from the hyperlink How to Ask, I was forwarded to the qualities a good question should have. If I have seen so many points in the first place, maybe I could have feel disinterested/repelled from SE sites.

If I were you, I would rather have made a meta post with title "Make your Question Worthy of Answers in Sports.SE" and added the hyperlink to the FAQ. So that if some user does not understand how to ask question in SE, he can visit the meta post via the link in the FAQ.

  • This is an excellent response. I attempt to not make it sound like "constraints," but more like starting topics for new users. I agree that too many bullet points will become clutter...and therefore, our scope should just be sports. I like the reference to "Make your Question Worthy of Answers in Sports.SE." Although our purpose is to attract and engage "subject matter experts," that would work hand-in-hand with users improving your skills like you have. – user527 Feb 7 '13 at 5:10
  • We have ran into relevance and localization questions...otherwise, some points (like source requests - however some SE sites allow them - and shopping recommendations) are the case throughout all SE sites. I have made my answer community wiki...so please tailor it to what suits us best. – user527 Feb 7 '13 at 5:13
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    @edmastermind29, Well I am not that good with writing FAQ myself. And honestly, I am not regular here. So I am leaving the great responsibility on you guys. You have been great in moderating the site. Just try to make it compact and small. All the best. :) – Mistu4u Feb 7 '13 at 5:25
  • Thanks. Your contributions are much appreciated :) – user527 Feb 7 '13 at 14:16
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Historical note: The FAQ was pulled in to populate the on-topic page. So my answer is mostly about the current state of that page, which is like but not really an FAQ as such. Also, I'm not fully up on the history of the site, so I'm probably missing important background. Finally, I'm a rookie Community Manager, which is why I have an interest despite never actually participating in the site before.


I'm not a fan of the way this reads to someone new to the site. Let's take a not-so-hypothetical example. I'd like to know how many home runs Adrian Gonzalez has lost by playing in Dodger Stadium since being traded last season. Reading though the on-topic page, I'm pretty sure the question would be off-topic since "Sports SE is not your research assistant". Also I'm worried the question might be construed as "futuristic" or "opinionated". The current text doesn't help me figure out what do do next.

If I follow the link, I can get an incomplete list of on-topic question categories. But it's not clear to me if my question fits those categories. The closest is "Theories and explanations of sports phenomena", I guess. As a user of a number of Stack Exchange sites, I'm pretty sure I could find a way to ask the question in a productive way, but most newcomers probably can't. The help page isn't really helping them.

As it stands, the text reads a bit too much like the "What Stack Overflow Is Not" post. I didn't like that post because it just read like a listing of all the bad behaviors that had been observed rather than a tool to help people ask better questions. The sort of people who ask crappy questions are also unlikely to read the /help pages. So it kinda seems pointless to concentrate on slapping the wrists of people who ask bad questions.


One way to reduce the amount of negativity would be to drop the commentary:

  • Who is the better [team/athlete/etc]?

    "Is Tim Tebow better than RG3 or Russell Wilson?

    Opinionated questions may promote debate and diminish the credibility of Sports SE

Why not just include the bold sentence? That way the entire list could be:

  • Who is the better [team/athlete/etc]?
  • Who will win the [sporting event/award/etc]?
  • Questions whose answers are easy to find elsewhere.
  • Fitness, or Outdoor activities.
  • Medical advice.

I made a few wording changes. I could be wrong about the meaning of "Requests for sources/research". If you have a meta post explaining why any of these are bad questions, you can throw in a link on the relevant word. Also, I'm not sure about Bicycling and Martial Arts. It sounds like the competitive aspects are on-topic here.


Finally, I wonder if discouraging questions is the right approach at all. As I see it, there are two strategies for avoiding bad questions:

  1. Preemptively discourage them, and
  2. Edit bad questions into good ones when possible.

The stats suggest y'all are struggling more with getting people to ask questions in the first place rather than fighting off junky questions. So why not encourage folks to ask the questions they have and focus your efforts on fixing up the ones that don't meet your standards but are salvageable?

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    You're in the ballpark with your observations. I'm in favor of making the help center more friendly, and I do not disagree that the tone is (unintentionally) negative. However, I'm not in favor of calling our list "incomplete" when it includes: 1) topics most frequently asked on Sports SE, 2) topics provided by the community, and 3) a list that would never be complete. It is a starting point to give users examples of questions and topics...short of browsing previous questions for themselves. – user527 Aug 5 '13 at 14:01
  • Some FAQ/on-topic help page history: determining and reflecting Sports SE's scope; writing good questions and answers (per a mod chat in September 2012); guiding subjective questions to improve question count and quality; the most recent on-topic page rollout. – user527 Aug 5 '13 at 14:14
  • The community has made efforts in helping new users with questions (see (1), (2), (3)). Yes, our question count is low...but aside from the difficulty/lack of guidance for new users to ask questions, our core userbase tends to shift every 6-8 weeks (more stable lately) and an inactive meta contribute to where we currently stand. Our help center + references can be improved with community involvement. – user527 Aug 5 '13 at 14:30

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