As a rehash of many previous discussions, here are a few:

Competitive or Recreational Running

What is counted as sport?

Airsoft question on topic?

Is parkour on topic?

Can I ask questions about mountaineering in Sports SE Site?

Isn't Chess a sport too?

Is dancing on topic?

Would pro wrestling be considered on topic?

It has become apparent that a bolder line needs to be drawn between sports and activities.

What is an adequate guideline for on-topic questions on Sports SE regarding activities?

Some activities could very well be officially considered sports (outside the scope of what Sports SE considers a sport), such as running. However, to consider programming on-topic because it has competitions is an abomination to the spirit of the guideline, for example.

The current guidelines are (which appear in this proposal and "what to ask" ):

  • Is it competitive?
  • Does it require physical exertion?
  • You should be getting paid for all that you do for Sports SE.
    – Jacob Jan
    Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 16:34
  • I wouldn't have much to do for Sports SE if it weren't for your (and the community's) involvement. It's you (and the community) who keep Sports SE running.
    – user527
    Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 18:11

2 Answers 2



Sports shall be recognized on Sports SE as they are recognized on SportAccord. SportAccord organizes all international sports federations. All sports included in each federation shall be considered on-topic for Sports SE.


  • This would provide an objective answer to "What is a sport?" on Sports SE.
  • "Self-identification" would be objective through membership with SportAccord.
  • Member federations on SportAccord are recognized internationally, not only in specific countries.


  • Some sports, such as MMA or competitive eating, are not members of SportAccord.

    MMA and competitive eating do have international federations. In fact, the MMA international federation (IMMAF)'s vision is to be recognized as a sport through membership with SportAccord with the goal of becoming an Olympic sport.

Other Thoughts

  • Although competitive aspects will still be on-topic for Sports SE, shall we defer activities to where (potentially) more expertise lies (Chess SE for chess, The Great Outdoors SE for climbing, etc.) or keep the question here? A subset of said activity's expertise would include competitive aspects.

    The dichotomy between running seem to be clear enough to categorize running for fitness and running for competition. However, other activities (chess, for example) do not possess the same distinction.

  • SportAccord categorizes federations into five categories: physical, mind, motorized, coordination, and animal-supported. This statement goes further than to corroborate "physical activity" as sports. Moreover, we have had motorized (NASCAR, formula 1, etc) and coordination (billiards/pool) questions.

This is only a proposal. The purpose of this proposal is to objectively define Sports SE's scope of sports.

Sports SE has been in public beta for 2+ years, and to be able to determine what the scope should objectively be and to document it seems to become more and more appropriate with recent meta discussions.

  • 1
    I think we'll have to come up with a definition, rather than simply say that we only recognize sports that are recognized by SportAccord. Not every sport is on their list. For example, broomball.
    – Ben Miller
    Commented Mar 19, 2014 at 21:44
  • 2
    I think that's the point of this discussion. I am aware that not every sport is on their list (see cons section). There will have to be a definition that would objectively draw a line and answer the questions above. Simply saying it requires physical exertion and it is competitive is open to interpretation.
    – user527
    Commented Mar 21, 2014 at 13:02

Counter point: Does a bolder line need to be drawn between what is vs. not a sport?

One thought: If it 'feels' like a sport, and there's not a more appropriate SE site to ask it on, why not ask it here?

Any list of 'official sports' is going to suffer the same ambiguity we're talking about here.

  • Looking at the meta questions above, there is confusion as to what activities can be asked here, which was the motivation for this question in the first place. If it "feels" like a sport is subjective and open to interpretation, which is where we currently stand with our current "definition" of such including competition and physical exertion, so it's a sidestep more than anything.
    – user527
    Commented Nov 21, 2014 at 17:34
  • I agree it's a side-step, but I think that's maybe what I'm proposing. The definition of sport is subjective so perhaps we should embrace it rather than fight it.
    – DA.
    Commented Nov 21, 2014 at 17:37
  • 3
    That's fair. The only problem is that, like you and I, we all have different ideas to what "sports" are. For example, pro wrestling may be a sport to one person and not to another, and thus, lead to unfavorable votes/comments among users voicing such opinion. This is why I think it is appropriate to get an "official" and objective definition out there to avoid "fighting it" although that may be an uphill climb. That was the purpose of my proposal.
    – user527
    Commented Nov 21, 2014 at 17:40
  • Also, I do like the point of, "if there's a more appropriate SE site to ask it on, ask it there." Chess has their own site, so that would be more appropriate for Chess questions than here.
    – user527
    Commented Nov 21, 2014 at 17:40

You must log in to answer this question.