After a lingering concern about close reasons, I started a close reasons evaluation last month. Although the results of the evaluation was respectable and close reasons haven't raised red flags since, my personal opinion was that it didn't strike much of a chord with the community at large.

Eventually, because of this comment about a close reason not being helpful to a new user, I had a useful discussion with our friends at Mechanics SE. As a result of said discussion, I have decided to take a page from their playbook.

Sports SE is not a forum

It's Q&A. Not Q&Q. Nor Q&Commentary. Nor Q&Chit-Chat.

Sports SE and SE veterans understand how this site works, but new users usually do not. The purpose of this meta discussion is for new users to highlight what they should understand about how Sports SE works in order for them to have the smoothest transition possible.

The idea is to have something more specific to Sports SE than the tour and what's on-topic here. Contrasting Sports SE with a regular forum will help, although "most sports fans are casual and interested only in talking about what happened last night." However, good questions do arise from what happened "last night," so instead of viewing this as a "struggle," let's embrace this.

For our recently-joined users, we would like you to help us in this regard as your transition experience may be fresh in your mind.


Sports SE

General Stack Exchange (*adapted from Mechanics SE)

This post will continuously be IN PROGRESS until further notice. The community is welcome to contribute.

11 Answers 11


How do I write a good question?

See here for the original post.

Almost always, a good answer is the result of a good question. A good question on Sports Stack Exchange is almost always well-written and informative. Consider the following while asking your question:

  • How did I stumble upon the question at hand? What is the background?
  • What assumptions/findings are relevant to the question? Which sources have I researched? This could save time for others who might be looking for an answer to the same/similar question.
  • Am I looking to participate in discussion? If so, these questions are discouraged. However, they are welcome in Sports Stack Exchange's chatroom, The Clubhouse.
  • How is it relevant to the community?

    Questions that are "too localized" are not encouraged on Stack Exchange sites. Avoid personal recommendations.

    Make it clear how your question is relevant to more people than just you. Adding information on the relevance of the question will ultimately help avoid any implicit reasoning behind asking the question.

    Relevance may depend on how you phrase your question. Be considerate with asking questions pertaining to a specific geographical area.

    Example 1:

    Instead of: "I want to do [sport] in [area]. How do I go about it?"

    Consider: "I am enthusiastic about my training in [sport], and want to take the next step. What are common ways to get in touch with local clubs/sponsors? (Note: I live in [area], in case someone lives nearby)."

    Example 2:

    Instead of: "I live in [area] and would like to do [sport] outdoors, where can I do it?"

    Consider: "I live in [area] and not sure where I can train for [sport]. What are common ways to find local outdoor fields/training facilities/etc...?"


How do I write a good answer?

See here for the original post.

A good answer on Sports Stack Exchange creates unique, direct value. Consider the following while answering a user's question:

  • Is it concise? Extra words distract from the point.
  • Is it properly formatted? Leverage your answer to create proper emphasis.
  • Is it supported by "authority?" Back up claims by referencing sources. This is particularly important when discussing rules.
  • Can I provide a unique perspective? Add something new. If you have insight to add to another user's answer, consider doing so in a comment.
  • Can I share my personal experience(s)? Expertise shines through.

What kind of questions are not a good fit for this site?

See our on-topic page in the help center for more information. Some kinds of questions that are not a good fit for this site:

  • 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 general guidance on what types of questions to avoid asking, see our help center for more information. Here is an excerpt from our don't ask page:

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.

Your questions should be reasonably scoped. If you can imagine an entire book that answers your question, you’re asking too much.

If your motivation for asking the question is “I would like to participate in a discussion about ______”, then you should not be asking here. However, if your motivation is “I would like others to explain ______ to me”, then you are probably OK. (Discussions are of course welcome in our real time web chat.)

To prevent your question from being flagged and possibly removed, avoid asking subjective questions where …

  • every answer is equally valid: “What’s your favorite ______?”

  • your answer is provided along with the question, and you expect more answers: “I use ______ for ______, what do you use?”

  • there is no actual problem to be solved: “I’m curious if other people feel like I do.”

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

  • your question is just a rant in disguise: “______ sucks, am I right?”


I don't have a particular question. I want to talk about the game last night.

Sure. Feel free to stop by The Clubhouse, Sports SE's chat room, once you have 20 reputation (on any site in the network, it doesn't have to be on Sports SE itself).


What is and isn't a sport?

This question will be answered differently depending on who you ask. In an attempt to define what is and isn't a sport on Sports SE, this meta post was created. However, this attempt made it clear that this question will be handled by the community on a case-by-case basis.

To do your part, make sure your question follows the verbiage found in the on-topic page of the help center, "Sports Stack Exchange is for participants, hobbyists, and fans of all sports and forms of competitive physical activity. We welcome questions of all levels." As a result, the ball will be put in our community's court.

Some things that are definitely not sports:

  • I added a few things that are definitely not sports - if they're clicking on this, it's probably worth having that list there.
    – Joe Mod
    Commented Jan 27, 2016 at 22:23
  • Good start, @Joe. I followed your lead and added a few more.
    – user527
    Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 1:36
  • 1
    Perplexed by the downvote. This is probably one of the main points to address on Sports SE.
    – user527
    Commented Feb 4, 2016 at 2:02

Can I ask for external links or other resources?

No. We expect questions that are asked here to have some degree of effort put into them as we are not your research assistant. Our help center also states that "requests for sources/research" should not be asked here.

With respect to how to do research, we will gladly help. For example, how to collect statistics is sometimes not a trivial task, so asking how to find a statistic would be on-topic.


When referencing rules, what guidelines should I follow?

The following are a general set of guidelines one should follow when referencing rules:

  • Use the most updated version of the rules available
  • Cite the rule (ie, quote the rule and state its identifier)
  • Summarize in your own words to provide a standalone answer

Why can't I ask about fantasy sports here?

We have decided it is off-topic for Sports SE as its usefulness will depreciate quickly. See this meta post for more information.


What if I'm not familiar with the sport I am asking about? Is that fine here?

Absolutely. We're here to help you get your question answered.

As long as your question is on-topic and does not fit the criteria from our do not ask page, you are set.


Can I ask for recommendations?

It depends.

If you are asking about recommendations with respect to purchasing, then it is a shopping recommendation and is off-topic throughout the network of SE sites.

If you are comparing products, consider adding specific detail to your question so we can help. Recommendations that are not focused on solely the purchasing aspect (reference: equipment recommendations) or an opinion-based aspect (eg, what is the better/best...) with specific detail may be on-topic here. See the following for some on-topic examples:


Why can't I ask about autographs here?

We have decided it is off-topic for Sports SE because the quality of such questions were poor despite efforts to improve quality via guidelines. See this meta post for more information.

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