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Our tour page has a list of things to ask about and things not to ask about. Currently these are the default texts, but I noticed that mods can edit them. The texts currently read:

Ask about...

  • Specific issues with governments, policies and political processes
  • Real problems or questions that you’ve encountered

and

Don't ask about...

  • Anything not directly related to governments, policies and political processes
  • Questions that are primarily opinion-based
  • Questions with too many possible answers or that would require an extremely long answer

Considering that the tour aims to inform new users of our site's dos and don'ts, it makes sense to be a bit more specific here. Which rules or customs do you think we should highlight? Note that we can include links in there as well.

To get an idea, some sites which have custom lists on their tour pages (listed here for inspiration): English, Stack Overflow, Travel, Movies, Cooking and History.

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  • Are mods able to customize this or would it require staff intervention? Nov 23, 2021 at 18:35
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    @EkadhSingh-ReinstateMonica we can just edit it as mods. :)
    – JJJ Mod
    Nov 23, 2021 at 18:37
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    Not a full proposal yet, but we definitely need a good example on push questions and promote/discredit questions, since those are the hardest to define and explain, and cause the most trouble
    – divibisan
    Nov 24, 2021 at 0:09
  • @divibisan yea, it might be best to spread those across two points: one for promoting your own view, another for discrediting someone else's. I think a bullet point discouraging speculative questions would be good too. Then countering that we could have something like 'Ask about ... public-opinion if it's likely to be backed up by polling data'. Yes, tags render too. :)
    – JJJ Mod
    Nov 24, 2021 at 0:21
  • I really think you ought to add political theory to the list. Otherwise this is just a policy-wonk site, hardly worth anyone's attention. Nov 24, 2021 at 1:12
  • @TedWrigley yes, but how should we phrase that to best inform someone new to the site? I'm not sure how this question would work best. One approach would be to have one suggestion per answer, then edit them in as they reach a certain score. Maybe a pair (a do and a don't) works also so they match.
    – JJJ Mod
    Nov 24, 2021 at 1:18
  • @JJJ: Hmm. Does that page use the same formatting code as the rest of the site? If so, I'll think about it a bit and mock up a suggestion as an answer. Nov 24, 2021 at 1:41
  • @TedWrigley yes it uses the same markup but I think it has to use bullet points. As for markup, I think it's mostly embedded links (to site resources) and embedded tags that would work for us. It's probably not a good idea to lead users away from the site or to put images in there.
    – JJJ Mod
    Nov 24, 2021 at 1:46
  • Are you able to change the headers? (the ones that say “Ask about” and “Don’t ask about”)? Nov 29, 2021 at 16:12
  • @EkadhSingh-ReinstateMonica no, those are static texts. At the top of the tour page the text under the logo (except for the "We're a little bit different" part) can also be edited. I don't think there's a lot to improve there though.
    – JJJ Mod
    Nov 29, 2021 at 16:14

2 Answers 2

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As I mentioned in a comment, I think it's best to take full advantage of the customization opportunity. To do that I think we can use bullet points for specific topics where there might be doubt as to whether they are allowed.

This is a list of possible topics that could be included, but I think it works best if individual suggestions are discussed and considered for inclusion. I made this a community wiki so others can edit in suggestions for consideration. Since this answer contains multiple suggestions, voting does not indicate support for all suggestion on the list.

Feel free to start with some comments in brackets, those are not part of the suggestion text.

Ask about:

  • (it's probably okay to combine two or even three tags to say 'these are areas we'd like you to ask about') political and the process

  • (once more covering related topics) , and multinational organizations like the

  • ('why does group like X' is a common kind of question, here we can get out in front of it and point to some guidance when these questions are okay) assuming it can be answered objectively, for example using data

Don't ask about:

  • (possibly link to History SE here?) history questions that have no relevance for today's politics

  • (not sure how to phrase following the about preposition) something that comes across as pushing your own views. See our guidance on good faith questions

  • (covers the speculation close reason; maybe add something to the effect of "could not be verified with sources available to the public" in there as well? ) internal motivations when this requires answerers to speculate

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This is my proposal:

For the “Ask about” section I propose changing it to:

  • Governments, policies, macroeconomics, and political processes.
  • Real questions that you’ve encountered. Anything else that fits within the scope of this site

(Note: I’m not really sure if a link to meta is the best idea for new users, feel free to comment what you think and why.)

I removed issues from the first bullet point because it makes it sound like it would be okay to ask a push question. That is the same reason why I removed problems from the second bullet point. Other than that, I just tried to improve the grammar. I also moved the part about being specific to the don’t ask about, because it grammatically didn’t make sense in its original position. I also mentioned Macroeconomics since it’s on topic here.

For the “Don’t ask about” section I propose:

  • Anything not directly related to governments, policies, macroeconomics, and political processes.
  • Anything where all answers would have to be based off of opinions and not facts.
  • Anything that would require extraordinarily long answers.
  • Anything that doesn’t have enough details to be answered.

I didn’t do much here except improve the grammar and tell question askers to be clear. I didn’t add a bullet point asking question askers not to discredit, because that’s something you shouldn’t do when you ask, not something you shouldn’t ask about. I also didn’t add a bullet point asking about the “Internal motivations” close reason because any question asking for internal motivations would have to have answers based off of opinion. I also mentioned macroeconomics because it is on topic here.

As an aside, I really wish that these were titled “Ask” and “Don’t ask” instead of “Ask about” and “Don’t ask about” because then I could tell question askers not to ask questions that need more focus and attempt to discredit, but oh well.

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  • I think those 'don't ask about' categories are too unspecific. The first one covers all the 'not really about politics' topics but it's unclear where we draw the line. The other three answers are common across the Stack Exchange network, so I don't think that's taking full advantage of the possibilities to customize for our site.
    – JJJ Mod
    Nov 29, 2021 at 16:51
  • @JJJ I agree with you saying that the first one is a bit unspecific, I’ll try and see if I can change that without making it too cumbersome. Also, even if the other three are boring and repetitive for users who’ve used the network before, not everybody comes to this site from other sites, so I feel they’re still important. Nov 29, 2021 at 16:53
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    I'll post a CW answer with a list of possible topics. Those are just suggestions to encourage the discussion and once I've posted it you can include suggestions there too. After some time and discussion we can see which reasons we like and which we don't. I think there are many good ideas but we'll probably have to make a choice which are most relevant to new users (if the list gets too long than it might be confusing too).
    – JJJ Mod
    Nov 29, 2021 at 17:00

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