This question raised the issue of on-topic vs off-topic in comments.

How do I correctly enlarge thermographic images for web use?

The end use of the photograph is for engineering purposes. There is no mention in the site guidelines about whether scientific, engineering, or technical photography is photography. Of course, there is no true answer, it is just a decision of the site what people they want in the community.

It seems one line in the on-topic or off-topic in the guidelines resolves the uncertainty. My meta question is just that:

How do site guidelines evolve?

I'm not asking specifically about the disposition of this question, nor advocating one side. My interest is more general:

Do people prefer to leave the guidelines loose and let each question fly on its on merit? This has the advantage of flexibility, but also can discourage new users who's question gets shot down.

Should the guidelines be more specific so that people know what to expect? While a big rule list might be certain, that also could look unappealing as being micro-managing or overly dictacting.

  • \$\begingroup\$ There is only 2 votes to close on a site with a quite a large number of users that can vote. So, I wouldn't rush to conclusions on this. \$\endgroup\$
    – Joanne C
    Commented Apr 18, 2015 at 23:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ There are also 3 votes to keep open as well, so weight is leaning to on-topic at this point. \$\endgroup\$
    – Joanne C
    Commented Apr 18, 2015 at 23:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, but my question is not about the voting on this specific question. I'll edit my question to clarify. \$\endgroup\$
    – jdr5ca
    Commented Apr 19, 2015 at 0:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm also responding... \$\endgroup\$
    – Joanne C
    Commented Apr 19, 2015 at 0:01

1 Answer 1


The site moderates that based on participant feedback in meta and voting patterns in the the main site. That's basically how it's intended to work because it allows for change in direction over time while engaging active members in the process. In any event, the help topics are not going to be comprehensive lists of what is on or off-topic, they're guidelines to help people get started.

This is also a very mature site, it is one of the very first Stack Exchange sites to go live when they ended the pay-for variants. There is a general pattern to what the membership tends to accept and what it doesn't, so it takes some time for newcomers to pick that up, and it's not necessarily obvious. Searches on what has been closed can help. If the pattern gets common enough, the help topics get updated.


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