Following up on On- and off-topic questions: an attempt to reach consensus and the associated questions...

My thought was that we should leave discussion and voting running until end of January, than do a preliminary tabulation of topic areas by for and against (rather than just totals). Some topic-areas will be clearly considered in- or out-of- scope; others will have attracted differing views and need more discussion.

The non-contentious ones can be used as the basis for updating our FAQ; the others should form the basis of another round of discussion.

Thoughts? Other proposals? Volunteers to tabulate the results and start the next round of discussion? It might be good if the next round of discussion was kicked off by somebody with a viewpoint different from mine...

2 Answers 2


I tried to vote on some of the on/off topics but they all seem too specific to be useful. Genealogy and family-history is a huge subject, and questions might be related to technology (academic, products, sites), academic genealogy (methods, standards, etc), application of genealogy (problem solving, cultural/language/writing issues, historical events), or availability of records. I'm not suggesting this covers everything but it's obviously a more generic approach than looking at specific questions.

I personally feel that the generic approach is less likely to exclude valid questions that we simply haven't thought of yet.

  • I'm sorry; I don't understand what you're saying. Possibly me being thick?
    – user104
    Commented Dec 23, 2012 at 18:32
  • No, it's more than likely me not explaining very well. It was the approach of analysing existing questions and deciding what's on/off topic. I understand this is necessary because the large spectrum of related topics means the site has something of an identity crisis. However, I feel there's a big danger of being too "picky" with the questions we want to accept. From a poster's POV, I'm sure they all make sense, and they're all valid to themselves.
    – ACProctor
    Commented Dec 23, 2012 at 18:38
  • I feel that a top-down analysis might be easier to understand, and easier to describe on the site, e.g. easier than some FAQ citing good and bad specific questions.
    – ACProctor
    Commented Dec 23, 2012 at 18:39
  • I wasn't thinking that the FAQ would cite good and bad specific questions, but that the "attempt to reach consensus" should allow us to document an agreed top-down analysis.
    – user104
    Commented Dec 23, 2012 at 19:04
  • I'll add: I started with a top-down analysis.
    – user104
    Commented Dec 23, 2012 at 19:32

Instead of a time, maybe we should look to a number. Ie get enough involvement. We are still only at 551 users, 65 avid users, 213 visits per day. We want to greatly increase involvement and we need those other users to determine what is of interest to them.

  • I don't disagree we need more involvement, I just think we need at least a preliminary scope statement as well. There's nothing that says it has to be fixed in stone (indeed, it can't be if the site is to be healthy) but it does have to exist.
    – user104
    Commented Dec 25, 2012 at 13:25
  • @ColeValleyGirl - good points. Maybe we should focus on what's definitely in scope. I just worry if we focus too narrowly, we may large populations who might otherwise participate.
    – Duncan
    Commented Dec 26, 2012 at 16:43
  • Duncan, I'm expecting there to be some clarity about what is definitely in-scope or definitely out-of-scope. The contentious cases needn't be mentioned to start. IMO these are probably not going to be scope issues but more around how to ask good questions -- so asking about how to break through a G Grandparents brickwall is on-topic, but it's likely to get better answers if it provides as much specific information about what is already known as possible. So in addition to the Scope element of the FAQ we need a piece like @Fortiter started at meta.genealogy.stackexchange.com/a/1291/104
    – user104
    Commented Dec 26, 2012 at 17:08
  • [contd] coupled with people who are willing to step in and help improve questions.
    – user104
    Commented Dec 26, 2012 at 17:09

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