Fortiter asked at https://genealogy.meta.stackexchange.com/a/1550/104:

Which, if any, of the resolutions of similar issues on other sites is "binding" on GFH (ex cathedra)? Does this community have the capacity to define its own rules without reference to Rome?

2 Answers 2


Meta Stack Overflow is the meta for the entire network (as well as being the place for specific discussion of StackOverflow policies). So, most policy decisions there (unless specified otherwise) can be said to automatically apply here. This means that it is perfectly valid to quote most1 MSO posts as network policy. Of course, if you don't like a policy there, you need not bring it over. You are your own site, and you get to set your own rules2. You can just ignore some MSO policies if you want, and not adhere to those. If you want to be more rigorous about it, write a meta post (on this site, not on MSO), asking about the specific policy -- though you don't need to do this for every single policy discussion you find on MSO3.

Aside from this, discussions on other metas are pretty useful when quoted -- you don't have to adhere to the result of the discussion, but you generally do get some valuable points from them.

So, in conclusion, none of the discussions are binding, and you have the capacity to define your own policies!

1. The ones that specifically pertain to StackOverflow (recognizable from the tag or from their tone) are not de-facto applicable to your site.

2. Well, a few things, like the types of questions that aren't allowed and etiquette rules, as mentioned by ColeValleyGirl here, are core policies and shouldn't be overridden, except for possibly changing the degree to which they apply. For example, you probably shouldn't allow subjective/list-type questions, but you can loosen up a bit on them

3. There are way too many for this. It's perfectly OK if you ignore one of these "network policies", and only discuss it if someone objects.


What rules can't we change?

  1. The platform that we're operating on is a 'given', since it's shared over so many sites. (We would have to fight long and hard to get special programming changes.)
  2. Basic StackExchange quality expectations as expressed in standard elements of the FAQ, such as the the sections on Etiquette ("Be nice". "Be honest"), and on closing poor-quality questions and removing questions and answers.

What rules can we change?

  1. Our scope -- it's wholly within our gift what questions belong here and what don't.
  2. The degree of subjectivity/non-constructive questions we tolerate.
  3. Our judgement and the corresponding guidance we provide on what makes a good question and a good answer (as long as we stay within the basic StackExchange expectations).

Edited to add: we don't have the freedom in any way to fill our site with rubbish. If we flex our rules enough to allow that to happen, we can expect some pushback from the StackExchange Community.

  • Also, once we're out of Beta, aren't there a few other things, e.g. Site design, site blog, etc.
    – lkessler
    Commented Jan 8, 2013 at 14:43
  • @lkessler, yes, but I wasn't thinking of those as 'rules'. Have edited the answerto make it clear that it's only rules I'm talking about.
    – user104
    Commented Jan 8, 2013 at 14:48

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