Given that the Geneology site is so new (still in beta), I was hoping as a community we could decide whether or not general questions about heraldry (regarding coats of arms) are on topic for this site. For instance, my own recent question: Coat of arms: can a charge be placed over a variation of the field?
There seems to be some disagreement, at least amongst the commentators on that question, as to whether or not this question is on topic. Quoting lejonet8:
As an auxiliary sciences of history, heraldry is an essential part of (European) genealogy.
Others have argued that the question is off topic because it has no specific relevance to family history.
I would argue in favor of including general question about heraldry as on-topic for this site for the following reasons:
1. Useful for genealogical research
A coat of arms has often been passed down from father to son, making it a valuable resource for genealogical investigation. Quoting from this page, (under "What to look for")
Arms traditionally descend unchanged through the male line to the eldest son. This makes it easy to trace the male line [...]
And from here:
To marshal two or more coats of arms is to combine them in one shield, to express inheritance, claims to property, or the occupation of an office.
Which is to say that a coat of arms can actually show the union of two families as well, particularly when a man married an heiress, he may marshal his coat of arms with that of her father.
Further more, as described here, the use of cadency (addition of a specific charge to an existing coat of arms) can signify specifically which son a coat of arms originates with.
2. Recognizing bogus coats of arms
Anyone of European descent who has done much research on their family history has no doubt encountered offers have their "genuine family coat of arms" rendered and sent to them for a nominal fee. The vast majority of these are scams, especially considering the fact that most families not of noble or wealthy origin will not have coat of arms. Understanding and being able to ask questions about the rules of heraldry can help someone identify a bogus coat of arms.
3. Family legacy
When considering family history and genealogy, we should also consider family legacy, i.e., the future history of our families. Someone without a coat of arms may wish to develop and adopt one for themselves, and to pass it down through their family. This site seems like a natural place to go for such individuals.
To address some of the concerns expressed about designing your own coat of arms: I've been getting more involved in heraldry as of late and it turns out that in all but a few jurisdictions (namely Scotland, and to a lesser extent, England Wales and Northern Ireland), designing and adopting your own coat of arms is perfectly legitimate and common. There are even a number of heraldic organizations with which you can register your design. The important thing from a heraldry standpoint is simply that it follows good design practices and that it is unique to you; it doesn't matter whether or not is was created in the middle ages, or passed down through generations, or designed by an authoritative body.
This does not have to apply just to coats of arms, but related matters like clan tartans of Scotland, Japanese mon, and any other methods used to identify family lineage or association.
5. Low Impact
Inclusion of heraldry and related topics is not likely to have a major impact on the site as they will likely generate a rather low volume of traffic. However, this is by far the most relevant site on Stack Exchange for their discussion and, since they are likely to be such low traffic, it is not likely that a more specific site would be successful.
So that's my two cents on the matter. I hope the community will weight in and we can reach a consensus on whether or not such discussions should be considered on topic or not.