I recently posted this question on SuperUser: https://webapps.stackexchange.com/questions/90176/conditionally-format-data-in-spreadsheet-column-but-only-when-it-changes

I did this because the question seemed like a fit for the site and when I went to tag it there was even a handy tag auto-suggested for me so it seemed like a no brainer.

But then I was made aware that this is off topic.

How do I know something is off topic when I see a tag for it completely describing what I am asking about?

  • 1
    Read the help center. Every SE website has one which outlines what is and what is not on topic.
    – Ramhound
    Feb 22, 2016 at 16:46
  • Just because a tag exists does not mean its on topic. Tags are created by anyone with the ability to do so, somebody mistakenly created the tag you used, which Is the reason its up to you to know what is and is not on topic.
    – Ramhound
    Feb 22, 2016 at 23:19
  • @Ramhound Maybe tags that should not be used could be a different color or something? I respect the need to have them there, but besides reading the description, maybe they could be more visibly "discouraging"?
    – user488805
    Mar 3, 2016 at 17:04
  • @nocomprende - If a user does not read the help center, and does not read the tag description that already exists, what makes you think the tag color will make a difference? Having tags be different colors would require a SE change. I consider this to be a human problem not a software design problem.
    – Ramhound
    Mar 3, 2016 at 17:51
  • @Ramhound its a human problem caused by and that can be solved by software so why not fix it. On principle? Of course
    – zoplonix
    Mar 3, 2016 at 18:06
  • @user1886419 - I don't believe software can be written to force a user to read the help center, read a tag description, or pay attention to the color of tags or any additional warnings we might add. User education is the only method I feel works, which is the reason comments exists to inform the user, a question isn't on topic.
    – Ramhound
    Mar 3, 2016 at 18:19
  • @Ramhound you cant educate through software ok i understand now
    – zoplonix
    Mar 3, 2016 at 22:11

1 Answer 1


You should read each tag's description before you apply it to a question (or post the question):

Google Spreadsheets is a part of the Google Docs web app suite. Questions about Google Spreadsheets are off topic and should be asked on webapps.stackexchange.com, unless they specifically involve your computer or browser.

(It's said that since 2011.)

A tag's description appears when you're about to add it, or when you mouse over it:

enter image description here

It's always good to review How to Ask and On Topic.

  • "there was even a handy google-spreadsheets tag auto-suggested for me". it doesn't look like that
    – zoplonix
    Feb 22, 2016 at 19:02
  • @user1886419 I know you don't get the automatically-expanded view, but if you mouse over it, you'll see the excerpt, which explicitly tells you to not ask the question here.
    – Ben N
    Feb 22, 2016 at 19:03

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