My question here has to do with the off-topic restrictions in Superuser. It seems that any question related to web applications is closed immediately as "off-topic." I didn't realize these were off-limits until I was directed to read the FAQ.

What is the main purpose for restricting web-application questions from superuser? I assume you could ask a question about Microsoft Word on Superuser, because it doesn't specifically disallow questions about desktop software, but what's the difference? Can I ask a question about Excel, but not Google Docs Spreadsheets? I guess the ultimate question is: what specific community is superuser targeting with these restrictions?

I asked a question about Last.fm plugins for WordPress, and it was closed immediately. If I was asking about how to write a last.fm plugin for Wordpress, would that be allowed? (In that case, I'd probably ask on Stackoverflow... but anyway) Or are any questions related to Wordpress strictly off-limits?

My other qualm with these moderation trends is that you often get redirected to some external Q&A site or forum, or are told that there might be a stack exchange site coming for that topic. Personally, I'm not really interested in joining 10 different segmented communities, just to ask one computer-software related question. Moreover, the more specific and segmented the stack exchange site is, the fewer users it will have, and the usefulness goes down exponentially.

Anyway, I vote to redo the FAQ for superuser to allow a broader range of computer/software questions!


1 Answer 1


Let's say Super User was a site about automobiles.

Just because you like to listen to the radio in your car, does not mean the automobile site is about radio stations.

Radio hardware (aka the Web Browser) is on topic, but not the radio stations (Web Sites) you tune in with them. There needs to be a separate site for radio listening enthusiasts -- there's absolutely nothing wrong with people who love to listen to the radio, and view radio listening as the primary function of their automobile -- but that's a fundamentally different community than car nuts.

(In other words, unless your computer effectively stops functioning when disconnected from the internet -- it's not a core function. I realize this day is coming, but until we're there, I support SU as the "car nuts" computer site, not the "I loves tuning me in some radio stations" computer site.)

That said, I fully support a proposal for a site about web applications, I think we need one -- but broadening the already-too-broad-scope of Super User is not a forumula for success.

  • 1
    This seems really arbitrary, considering that questions about many (most?) web-apps have strapped-in versions as well, which in some cases (e.g. Open Office <-> Google Docs) work very similarly. Or else, why are desktop applications on topic at all? (At the very least, we need a better analogy! ;-)
    – jpaugh
    Jan 18, 2018 at 23:40

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