SuperUser is a site for answering technical questions about Operating Systems such as Linux (even though another forum exists for it as well), Windows, Mac, etc.

Yet, the SuperUser StackExchange gets many requests about Excel spreadsheets. In my opinion it is off topic and another forum should exist for it and those posts should be migrated. SuperUser should be in itself self defined for "Super Users," people who get technical with an OS not it's third party software (which Office is, as it is optional, does not come with the OS and is not built in any way into the Kernel or OS of Windows).

Why is this not done? If most of the Super User community agrees, then why can we not create a StackExchange specifically for Microsoft Office (& thus Excel)?

EDIT: While I see many arguments, I understand that SuperUser was intended for such use. But I still think that we can categorize even further because it is so broad, even if it is designating an entire Stack Exchange forum for OS third-party software, rather than built-in OS related things. The majority of posts, little more than half are about OS itself; this is why I think categorization would be best.

Am I being paranoid? If you have any arguments against this idea, please write them.

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    95% of all the questions on SU are from 3rd party software.... as such, I've down voted the idea. – djsmiley2k Jul 18 '17 at 15:47
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    If we interpreted the site name of "Super User" to be literally all the site is about then we would have a scope limited to solely to using Unix based (or related/derivative) systems where the user needs administrator or "super user" privileges. As such it would be an incredibly narrow scoped site with very little broad appeal. – Mokubai Jul 18 '17 at 16:47
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    And the only acceptable questions on Stack Overflow are those about stack overflow errors, everyone else should go elsewhere... – user380375 Jul 18 '17 at 17:47
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    "In my opinion it is off topic and another forum should exist for it and those posts should be migrated." - We are not a forum, nor is there any Stackexchange website, where a question about a program is on topic other than Superuser. Excel isn't a big enough subject to warrant its own Stackexchange website – Ramhound Jul 20 '17 at 1:24

While it's true that Super User hosts questions about operating systems, operating systems aren't the only kinds of software handled. The help center says:

If you have a question about …

  • computer hardware,
  • computer software, or
  • personal and home computer networking

and it is not about …

  • [various unsuitable things]

… then you’re in the right place to ask your question!

We have all kinds of questions on all kinds of software, from to to , and so on. There can be "super users" of any technology. Someone might be knowledgeable about the internals of the Windows PnP system, while another might know the advanced parts of Firefox like the back of their hand. Any kind of software used by consumers (except web apps or mobile apps) is fair game.

That's how things currently are, but why is it good/acceptable/reasonable for them to be like that? The Stack Exchange blog has a post about sizing of SE sites: Merging Season. If the communities are too small, they won't attract enough people for the site to seem buzzing with activity. Super User is very active - something pops to the top of the front page every minute or two. On the other hand, if the communities are too large, they degenerate into vats of sludge (cf. Yahoo Answers) or fizzle out because there's nobody to care about most of the subjects. Again, Super User seems to be doing great. All subjects that I see meander down the front page are well maintained.

Another reason we don't split is simply inertia. There is a vast quantity of Office questions with a happy home here; even if we wanted to, cleanly separating those out would take a ton of effort. is the site's seventh most used tag!

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    This was the perfect opportunity for powershell... – Burgi Jul 18 '17 at 15:39
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    @Burgi Yeah, let's answer all the questions with PowerShell! :) – DavidPostill Jul 18 '17 at 15:40
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    @Burgi Heh, I considered using PowerShell as an example, but didn't because one could argue that it's vaguely the tool of an OS power user, and I was going more for the end user applications. You can use PowerShell to automate Excel, though! – Ben N Jul 18 '17 at 15:42

The notion of "topic" or "subject" (of a Stack Exchange site, or anything in general) is completely arbitrary. The broader concept is called categorization.

Enforcing categories on the natural world is a human construct that is completely synthesized, meaning that human beings imagine categories where they don't actually exist. There is not, out in the world, any particular object or group of objects that you could objectively call a category.

Since categories are arbitrary, there is no objectively "right" or "wrong" approach to categorization. Similarly, there is no objectively "right" or "wrong" approach to determining which Stack Exchange sites should exist, and what the topicality rules of those sites should be.

Now, there are two completely separate perspectives from which to talk about Super User's topicality rules:

  • Descriptive: What are the current topicality rules that are established as the community consensus right now? -- The answer to this question is, for the most part, purely factual, objective, and not based on opinion whatsoever.
  • Prescriptive: What should be the topicality rules in the future, as compared to what they are now? Any prescriptive argument for what topicality rules should be in the future needs to include a persuasive component arguing why a given proposal is superior to the current model.

Let's look at how your question could be interpreted, both descriptively and prescriptively.


One thing that is objectively true is the answer to the question, "Right this moment, what are the currently-accepted topics or categories that are on-topic for Super User?" You can find the answer to this question here.

Within the topicality rules as currently defined, Excel questions are certainly on-topic, from what I can determine. Is your argument that Excel questions are off-topic based on the current topicality rules of Super User? If so, you need to provide some evidence for this claim, such as interpreting the topicality rules to describe why you think this is the case.


Other than claiming that you believe (against the current accepted consensus of Super User) that Excel questions are off-topic, you have provided no evidence whatsoever for why we should adopt what you say is the correct categorization.

What persuasive reasoning do you have to present to us to suggest that the current topicality rules could be improved by segregating out Excel questions into a different Stack Exchange network website and declaring them off-topic for Super User?

Since your question does not provide any reasoning whatsoever along those lines, I have downvoted your question.

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