I have a question about my Super User post: Is it possible to write a cell as an "Accumulator" of conditional values? (Google Sheets)

I need help understanding why my post was closed. I tried several times to reword/reframe the post, but because I don't understand why, or in what way the post is unfocused the post remained closed. The reason stated on the post is simply,

"This question needs to be more focused".

While this sounds very straightforward; to me, in this instance it is quite baffling.

The question I asked is simply of the form,

"Can you write an accumulator as a formula or not?"

Likewise, the example I used to clarify the problem is literally what I was trying to do. I kept the example as simple as I could while still conveying the problem with its context. Perhaps the problem is that it was clear and simple "in my mind". I even included that I had tried a monster IF() statement, but that wasn't really a viable solution for me.

I did read (and re-read) the articles: "How to ask a good question", as well as the suggestions on how to focus your question in, "What does it mean if a question is "closed"?" And I thought I was applying the directions in those articles correctly. When I go back and re-read my post, I still can't see what's "unfocused" about it. The problem with that, of course, is I'm afraid to make another post because I'm totally blind to what's wrong with it; and it's very discouraging to get your post slapped down and not even understand why.

With that said, any reply that can help me improve both my questions in the future, and help me figure out what I missed when crafting this one is greatly appreciated.

  • 3
    For one thing Google Sheets would be off topic here: see the tag google-spreadsheets and would belong at Web Applications. Other than that the question feels far more *theoretical" than trying to solve a single solid problem.
    – Mokubai Mod
    Feb 22, 2023 at 19:46
  • Are questions about spreadsheet functions off-topic even when the functions used are generic?
    – bertieb
    Feb 22, 2023 at 21:36
  • 1
    @bertieb worksheet-function has 7,724 questions. 4,374 are answered.
    – user152004
    Feb 23, 2023 at 4:59

1 Answer 1



Despite the wording of the closing reason, the question is off-topic in Super User as was mentioned by Mokubai, it might be on-topic in other Stack Exchange sites but I stronghly recomment that it be improved before posting it again.

If you really want to go deep in understanding how the platform that supports Super Users and the other sites in the Stack Exchange network choose the close reasons please read How does the system determine which one close reason should be displayed on a closed question, given the close votes?.

Most of the questions about web applications like Google Sheets are off-topic in Super User. Questions about using Google Sheets are on topic in Web Applications SE and the questions related to programming (i.e. formulas) are on topic in Stack Overflow too.

Some questions related to Google Sheets might be found in Super User because they are about spreadsheet formulas that are compatible with Excel and other spreadsheet applications that are on-topic.

Also there might be some questions because they are related to something that is on-topic in Super User like a web browser, i.e., questions about a web browser or Internet error. Below are some examples related to :

  1. Major FIREFOX Redirect Error Problem (Error Code 11156)

    In this case, IMHO, , and should be removed.

  2. Override font smoothing (antialiasing) method in Google Sheets grid (Firefox)

    In this case the question is about using the web browser developer tools to override some default behavior.


  • I'm one of the three diamond moderator in Web Applications SE.
  • I'm one of the several gold-tag [google-sheets] holders in Stack Overflow.

I strongly recommend to search and research thoroughly before posting your question on a Stack Exchange site. Share what you found and why it didn't meet your needs.

When posting almost any question on Web Applications SE and Stack Overflow about Google Sheets:

  • Describe the structure of your spreadsheet

  • Include sample data as text both for input and the corresponding expected result when this be apropriate.

  • Show what you have tried.

  • Include link to the most relevant relate questions from the respective site.

  • Do not cross-post across Stack Exhange sites.

  • If you will cross-post across external communities, include links if you already have done that.

    NOTE: Contrary as Stack Exchange sites do, other sites like Google Product Communities might not allow to update posts after some time, so I recommend to make your post in a Stack Exchange site were it be well received, as the place to keep track of the progress / share updates.

Specific about your question

  1. Don't include tags in titles. Ref https://superuser.com/help/tagging

  2. Don't use as a common name for spreadsheet / on questions about Google Sheets

  3. Avoid using rethorical / side questions like


    as some people might think that the question "needs more focus" for including multiple questions in a single post.

  4. Use A1 notation (preferred) or R1C1 notation instead of just letters like A, W.

  5. Recommended: in data tables use consecutive letters as column headers an consecutive numbers as row headers, i.e.


NOTE: In relation to 3, 4 and 5, when asking "complex formulas" questions you should show that you know the basics about working with spreadsheet formulas and that your are familiar with the formula syntax, formula bar, the funcion list, by using the proper spreasheet / Google Sheets terms and showing the formulas that you have tried, the resulsts as well the error messages if there are any.

There are no restrictions regarding expertise level using Google Sheets (beginner, advanced) but it's expected, as mentioned previously, that the asker have searched the site, and in this case including, the Google Sheets section in the Google Editors Help Center thoroughly before asking the question, and that the findings and why they didn't meet the needs be shared in the question.

Note: You might find user asking to share a spreadsheet. This is up-to you, sharing the spreasheet doesn't replace the requirement to include all the relevant details directly in the question body as questions should be self contained whenever be posible (i.e. Excel files can't be attached).



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