During routine review queue patrols, I noticed that several questions were being voted to close as off-topic:

In the latter two reviews, I voted to close as unclear what you're asking and too broad, respectively, but the questions were on-topic otherwise. The first two may be a bit too broad, but I decided to leave them open.

Microsoft Excel questions are very common here on Super User and are clearly on topic as computer software questions, so please don't vote to close as off-topic. Questions that merely ask for a script to be written without showing research effort should be closed as too broad, not off-topic—community consensus is that scripting questions are on-topic but must demonstrate a minimum understanding of the problem to be solved, including an attempt at solving the problem.

In addition, I suspect somebody is confusing Excel with , which is off-topic for Super User.

Any thoughts?


I got this message in Ask a Super User Moderator:

Re: closing excel questions, I am probably the one who you are referencing, and it's true, I do not frequent meta. Thank you for sending me this thread. I guess I don't understand how questions about using formulas in excel are about hardware OR software. I have no wish to add to problems here, and from what I gather here, I have been wrong. So, I will desist. Best regards,
Xavierjazz (source)

  • 8
    Google spreadsheets should be on webapps (as SaaS), but it shares a lot of features/code with excel. I don't vote to migrate these because we can help, but if webapps SE would rather have them, I can start doing this. Everything else +1, agree. Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 13:02
  • 1
    Are the same user(s) choosing the incorrect reason for questions like your examples?
    – Ramhound
    Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 16:04
  • 2
    Are you sure this is a real problem? Of the four questions you cited, the current statuses are open, too broad, unclear, and unclear -- none of them has been closed as off-topic. Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 23:23
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    The problem is that there were "off-topic" votes on them, even though the majority voted correctly. This is the wrong close reason, hence the question.
    – bwDraco
    Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 23:25
  • Here is a current example of a vote to close because it's off-topic. It can be closed for many other reasons, but it's not off-topic here. Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 15:34
  • Image: i.sstatic.net/QJmI8.png
    – bwDraco
    Commented Feb 1, 2015 at 3:41

1 Answer 1


I know what you're referring to, but the questions you chose aren't the best examples. These had other issues. However, I've run into questions like you describe; what look like perfectly good Excel questions voted to close as off-topic for no obvious reason. For example: import-text-file-into-excel. And I believe this one was also voted to be closed as off-topic: formula-to-get-the-total-count-of-rows-containing-value-in-excel

There have been several recent questions not voted to close as off-topic that probably should have been. These questions consisted of a lengthy VBA script that was presented here for debugging, like selecting-random-entries-from-lists-in-excel-with-vba. I think these fall under the just-resurrected question are-detailed-excel-vba-questions-best-posed-here-or-on-stack-overflow. These are probably off-topic as a programming question that would be better served on SO.

Other than that, I agree that someone seems to have a thing about Excel questions and has recently been flagging a number of these inappropriately.

  • -1 because I disagree about VBA - I answered over on the question you linked here Commented Jan 30, 2015 at 14:26
  • @Raystafarian - SU sure could use some official guidance on whether questions about debugging long VBA scripts are on-topic. We all ought to be working from the same rule book.
    – fixer1234
    Commented Jan 30, 2015 at 16:52
  • I agree. I just don't think it's off-topic here. If it is, I'd be happy to abide by an official decision, but there aren't officials. It's a site for the community, by the community - hence the need for discussion. Commented Jan 30, 2015 at 16:54
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    Can't those be on-topic for both sites, like Emacs questions?
    – SamB
    Commented Jan 31, 2015 at 3:16
  • @SamB emacs.stackexchange.com ha. Yes, they should be on topic for both sites. Commented Jan 31, 2015 at 9:14
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    @Raystafarian: I bet RMS loves having a site built on such very proprietary software about his pet project ...
    – SamB
    Commented Jan 31, 2015 at 22:49
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    VBA is where I draw the line on SuperUser. I realize some VBA is easy enough to write like a batch file or script. Still, I think VBA belongs on StackOverflow. That's where the programmers are mostly.
    – Sun
    Commented Feb 6, 2015 at 16:41

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