We're starting to get an idea of what's on-topic. To summarize:

Non-standard solutions to physical problems** that use common objects.

Additionally, there is a general understanding that questions may not be psychological or medical.

Of the 37 non-duplicate closed questions, some are clearly not on-topic:

However, there are others that are not as clear-cut:

Alas! Our site is becoming inherently opinion-based!

How can we consistently decide whether or not a question is in need of closure, before it starts accumulating answers?

  • 1
    See the similar (but obsolete) question: meta.lifehacks.stackexchange.com/q/1124/59
    – Shokhet
    Commented Feb 12, 2015 at 20:17
  • I know that this might sound strange,but if it is accumulating answers maybe it is where it should be?Just idea.... Commented Feb 12, 2015 at 21:22
  • @pythonstarter Strongly disagree. Using Stack Overflow as an example, there are many recommendation requests. These are off-topic, but attract answers from low-rep users.
    – Mooseman
    Commented Feb 12, 2015 at 21:54
  • @pythonstarter were you referring to a question on Lifehacks, or to the question I linked to in the comment above yours?
    – Shokhet
    Commented Feb 13, 2015 at 1:57
  • @Shokhet I'm referring to any question really but I agree almost 100% with best voted answer to the question linked in a comment: answer is what makes it lifehack or not Commented Feb 13, 2015 at 9:12
  • @Mooseman hmmm situation with recommendation is a bit tricky, I cannot support it completely but if it solves a problem, maybe we can turn the blind eye? What Iā€™m more interested in is this huge gray area when question is described as too broad and things like that if you know what I mean? Commented Feb 13, 2015 at 9:16
  • 1
    @pythonstarter But relying on the answers to determine whether or not a question should be closed breaks the stack exchange model. The "blind eye" is this site's biggest enemy.
    – Mooseman
    Commented Feb 13, 2015 at 15:09
  • 2
    @Mooseman I believe that people who have assembled stack exchange model had a hearth in the right place but if reality shows some anomalies is the best thing we can do to ignore it? I think that everything, especially new concepts like S.E. should evolve and change through time. Of course it is always hard to change certain system but it change is not always a bad thing. And I think that those changes would be the best if they would be supervised by persons who really understand how this system work, someone like you and ones like you. Commented Feb 13, 2015 at 23:27

4 Answers 4


The Lifehacks Manifesto covered some of this:

If a question doesn't seem to need "thinking outside the box", it will likely be closed as off topic. But be sure to leave thoughtful guidance as to why.

And in a comment by Mr. Cartaino:

[A]nything that is essentially devoid of an actual "answer" to the question in the body of the post [is NAA].


I'm not sure this is possible.

Questions such as this, which has seven answers, all product recommendations (although some contain how to use them), could be answered with a hack.

I propose, rather, a general understanding that answers such as these are globally recognized as NAA. I've posted about that here:

Can we agree that product recommendations are NAA's?


Info on how to simply connect things together is not a hack. A hack is not "how do I", but an innovative solution. Info easily obtained by internet search is not a hack. In these cases the person may not know the question being asked, will not lead to answers deemed "hacks". When a person asks a straightforward question it should be honored. The biggest problem people have is not knowing how to ask a question so the question itself is easy to understand. This should be the first criteria for whether a question is acceptable. Second, why ask the question? Is it trivial? Is it silly? We each think different things are significant. Some people think simpler things are significant.

First, questions should be well formed. Second, questions should be meaningful.

If a person does not happen to ask a question that would lead to a formally defined hack, according to your view, be nice. Don't be anal retentive. Allow the person to have an entry point into the community, with the assumption that person will come to know what a hack, is.

  • 1
    I want to add, no one person decides everything. Opinion therefore matters and it is the cumulative opinion which determines outcome. So, have opinion so it can be reflected in the dynamic, but try and find a way questions can still be salvaged if possible. Commented Feb 12, 2015 at 21:19
  • Some people try to reflect whatever group in an opinion. Other people simply have an opinion. The first might be moralism. The second might be living. Whichever way, a group dynamic exists nonetheless. Commented Feb 12, 2015 at 22:18

This question is self-contradictory. The public is needed to ask questions and answer them so the SE database can be populated, but, the question is asking how to treat the public as an extension of the SE web application, which is unrealistic.

There might be some indicators in questions asked. Can you do some statistical analysis? Can you identify the indicators? I don't think so. That's why you are asking this question.

Why is it necessary to close so quickly? Why not enjoy the experience of letting questions run their course?

  • "Why not enjoy the experience of letting questions run their course?" Because it allows the community to accept off-topic questions as on-topic. On other sites, unclosed off-topic questions are a magnet for low-rep users.
    – Mooseman
    Commented Feb 16, 2015 at 19:42
  • I think there has to be a balance. Again, you want a site or database with at least some content. Tight regulation reduces content, then there's nothing for anyone to look at. Commented Feb 16, 2015 at 19:44
  • 2
    Lots of crap is still crap.
    – Mooseman
    Commented Feb 16, 2015 at 19:45
  • Agreed, but this is a system that interfaces with the public and they do it for enjoyment and something to do. Commented Feb 16, 2015 at 19:46
  • When I need answers for computers and systems, a limited number of sites have value and I find answers there. The entry point is always google. I can see a competitive aspect to that and how SO or SU can be more focused in that regard. I do not see the same degree of focus possible for the subject matter of Lifehacks. Different people use the site than SO or SU with different expectations, reasoning ability, and steerability toward standards. As stated in my answer the question is self contradictory, but maybe an attempt to seek out whatever limits are possible, too. Commented Feb 16, 2015 at 20:20

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