Inspired by this question and this chat message.

One example is that Stack Overflow is not a code-writing service. Although we are a hack-writing service, so to speak, how elaborate can such a hack be?

Questions asking "how to make..." such as this one and this one are closed, because we aren't Lifehacker. I also believe this question falls into the same category, but since some disagree, I think this needs to be part of the scope, one way or the other.

They are all looking for hacks, but we do agree they are off-topic because they are asking for too much. At the very least, I very much hope every person reading this agrees that

  • "How do I build a table and chairs from a pile of wood?"

is off-topic. Thank you for reading all that.

  • Yes, a bit too much. Commented Feb 22, 2015 at 22:04
  • The intent in "we are not Lifehacker" was about the software part of tech questions, specifically; not about making things.
    – Shokhet
    Commented Feb 22, 2015 at 22:08
  • @Shokhet I understand that's the point your post makes, but the same thing applies, imo.
    – Mooseman
    Commented Feb 22, 2015 at 22:36

3 Answers 3


I agree with you that the questions about how to build or make something, like the Anti-RSI Workstation question, are off-topic. As you (and that meta post) said, we aren't Lifehacker. I think we should put in our scope that questions about making something are not for this website. They can go to Engineering.SE or some other SE site, but here we are looking for questions that are everyday problems. These are too elaborate, as they are usually building projects which require long answers, which I don't believe we are a site for.


I challenged the poster of the Anti-RSI Workstation saying it represents a project. A project might be more than a simple hack. But some hacks do require time and meticulousness. When a question is better represented as a project than a hack, comparing the two, then maybe it's out of scope.


I think that, as long as the question presents a problem (still gotta be physical) that needs a solution, it's on topic.

That anti-RSI may be falling prey (a little) to the XY problem. Perhaps a better way to approach question posts of problems where you think you have an answer is to post your answer as an answer, and let people vote and comment on the feasibility, and then be able to suggest other solutions as their own answers.

  • When doing business analysis and working with users this is very true. Commented Feb 22, 2015 at 23:07

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