There have been a handful of "What can I do with..." questions asked lately. Here are a few:

Since they've all been closed, and some deleted, I assume they're not on-topic. Why is this?

  • Those are really answers searching for a question... "How can I do..." "If you habe excess/old ..."
    – PlasmaHH
    Mar 26, 2015 at 18:39

3 Answers 3


These kinds of questions are by definition, too broad. There are too many possible answers for this format.

Questions that are too broad don't really need to be considered categorically off-topic per se; they're already too broad. No sense in beating a dead horse. I suppose they may fit under "does not need a lifehack", maybe, but too broad is the most appropriate close reason in cases like these.


Because there's no right answer.

These questions are absolutely off-topic because they are

"Primarily opinion-based" or "Too broad"

Since the question isn't looking for a solution to a specific problem, the answers could go any of a thousand ways.

Such a question may also be closed as

"Does not seem to need a lifehack"

The explanation of this reason is as follows:

A "life hack" is a seemingly intractable problem that can be solved by thinking outside the box. Unfortunately, everyday "How to…" questions about learning a craft or new skill are outside the scope of this site. See about Lifehacks. If the author can show how this needs an "outside the box" solution, edit and 'flag' to reopen.

If the question isn't about a problem but is attempting to ask for questions fitting a solution, it's off topic. This is known as "asking a la Jeopardy".


After a discussion in which all three pro tem mods were involved, we have added a new close reason:

"This question doesn't seem to be about a problem. — Questions should ask how to solve a problem using everyday objects. Questions requesting new ways to use an object are off-topic unless a problem to solve can be demonstrated." – Mooseman

We have also updated the help center to clear up any confusion. Bullet #2 now says "asking for unusual ways of using everyday objects to achieve a certain task or solve a specific problem;"

  • If they are off-topic then what would be an on-topic example of a question meeting the 2nd (of 3) example on-topic themes: asking for unusual ways of using everyday objects to make life easier. I can't fathom a single way to ask for "unusual way of using..." that can't go any of a thousand ways.
    – leigero
    Mar 23, 2015 at 20:16
  • 2
    @Mooseman, I understand why you are doing this but I think answering right after asking - especially as you are a mod - makes it look it is the final decision. I'm not saying stop, I'm just saying it doesn't look very "open for discussion".
    – Tim
    Mar 23, 2015 at 20:19
  • @Tim I'm more than open to constructive discussion.
    – Mooseman
    Mar 23, 2015 at 21:26
  • I know you are - and I can see the work being put in. I'm just not 100% sure that impression comes across to others here.
    – Tim
    Mar 23, 2015 at 21:27
  • @Tim Okay I can see that.
    – Mooseman
    Mar 23, 2015 at 21:34
  • 4
    I'm not sure you need to go to the trouble of creating a new close reason. "Too Broad" captures the problem just fine... there are an infinite number of answers because the question is basically just "Hey, think up some things to do involves <x>"
    – Sterno
    Mar 24, 2015 at 8:06
  • I agree with the other points, but the first point about there not being a right answer, what makes any Lifehack a right answer. There are always a better more tailored method for the problem. But this is just my view :)
    – Pobrecita
    Mar 25, 2015 at 14:47

I totally disagree. I think these early days of a beta are important and these rules need to get ironed out or I fear the beta isn't going to survive.

There are three... and only three suggested on-topic subjects you can ask about in the question help page:

  • seeking uncommon solutions to common problems;
  • asking for unusual ways of using everyday objects to make life easier;
  • looking for simple and practical tips to life's everyday problems that may not have an obvious solution

These questions (the two that are closed based on title alone) look like they perfectly nail that middle bullet down.

The suggestion that these questions are off topic because "answers could go any of a thousand ways" is just not good enough. The very nature of life hacks is open-ended. There are thousands of ways to do everything that's what a life hack is in the first place... a creative alternative to the normal usage of something.

Additionally, I don't see how one could even form a question that meets bullet #2 without also failing your "could go any of a thousand ways" criteria. If you already know specifically what you want, then you probably don't need any help from a life-hack forum.

  • I've requested clarification of bullet #2 from the author of the manifesto. I'll post here when I hear back. Also, "open ended" doesn't work for the SE Q&A format.
    – Mooseman
    Mar 23, 2015 at 21:18
  • 1
    This question seems to me like it is hitting bullet 2 without being too broad.
    – michaelpri
    Mar 23, 2015 at 21:18
  • 3
    @michaelpri I'd be inclined to think that was the intent of bullet #2. The skeleton of the question is "I have this problem. I have these tools." Not having a problem to solve is off-topic.
    – Mooseman
    Mar 23, 2015 at 21:22
  • I think the solution here is to fix the bullet point text, rather than allow questions that pretty much are the definition of "too broad" close reason to be on-topic.
    – Sterno
    Mar 24, 2015 at 8:07

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