From some of the earliest days of Lifehacks SE, we have been trying to define the scope of Lifehacks. We knew we would run into problems as we were different from the typical SE site. We've asked about the on-topicness of medical questions, psychological life hacks, and many more topics. We've defined a life hack as
a technique that can be implemented quickly and is used to make one's physical life more efficient when a more standard approach (as defined by that area's experts) or a product is either unavailable or undesirable. Lifehacks are creative, meaning they use materials that are on hand for uses besides their intended use.
Eventually, Robert Cartaino gave us A Lifehacks Manifesto, helping to clear up our scope and function as a site by ourselves.
Still, we've come across problem after problem. In the last month alone, we've closed nearly a third of all questions asked here. That is not good at all. I've decided to write this post as a result of a conversation in chat.
I believe that we need to redefine our scope. There is no need to throw away everything that we've come up with to this point, but there are parts of scope that need a lot of work. Here are a few things I've come up with that we might need to specifically address:
We need to create a clearer scope - There's been confusion about our scope. Making the scope clearer will allow us to better show new users why their question is off-topic or why their answer is not a life hack. We need to have a less ambiguous definition of a problem that requires an "outside of the box" solution.
We need to broaden our scope - I know this seems a bit contradictory to my last point, but it can be possible to do both of these things. By broaden the scope, I mean that we need to allow more topics to be considered needing life hacks. Clearing up our scope would actually broaden our scope. It would make less things borderline on/off-topic.
We need to better define when an answer is a life hack - This again can come from just clearing up the scope. We have had discussions about conventional answers and whether or not they are life hacks. Clarifying things like this would help make the quality of answers easier to raise and maintain.
One last thing I should note is that this is not a post saying that we need to fix our scope. You may believe our scope is fine as it is. In my opinion, I don't think our scope is great. Many of our earliest users who helped with our original scope are no longer around and I think it is time to reassess. My ultimate goal for this site is to help it graduate, and I don't believe that is possible at this point, with our current scope.