Admittedly I didn't follow the definition phase very closely. I just saw the site come into beta and thought I'd check it out.

Just based on the questions I'm seeing, I'm not entirely sure that this isn't actually a catch-all site. When there's the ability to have (what seems like) everything be on-topic, what is actually off-topic?

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    I'm with you. It seems very interesting and I like the initial idea, but not having followed the commit phase, just what I see appears like something that may grow in an unfortunate way without some clear rules for topicality Commented Dec 9, 2014 at 19:40

3 Answers 3


This was an issue brought up earlier in the process: What isn't a “life hack”? This question also leads to a previously closed proposal's question: The Closing of “Life Improvement”

A key aspect of Stack Exchange is the forming of a community of experts that are capable of answering questions. Yes, this beta will need to form that too. Having a site that is just seemingly random questions and suggested answers could have difficulty.

The site should endeavor to follow the model of Software Recommendations where the pair of Q&A on the meta provides the cornerstone guidance for the site: What is required for a question to contain “enough information”? and What is required for an answer to be high quality? The combination of these two posts helps keep that otherwise problematic site in line for good questions and answers. A similar thing should be done here.

  • Define what a life hack is.
  • Describe how much information about the problem to be solved is necessary
  • Describe what a question must have to avoid being 'too broad' or 'unclear' and possibly also provide guidance to people casting close votes about these two close reasons.

In the Reddit community there is a subreddit called lifehacks which has a list of things they think should not be listed (and I agree with a lot of them). I have rewritten them to form a questionesk-guideline:

The following are considered off-topic:

  • Tips for problems which affect only 1 in a million people
    I don't particularly agree with this one for LHSE, people should be able to ask questions only partaining to problems they encounter themselves
  • Questions partaining to self-improvement
  • Requests for commercial products with a specific purpose
  • Requests for food recipes
  • Asking for best practices within software or websites
    Bad question would for example be: How do I google best for dolphin underpants?
  • Questions asking for broad datasets or infographics

Extra guideline items which are up for debate:

  • Problems which can be solved by using common sense
    Allthough we might need to define what falls in the category 'common sense'
  • Perhaps add "common sense" questions, depending on how this meta post turns out Commented Dec 10, 2014 at 14:33
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    @ZachSaucier I added the suggestion. Although this raises the question 'What is common sense?' Commented Dec 10, 2014 at 15:04
  • I disagree with the common sense point. A problem which has a common sense solution does not preclude there being lifehacky, clever, alternative solutions that could benefit viewers in other situations.
    – Nick Udell
    Commented Dec 10, 2014 at 15:09
  • I actually like all of those rules except for common sense. They seem quite well, the "self improvement" one is very concise but complete in what it gets rid of as things we know we don't really want Commented Dec 11, 2014 at 16:03
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    I have separated the one about 'common sense', since it invokes some discussion Commented Dec 11, 2014 at 16:05
  • Half of the off-topic bullet points are subjective: "Problems which affect only 1 in a million": uh, so we're actually expecting people to do a study before they submit a question? Does "how to make my trash bags match my kitchen interior?" apply to everyone with a kitchen or just to the 1 in a million who happens to care about the color of their trash liners? Is "how do I make sure I get up in time for my job interview, even if I can't stand going to bed before 3am?" a self-improvement or a technical/medical question? When does usage skills of a software become "best practices"? Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 9:09

One thing to remember is that Skeptics works pretty well despite being a pretty catch all site.

I think the key to lifehacks is that we shouldn't let it become too domain specific, the questions should deal with issues that almost anyone could potentially have to deal with.

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    Skeptics has a very broad topic, but its questions have very strict requirements. They'll close your post with impunity if it doesn't meet their guidelines.
    – hairboat
    Commented Dec 10, 2014 at 0:18
  • @abbyhairboat does this mean we can accept any question as long as it meets a standard we define? Maybe you have to list all the conventional methods you have tried, as well as why they don't work for you, so we can look for an out of the box answer?
    – liebs19
    Commented Dec 10, 2014 at 0:34

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