I see that my question https://academia.stackexchange.com/q/31701/452 received 3 close votes for being too broad. It seems that close voters complain that I am asking for all countries instead of just one.

Should I ask one question per country, or otherwise how can I improve the question?

The question got on hold so I deleted and created a country-specific question (https://academia.stackexchange.com/q/31806/452). Below is the original question:

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Title: In which countries is consent required by law to take a picture or to record audio / video of a conference talk?

Body: Provided that the conference does not explicitly prohibit unauthorized audio and visual recordings of the presentations, and ignoring ethical/political/any other non-legal issues.

I am aware of the question Is consent required to record audio of a conference talk in the US?, but as the question indicates it focuses on the USA only.

I'd also be fine with a list of countries where consent is not required to take a picture or to record audio / video of a conference talk.

3 Answers 3


I think that it would help if you refined the question based on why you want to know the answer to the question. Do you really care whether Bolivia, Fiji, and Uzbekistan require legal consent for recording conference talks (nothing special about those countries, just picking a few at random)? If you are just asking a very broad question out of idle curiosity, it seems like a lot of effort for little reward.

I think an appropriate way for this to get dealt with would be on a case-by-case basis, but in a lazy-evaluation manner. In other words, when somebody cares about a particular country, they can ask about it. We've got a good answer for the US now; tomorrow somebody might ask about an EU country that they have particular reason to care about, and the answer might turn out to cover many countries given their similarities and the large number of community members from who hail from the EU. It might be a while before somebody asks about North Korea or Zimbabwe, and that's OK.

In this way, the questions are likely to find an appropriate granularity and rate of asking on their own, rather than as either a single "big list" question or a big list of questions all at once, neither of which is likely to be addressed satisfactorily by the community in the near term due to lack of sufficient expertise in the less-well-represented countries.

  • Thanks, sure, we can do it each time it's needed. Two issues: 1. Conferences keep changing countries. 2. I feel it would be a bit messy to have the information fragmented in different questions, and one table/world map seems to me more efficient. Commented Nov 16, 2014 at 4:05
  • @FranckDernoncourt If we start having a lot of different answers, then perhaps it will be time to build such a map. Until this, it smacks of premature optimization to me.
    – jakebeal
    Commented Nov 16, 2014 at 6:14
  • Well since US-specific questions are typically not questioned, I guess your answer make the most sense, even though it's messy it's coherent with past decisions. Commented Nov 16, 2014 at 17:18
  • First country: France Commented Nov 16, 2014 at 17:40
  • @FranckDernoncourt I haven't been here too long, but I haven't seen any country-specific question get challenged for relevance (though some take a while time to be answered, like this one on Scandinavian Ph.D. programs). Institution-specific is a different matter...
    – jakebeal
    Commented Nov 16, 2014 at 17:49

I see a four issues with this question:

  1. It seems like a big list question where there would be one, likely trivial, answer for each country
  2. It does not seem particularly relevant or unique to academia
  3. Ignoring the ethical/political/any other non-legal issues makes the question even less relevant to academia
  4. It seems a little hypothetical to me and I would hate to see one of these questions for each country/region/state

I guess my point is that as individual questions, I am not sure they are great question(s) for us. As a big list, I think it is an awful question for us.

  • Thanks, for 1. why not having one unique community wiki answer, like Which airlines ban the use of Knee Defenders during flight?? For 2. IMHO it is relevant, but not specific. For 3. Ethics is often a bit more subjective than laws: a legal-focused question avoids to forward into opinion-based answer (I got a few closed votes for that reason lately). For 4. What do you mean by hypothetical? Commented Nov 16, 2014 at 20:40

The basic issue is that questions asking for list-based answers are considered poor fits for the Stack Exchange format. Asking a separate question for every country would mean you'd post 200 questions would compound the problem.


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