Currently, most of questions here are very general. It also reflects in upvotes per question (which is very, very high, compared to any other SE site I know.)

It is good that we are able to produce high-quality content, appealing to a broad audience.

But... maybe it means that we are too unforgiving for valuable, but localized, questions?

Sure, some localized advice questions are hard to answer (because they are too subjective, or requires additional knowledge, or can't be answered with anything better that "check department website, and if it is not there - make a phone call"). But others may be valuable (even if only for a dozen of people).

And more importantly, restricting ourselves to only broad may lead to an end.

Related to: Why aren't more questions being asked?

2 Answers 2


Personally, I agree we could have more localized questions, that could even be field specific (after all, one can ask questions on StackOverflow that are specific to a given programming paradigm). I guess what I would prefer to avoid are questions asked by students such as "I like this and this, please tell me what to do and where to apply!".

  • 1
    Sure, questions saying "tell me where I can apply?"*) or "do you think they are going to admit me to X?" are usually way too subjective. Maybe unless in *), where it is well specified, e.g. "I'm struggling to find a scholarship in [discipline] for [status] in [country]. Is there one?" where it is objective (and answerable as long as the criterium is not too broad). Commented Nov 19, 2012 at 13:19

This is a valuable comment. I think in general that field-specific questions could have some merit as questions.

However, anything that's tied to a specific program or school (or a field so narrow it's only offered at a handful of schools) is probably still too narrow for the board.

I think I'll let the board collective operate on this one before taking a final position on the issue.

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    IMHO the main criteria should be if the question is practically answerable by the community. If e.g. there is a specific question for a specific department by it's answerable - great. If only people can answer generic things, then the question should be generalized. If only suggesting visiting website or contacting department - closed. Agreed? Commented Nov 19, 2012 at 11:52
  • Do you mean by "specific department" a specific field, or one department at a given institution? The latter questions are always best served by directing a person to contact the department in question. I'm OK for now with letting the community decide about the former issue, though.
    – aeismail
    Commented Nov 19, 2012 at 12:57
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    In principle, I have no objections about asking even about a specific department of a specific institute. Just naturally, many questions won't fit there. But e.g. if the question is "What is the admission rate for dept. X of Univ. Y" and is possible to find a table - why not? Commented Nov 19, 2012 at 13:15

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