I'm wondering whether we should loosen the criterion for "too localized" in this forum. My intuition is that many questions on this forum will be very localized, but the answers will be more general in nature. For instance, this question about social psychology + art seems very localized, but the answers will probably be relevant to both social psychology and art majors, rather than only the intersection of the two. I think this will be a common phenomenon. In fact, I can't really think up with a good case of "too localized" for our forum. Should we avoid closing questions as "too localized" at all?

  • 2
    Well, I'd say that the first question from MarioPHPDeveloper was too localized. But it's indeed hard to set the limit. I'd say that in doubt, we can always put a warning, inviting to reformulate as much as possible, and then, according to the answers, thinking of closing it or not.
    – user102
    Feb 22, 2012 at 16:27
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    It should be useful to someone besides the poster.
    – Fomite
    Feb 22, 2012 at 16:30
  • @EpiGrad - my argument is, almost all questions that we're hoping to attract would be of use to others in that field.
    – eykanal
    Feb 22, 2012 at 16:31
  • For fields that have their own stackexchanges, very specific questions about the practice of those fields could be deemed too localized. For instance, if I wanted to ask a question like "What is the equivalent of STOC/FOCS for theory B?" I think it would be better to ask at cstheory.SE than here, even though it is a question ABOUT academics (in particular conferences) so potentially on topic here. Mar 7, 2012 at 1:00

4 Answers 4


In my mind, it should at least be possible for someone searching the site a month from now to find it helpful. It's a fine line, but there is a difference between "A question about me" and "A question about people like me".

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    This is exactly my viewpoint. Questions should have some applicability outside the original poster.
    – aeismail
    Feb 22, 2012 at 19:02

I would cite as an example of "too localized" the following question:

Suggestions for mathematics courses that would be essential for research in homological algebra and ring theory

The original post asks for information on what courses to take for a specific concentration within a specific program in a specific university drawn from the same school's course catalog. That would definitely fall under "too localized" rubric, in my opinion.

  • shouldn't something like that be migrated to the Mathematics Stack Exchange anyway? Jan 9, 2014 at 2:03
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    Even for that site it would be too localized, given the reference to a specific course catalog.
    – aeismail
    Jan 9, 2014 at 5:43
  • I get that the golden rule is not to migrate crap (and I admit I missed reading that in your answer), but in less egregious (and probably therefore more common) cases, whether a question is too localized is partly a decision for the target site's users, no? Jan 9, 2014 at 5:51
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    In general, yes. However, we can also check with the moderators of a site if thwre's concern for its appropriateness or if there are multiple possible "homes."
    – aeismail
    Jan 9, 2014 at 5:54

In my experience, "too localized" is code for "uninteresting," and questions that are sufficiently juicy but only useful to a specific person are almost never closed as "too localized."

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    I see it more as people being more willing to put in some work to fix up/generalize a question that is very localized, but also interesting.
    – ff524
    Jan 5, 2015 at 12:02

To talk about the specific question, I would call it as localized and would probably prefer it with the following edits. All edits have been placed in this form. Rather than directly editing it, I wished to pass it through the community. I agree with @EpiGrad and I hope my edit provides for that difference.

(Edited) Question:

This is my situation: I've completed my masters in social psychology approximately 4 years ago. At this point I am about to complete my bachelors degree in fine arts. I have a background in Psychology and Fine Arts. I've found that finding a job in the social sciences is pretty difficult, if not impossible without work experience (pretty much a vicious cycle).

My passion lies with doing scientific research and making art. So ideally I would be able to do both, or use one to support the other.

But since finding steady income with a degree in fine arts is even more impossible, I would very much like to provide a steady income for myself by working in the social sciences (preferably doing research). I've had countless bad jobs to support myself through both of my degrees, and I don't see myself becoming very happy doing that my whole life.

At this point, I have several options, and I would like some advice on what you think would be the best way of proceeding (the points are not necessarily mutually exclusive, and if you have a better idea, please, do suggest it):

  1. I could specialize myself even further, by doing a masters in visual anthropology or a related field (it would be useful for combining the arts and psychology degree (and I love this field of research), but I hear that there is not much work in this field, so the risk is having another worthless degree and wasting a lot of money and time).

I could do a masters (or even a PhD) in a field which aligns with my academic and research background. However, this could risk another worthless degree with no job and waste of time and money

  1. I could move to another area, where hopefully social psychologists (without work experience, sigh) are in higher demand. Where I could get a job, earn a living and support my other passion (the fine arts).

I could move to a field which is in higher demand, get a job and support my other passions.

  1. Continue working as a freelancer in the social sciences to build my experience in the field (not really something I'm looking forward to, as I've been doing this for a while now, and it didn't really amount to much. I got some assignments, but in general felt i was doing the same as someone with a steady job, but with a lot less pay, and a lot less security.).

I could freelance to build experience but this is usually as taxing as a normal job minus job security and pay.

  1. Maybe after point 1. try to find a suitable phd career path (something I would love, but I think the chances of this happening are pretty slim, so this might not be very attainable).

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