The question "Is it more difficult for teetotalers to develop academic contacts?" has a couple of close votes suggesting it should be migrated to workplace.se. It appears the question is a boat programming question in that it is a workplace issue with academic tacked on.

Are questions about the academic workplace, but which may not be specific to the academic workplace, on topic? It seems to me that they should be as part of both "Life" and "Inner workings" from our FAQ. I think I feel a question can be on topic at a number of sites and it is up to the user to decide where he/she will get the best answer.

1 Answer 1


In my opinion, questions that are not necessarily specific to academia, but very relevant nonetheless, should be kept on-topic.

For instance, in the question you mention, networking is an important aspect of an academic's life, since collaboration is often essential. Furthermore, external collaboration is perhaps more important than in many other fields, and external collaboration are often started at a conference social dinner/gathering. So, this question should be kept on.

Similarly, How to physically handle hundreds and hundreds of papers is not exclusive to Academia, but it is however quite relevant to any lecturing activity.

On the other hand, a question that would be too generic, like "how to organize a meeting between internal collaborators" would perhaps be relevant to academia, but not enough to be posted here.

I do realize there is a fine line, but basically, I'm against closing questions just because "you can have the same problem even if you're not an academic", it should be a case by case analysis.

  • 2
    +1 and the same holds for Keeping your throat comfortable after hours of lecturing.
    – Bravo
    Commented Apr 4, 2013 at 11:51
  • @Bravo: yes, this is another very good example of question we should keep on-topic.
    – user102
    Commented Apr 4, 2013 at 11:52
  • 2
    Good question, and good answer. Just because it's also relevant to other professions doesn't mean it's not relevant here as well. The first rule of assessing off-topic questions is first answering "is this question actually off-topic here?" Being on-topic elsewhere isn't necessarily a problem.
    – eykanal
    Commented Apr 4, 2013 at 12:13
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    I particularly think that it doesn't make sense to migrate questions that are very much on-topic here to another site such as Workplace, because I'm sure many academics never visit the Workplace SE.
    – Tara B
    Commented Apr 4, 2013 at 16:22

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