5

This question:

https://opensource.stackexchange.com/questions/1322/what-is-github-i-know-it-is-a-site-but-what-do-you-use-it-for

prompted me to ask this.

The answer can be found quite easy in the Wikipedia article about GitHub.

Now, I could have copypasted the introduction to the Wikipedia article (linked, and with proper attribution), and probably picked up some cheap experience points in the process.

But I've seen this before (a string of questions and answers copied verbatim from the FSF FAQ from a user that has since departed comes to mind). I feel that very general questions where the answer can be found in a Wikipedia article, an obvious FAQ, etc. should be considered off-topic if that is all there is to the question. I find it hard to believe that the askers of these do not know about such resources. Hence I regard these types of questions as a covert way to request (links to) such external resources. We already say requesting external resources is off-topic.

Questions about specific problems where the answer can be supported by reference to external resources (including Wikipedia and FAQs) should however be welcome.

Edits:

(1) Just to make my intent clear. My criterion for closure is not "too easy to answer" - I believe that easy to answer questions should be welcome here. But i think it is off-topic because both question and answer is too generic. If the answer will be nothing more than a link to, or quote from, an external resource, then the question should be considered off-topic.

(2) This is not a duplicate of Are FAQs on-topic? Please note that the question that started that discussion was not an invitation to copypaste a couple of quotes. It you look at the upvoted and accepted answer, you'll find it is has carefully curated several quotes by putting them in a context that may have eluded somebody just using Google to locate the quotes. Such questions are clearly on-topic. It is general questions that can be answered without doing any significant curation or explanation of the quotes it shows I want to see closed.

However, this is related to (but not a duplicate of): Should we copy questions from the GNU GPL FAQ as that was specifically about questions that could be answered in full with single questions from the FSF FAQ. This question is in a similar vein, but has a wider scope than the FSF FAQ.

Please note that the main answers of Should we copy questions from the GNU GPL FAQ and Are FAQs on-topic? goes in the opposite direction. This indicates that these are different questions, not duplicates.

3

As per this meta post: Are questions on hosting platforms on-topic?

These questions are on-topic. There hasn't really been a clear line that's been set. It's not appropriate to actually discuss that here, we need a separate meta post for that.

As for the question, it shouldn't have been closed as off-topic, but rather too broad. I have personally found the off-topic reason abused for low quality questions - they are to be flagged as low quality, commented upon, and down voted, not closed as off-topic.

  • 1
    Yes, questions about hosting platforms (including GitHub) are on-topic, but not all questions about hosting platforms are. As for "too broad" vs. "off-topic", yes - it can be discussed. My viewpoint is that when a question about "something" can be adequately answered by copypasting the first few lines about "something" from Wikipedia - then "too broad" would be a less suitable label - but the line between reasons for closure are sometimes blurred. – Free Radical Jul 24 '15 at 9:57
  • Actually, the line hasn't been drawn finely - more reason to broaden and assume its on-topic. Just because a question is horrible doesn't mean it falls out of scope. You close it for the other reasons - broad, unclear, or opinion based. – Zizouz212 Jul 24 '15 at 9:58
  • "Actually, the line hasn't been drawn finely". Isn't this just another way of saying: "the line between reasons for closure [is] sometimes blurred"? – Free Radical Jul 24 '15 at 10:06
  • No, because it doesn't concern close reasons. Too broad is not the same as off-topic. It means that we haven't clearly defined what is on-topic and off-topic in this sub-category – Zizouz212 Jul 24 '15 at 10:12
2

I think it should be closed, but not because it's too easily answered, but because it isn't about our topic. Just because something is associated with the free/open movement doesn't make every question about it on-topic. There are lots of questions which could be asked about Linux or GCC or Bitbucket which don't belong here either.

  • I agree that this (just being about some phenomena that may be associated with FLOSS) is also a good reason to close this particular question. But I would like to see a discussion specifically about (dis)allowing general questions that can be answered with no more than quoting an external resource. – Free Radical Jul 24 '15 at 6:08
  • @FreeRadical Well that would seem to be covered by our existing question on FAQs (which isn't so much about the frequency of the question, but questions that can be answered with simple quotes.) – curiousdannii Jul 24 '15 at 6:24
  • No, the question that started that discussion was not an invitation to copypaste a couple of quotes. It you look at the upvoted and accepted answer, you'll find it is has carefully curated several quotes by putting them in a context that may have eluded somebody just using Google to locate the quotes. Such questions are clearly on-topic. – Free Radical Jul 24 '15 at 6:33

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