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Our current tag line is

members of the workforce navigating the professional setting

This is used everywhere to describe the site. It shows up in the Google description of the site, in the very top of our FAQ, at the beginning of the about page, on migration links, etc

The Workplace Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for members of the workforce navigating the professional setting.

But I feel it is missing something. Our site is about the topic of the workplace, and is not just a Q&A site for members of the workforce to get answers from each other. It's a place to go to get answers about the workplace, not about my situation at the workplace.

Far too often I see users posting questions here for advice because they are a "member of the workplace", they are "navigating the professional setting", and they have a valid question (it ends in a question mark), however their question was still closed as off-topic because it's about their specific situation at the workplace, not about the workplace in general.

The tag line is usually the first thing anyone reads about our site, and it should be crystal clear that this is a Q&A site about the Workplace, and not a Q&A site for members of the workforce to get answers from each other about anything.

I was told by Tim Post that typically the tag line of most SE sites is

"This is a site for [acceptable skill level of audience] about [topic]"

however since our site is about such a broad and subjective topic, and the audience is almost anyone, I think the topic should definitely be first and foremost in our tag line.

So what can we change it to that will immediately make people think this is a Q&A site about the workplace, and not some Dear Abby forum to get advice from other members of the workforce?

Here's some examples of where/how I see it used:

FAQ page:

The Workplace - Stack Exchange is for <tagline>

Google Links:

Beta Q&A site for <tagline>

About page:

The Workplace Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for <tagline>

Migration links (none right now):

EDIT

Ben Brocka has confirmed that the top of the FAQ and the top of the About page can be completely edited by moderators, so can we try to focus on alternative phrasings for those two bits of documentation?

Migration links won't become an issue until after we're out of beta, and the meta description tag doesn't show up in Google until after a site graduates. I suspect both of them are based on our Target Audience anyways, which is one of the 3 fields you specify when you create an Area51 proposal, and is probably only modified by the SE dev team.

Current FAQ:

What kind of questions can I ask here?

The Workplace - Stack Exchange is for members of the workforce navigating the professional setting.

Current About Page:

The Workplace Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for members of the workforce navigating the professional setting.

What can we change these to that will immediately make people think this is a Q&A site about the workplace, and not some Dear Abby forum to get advice from other members of the workforce?

  • 1
    Do you think most of the Dear Abby posts are from new users or existing users? Who are you thinking this needs to be communicated to the most? – jmort253 Apr 16 '13 at 0:52
  • 4
    @Jmort253 new users, the amount of 1 or 101 rep people asking questions that are about their experience and wanting a reply is growing by the day – Rhys Apr 16 '13 at 9:19
  • I think we need a clear "how to ask a good question here" post on Meta which we can use as a reference when closing questions which people complain about "omg why you close my question!!!" and link to. I think this is far more important than any minor/significant changes to things most people probably don't read before posting questions (at least the people who are asking questions not matching the format). A post like this can explain - in detail - why we are NOT "Dear Workplace" and give some details. – enderland Apr 18 '13 at 14:47
  • I'm hoping to have some time to write something like this but haven't been able to really give it the full attention it deserves - not something I can write up quickly – enderland Apr 18 '13 at 14:48
  • @enderland I agree, we definitely should create a "New User" MSO post and put it in our FAQ, like Skeptics.SE has. But like you said, that's a time-consuming project. A change to our mini site description is much faster/easier to do, and I think it will definitely help out – Rachel Apr 18 '13 at 15:05
2

Take this question, which is clearly a general advice poll: https://workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/11231/i-have-been-fired-or-not-renewed-my-contract-how-to-get-over-that

The objective isn't clear. The asker has not specified a clear question that helps askers understand what his goal is.

Then compare that to this question, which is more clear, objective, and definitive: How can I approach career development with a boss who doesn't seem to support this?. However, I can picture the last part of the question saying something like:

What should I do in this situation? (unclear objective)

Both questions are similar in nature, but the most important difference is in the clarity of the post.

In short, I suspect that many general advice questions have potential to be partially rewritten so that they're more objective. Perhaps the answer is that we be more aggressive in closing, editing, and reopening these posts and leave the "Dear Workplace" wording out of the FAQ. Even if we make assumptions about the asker and guess in our edits, that may help solve this problem by getting the ball rolling. If the edits are wrong, the asker can always edit and clarify before we reopen the post.

In addition, we could also put some tips in the FAQ about how to word these questions so they're more likely to be accepted by the community:

How to post questions on The Workplace SE:

Workplace SE is not a discussion forum for general advice, so if you have a real, actual problem you're facing, please be sure to clearly state your question, both in the title and in the question body. This will ensure that your question receives answers based on facts, references, and specific expertise. Posts that don't clearly state the question may be closed by the community for further editing so that the question can possibly be reopened.

Instead of asking:

  • What should I do?

  • How should I handle this?

Try wording your post so that it's more clear:

  • What actions can I take to help ensure that I can resign from the company without management giving me a bad review?

  • Is there something I can say to my colleague to salvage our business relationship so that the work environment is not so toxic?

This may help turn that shoddy "raw material" -- but raw material with potential -- into something that fits our Q&A model a little better.

  • Look at revision 1 and revision 2 of this new post. I edited out the meta commentary and the vague questions and replaced with what I'm guessing is the real question. Even if the guess is wrong, and the op never comes back to correct this, would this not be a better question for our site than removing it, or worse, having it never being asked in the first place? – jmort253 Apr 20 '13 at 20:47
  • This is great, but can we still update the "What kind of questions can I ask here?" section of our FAQ and the opening of the About page to be something like the wording I suggested in my answer so the first impression given is that of a Q&A site about a topic, and not a Q&A site to just ask other members of the workforce about your situation at the workplace? :) – Rachel Apr 22 '13 at 14:22
  • @Rachel - I can make the changes, as long as we continue to be open to more changes. I'd hate to see the FAQ taken too literally, where legitimate topics are thrown out the window simply because they're not listed in the FAQ. I'm sure we've forgotten something. ;) – jmort253 Apr 22 '13 at 21:29
1

Issues with the Current Tagline

members of the workforce navigating the professional setting.

Retirees, the currently unemployed, and otherwise thoughtful people should also be welcome.

members of the workforce navigating the professional setting.

"The professional setting" sounds to me like it means "office" which I in no way think the site should be limited to. If someone wants to ask a question like, "Another trucker is using my call sign, how can I bring it up with him?" I think it should be more than welcome.

What is the site about?

  1. Getting General Guidance (not localized advice)
  2. About Work-related Topics (not "professional settings")
  3. From Like-Minded Professionals (not "experts")

My Suggestion

FAQ

Old:

What kind of questions can I ask here?

The Workplace - Stack Exchange is for members of the workforce navigating the professional setting.

New:

What kind of questions can I ask here?

The Workplace Stack Exchange is for general guidance on work-related issues from like-minded professionals. We invite questions that use actual experiences as context to ask a broader question about how to approach a work-related situation.

About Page

Old:

The Workplace Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for members of the workforce navigating the professional setting. It's built and run by you as part of the Stack Exchange network of Q&A sites. With your help, we're working together to build a library of detailed answers to every question about the workplace.

New:

The Workplace Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for general guidance on work-related issues from like-minded professionals. It's built and run by you as part of the Stack Exchange network of Q&A sites. With your help, we're working together to build a library of detailed answers to every question about the workplace.

  • 2
    ugh I dislike "general guidance" phrase as I think that's going to promote the "Dear Workplace, halp me plz" type questions which are bad questions. – enderland Apr 18 '13 at 14:44
  • Guidance -- not advice. General -- not specific/localized. We cannot define the Workplace by what it isn't, only by what it is. If you have a better suggestion, please share. – jmac Apr 18 '13 at 15:12
  • I guess I read guidance as basically synonymous with advice - especially when coupled with 'general.' – enderland Apr 18 '13 at 15:17
  • If the truckers do say things like that it is already welcome here, Professional setting means nothing more than the setting in which they work in. Youre reading too much into it thinking its just the office. The reason it is phrased as such is to exclude questions from school children, parents asking about parenting issues etc. but the key part is the professional part, it has to be related to work, not just any old conflict of interests – Rhys Apr 19 '13 at 9:55
  • @jmac - Many successful Stack Exchange site's clearly define the boundaries of the topic in the FAQ by clearly listing what is and isn't off-topic. We haven't quite done that yet. See Super User's FAQ for an example. With that said, the FAQ is malleable. If we add things to the "What it isn't about" list and find that we put something in there that shouldn't be, we can always go back in and remove it. – jmort253 Apr 20 '13 at 17:22
1

The best I can come up with is

The Workplace Stack Exchange is a Q&A site about the workplace and other career-related topics. It is for members of the workforce to get answers on topics such as the job hunting process, interviewing, salary negotiation, and professionalism within the Workplace.

This puts the topic first and foremost in our site's description, and will hopefully make readers immediately jump to the conclusion that our site is about a specific generalized topic, and not that we are just a Q&A forum for getting advice from other members of the workforce about a specific situation you are in at your workplace.

I also agree with the problems jmac outlined in his answer about the current tag line sounding restrictive to the professional office environment only, and I think this addresses those concerns.

This would be for both the FAQ page and the About page.

  • Accepting my own answer because the FAQ and About pages have been updated with this text :) – Rachel May 2 '13 at 13:52
0

After some prodding, I made some edits to the FAQ. However, I see this as a probationary edit. In the back of my mind sits the following comment from Rarity:

I don't really agree with explicitly enumerating what we do here because that implicitly excludes all else. I would rather implicitly include what we do and explicitly exclude what we know to be 99% problematic. What is on topic is the general topic area, not any explicit list of specific items.

I'd hate to see Rarity's words come back to haunt us. The fact that we have enumerated some topics should serve to help clarify what we do, yet not exclude certain topics just because they're not explicitly listed in the FAQ. In this regard, Rarity makes a great point: I encourage everyone to be open about what types of questions are asked and evaluate each post on its own merits. In short, our topic should still implicitly include Workplace topics that we don't have listed, until we have a good reason to explicitly exclude it.

If it appears that these recent FAQ changes are causing more harm than good, we can -- and should -- make more changes to move forward, including rolling them back if necessary.

  • Thanks! I think that's significantly better than what we originally had :) (Also, I had completely forgotten that I had posted something else on meta about this subject!) – Rachel Apr 23 '13 at 11:55
  • (I still think we need to change the wording of the opening line though... the FAQ begins with "What kind of questions can I ask here?" which is still answered by "This is a site for members of the workforce navigating the professional setting. For example, ...", which I still think implies that any question for a member of the workforce is OK, and says nothing about the fact the site is for a specific topic only. ;) – Rachel Apr 23 '13 at 12:57

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