Now that we've graduated and have had many more meta discussions here to refine our scope, I thought it was a good time to take a look at our custom section of the help center.

We can edit this however we like. The current wording has been basically unchanged for the past year. For now, let's use the answers here as a discussion to clarify what we want to put in here. For reference, take a look at a very new site, a somewhat new site, and some giant technology-related site for different examples of how this section is used. We are not stuck to a specific format or list of sections, and can totally change the one that we have below.

Ideally, each answer will give a brief outline of what sections, and what major topics will be covered. Once we have a good idea of what we want in there, we can start discussing the nitty gritty details.

Here is the current text of What topics can I ask about here?:

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.

With your help, we're working together to build a library of detailed answers to every question about the workplace.

What questions are off topic here?

  • "I need advice on...", "What should I do?", or "Which job should I take?"
    • Questions looking for opinions on what to do but with no specific problem are suited for discussion boards (not a question/answer site) and generally will be closed on The Workplace as "primarily opinion-based." For information on how to write a good subjective question see here. Remember a real question has an answer, not just opinions or ideas.
  • "Is it legal..."
    • If a question requires a lawyer to answer it, we can't help. These situations are simply too specific and too complex to definitively answer on our site.
  • "Please review my resume/CV"
    • Questions need to apply to more than just you. Since this site is here to help everyone, and not review to a specific resume, these are not "questions" to us as they don't have definite answers.
  • "How do I learn to be a..." / "How do I perform the job of a ..."
    • Questions should be about problems you are encountering or have encountered in the workplace, and not the learning/applying of specific job functions.
  • "What salary/hourly rate should I look for? How much should I charge for X?"
    • Questions regarding salary are too localized to the city, timeframe, job sector and specific skills. Answers to these questions become quickly outdated and just aren't helpful to others.
    • For general salary hunting tips, see How can I determine a reasonable salary to ask for?

For more help, see "What types of questions should I avoid asking?"

How should I answer?

Make sure your answer adds helpful information and is a complete, stand-alone answer. Read other answers first and be sure not to completely restate information that has already been posted.

Please note that answers should be backed up either with a reference, or experiences that happened to you personally. You should always include in your answer information about why you think your answer is correct.

Please look around to see if your question has been asked before. It’s also OK to ask and answer your own question.

If your question is not specifically on-topic for The Workplace Stack Exchange, it may be on topic for another Stack Exchange site. If no site currently exists that will accept your question, you may commit to or propose a new site at Area51, the place where new Stack Exchange communities are democratically created.

1 Answer 1


I like the current structure of our help center, which closely matches that of SO. The only thing I would change is the How to Answer section which feels out of place since this is about asking questions (and is in the 'How to ask?' section of the help center).

Here is how I would like to structure it:

  1. Our general topic
    • Finding employment (resumes/cv/cover letters, recruiters, hiring-managers, interviews, negotiations, etc.)
    • Maintaining employment (promotions, pay increases, harassment, bullying, poor working conditions, communication problems, etc.)
    • Leaving employment (notice period, breaking the news, handing over work, reference letters, relieving letters, etc.)
  2. Definitely off-topic things
    • Questions seeking advice on company-specific regulations, agreements, or policies
    • Questions asking for advice on what to do (including reviewing resumes, CVs, cover letters, e-mails, specific salaries, billing rates, market worth, etc.)
    • Questions that focus on ranting about problems rather than trying to solve them
    • Questions that aren't a good fit for the SE format
  3. Still confused?
  • for How to Answer section, did you consider including references to Back It and Don't repeat Others rules?
    – gnat
    Jul 9, 2014 at 13:38
  • As I said in the answer @gnat, this isn't the place for 'how to answer' because it's about how to ask. There is currently no place for 'how to answer', but putting it here doesn't really make sense.
    – jmac
    Jul 9, 2014 at 14:03
  • oh I got it, thanks!
    – gnat
    Jul 9, 2014 at 15:18
  • Should we add that something to indicate that price checks on salary/pay rate type questions are off topic? Otherwise it might seem to be in scope under the "negotiations", "promotions" or "pay increases" aspects of the general topic. Jul 9, 2014 at 15:59
  • I like your lists. But the reason "how to answer" is wedged in there is that there's no other place to put it and we do have some rules about it that should be communicated to people up front. Possibly it could be replaced with a link to one well-written post on meta, but I'd hate to lose it entirely. Jul 9, 2014 at 19:39
  • @Monica, I know why it's in there, but it makes the article longer, and doesn't help the people we would want to direct to it (people looking for rules on what they can ask). I like the idea of a separate meta post on how to answer, and if we can get custom post notices, or a custom section added to the help center in the answering section, we can add it there.
    – jmac
    Jul 10, 2014 at 5:59
  • @matt, fully agreed -- that was implied, but not clearly enough. I've edited to add that more specifically in the outline so that it doesn't get forgotten)
    – jmac
    Jul 10, 2014 at 6:00

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