Currently the FAQ states this:

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

I find this sourly lacking. What does this include? What does this exclude?

  • General questions about CVs?
  • CV reviews?
  • Decorum?

I would like to get to a general set of guidelines (a-la Stack Overflow or Programmers FAQ) for what is and is not topical.

  • 3
    Yeah, it sucks, it's the default boilerplate + vague description of target audience. Open to any suggestions
    – Rarity
    Commented Jul 12, 2012 at 19:38
  • Yeah, I think we all agree on that; I think the guiding principle was "let's see what shakes out in 90 days and reassess" which...hey! it's been 90 days. Which is to say, this is a great time to have this conversation.
    – jcmeloni
    Commented Jul 12, 2012 at 19:39
  • 1
    as a starting point, I like dba.se's format I think showing what we don't do is possibly as important as showing what we do. Though we haven't gotten many CV reviews.
    – Rarity
    Commented Jul 12, 2012 at 19:49
  • @Rarity - Absolutely agree. What is off-topic is just as important.
    – Oded
    Commented Jul 12, 2012 at 19:50
  • Just found the workplace SE site linked on one of the other many SE sites that I frequent. The post containing the link made me think that this would be a site I'd like to participate in, so I hit the site and went straight for the FAQ, specifically What kind of questions can I ask here. After reading the answer, I have absolutely no clue as to what this site is about, I now know what I can't ask, but I really have no clue as to what is actually considered on topic here. This question is almost 6 months old, and this major issue hasn't been addressed yet? Wow! Maybe I'm missing something?
    – user5212
    Commented Nov 29, 2012 at 22:11
  • It seems like the "off topic" things were added, but the "on topic" section is still lacking...
    – Garry
    Commented Apr 9, 2013 at 20:20

2 Answers 2


Here's some stuff that should be pointed out as explicitly off topic:

  • "Which job should I take?"
    • Questions asking which job/company/industry is "better" or which fits you best can't really be answered and can only be discussed. This is not a discussion forum, but a Question and Answer site.
  • "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 ins and outs of specific job functions.

I've seen/closed a few of these already; questions asking "which job should I pick?" that either ask which company or which position/field they should seek. These are universally not constructive and the nitty gritty is always too localized.

  • 1
    Agree wholeheartedly with first two, and with the third as written as long as it doesn't close the door on questions of how to represent X, Y, or Z on a resume/CV.
    – jcmeloni
    Commented Jul 15, 2012 at 23:45
  • 1
    @jcmeloni the problem is not resume questions, but general resume critiques. If you you need to post more than one specific sentence (or a rough description) of your resume/CV/cover letter you're almost certainly not asking a real question
    – Rarity
    Commented Jul 16, 2012 at 1:30
  • totally agree then!
    – jcmeloni
    Commented Jul 16, 2012 at 2:19
  • 2
    How about something specifically about workplace functions vs workplace issues? Specifically, @Rarity's comment on this post seems almost readymade for a FAQ list item.
    – jcmeloni
    Commented Jul 17, 2012 at 22:51
  • Rachel recently mentioned an interesting criteria to weed out certain type off-topics (in chat): "one you'd ask a generic career-guidance counselor, it's on-topic? You wouldn't ask a generic career guidance counselor how to switch from C# to F#, but you would ask them how to switch from a desk job to construction"
    – gnat
    Commented Jul 21, 2012 at 8:29
  • 1
    @gnat I can't really think of how to work that in, and it pretty much just echos the last point made in there.
    – Rarity
    Commented Jul 21, 2012 at 13:52
  • @Rarity (upon re-reading last point) agree, it's pretty much the same. Hm, ins and outs point wording looks worth improving - the fact that reading it twice before didn't help me grok the idea rings a bell doesn't it
    – gnat
    Commented Jul 21, 2012 at 15:52
  • 1
    @gnat made a slight tweak at meta.workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/345/…
    – Rarity
    Commented Jul 21, 2012 at 15:59
  • @Rarity that's certainly better. Although, not there yet. I compared its structure to other points which feel OK to me, and maybe, another issue is in presentation: it starts with presenting opposite ("should be about") as opposed to jumping straight at the "what's wrong". This sort of breaks attention flow of a reader "oh I should post about topics... now, what was the off-topic point?"
    – gnat
    Commented Jul 21, 2012 at 16:08
  • @gnat It goes example, explanation. All examples are off topic. The explanations don't necessarily lead with "this sucks because", they're just an explanation. I don't really think it breaks the flow at all, and not all of the other explanations lead with "Don't ask this"
    – Rarity
    Commented Jul 21, 2012 at 16:14
  • @Rarity I see. "Don't necessarily" makes sense but the fact is, all of three points that consistently start explanation part with "this sucks" were easier to me to read compared to one that started with positive one. Maybe it's just me. Or maybe it won't be the issue upon I dunno more re-reading (I for one tend to re-read SE FAQs more than 2-3 times)
    – gnat
    Commented Jul 21, 2012 at 16:19
  • @gnat The third one also starts that way though. Why is that one okay? They're bot explanations of what's wrong anyway.
    – Rarity
    Commented Jul 21, 2012 at 16:27
  • @Rarity yeah, third one "more than just you". Reads to me not just you that's why I perceive it like I do for first and second
    – gnat
    Commented Jul 21, 2012 at 17:17

Ideas for "On Topic" examples:

  • Problem solving ideas - so long as the problem can relate to more than one person.

  • Tips and Tricks for common work that transcendes a given career path - for example, presentations, email writing, resume creation, interviewing, giving performance feedback.

  • Questions on norms - can be locale specific, but probably more useful to include?

  • What is...? - not just a clean definition you could read on Google, but a question about a topic, what it means to a workplace, what to expect/be ready for, or other aspects of the topic.

  • I was hoping to have a better "who's this site for" blurb as well, if you (or anyone else) have any ideas
    – Rarity
    Commented Jul 23, 2012 at 21:50
  • I rather liked that it was open ended. The idea that the site helps everyone from interns to people looking to retire struck me as pretty neat, and the thought that ideally it would draw different types of professionals was appealing. Commented Jul 24, 2012 at 18:06
  • Open is good, we do accept all those groups of people, I'm just concerned it's a bit hard to "get" what it's about. Maybe that's not as necessary though. Aside from the off topic areas above I haven't seen too much confusion about who the site is for
    – Rarity
    Commented Jul 24, 2012 at 18:16
  • Yeah... case in point, I'm reading the "fired for a bad reason" on the main site - it's a guy from a totally different position than mine - but very interesting reading as the answer written to him about explaining and considering what you can learn from the experience would be useful for all sorts of positions with similar experiences. Commented Jul 24, 2012 at 18:24
  • I think a definition of a term is General Reference... How does it apply to the workplace or something ... ie what is six sigma is good though. Commented Jul 24, 2012 at 19:19
  • 1
    @Chad - exactly... hmm... putting in an update. Commented Jul 25, 2012 at 19:47

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .