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We think of the archetypal workplace.SE questions as involving working with a manager, a recruiter, asking for a raise, trying not to be fired, etc.

Two were closed to date that are point-on on topic:

Is there a rule of thumb regarding a search radius for job alerts?

Should one leave computers on at the end of the day?

Neither of these are great questions. They could stand to have more detail, either to what the perceived problem is, or what type of solution is being solicited.

The "search radius" one was closed as follows:

"Questions seeking advice on company-specific regulations, agreements, or policies should be directed to your manager or HR department. Questions that address only a specific company or position are of limited use to future visitors. Questions seeking legal advice should be directed to legal professionals. For more information, click here."

Um. What?

I wanted to work on answers to both of these. To the "job radius" problem it's actually similar to what apartment-searchers like StreetEasy deal with and can be dealt with with technology. To the "computers" problem one can reasonably infer that the OP is probably concerned with being green and mention the obvious areas of concern: how much energy is saved, does it impact the company's bottom line, is it worth the hassle, etc. This is a perfectly reasonable question.

Can we please have a defined policy of non-interpersonal workplace questions? If they are off-topic there should be a clear close-reason on the topic. If on-topic they should stop being closed and we should be clearer about it in the site's help.

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    I was one of the VTC's on the computer shut-down question. I interpreted that question to fall squarely into the realm of following a company-specific policy. – Wesley Long Dec 17 '15 at 0:28
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    Power-off is either company policy, or belongs in an electronics or efficiency area. – keshlam Dec 17 '15 at 1:19
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    They were placed on hold so they could be fixed. they were not closed. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Dec 17 '15 at 16:13
  • Another on-hold: workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/60430/… – user52889 Jan 10 '16 at 15:20
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I would argue that until the rise of our Benevolent Machine-lords, almost all workplace-related questions boil down to interpersonal relationships. Questions that aren't about that are vastly more likely to be off-topic.

That said, you've chosen poor examples:

Close reasons have been discussed before. The major problem is that each site only has a set number of custom reasons so some have to be necessarily broad.

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    One, because you have to commute to work each day. Two, it's beside the point that it's not workplace specific - you can ask a question about neural networks on SO or datascience.SE or math.SE, or a question on how long water will take to boil under weird circumstances on physics.SE or cooking.SE, and if someone creates an interpersonalrelationships.SE the whole of workplace.SE's questions won't suddenly become off topic. – user42272 Dec 17 '15 at 13:55
  • The second is admittedly weaker. It's not a priori company policy, the OP might not even realize the company has a policy. In a twist of irony the answer appears in the very close reason itself. I also felt the factors one would consider in absence of a company policy, or why a company might have a particular policy, as germane. Wouldn't surprise me if 7 people asked this, were closed and deleted because they really did need to Google it and read the answer "check your company policy." – user42272 Dec 17 '15 at 13:57
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    @djechlin I also have to drive to the gym every day and plenty of people commute to college, but that doesn't make that question on-topic on Fitness or Academia. There is always overlap, but questions should be relevant to the core audience of the site. Simple logistics problems are not of interest to the site and hence attract off-topic votes. The second question is easily and only answered by checking the company policy, hence the easy close. While really good and useful questions are given leeway when it comes to being borderline on-topic, this isn't one. – Lilienthal Dec 17 '15 at 16:12
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It would be nice if our standard close reasons were more nuanced, and/or if we made the "explain your the close reasons" option more prominent and/or easier to tack on as a clarification of the standard choices. As 'tis, a quick shot risks not being clear. I've also run into cases where the reason seemed to be a stray click...

Just ran into that last. Wanted to change the reason for my close vote. But the only options offered are to retract the vote entirely and not be able to submit the corrected one, or to leave it wrong. If you want meaningful close reasons, fix the site so it doesn't fight us when we try to improve them.

  • I agree, and I've been guilty of agreeing with some of those simply because i did indeed feel that the question should be closed, but didn't feel any of the reasons listed truly nailed the reason. – AndreiROM Dec 17 '15 at 6:42
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    Remember that "Offtopic > Other" allows you to add any comment you choose, There, your reasoning can be as nuanced as you like. – Joe Strazzere Dec 17 '15 at 12:59
  • @JoeStrazzere that's the problem though... nuance takes a tremendous amount of time as evidenced by the many meta threads discussing exactly what the existing reasons should be. And people don't tend to want to put a lot of effort into questions they already feel shouldn't be around in the first place. So AndreiROM may be right that tweaking to the standard reasons may be needed. – user42272 Dec 18 '15 at 4:42
  • @djechlin - I agree that most people wouldn't bother. But I'm not sure it's possible to come up with enough "standard" reasons to make everyone happy. Personally, I don't think it's worth trying. If the current list doesn't suffice - make an effort and use "Other". If it's not worth the effort, don't bother. – Joe Strazzere Dec 19 '15 at 2:17
  • @JoeStrazzere: see added paragraph. – keshlam Dec 25 '15 at 7:14
  • @keshlam - I agree. The system as it stands now, doesn't really let you change your mind and be more precise in your close reasons. Honestly, I often don't bother trying to be accurate. I can't see that it matters very much. – Joe Strazzere Dec 25 '15 at 12:40
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    It matters if we're trying to teach folks how to write a good question... I hope.... – keshlam Dec 25 '15 at 19:29

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