As the question says, are questions on topic if they come from volunteer activities, rather than from a paid workplace? To be clear, I am asking about situations that might also arise in a workplace (such as interpersonal disputes), but happened in a volunteer capacity.


5 Answers 5


I agree with Chad's answer, that as long as they meet the same standard as other questions, they should be fine. The situations that arise in a volunteer organization are often very similar to those at a paid job. We've certainly had some highly voted questions that are about volunteering and not paid jobs.

Peaceful and professional way to drop out of a volunteer project that's gone bad

Administrator thinks I, an IT volunteer student, am hacking the school network


They are not explicitly off topic. But it would still have to meet the same standard as any question about a paid job would. Questions about where to volunteer, how to volunteer at a specific organization, or the like are still off topic.


Yes. Whether people are paid in money, experience or personal satisfaction, volunteers are still largely held to the same standards as regular employees and encounter the same problems. Volunteers are expected to show up they commit to a schedule, work amicably with colleagues and customers, are held accountable for their work and have certain goals to meet. Some volunteering projects are run more strictly and seriously than paid departments.

The abomination that is the unpaid internship is also on-topic here and while that is just a shade closer to a "real job" than volunteering, in practice (and in my opinion) they boil down to the same thing.


Yes, they are treated just as fairly as other questions on this site. The same exacting standards and attention to relevance are applied as many of the situations may apply, with obvious exceptions such as pay, et cetera. However, many other situations are the same such as coworkers who are obnoxious and noisy, what to do with lunchroom thieves, how to change careers, et cetera ad nauseum.

We'll mark them as off topic and close them just as quickly as other posts about paid positions.


There is a tag, but the topic isn't mentioned explicitly in What topics can I ask about here?:

What topics can I ask about here?

The Workplace Stack Exchange is a Q&A site about the workplace and other career-related topics. With your help we're working to build a library to every question about the workplace related to:

  • 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.)
  • Leadership in the workplace (motivating people, encouraging people, making decisions, holding hard conversations, intervening in unproductive situations, asking for and giving help, etc.)
  • Terminating employment (notice period, breaking the news, handing over work, reference letters, relieving letters, etc.)

What questions are off topic here?

  • Questions seeking company-specific advice on workplace regulations or policies, or legal advice
  • Questions that lack a clear goal we can address or focus on ranting about problems rather than trying to solve them
  • Questions asking for advice on a specific choice (including reviewing resumes, CVs, cover letters, e-mails, as well as specific salaries, billing rates, market worth, etc.)
  • Questions that aren't a good fit for the Stack Exchange format (see also Good Subjective, Bad Subjective for information on how to ask a subjective question suitable for the Stack Exchange format)

I suggest mention this topic explicitly in this page. See: Should topic about volunteering be mentioned explicitly in the help center?

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