I just saw the question "How to get donations anonymously in a room" pop up, and I really have no idea if it's on topic or not. On the one hand, I don't really understand what this question has to do with the workplace. On the other, we could probably answer the question and I don't know that there's another SE that is a better fit than us.

Should this be closed?

  • 2
    I'm not sure what to think, but am glad you raised this here. It definitely feels like an ok question even if it's not "technically" a workplace question, it still relates fairly well to the Workplace. But... it's not about the Workplace (but we do have volunteer related things here too). – enderland May 2 '16 at 13:23
  • @enderland agreed. It may not be an EXACT fit, but it still has many workplace applications, including volunteer work. – Old_Lamplighter May 2 '16 at 13:25
  • 5
    "Should this be closed?" - No. If a few details were altered, or left out this would be 100% on topic (for example a social committee asking for donations at an off-site event). – AndreiROM May 2 '16 at 15:01
  • 1
    @enderland Volunteer questions would revolve around the interactions with other volunteers and the management of those volunteers. Client interactions would be borderline but have been judged on-topic in the past I think. I have trouble calling students at a volunteer-run course clients when so little organisation is involved. – Lilienthal May 2 '16 at 21:30
  • How do I get my neighbors to buy more girl scout cookies from my niece? – Joe Strazzere May 2 '16 at 22:55
  • Is the post by a mod? – Peter David Carter May 23 '16 at 14:29

Here's a thought experiment: imagine the OP had asked about how to set up a donation box at his workplace for some other worthy cause than his own expenses in giving a free course, and how to do so without guilt-shaming anyone into contributing.

My reaction would be that this scenario would definitely be on-topic.

By extension, since the difference to the actual question is not really germane, I'd say the original question is on-topic, too.

(BTW: "there is no better SE site for this question" does not make an off-topic question on-topic.)

  • 3
    I don't think it's the same as putting out a donation box at the office. On the one hand, logistically, people can come and go at the office, which is not the case in a classroom setting. Secondly, there is a difference between asking your colleagues for a donation and asking your non-paying clients/students for a donation. – David K May 2 '16 at 12:23
  • And as to your last point, yes, you are correct. It just always pains me to see an otherwise good question get turned away because it doesn't fit anywhere. – David K May 2 '16 at 12:24
  • 3
    @DavidK - "there is a difference between asking your colleagues for a donation and asking your non-paying clients/students for a donation" - there's a hundred different variations of this question in an office setting (or regarding a company event at a different location) that would be appropriate. I think what you're really getting stuck on is the fact that this is taking place in a classroom. Personally, I agree with Stephan: this is on-topic. – AndreiROM May 2 '16 at 14:48
  • It would set a bad precedent if we allowed off-topic questions by "editing the question somehow to shoehorn a workplace scenario". This site should not be a catch all for "what if this happened at a workplace" questions. We have closed several questions which were based on hypothetical situations, the spirit of this answer goes against it. I could have misunderstood though. – Masked Man May 3 '16 at 13:57

I think its on-topic. Because OP is working there, while instead the students are "attending" Therefore it is OP's workplace.

I spent 8 years working as IT-everything in a high school with 200 staff and 1800 students, and schools/educational sites are most definitely workplaces as far as the staff are concerned. There are all the petty politics, he-said-she-said, cliques, social events and very occasional romantic interludes of any other workplace.

Therefore a school/classroom is a workplace and this is on topic.

  • 1
    Of course schools are workplaces. Those people are being paid to be there, which is why it's a job. Social engineering of contributions to a volunteer-run course isn't a job. The OP doesn't have clients he has students that he helps out of his own free will. – Lilienthal May 2 '16 at 21:27
  • 1
    "One of the toilet flush in my office washroom is broken, how do I find a plumber to repair it?" Plenty of questions like those would be on-topic by shoehorning workplace somehow into the question. – Masked Man May 3 '16 at 14:01

No, it's not on-topic. The dynamics in a workplace environment versus those in a volunteer course are too different. There are no employees. There is no management. There is no real accountability. You could call the students clients but they don't (shouldn't) have any expectation of service. People aren't forced to work together and interact amicably or risk their livelihood. This is more of a social question than a workplace one and general social question are simply not on topic.

I agree that it's an interesting question but it's a step too far from the workplace for it to find a home here. Where would we draw the line?

  • I agree. Not on-topic in my eyes. Now, how do I get homeowners in my HOA to vote for board members? – Joe Strazzere May 2 '16 at 22:57

What bugs me in this question is that the context is not a workplace per se. Sure, this question could be at least partially transposed to a more "fitting" context for this SE, but that doesn't make it on-topic. However, trying to adapt the question might make it too broad.

Plus, transposing the question would probably cause it to make little sense. A donation box in an office would most likely have another goal than in a room where a free course is dispensed, as, well, a lot of things are different, starting with the relationship between OP and the potential donators.

The question is interesting, but ultimately, it still feels off-topic.

  • 3
    It feels off-topic because you're getting stuck on the "classroom" aspect of it. There's a million settings in which a social committee might ask for donations at an off-site company event which would generate the same answers. – AndreiROM May 2 '16 at 14:52

I feel like the question might be too broad rather than off-topic. He's asking for business ideas. "How can I collect money from people anonymously to fit my business strategy". There are so many ways to approach this question that I wouldn't know where to begin.

anonymous letters? Donation box? online donation paypal account? tip jar? etc etc?

I feel like all of these answers could work, which is why I don't think an answer is really easy to get.

  • Many work-related questions have multiple answers and answers that are not easy to get. That doesn't make it too broad, just tricky. Are we afraid of difficult questions now? – Old_Lamplighter May 2 '16 at 13:26
  • 2
    The possible answer set is actually not that large: PO Box, jar, pass a basket, PayPal, plus maybe one or two more. That's nothing compared to what answering some other questions entail. – AndreiROM May 2 '16 at 14:49

It all boils down to two related questions, one following on from the other.

Is begging a profession or not?

Is the place where the mendicant does his begging a workplace?

If we can decide on that, then we have our answer to this post. We can always say those kids running around at Halloween are temporarily self employed, Salvation army people are actually workers and the punters at the pub getting a tin shaken under their noses are potential clients? Stuff like that.

You must log in to answer this question.

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