We previously discussed the possibility of updating the help center here. Since we can do it, and we have mods who will do it, what do we want to put in there?

When drafting new sections, feel free to look at other sites /help/ pages to see what ours should look like.

Here are the sections we can edit:

  • /help - The home page
  • /help/on-topic - The guidance for on/off topic

Please suggest one section per answer, and we'll keep the highest voted ones after a few weeks.

  • $\begingroup$ Here's a thought - we shouldn't edit the /on-topic page yet. We really don't know yet what's on and off-topic specifically (beyond unclear, etc) - we haven't had enough questions to know what some common fallacies are. Wait to see what people do wrong most that's not already covered, and then edit the help center for that. $\endgroup$
    – auden
    Commented Jun 23, 2017 at 20:26

1 Answer 1


The best approach I've found is (at first) to do nothing… not until you establish pattern of problems that regularly show up in actual practice. You may want to fill in a line or two that describes your subject space, but let the participants use the site intuitively before you start enumerating a lot of rule discussions with rare (and often hypothetical) problems that haven't actually come up much in actual practice.

When it comes time to elaborate on your scope, here is my preferred format (adapted from the Help Center at Superuser):

What topics can I ask about here?

Computer Science Educators is for <brief elevator pitch>. If you have a question about …

  • <one>
  • <two>
  • <try to cap it at three summary points>

and it is not about

  • <one>
  • <two>
  • <if you need more than three common prohibitions, you're probably doing it wrong>

… then you're in the right place!

Please look around to see if your question has been asked before. For more help, see "What types of questions should I avoid asking?"

If your question is not specifically on-topic for Computer Science Educators, it may be on topic on one of our related sites:

  • <list of related sites with "when it's better to ask there" pointers>

And if your question is about the site itself, you can ask on our Meta Support site.


A Note of Caution

Please resist the urge to use the Help Center as a community-pet-peeves dump by enumerating every way you can possibly suck at Stack Exchange. Some sites have a bad habit of loading up a growing manifesto that looks more like "If I only knew these 57 things before I started…" — but they usually end up making the site look more unapproachable than helpful.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Thank you for your insight and suggestions. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 23, 2017 at 23:14

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