This post emerges from this particular question:

How can I design a simple interface for a complex application?

Question got positive votes and 5 answers, put it has been put On Hold as too broad (the title at least was quite broad). I think that if a question received this much attention it means there's value in it, and it might deserve a second chance.

So I edited the title and the content a little, and reopened it. I don't feel comfortable going against the close votes, but if it is that broad then it should get more close votes and put back on hold.

What do you think we should do with questions that get good feedback but are considered as off-topic / broad / too specific by some users?

Also worth mentioning that I applaud Jonathan's effort to create more content about design practices and theory, we definitely need more questions like the ones you've asked. Kudos.

3 Answers 3


Us 900lb gorilla types do have to be a little careful where we sit. :)

The site serves the community, and if the community expresses interest in a question enough to upvote and spend time answering it, then taking a purist approach (the letter of the law, rather than the spirit) is counter-productive. These are the kinds of things that gradually, organically change the scope and FAQ over time. That's appropriate. The "personality" of the site is constantly evolving.

Mods keep things polite and try to create an encouraging, upbeat atmosphere. Our rules can easily seem intimidating to a newcomer, and they're likely easily scared off. In most cases, I think it's better to lend a helping hand by gently editing a question so it fits better, explaining why in a comment, than simply to close.


I agree with you @Yisela. I think it is well worth thinking twice before putting questions on hold.

I confess to being one of those who did, I am not proud of it, but here is what I think happens: @JonathanTodd are asking questions on principles, not on how-tos. We are - sadly - so used to how-tos and questions from new users seeking specific help, that we cannot see a good questions when it bites us in the nose.

The OP are - to me anyway - clearly not a novice, he is not after basic, simple explanations. The questions are conceptual (and I guess, to him also rhetorical).

This is really the sort of questions I would love to see more of; I think a good deal of us wants that too. It can be Photoshop hell out there sometimes.

I think that the OP are helping us getting away from that, and into answers that needs some thinking.

In general; I will be a little more careful with what I agree to close. If the questions are going to diversify, we must let Qs that seem a little heavy or a little off-topic pass. At least for a while. Should the thread fly away on pink unicorns farting rainbows, then it is worth reconsidering closing it.

And if other people find value, interest and worthwhile answering something, then Let It Be.


Depends upon the question.

GD.SE has a stated scope. 90% of new users aren't going to be aware of that scope. So.. they'll jump in and answer many questions which are not within the scope of the site.

Regardless of how many answers a question receives, if it's not within the scope, it should be put on hold.

This is a generalization, but it all comes down to which is more critical..... new users or sticking to the stated scope.

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