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In a couple of cases, we've had questions that are asking very specific questions, or for a recommendation of service (FBO, maintenance, aircraft, etc). Currently, the options people seem to use are either "off topic" or "too broad", and sometimes "primarily opinion-based".

Should we improve some of the definitions (specifically of why some questions are "opinion-based" or, perhaps, too specific)? The problem with "off topic" is that it sounds pretty weird when the question is clearly about Aviation. The topic may be inappropriate for SE, but it's still (at least to most new users) "on topic".

In some cases very specific questions may have a lot in common with the identify-this-airport question that was raised earlier on Meta.

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    $\begingroup$ if not 'too specific' then at least something like 'outside the scope of this site' - which could perhaps be a better way to describe 'off topic' or 'too broad' $\endgroup$
    – egid
    Jan 12 '14 at 19:59
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    $\begingroup$ Stack Exchange used to have one, but many months before the inception of Aviation. $\endgroup$ Jan 13 '14 at 0:14
  • $\begingroup$ I've edited the question with information from the long comment thread below it, and reworded it in a way that should now, hopefully, be on-topic. We want to be careful we don't scare people away. $\endgroup$ Jan 13 '14 at 6:27
  • $\begingroup$ The more I think about it, the less I think there is a need for this. Possibly clarifying what kinds of questions are primarily opinion based, as Bret proposes below, makes a lot more sense. $\endgroup$
    – egid
    Jan 13 '14 at 14:20
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I think that asking for a recommendation for a repair shop (or flight school, etc.) (as in this question) should simply be closed as "Primarily Opinion-Based" since there is no "one right answer".

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I don't want to encourage people to close questions which are very specific as off-topic. Just because the question is about a specific model of aircraft doesn't mean it's a bad fit for the site.

How about:

Questions asking for service recommendations, such as mechanics, FBO's, and flight schools, are off-topic because they are primarily opinion based and too geographically specific. However, these types of questions are open for discussion in our chat room.

I can add it to the list of "off-topic because..." reasons.

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  • $\begingroup$ Well, very specific questions are fine. It's too specific that is a problem. If it will only help a very very limited number of people (like in this case, probably just one in the near future) then it would be too specific. $\endgroup$
    – Lnafziger
    Jan 12 '14 at 20:39
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    $\begingroup$ Is there really a need for this? We already have POB for this reason - just seems redundant. $\endgroup$ Jan 13 '14 at 2:01
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70% of all general aviation is taking place in the US. Are you suggesting to shut down any question that is US specific, just because it is geographically specific?

Opinions have value too. Many facts are debatable, otherwise lawyers would not exist.

How do you judge and know whether a question is too specific, today and in 5 years from now? How do you judge and know whether an opinion does not provide value, today and in 5 years from now? How do you judge and know whether a topic is off-topic (unless racist, etc...), today and in 5 years from now?

You censor content, based on questionable ideals that you just make up, which have proven unsuccessful. Let thousand flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought compete.

You can course correct later, after having gained traffic.

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  • $\begingroup$ I think this aviation forum is a good idea. I like it to be successful. I truly believe, in order to make it successful it is wrong too be too strict about the type of question. Guidelines, such as "off-topic", "opinion-based", "too geographically specific", are too vague, and open for interpretation, besides what does it hurt. Examples: Is a question about Foxtrot Airspace too geographically specific, just because it does not exist in the US? Is a question about the Icing Product on ADDS too geographically specific because it only exists in the US? $\endgroup$ Jan 13 '14 at 15:28
  • $\begingroup$ AviationDude Thank you for taking the time to discuss the issue. Stack Exchange has a lot of sites (SE Site List) and has developed a very successful model. It is based on the premise that questions will have "one correct answer", and a question worded like yours originally was could have many possible answers. Aviation is a new site here and the Help (see the link at the top right of the page) still needs to be customized, but you can get a good idea of the model that we use by looking in the "Asking" (questions) section. $\endgroup$
    – Lnafziger
    Jan 13 '14 at 16:57
  • $\begingroup$ @AviationDude It is important that any questions asked on this site be a good fit for the Stack Exchange model. Resource requests ("Find me a shop that…", "Where can I buy…", etc.) are generally a poor fit for Stack Exchange sites - they are broadly members of the "shopping question" class (which work well in chat, but not on the main site). As originally phrased I think your your question fell on the wrong side of that line, but after some editing it's now an excellent question, and I hope has produced useful answers (?). $\endgroup$
    – voretaq7
    Jan 13 '14 at 23:16
  • $\begingroup$ Note that I don't mean to imply that the answer to a question will never be "Go talk to this shop, they do that work all the time and people swear by them!" -- those answers can be very valuable. I'm just of the opinion that the question shouldn't approach problems from a "Where do I buy...?" standpoint but rather a "I've got this problem - what are my options for resolving it?" standpoint, where the options may include "Go buy X from Y..." $\endgroup$
    – voretaq7
    Jan 13 '14 at 23:21

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