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In the comments on a related question about 'big lists', dustin asks about the fact that his question on promoting LaTeX got moved from the main site to meta.

In general, the meta site is for questions about TeX-sx itself, but is supposed to allow more discussion than fits in on the main (Q&A) site. Dustin's question isn't really about TeX-sx per se but rather the 'wider' community, but is is more of a discussion than a 'simple' question. This raises the issue of where, if anywhere, such a question fits. Does it belong on the main site, does it belong on meta or is it 'off-topic' entirely? (True discussion is off-topic for StackExchange generally as it doesn't work in a non-threaded Q&A format, although I guess a chat session could be used and written up as an Q&A. A focussed chat could for example use a separate room, as is already done for interviews.)

Note that we've got other 'promotion' questions on meta, but these are more tightly linked to TeX-sx, either in promoting the site itself or how the site/site users can promote (La)TeX.

  • To make things clear: As I was the person who made the first comment may be meta Q with tug and promotion tags which got heavy upvoting and later after 10 hrs, I have flagged it for migration to meta which taken control by Moderators. 1. My first thought was to search for related tags(inspired by lockstep), when there is no promotionor TUG tag in tex.sx,I thought TUG at meta was better. I usually avoid creating new tags unless seriously needed, may be we need. – texenthusiast Aug 16 '13 at 18:11
  • @texenthusiast I think we need clear rules on where discussion posts go that have no right answer that are TeX related. We have a good number of them that are on both the main site and meta. I don't think they should be abolished as off topic. They just need a home not dual citizenship. – dustin Aug 16 '13 at 18:13
  • ...may be we need more tags(no idea). May be i made a mistake in flagging for migration after having a deeper look at How do package authors find the time?, I think dustin's Q can be OK with latex-project tag and at tex.sx would be appropriate. I apologize to dustin. It's a razor thin margin to take decision precisely, hence forth It will be confusing on some Q. I like @Paulo's words somewhere Nothing is Final here it's ever improving and evolving.. – texenthusiast Aug 16 '13 at 18:15
  • @texenthusiast It doesn't bother me where it is at. I only voted to close->migrate the other post based on what I learned from my post. But that caused an uproar with the other post. The problem is there is no clear rule. – dustin Aug 16 '13 at 18:16
  • @dustin For any one: To avoid lengthy thread's and discussion on meta Q we should chat or main chat – texenthusiast Aug 16 '13 at 18:29
  • As per my answer below, this is an issue about the quality of the question (whether it fits Q&A), not about whether it should be meta or not (imo, not meta). – kwah Aug 17 '13 at 12:25
  • Note that there is no actual question in the linked question. The closest there is is Just imagine if that [competiton] was for TeX? and something a little later on questioning the value of the answers provided. Instead, it reads as a longwinded version of statement "I've just seen this cool idea, wouldn't it be great if TeX had something similar" (as opposed to "I've just seen this cool idea, how can we implement something similar for TeX to boost awareness and usage of TeX amongst the general public?"). – kwah Aug 17 '13 at 12:29
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I have no significant claim to fame so can't speak with significant authority on this matter, but my understanding is that the following algorithm is used to decide where a post belongs:

  1. Is the question about the TeX SE website?
    • If yes -> post it on Meta.TeX.SE,
    • Else -> goto (2)
  2. Is the question on-topic for the main TeX website?
    • If yes -> goto (3)
    • Else -> Ask elsewhere
  3. Does the question fit our Q&A structure and follow the guidelines set out in our FAQ for good, high-quality questions?
    • If yes -> post it on TeX.SE
    • If no -> goto (4)
  4. Can the question be amended to fit the Q&A structure and follow the guidelines in our FAQ?
    • If yes -> amend the question and goto (3)
    • If no -> the question does not belong on TeX.SE or meta.TeX.SE and should be closed / on hold while improvements are made (or not, as the case may be)..

With this basic two-step reasoning (the 'should it be on meta' part) it seems clear to me that the linked question does not belong on meta (it is about TeX, not the TeX SE, therefore not meta).

Whether it is a suitable question for TeX.SE is another question (I believe that the linked question needs to be edited as per stage #4), but with regards to this question IMO it is this straightforward that it does not belong on meta.


Comments re: the linked question:

As per my answer above, the linked question's issue is about the quality of the question (whether it fits Q&A), not about whether it should be meta or not (imo, not meta).

Note that there is no actual question in the linked question. The closest there is is "Just imagine if that [competiton] was for TeX?" and something a little later on questioning the value of the answers provided. Instead, it reads as a longwinded version of statement "I've just seen this cool idea, wouldn't it be great if TeX had something similar".

(...as opposed to "I've just seen this cool idea, how can we implement something similar for TeX to boost awareness and usage of TeX amongst the general public?").

IMO the linked question should be permitted to stay as (assuming it is "cleaned up" somewhat to more match the "as opposed to" bit above) it is not a flippant nor pointless question. It can bring benefit to the TeX community and I believe that I think it would be a real shame to close it/remove it from existance.

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This isn't an answer per se just a thought.

I believe we need to determine where TeX related discussion question that have no right answer belong since we have many good post that fit this description. These question incite thought and a lot of participation from the community.

As Joseph Wright said in his post, that discussion is in chat, but from my viewing of what happens in chat, that is more banter with TeX, jokes, etc throwing in mix. When a discussion post is truly TeX related and useful to the community, I think it deserves to be on either meta or main site. However, some of these discussion questions are okay for the main while others are migrated to meta even though none of the questions fit the mold for meta or the main site.

The only question we should have to answer is where do useful thought provoking, unanswerable, discussion type post belong?

I think there is one problem with dedicated chat rooms. Only the avid users will be checking in on those rooms. With many of the great discussion post, we will have brand new users come propose great answers to these discussions with that being their first post. I think that would lost if the site decides to dedicate chat for those type of posts.


Obviously I believe site related discussions belong on meta no matter what the outcome of this thread.


From the recent posting on meta, I think we (as a community) need to determine where discussion questions belong ignoring the issue isn't the answer.

These recent questions were all spawned because of the discussion in the comments about closing, moving, or making Are there any open research problems in the world of TeX? a community wiki. I casted the first close vote to move the thread to meta because my question A LaTeX competition to promote LaTeX to the masses which wasn't about the site was moved to meta. So my reason was it was a discussion question, no answer, but still TeX related so it was moved.

When will we seriously consider determining a location for these types of questions to avoid all this noise in the future? If we make judgement calls per post, each person who doesn't like the decision can post these repeat type of questions since they will all be about a different post and thus not a duplicate because the previous post in question were in relation to a different thread.

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