Many other SE sites have, in their FAQ, right below the scope line, a list of topics considered in-scope and sometimes also a list of topics considered out-of-scope.

For example, the beginning of money.SE's FAQ reads:

What kind of questions can I ask here?

Personal Finance and Money - Stack Exchange is for people who want to be financially literate, find ways to save money, minimize taxes, invest wisely, plan for retirement, etc. Also for financially-savvy amateurs, DIY-investors & personal finance pros.

If you have a question about:

  • Personal investing and asset allocation
  • The financial aspects of homebuying
  • Best practices for saving for retirement, education, and other goals
  • Strategies for creating and sticking to a budget
  • Strategies for earning and saving more money

...then you've come to the right place - we want to help you!

What about other money and finance related questions?

Please note that the following subjects are considered off-topic here:

  • Questions about corporate or government finance
  • Academic questions about economics or questions about economics that have no bearing on personal finance
  • Argumentative questions about personal finance or government policy
  • Requests for specific buy/sell advice; e.g. "should I sell X?" or "should I buy Y?" or "will X continue to go up?"

What should go in our "in" and "out" lists?

Neither of the following sources is binding, but both could provide inspiration:

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Made canonical and part of the faq at meta.judaism.stackexchange.com/q/1473. –  msh210 Feb 14 '13 at 1:12

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

If you have a question about...

... then you've come to the right place. Please, ask away!

On the other hand, questions unrelated to Jewish life and learning, even if they are about...

... are generally off-topic.

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I disagree with some here. Unless there is precedence for closing these questions, I think Jewish history should be ontopic. Also, questions about the Hebrew language (e.g. etymological) and about Israel are very much related to Jewish life! (with the exceptions of translations, politics, etc.) –  AviD Jun 5 '11 at 6:17
    
@AviD: For some small amount of precedent, see judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/7859 (Hebrew) and judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/8045 (history). –  msh210 Jun 5 '11 at 6:37
    
Well the first is a translation question, which I agreed is off topic; the second is only indirectly about jewish history, anyway. Though your comment and @Isaac's do seem to be a bit more globally exclusive of history questions, I think it really depends a lot on the context. E.g. would questions on the history of chassidut be offtopic, too? Zionism? etc. Perhaps that should be a different question... –  AviD Jun 5 '11 at 7:40
    
@AviD: I'm trying to understand why you consider an etymology question more on-topic/in-scope than a translation question. I agree it's a better question (translation questions are very simple and can often — though certainly not always — be looked up elsewhere, while etymology questions can be complex and most often can't be looked up). But I don't get why it's more on-topic. –  msh210 Jun 5 '11 at 7:55
    
@msh210, I guess it's because one is about the language, whereas the other is in the language (so to speak). I think it's also parallel to the difference between "What does this [passuk|mishna|rashi|etc] mean", as opposed to asking a specific difficulty with what it says. (I don't think I'm explaining that well... ) Also it seemed that this was the precedent here... –  AviD Jun 5 '11 at 8:42
    
@AviD - Would you be OK with these three entries if the word "when were inserted before the word "unrelated"? –  Isaac Moses Jun 6 '11 at 19:05
    
I think it might be useful to follow each off-topic entry with an "e.g." –  Isaac Moses Jun 6 '11 at 19:05
    
@IsaacMoses, re "when": that was my intent. Done. –  msh210 Jun 6 '11 at 19:19
    
@msh210 I realized that that was your intent. I'm just wondering if @AviD did, and whether part of his disagreement comes from misunderstanding of your intent. –  Isaac Moses Jun 6 '11 at 19:24
    
@Isaac, those are indeed good examples that I agree with. I think there is a fine line on some of the topics - I'm thinking it might have to do with the difference between "history of jews" as opposed to "jewish history"... or maybe better "history of the jewish nation" - where the first I agree is offtopic, whereas something like the 2nd/3rd should be ontopic. –  AviD Jun 6 '11 at 19:59
    
In any event, @msh210, I think the latest edit is very good. The line "if unrelated to..." is a bit amorphous, though - it's not very explanatory or definitive. (It's just saying "if its not ontopic...") –  AviD Jun 6 '11 at 20:01
    
@AviD Are you OK with the topic lists here, as currently formulated, or are there more from your list that you'd prefer to include? –  Isaac Moses Jun 7 '11 at 17:38
    
@msh210 I suggest reducing to exactly one example question per topic, except in the last, catch-all one. I also suggest using only links from within J.SE for on-topic examples. –  Isaac Moses Jun 7 '11 at 17:40
    
@Isaac, if this to be a complete list (as opposed to an abridged version), then I would say yes. But I think first there should be more community feedback? –  AviD Jun 8 '11 at 19:52
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@AviD I'm pretty comfortable going with whatever data ended up in the JL&L proposal, and more importantly, with what the current community thinks would make sense. None of the other proposals ever really got traction, and anyone who was interested in them presumably contributed to the definition phase for our proposal when the others got closed. –  Isaac Moses Jun 10 '11 at 16:19

Incomplete list.... :

On topic:

  • Halacha questions (i.e. what to do, and why) (all types and areas)
  • Common minhagim (e.g. what is it, does it apply, etc)
  • Textual sources for information or practice
  • Jewish history (i.e. history of Jews, or of the Jewish nation)
  • History of [some Jewish aspect] (e.g. a certain minhag, a Jewish proverb, names, etc...)
  • Jewish philosophy
  • Books / learning: e.g. Tanach, Mishna/Gemara, parshanim, etc. Specifically, explanation of some specific difficulty, or guidance in concepts etc.
  • Hebrew etymology
  • Israel environment and life
  • Jewish foods?
  • Jewish art/music
  • How other disciplines and areas that bear directly on Jews and/or Judaism do ao

Off topic:

  • Other religions
  • Politics
  • Hebrew translations

These are not complete, but I think this is good to get started with.
I'm making this community-wiki, so feel free to add as needed!

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Thanks very much for getting the ball rolling! –  Isaac Moses Jun 5 '11 at 3:30

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