What are some good car-crafts for long trips? was a popular question with a lot of responses, and people had fun with it. But I'm questioning whether it's actually on-topic and generally within SE guidelines.

  • The question seeks lists of ideas for projects, which isn't really crafting or art as defined in the site scope. In general, requests for lists of things don't fit the SE model (there's no "right answer", it's opinion-based, and you end up with answers of overlapping lists that don't work well with the voting and acceptance concepts). This may also fall under the “What’s your favorite ______?” example in the Help section for what not to ask.

  • For this specific question, most of the key factors that determine whether suggestions are good don't relate to A&C subject matter. They are really child-centric factors that seem more like the kind of question for a parenting site.

Should this (type of) question be closed?


There are always 2 sides of a coin: How we define the scope of our site (this includes the ban of subjective questions by SE) and how people want to use our site and understand the scope of it.

From an outsider perspective, this question is about "arts and crafts", because it's asking for crafting projects that can be done during a car ride. From SE's perspective this question would probably be off-topic on any SE site because it's fishing for ideas.

But the question had an overall positive impact:

  • It did generate a lot of traffic on this site that's rather small and usually overlooked
  • It did generate a lot of answers (which is one of the metrics SE uses to measure the quality of questions and sites)
  • It did not generate any negative answers, lengthy discussions in comments or violations of the CoC

Objectively speaking it is off topic, but closing it wouldn't have improved the quality of the site.

  • 1
    A couple of thoughts: 1. Unless a question has serious issues, it makes sense to let it run its course while it's attracting viewers to the site. Later, it can be closed if it's off-topic or doesn't really fit. 2. We lucked out that the responses to this question didn't have the issues in your last bullet. The next similar question might not have similar results. It becomes a moderation problem when we need to close a similar question and the OP points to this one as being OK, so why are we closing theirs? 3. Questions should be evaluated on their own merit, not based on the answers.
    – fixer1234
    Apr 14 at 21:30

The "what are some good x" question format does indeed not belong nearly anywhere on the Stack Exchange network. As pointed out, this is because it invites opinions.

My initial thought was that in this case it seems the scope is sufficiently limited by the nature of the topic: the implicit restricted mobility, absence of a stable, flat and large working area, narrow range of tools that can be used, child-safety, changing movement, &c., all confine potential answers.
This is likely also why no wrong or bad answers were given (which is, however, indeed never something on which to judge questions).

Elmy raises good points: the question generated traffic, and only well-received answers.
And, in reaction to fixer1234's argument made in a comment to Elmy's answer:

Unless a question has serious issues, it makes sense to let it run its course while it's attracting viewers to the site. Later, it can be closed if it's off-topic or doesn't really fit.

I have to say that I agree. Having a short surge of traffic is good for our currently slow and small site, so why not 'ride that wave' for as long as possible? There is no real time limit to closing questions.

However, ultimately, a limited topic doesn't change the subjective nature of the question, and a question should also not be judged by the quality of interactions or the benefit it has or had for our site.
There are no exceptions as to why off-topic questions should remain open: this question should be closed (and is hereby closed).

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