Although I'm sure off-topic questions have been discussed many times previously, this discussion has its most recent origins from AliceD's Question on flicker-fusion put on hold Meta question. I've opened this question for a broader discussion outside the context of that one post.

Topic: pseudo-mostly-off-topic questions (PMOTQ's)

  • Questions that lay on the fringe of what would be considered on-topic on Bio.SE
  • (i.e., questions that are seemingly off-topic but could be argued otherwise).

Main Question: how to determine if PMOTQ's are on topic (or relevant) enough to not be closed?

  • Overall, does biological relevance have to be implicit or explicit??

  • Should a seemingly off-topic question (as voted by 4 other users) be closed even if it receives a very good and useful answer? (assuming some argument can be made for biological relevance).

  • Conversely, If a reputable Bio.SE user answers the question and acknowledges biological relevance, should it be left open?

  • Should that answerer be responsible for editing the question to make it seem more biologically relevant?

  • Should that answerer also be responsible for trying to explicitly mention the biological relevance of the topic and/or their answer in their answer if the question does not explicitly do so?

  • $\begingroup$ I write the question, I get to choose the silly acronym! :p....Though in all seriousness, I welcome others to add/improve this question with additional issues pertaining to questionably off-topic questions. $\endgroup$ Mar 7, 2017 at 21:40
  • $\begingroup$ Relevance should be explicit. If someone can justify a question's relevance to biology, it should be on-topic. $\endgroup$
    – canadianer
    Mar 8, 2017 at 7:13
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Here's a more important question: is it possible to come to a consensus on this issue (and others) and then enforce the decisions made here in our moderation of the main site? Since I've joined, there have been many (many!) discussions on how the site is moderated. We talk about it and then nothing changes. $\endgroup$
    – canadianer
    Mar 8, 2017 at 7:23
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @canadianer Not everyone will go by it but I think at least the people who read meta are influenced by it, and its a good place to link to to support a given argument without needing everyone to weigh in. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause Mod
    Mar 8, 2017 at 19:12


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