The FAQ contains this sentence:

You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face.

I think a lot if not most of the questions right now don't fit this criteria. I personally think questions that don't direct fall under this should be allowed.

Can we remove this part from the FAQ?

  • 2
    My personal opinion is that the policing should be lax, especially early on. I don't think we necessarily have to remove that FAQ, we just don't have to enforce it. As a guideline, it's a good policy. If the mods get edit crazy over it, then maybe. Commented Sep 5, 2011 at 13:05
  • I wouldn't want that part of the FAQ in the future as well. Changing this to a support tag.
    – ripper234
    Commented Sep 5, 2011 at 19:58

5 Answers 5


cstheory.SE has a great version of this:

You should only post questions you're actually seriously thinking about. Users are expected to do their part and try to answer their question by themselves before posting them on cstheory and asking for help from others. Search to see if your question is already answered somewhere else (e.g. Wikipedia) before asking a question. Try to make your question interesting for others by providing some background knowledge. Remember, questions should be based on knowledge sharing, not on shirking. Shirking goes against the spirit of the site.

I think something like this should be in place and enforced. A lot users are treating this site like an extended bitcoin FAQ, asking questions (like Is Bitcoin a scam? for instance) that they THINK SOMEONE MIGHT WANT TO PROBABLY ASK, but already know the answer to themselves or don't personally care about the answer to. If this question really is going to be important to someone, just wait for that someone to ask it. It is important to seed the site with good, technical, and high-level questions to set the tone; instead of asking obvious FAQish questions.

  • 1
    I'm definitely for asking "stupid questions" as well, that someone will find interesting. People google for "is bitcoin a scam", and it's good to have a SE question as one of the top result.
    – ripper234
    Commented Sep 6, 2011 at 5:44
  • 1
    @ripper234 but we are not an advertisement site for bitcoin... we are a question and answer site for questions people actually have... Commented Sep 6, 2011 at 5:46
  • "questions actually have" include "is bitcoin a scam". This is beta, we need to seed the site even with questions that are generally useful, even if not to us.
    – ripper234
    Commented Sep 6, 2011 at 6:08
  • 2
    blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/07/… My favorite line: "To attract experts, you need a site where people are asking very interesting and challenging questions, not the basic questions found on every other Q&A site. Remember, the pro sites WILL attract the enthusiasts, but not the other way around!" Commented Sep 6, 2011 at 6:18
  • I'm all for interesting questions, I just don't want to ban the basic ones. Bitcoin is a complicated topic, and even basic questions will be interesting to new comers. Since this is beta, I think seeding the site with all sorts of questions only helps.
    – ripper234
    Commented Sep 6, 2011 at 7:42
  • 1
    I have to agree with ripper234 here. With a topic like Bitcoin we can't really aim for just the experts. The number of Bitcoin experts in the world are so, so few, and many of them are already here. StackOverflow is defined as being for "professional and enthusiast programmers". We want the Bitcoin enthusiasts to come here! Even the ones who are about to become enthusiasts.
    – D.H.
    Commented Sep 6, 2011 at 18:41
  • @Artem any question I've seen asked over 100 times on the forums is well worth adding to a Q&A site that aims to be authoritative. Commented Sep 6, 2011 at 19:49
  • 2
    I like the wording of "seriously thinking about" used by SE. There are many questions in which I am not facing a problem but I am "seriously thinking about". The alternate language widens the scope without completely losing all scope. Commented Oct 18, 2011 at 14:24
  • on the other hand theres a concept of a "reference question" which is used on other sites eg cs.se etc
    – vzn
    Commented Feb 28, 2014 at 17:07

It should be enforced rather than removed. The rule is there to ensure high-quality questions are asked. See also:

This isn't BitcoinTalk, and we shouldn't be trying to turn it into BitcoinTalk.

  • This can be a good Q&A site even without this restriction.
    – ripper234
    Commented Sep 5, 2011 at 20:00
  • 4
    +1 without this restriction (or something similar) the site runs the risk of just being an advertisement for bitcoin, instead of a serious Q&A. Commented Sep 6, 2011 at 5:49
  • Here is a question I asked, that got 7 votes, yet is not "based on an actual problem I face". Should I have not asked this question? Is it an advertisement for bitcoin? bitcoin.stackexchange.com/questions/176/…
    – ripper234
    Commented Sep 6, 2011 at 7:43
  • 2
    That question could have been based on an actual problem that someone else faced. It would probably have been better to let said person ask it, rather than going for the low-hanging fruit right away. Commented Sep 6, 2011 at 19:20

I think that "based on actual problems that you face." should be removed. Having something there, which we do not enforce will only create confusion and hinder new users asking questions.


I don't think "based on actual problems that you face" is appropriate for this site. But we need to put some serious thought into what should replace it to ensure that we do get high quality, answerable questions.


It makes sense to remove it, the sentence was probably constructed for StackOverflow which is more of a problem solving Q&A. More importantly though, I think we should work on the first section: "What kind of questions can I ask here?". That's a topic for a separate question though.

  • Please add a comment for the downvote so that I know what about it that you don't like.
    – D.H.
    Commented Sep 6, 2011 at 21:05

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