Bump January 26, 2013. I have added eMansipater's suggestion to the FAQ. /D.H.

It's time to start working on our FAQ which is one of The 7 Essential Questions of Every Beta. The first section of the FAQ, "What kind of questions can I ask here?", is probably the most important but it is very thin right now. Please post your suggestion for what the section should look like here. For a good example of what the section might look like, here is what it looks like on SuperUser:

Super User is for computer enthusiasts and power users. If you have a question about …

  • computer hardware
  • computer software

and it is not about

  • videogames or consoles
  • websites or web services like Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress
  • electronic devices, media players, cell phones or smart phones, except insofar as they interface with your computer
  • a shopping or buying recommendation …

then you’re in the right place to ask your question!

  • Thanks for taking the initiative with this... I think we are still feeling out what kind of questions are appropriate. There is a pretty wide spread of topics and question styles still. Maybe we can keep this question going for a while. Commented Sep 6, 2011 at 5:36
  • We need to decide what to do about the disappeared '& other crypto-currencies' part of the proposal. Are only bitcoin related questions (i.e. comparisons of other crypto-currencies to bitcoin) allowed, or do we also allow questions about other crypto-currencies in general that might not resemble bitcoin at all, apart from being a crypto-currency (say ones from the academic literature, for instance). Commented Sep 6, 2011 at 5:39
  • @Alex Waters: Yeah, I think we can keep it going for a while but feel free to start adding ideas if you have any.
    – D.H.
    Commented Sep 6, 2011 at 18:33
  • We need to reach some consensus on this. Questions like this could really use an FAQ saying what's on- and off- topic. Commented Sep 14, 2011 at 1:26
  • It's easier for me to reason from examples, rather than thinking in abstractions...creating a new thread.. Commented Sep 15, 2011 at 23:29

2 Answers 2


Here's a starting one:

The Bitcoin stack exchange is for users and enthusiasts of Bitcoin and related technologies. If you have a question about …

  • how to use or accept bitcoins
  • the Bitcoin network or protocol
  • the open-source Bitcoin client or other Bitcoin software
  • a cryptocurrency or technology derived directly from Bitcoin such as Namecoin

and it is not about

  • programming technique
  • investment advice
  • politics or philosophy
  • a site or software recommendation …

then you’re in the right place to ask your question!

  • 3
    I think question like these should be allowed as well. bitcoin.stackexchange.com/questions/587/… bitcoin.stackexchange.com/questions/416/…
    – ripper234
    Commented Sep 7, 2011 at 2:41
  • Building Bitcoin from source qualifies as being "about the open-source Bitcoin client." Commented Sep 7, 2011 at 15:53
  • 2
    having a cryptocurrency being "derived directly from Bitcoin" seems like a pretty straightforward criteria right now - given the very tiny modifications being made. May become a harder judgement call in the future. And in a way, all cryptocurrencies will be derived from bitcoin, since bitcoin is the first large scale proof of concept of a viable cryptocurrency Commented Sep 7, 2011 at 17:48
  • Going by analogy to operating systems, it has remained a reasonably clear call to identify an operating system as "derived directly from Linux" or not despite the proliferation in that field. With open-source software, it basically boils down to: "Was any nontrivial portion of the code used in the other project?" and ends up pretty easy to track. Just as Linux wasn't really the first FOSS operating system, Bitcoin isn't really the first cryptocurrency; but both were early enough movers and shakers to heavily impact ensuing efforts. Any particular reason you think it will be a hard call? Commented Sep 7, 2011 at 21:33
  • no, that makes sense to me. I don't mind the recommendation-type questions (and they tend to be by and far the most popular across the SE sites from what I've seen. "Name your favorite OSX app" "Name a gadget you can't do without" etc...but I'm fine figuring those out as we go along in terms of "What's your favorite client app" etc Commented Sep 8, 2011 at 4:39
  • Do you have an IRC channel? ...If you would like a real-time feed of BSX in IRC - check out #bitcoin-stackexchange on freenode.irc.net Commented Sep 16, 2011 at 2:45
  • Regarding other cryptocurrencies, this question is popular and with no close-votes. It is not about something derived from Bitcoin but about other cryptocurrencies. I think that we should allow it.
    – D.H.
    Commented Sep 27, 2011 at 19:33
  • The reason that question would be allowed is simple--it's about Bitcoin. If the question was "which cryptocurrencies predate b-money?" it would be off-topic. Commented Sep 27, 2011 at 19:48
  • @eMansipater: That's a bit of a stretch. The question is not about Bitcoin, it's about other cryptocurrencies. It asks about the properties of other cryptocurrencies (by asking how they differ from Bitcoin, but the answer will be basically the same as when asking a general question about that other cryptocurrency). I could ask a similar question about cryptocurrencies invented after Bitcoin and we'd have them all covered. It seems silly that I have to mention Bitcoin for it to be allowed.
    – D.H.
    Commented Sep 28, 2011 at 17:38
  • 1
    Because the question asks for specific comparisons to Bitcoin, it remains on-topic. If the question were simply "What are some other cryptocurrencies?" I would personally vote to close. Commented Sep 28, 2011 at 18:50
  • I asked a question at the chat. There are a lot of comments here...
    – nmat
    Commented Sep 29, 2011 at 5:25
  • I think it would be appropriate to allow "What (if any) software can achieve this?" but not "Which software is the best at doing this?" Commented Oct 26, 2011 at 2:08
  • I think questions regarding the legal aspects surrounding Bitcoin and similar crypto-currencies should be permitted, as well as questions regarding the history of Bitcoin. Examples that come to mind for the latter include "what was the first recorded transaction in the blockchain?" and "what was the first Bitcoin to USD exchange to appear?". Commented Nov 28, 2012 at 4:23

Here are my two bit-cents:

Questions in scope:

  • Any question regarding the Bitcoin project and bitcoin as a form of currency
  • History of the Bitcoin project and related projects
  • Technical side of the Bitcoin Protocol, Network, Clients, APIs, as well as any software and hardware directly connected with Bitcoin
  • Questions relating to non-Bitcoin digital currencies only when they relate to Bitcoin directly (comparison of currency X to Bitcoin for example)
  • Any question relating to services that operate using Bitcoin, as long as the question is not case specific ("what countries does service X ship to", as opposed to "my shipment from service X did not arrive")
  • Any question that fits any of the above and is related to any digital currency that works just like Bitcoin (Litecoin, Namecoin, etc)

Questions out of scope:

  • Technical question not relating to Bitcoin (such as cryptography in general)
  • Questions relating to digital currencies neither working like Bitcoin, nor relating to Bitcoin
  • What about third party services? Like, a question about what style of play maximizes winnings on bitZino blackjack? Or, perhaps a question inquiring as to which countries does The Swiss Pharmacy ship to? Commented Nov 27, 2012 at 20:57
  • @StephenGornick Hmm, on one hand I guess those questions are welcome, but on other hand in the future we should be cutting down on those. I'm afraid those questions would either become too specific, get outdated fast, or encourage some list or subjective answers. Added the category anyway.
    – ThePiachu
    Commented Nov 28, 2012 at 7:35

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