In particular, referring to this question: What's the best bicycle joke, story or tale?

Are jokes on topic, or off topic? Do we want to allow some silliness, or keep this site for serious questions that help people?

There seems to be some precedence on the original site, but from looking at the comments and revisions (closed and re-opened several times).


6 Answers 6


I'm in favour of closing it (if I had more rep). While I can see the argument for allowing a little off-topic banter, as with subjectivity in general, there is just too much scope for disagreement.

It's not a genuine Q-and-A. There are some grey areas (localisation, for exmaple) on subject matter, but if we're meant to measure subjectivity according to the "I know it when I see it" paradigm, then jokes is definitely 'it' for me.

  • You're awfully close to the requisite rep (500), you might be able to vote to close soon enough.
    – freiheit
    Oct 5, 2010 at 17:13

Regarding the joke question, what's being asked is extremely subjective, and it's impossible to give a "correct" or even "best" answer to it. However, in the interest of not clamping down too hard, we've left it open for the moment.

Have a look at this question: What is your most interesting photo of a human powered cycle…unicycle, bicycle, tricycle? This isn't even a question, it's a post-your-photos thing that's not even asking anything, and is clearly in violation of the StackExchange guidelines.

Bicycles is about halfway through its public beta, after which time the SE folks will evaluate if this site will ever get out of beta, or if it'll be dissolved. This will happen in late November, according to Area 51. If this site fills up with forum-style threads, there's no reason for it to even exist, since the web doesn't need another bicycle forum. I'm active on two forums, and I enjoy them immensely, but this is a Q&A site.

  • What about the precedence on the StackOverflow site? I posed the question you referenced above to get a sense of how people have evolved the hobby of cycling. There's a meta aspect to it and an element of fun regarding the sport/hobby of cycling. Just my two cents. If this question will potentially jeopardize this stackexchange from going public, then I can hold off and repost later.
    – milesmeow
    Oct 7, 2010 at 17:45
  • @milesmeow - Nobody knows what the criteria for going public are, so what would keep the site from betting out of beta is all speculation. Oct 7, 2010 at 18:54
  • @milesmeow - Rather than asking people to post interesting photos, perhaps you could just ask how cycling evolved from a mode of transportation into a hobby. That question is answerable, potentially objective, and potentially fascinating. Oct 7, 2010 at 18:56
  • Should I modify the existing post or start a new post?
    – milesmeow
    Oct 7, 2010 at 21:30
  • @milesmeow - It's up to you if you post a new question or modify the existing interesting cycles photos question. If there were no answers on the original question, I'd suggest you modify that one, but it'd be messy. I suggest a new question. Oct 7, 2010 at 22:24

I say leave it open for now, however once the site has 1000 questions consider closing and deleting all future and past questions like it.

At present a little fun does no harm, however if the site does grow then we don’t want many such questions.


I think it should be left open. (well, I would because I wrote it).

Many questions are subjective and different people have different accepted answers for them. Eg. What is your favorite/preferred road shoe?

I found this site via Stack Overflow. I program for my living, and so I mainly visit that site to find serious answers to questions.

I cycle for the pure please of doing it though, and consider cycling a hobby.

Hopefully some pro cyclists will visit this site, but in general, I would imagine this site has a far larger proportion of hobbyists than pros compared to stack overflow.

I think hobbyists would be interested in having a bit more fun on the bicycle site than most of the stack overflow users would.

And, I therefore think we should accordingly permit ourselves to have a bit more fun here too.

  • I think you vastly overestimate how serious programming is, and vastly underestimate how much of it is actually hobbyist. :)
    – freiheit
    Oct 5, 2010 at 17:22
  • "what is your favourite road shoe?" should be closed as opinion based. "What features should one look for in a road shoe?" or "How do I make sure a road shoe is the right size for me?" or even "why does my road shoe hurt after 4 hours but not on shorter rides? " would all be on-topic.
    – Criggie Mod
    Dec 30, 2017 at 10:56

I was wrong. A thread like this doesn't bring the site down, but it does make for confusion. The attitude seems to be, "if the jokes thread is allowed to remain open, why can't my thread about [topic] remain open."

If there's no objection, I'm closing the jokes thread. If this post gets downvoted a lot, I'll reopen. (I've upvoted the answers here that advocate closing, and I'd downvote my earlier answer if I could.)


Jokes can be posted in the chat room. Its far less structured, and lacking in permanence, so is an ideal place for unstructured discussion.

  • 1
    Just realised that this question predates the chatrooms by several years.
    – Criggie Mod
    Dec 30, 2017 at 10:59

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