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After asking this question about the disappearance of the "too localized" label, it was suggested by freiheit that we discuss whether or not those type of questions should be on or off topic.

The further description of/reason behind the old criteria was something to the effect of, "This question is only applicable to a small geographic area or a specific point in time and is not likely to help future visitors."

Examples of this would be: (I'm don't have time at the moment to find actual examples from the site, but we've all seen them. Feel free to edit them in if you know of one.)

  • Where can I find x part in Smalltown, Wherever?
  • Does x company currently manufacture y widget?
  • I'm building a super-Frankenstein bike that will never be reproduced or used by another person and I need a magnetic o-ring to fit inbetween my two custom fabricated neck bolts. Where can I find one?

Discuss.

  • What, exactly, would be too localized? – freiheit Aug 1 '13 at 22:12
  • @freiheit I've edited in examples. – jimchristie Aug 2 '13 at 15:42
  • The community has already discussed this, so this is relevant: Are Country specific Questions too localized? However, a lot of time has passed and I think the issue needs to be revisited. – Neil Fein Aug 9 '13 at 13:00
  • @NeilFein Thank you for pointing that out. I wasn't aware. Certainly, geographically defined too local is the thorniest version simply because there's no distinct line between too small and acceptable. I think the other two are a little clearer, although I can certainly envision borderline versions of the Frankenstein scenario. – jimchristie Aug 9 '13 at 18:32
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I think that they should be off topic.

To my way of thinking, the guidlines that we settle on should be those that benefit the site the most in the long-term. I think that allowing these questions, while useful in the short term, diminish the usefulness of the site in the long run. While it would be nice to help every person with every question, questions that are not likely to be useful to a large audience simply become clutter in our search results.

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The questions are quite different in my view.

Where can I find x part in Smalltown, Wherever?

This is off topic. Plus, with the internet, you can often order online from anywhere worst case.

Does x company currently manufacture y widget?

Bicycle questions tend to be quite specific to manufacturers, so you will have most questions which basically reduce to this, for part replacement. I think these are OK depending on phrasing.

I'm building a super-Frankenstein bike that will never be reproduced or used by another person and I need a magnetic o-ring to fit inbetween my two custom fabricated neck bolts. Where can I find one?

Sure, why not? If you're looking to push the boundaries of usual bicycle things, this place is great to get Q&A on it. For example, if you need a homemade dropbolt or some other non standard thing (using 700c wheels on a 26" bike, for example), I think those questions are great.


The main thing is that the questions shouldn't just be "is this part good" or something, but there should be something else for a good answer rather than just saying you need part X.

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No, they should not be closed as off-topic. In fact, none of those hypothetical questions are localized at all. The answers that we might imagine may be localized, the questions are not.

What if these are the answers:

Where can I find x part in Smalltown, Wherever?

You can get that part at any hardware store, they are in the plumbing department. If you can't find that, look in electrical, buy a [whatever] and cut the bottom off.

Does x company currently manufacture y widget?

No, they stopped, but here are three companies that took over and their widgets are better and cheaper.

I'm building a super-Frankenstein bike that will never be reproduced or used by another person and I need a magnetic o-ring to fit inbetween my two custom fabricated neck bolts. Where can I find one?

That part is standard in every bike trailer; find a retailer who can source trailer parts and they can get it for you.

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