What is the scope of this site - in terms of how old something has to be before it is history?

3 Answers 3


I would say that the length of time is mostly irrelevant. Far more important is if the question touches on topics that are still "in-play". For instance, asking on Egyptian military's role in what is termed the "Arab Spring" is tricky as the Arab Spring is still developing in Egypt (its still hasn't passed the deadline for the military to hand over power to a civilian government). That is a good instance where the question should be discouraged as what happens in June will be a major factor in determining the answer.

Now if the question was to ask "what role did the Egyptian military play in developing the Arab Spring popular demonstrations in Egypt", this would certainly be a valid question as, even if events referenced in an answer happened say within the last 10 years, the point at which the Arab Spring started is not dependent on something happening in the future.

  • Actually, the deadline has passed at least once (last september, IIRC?).
    – o0'.
    Apr 3, 2012 at 18:43
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    True, but the fact that the military still feels it needs to set deadlines means that they don't feel that they are in full control and need legitimization. This indicates that the question of succession is still in play and the protesters still have significant weight in the ongoing process. If the military declares indefinite military rule, as Mubarak did decades ago, that would be a sign of a potential halting of the process and a potential weakening in the influence of the protesters. Apr 9, 2012 at 4:53

That is up to the community to decide. Try asking your question and see how everyone responds to it.

  • I am also wondering about this, I even saw questions about iraq war which is recent history. I guess the community allows it cause the question is not down voted. maybe 10years?
    – Nap
    Mar 9, 2012 at 4:46
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    @Nap, I'd refrain from suggesting a time period in which questions should be asked. See my answer to this question for more details. Mar 29, 2012 at 18:45

I think that the closer you are on the timeline to your own time period the more likely it is that the "history" has not settled. Similarly, the further away you are from the events in question the more likely you are to find some sort of consensus.

So things like the Arab Spring, which BrotherJack pointed out, are still very much open to debate, but the historical conditions that led to it occurring would be an easier question to tackle.

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