Today I asked a question on this site which was local history and discussed in this meta discussion.

In that discussion Robert from Stack Exchange provided this answer:

I assumed that History SE was meant to ask questions with some semblance of "Geo-Political History" (if that is the correct term). The original proposal seems to bear that out.

If History SE uses the most literal interpretation of "knowledge dealing with any past events", this site is going to become insanely huge-scoped.

Firstly, I disagree that the proposal in Area 51 made it clear that it was purely geo-pol as questions #4, 5, 6 and 7 all being non-geo-pol. I am personally not interested in geo political history, apart from finding it boring, I think most of the meat is available on wikipedia e.g. Where was such and such treaty signed.

If this is correct we may as well start up an ancient-history and local-history sites.

So what does everyone think. Private beta is the right time to decide. Then all off-topic questions should be closed to send a clear message.

What are the boundaries for this site?

Note also that local history was brought up as part of discussion in the definition phase and nobody said it was off topic.

  • maybe possible duplicate meta.history.stackexchange.com/questions/11/…
    – Hauser
    Commented Oct 12, 2011 at 10:12
  • I would disagree with your assertion that "most of the meat" on geo-political questions is on Wikipedia or easily accessible something you also seem to reference in another question you ask (meta.history.stackexchange.com/q/18/742). Most geo-political questions aren't as overly specific as you think them to be ("when/where did X happen", "who killed Y", etc). This site, in addition to answering historical questions on other matters like technology, ideology, economic development, etc., I think is to delve into the HOW and WHY geo-political events and trends came to be and ARE. Commented Mar 29, 2012 at 19:00

2 Answers 2


It honestly depends on what you mean by "Geo-Political History." I think what Robert was trying to say with this phrase, while a misnomer, is actual academic history, the like you would learn in your average (for better or worse) college history class. Academic is the key word here simply because it belies an air of legitimacy that is vital in the early stages of this site.

Questions asking about the history of a certain breed of apple and further derivatives are not history questions. The question referenced lacks an academic historical air to it and is instead asking the history of a certain breed of plant. Were this question focusing less on breed and more on economic implication of the trade of apples (or cod, or salt, or, or, or) then yes, it would be academically viable. In this case it is far from it and better suited to Gardening.SE.

Again, I feel that "Geo-Political" here is a misnomer. What really should be asked is Is this site for purely academic history questions? IF the answer isn't yes to that, then this site will never get out of beta and if the question and answer quality doesn't improve that is a solidified fact at this point.

To summarize: Do we want History Channel "history" on this site or real, actual academic history? If it's the former then site certainly provides no real discernible purpose.

  • 1
    I'm confused by your last 2 paragraphs. First you say that the site will only get out of beta if it is for purely academic questions. Then you say if we want actual academic history then the site provides no clear purpose. Commented Oct 12, 2011 at 14:23
  • Wrong, what I've said is that without an actual academic purpose the site will not get out of beta as it will be flooded with bad questions and subsequently bad answers. By "latter" I meant "former," so that mistake is on me. But if we are going for unacademic history, for example frequently incorrect History Channel "history," this site will serve no real function and be no different than Yahoo! Answers, Reddit, or even Wikipedia. Commented Oct 12, 2011 at 15:39
  • 1
    In that case I agree, but you may want to edit your answer to be consistent. Your last sentence clearly contradicts the rest of your argument, which is what I was trying to clarify. Commented Oct 12, 2011 at 16:25
  • @TravisChristian done and done! Thanks for pointing out the syntax error. Commented Oct 12, 2011 at 18:15
  • @xiaohouzi79 First off: Insulting and name-calling are against TOS of .SE sites. Secondly: No, the diet of Native Americans is not cooking, it is actual history. Asking about the specific history of a breed of fruit is not history. This is no different than asking about the history of a specific breed of dog, I'd suggest you go to a pets/animals/dog-specific SE because it's not academic history. Commented Oct 13, 2011 at 0:44
  • @GPierce - How can you say the history of an apple is not history. That's like saying the headlights on my car are not lights. You can say its not "academic" history, but you can't say it's not history. Even the apple I had for breakfast has a history. You can make the scope of the site whatever you like, but you can't change the definition of a whole word; no matter whose professor you are.
    – going
    Commented Oct 13, 2011 at 1:06
  • @xiaohouzi79 This is the last time I'm going to respond to your insulting and argumentative posts. By your logic, everything is history. Following that same logic, everything is a science. History, Sociology, Biology, Psychology, Archaeology. Granted, most of what has been listed is considered a "soft science." So sure, go ahead and try to ask on a science site a sociological question, see how that plays out. Technically yes, it is science, but I can assure you it will get closed as off-topic. The same logic applies here. Commented Oct 13, 2011 at 1:11

I think this can be handeld if we create a thoughtful group-tags and tag system and keep with it

  • region
  • century
  • epoche (middle ages, roman empire, baroque...)
  • events (ww1, ww2, emigration of nations, crusades...)
  • kings, queens, popes

History has a huge well-developed taxonomy system, so lets use it. Try to use really historical tags, not only thematic tags.

Thats a unique selling proposition vs. other knowledge databases like wikipedia & co

Crosspost from

Could questions here be too localized?

  • 1
    I think this group tag system would be immensely helpful.
    – ihtkwot
    Commented Feb 16, 2012 at 4:11

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