This is where I got sent when I wanted to ask a question of the prospective moderators so to the prospective moderators: what do you consider this site's mission to be? Some time ago I posted a question which was almost immediately closed and flagged as "too basic" with a literal suggestion I go elsewhere for the info.

I posted a question about this incident on the meta and the answers were quite good (and there were other similar questions) but also somewhat at odds and hence I am asking for clarification from the next group of candidates.

I came here from Stack Overflow and don't recall ever seeing a post there labeled as "too basic". Because they answer questions both easy and difficult, often multiple times, they are extremely valuable and the first place to go for answers to virtually ANY question related to computer programming (and other computer-related topics). All are welcome there, newbies and pros alike and, as a result, they are the most popular website in my industry from my vantage point.

So with that in mind, I am still unclear about this site's mission. Do you want people to come here first to answer their questions or head to wikipedia instead? What is your position on the casual history buff? What about a 4th grader who wants to know what life was like when his grandfather served on a destroyer? Or maybe a high school student trying to put together a paper on the great depression?

In short, is your mission to be more like StackOverflow or something intended more for the historical hoi oligoi?

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    "It is not about:. . . Questions answered by a simple Google search or to be found in a Wikipedia page" -quoted from help center. This is not intended to be the first site consulted. We expect preliminary research - much like the stacks where you have to show the code that is broken, or your attempts to solve the problem before consulting the community.
    – MCW Mod
    Commented Oct 25, 2020 at 9:09
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    The site description on the main SE site-list states that History:SE is a "Q&A for historians and history buffs". Commented Oct 25, 2020 at 13:05
  • Fair enough, thanks for the the clarification. Commented Oct 26, 2020 at 3:39
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    Perhaps a suggestion would be to create a site more directed toward the casual history buff. You could then direct them over there from here. Google searches and Wikipedia often require sifting through quite a bit of information with no guarantee of finding what you are looking for and no way to ask a question. Just a thought. Commented Oct 26, 2020 at 3:46

1 Answer 1


This seems like a super-broad question, that would probably be best answered by a self-directed perusal of old Meta posts. As usual, one should of course start with a site's personalized help On-Topic page.

Since this question particularly asked about our "Too Basic" close reason, perhaps you'll be interested in my answer to this question about it two months ago , which itself contains a couple of links showing how we arrived at that one. The bit I'll repeat here is that the wording of that close reason was probably, in retrospect, a bit of a mistake. Particularly the use of the word "basic". However, there are a limited number of close reasons available, and changing one is kind of a big production, so minor language tweaks are probably not feasible.

The other thing I'd mention here is that different SE sites are different. Probably one of closest in function to us is Skeptics, but there are minor differences that cause major differences in how our two sites have to be run. Given that, expecting us to operate identically to a radically different site like StackExchange is obviously (as my Brit friends would say) Right Out.

Generally the best thing to do when you hop onto a new SE site is lurk for a while. Failing that (eg: you just wanted a question answered, and we seemed the most appropriate SE site), listen to criticisms of your posts from high-rep users, and expect to have to learn a thing or two. I know sometimes that isn't fun, because I get to go through it every now and then when I post a question on a new site where I don't have a lot of rep and a diamond next to my name.

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