Why Write another History Book? is a question that has been closed. It's not a strong question and that's probably for the best, but I'm not sure people are right to say it's out of scope. A better but similar question would be to ask about the why and how of historical revisionism. Or perhaps a question about the history of historical revision with respect to a certain subject. These seems like a reasonable questions for this site, but the faq doesn't have anything to say here.

So are questions on the historical method (not the facts and events but how we study and interpret these facts) in scope?


3 Answers 3


I didn't vote to close it, but only because I wanted the community to have that pleasure.

It wasn't a question about history at all. It was a question about writing, and could only really be properly answered by a writer. That is just so off-topic for History.SE I hardly know where to begin.

As for your other proposed questions, I notice the second word on the Wikipedia link you provided is historiography. We have a tag, with 7 questions on it. So those are clearly on topic.

  • I agree with your decision to close. I apologise for not making that clear. It just made me think about the question why we do continue to write history books. Thanks for pointing out the tag. I see there is one on a particular instance of functionalism vs intetionalism. I will say there seem to be a lack of questions on the modern historical method.
    – Nathan
    Mar 23, 2013 at 19:59
  • Perhaps we can discuss the matter of history books via Meta or Chat. Even if I voted to close it, the question was interesting, though leading straight to discussion. Mar 23, 2013 at 20:30

It's not so much the question as it is the way it was asked. If you ask "Why write another History book", it invites a list of reason, many or most of which would be subjective in nature. If you ask "What elements go into writing a History book", you might still receive a list, but it will be more finite, AND it can be answered with concrete, objective information. "How would you write another History book" would most likely be viewed in a similar light as the first example, because everybody would have a different opinion, and we are not looking for opinions, but rather facts.

When I review a question, I always think first of the W principles: Who, What, Why, Where, When, and How (which ends in W). ;) Of these, Why and How tend to be the most problematic questions, because they tend to solicit opinions or discussion (debates). It is very important to consider the way a question is worded to ensure that it doesn't fall into that category.


I think that specific questions about historical revisionism as it relates to particular events, and the historical method as it relates to particular events are definitely within scope. As a general rule of thumb the higher away you go from particular events the more likely you are probably writing a question out of scope.

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