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That would be really really useful. This is a problem with a lot of SE sites, but let's fix this here.

If real estate on the front page is the issue, how about a small link: "scope of this site"?

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    $\begingroup$ To be clear, this is something that would have to be done by the SE team, not by the moderators or users on this site, and it would probably have to be done network-wide since the general design of the front page is the same for all sites. $\endgroup$ – David Z Sep 13 '14 at 23:37
  • $\begingroup$ Newbies have a large banner which links to the tour. THe tour mentions the scope in some detail. $\endgroup$ – Manishearth Sep 14 '14 at 3:17
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    $\begingroup$ @Manishearth: Interesting, you're saying this banner only shows up for newbs? I wonder if a link to this tour would be good for everyone's front page... $\endgroup$ – DanielSank Sep 14 '14 at 5:43
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In a way, it is. Users who visit the site's front page and are not logged in see a very prominent banner:

front page banner

that points them to the site tour. As part of the tour, we give a high-level overview of what kinds of questions are appropriate to ask and what kinds are not.

If a visitor wants to find out more details about what kinds of questions are appropriate, that information is a little more difficult to find. Perhaps we should consider linking to it from the tour page. People probably won't read the links at first, but the fact that there are links may at least suggest that there are more details to be read.


One could make the argument that it would be useful to show this banner to logged-in users as well (who are interested enough in the site that they have actively chosen to make an account). I don't believe that is a good use of the available space on the home page though.

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    $\begingroup$ "One could make the argument that it would be useful to show this banner to logged-in users as well" Yes. Maybe not the whole banner, but something more than a tiny "help" link would be useful. $\endgroup$ – DanielSank Sep 29 '14 at 0:04
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I suspect that it is not on the front page because space on that page is valuable, and most people don't have cause to reference the scope on a daily basis.

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    $\begingroup$ How about a small link: "Scope of this site"? $\endgroup$ – DanielSank Sep 13 '14 at 21:27
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    $\begingroup$ All of that kind of information (which was proliferating for a while) has been consolidated into the "help" menu. Alas, right now the scope is somewhat buried. $\endgroup$ – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten Sep 13 '14 at 21:35
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    $\begingroup$ Yeah, it's buried and "help" isn't where I would think to look for discussion of scope. I think this is a real issue, given the constant disagreement about what is and isn't "physics". $\endgroup$ – DanielSank Sep 13 '14 at 21:37
  • $\begingroup$ @DanielSank Why wouldn't you check the Help Center page for questions/answers related to the site? $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Sep 14 '14 at 11:22
  • $\begingroup$ @KyleKanos: Hard to say. When I look at the front page, that little "help" button doesn't jump out, and even though I'm sure I've seen it a hundred times, for some reason that I don't know, I never clicked on it. I kept scanning the page for something like "what to ask on this site" or similar. $\endgroup$ – DanielSank Sep 14 '14 at 15:40
  • $\begingroup$ One might consider writing a self answered Q&A in meta about the scope of the site, do's and don'ts and such (maybe title it 'An Intro to Physics.SE') and then make it a featured post (especially at the start of a new semester). This would then stick in the featured on Meta in the upper right of the page. On Programmers.SE you can currently see this with the 'Open letter to students with homework problems'. $\endgroup$ – user20936 Sep 16 '14 at 16:52
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelT I just checked and that post is actually not visible on Software Engineering anymore. Anyway it was my understanding that the featured box was not meant for anything permanent. Perhaps this is something to bring up on Meta Stack Exchange. $\endgroup$ – David Z Sep 28 '14 at 23:35
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidZ community auto undid it after a month - meta.programmers.stackexchange.com/posts/6166/revisions - it is something that is used at the beginning of the term for college students (it was featured last September, January, and the again this September). It isn't permanent - just frequently called upon. $\endgroup$ – user20936 Sep 28 '14 at 23:40
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelT ok, makes sense. It does seem pretty clear from that that the box isn't meant for a permanent feature. $\endgroup$ – David Z Sep 28 '14 at 23:43
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidZ its disappointing that the per site metas don't appear to have a permanent 'FAQ' sidebar that MSE has... though looking at that it appears to be a combination of featured and faq tags. $\endgroup$ – user20936 Sep 28 '14 at 23:49
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidZ and for what its worth, here's the MSE feature request: FAQ sidebar for per site metas that would make FAQs more visible. $\endgroup$ – user20936 Sep 29 '14 at 0:08
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelT good idea. (you could also share that in Physics Chat) $\endgroup$ – David Z Sep 29 '14 at 0:17

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