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I'm a regular over on fitness.stackexchange.com, which I think has an opinion for being rather hard line for what's on topic and what isn't, so maybe consider that I come from that camp.

I've noticed a few things here that I'd like to bring up here for the sake of helping this community in the long term.

  • Everything seems on topic. Someone asked a question about battery chargers being safe, which really has nothing directly to do with the outdoors, unless you honestly want to consider every aspect of a vehicle and vehicle accessory also on topic. Steering wheel covers to enhance my grip on my 4x4 Jeep? Tint to keep the sun out? Differential lockers? Toyota vs Jeep? What grade of gasoline to use in my 96 Land Cruiser? Should I put STP fuel treatment in?

There's nothing inherent to a battery charger that makes it outdoors applicable.

  • In reading a lot of the comments from regulars on here, it seems like the emphasis is on more content and questions, and anything to restrict that (like closing questions, tightening the definition of on-topic, etc) is rather sacrilege.

On fitness.stackexchange.com, our sister-sites are health.stackexchange.com (which is also a huge ball of goo because so much can be considered on topic), and sports.stackexchange.com (which I think the moderators do a good job of for kicking general fitness and health out).

I'm a big advocate of the stackexchange model, and as I said I'm a booster of the still-in-beta fitness site (like outdoors).

We're not on-topic-police over there because we want less traffic, we do it because we want higher quality content which most of us feel:

  1. Encourages people with deep domain knowledge to stick around.
  2. Doesn't really provide a place for low quality answers, and the people who generate them.
  3. Creates a better relationship with the other SE community sites, as they know we toss things their way and they do the same for us.
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    To be honest the question you linked to has a lot of validity in the great outdoors. Portable jump starters would be vital for many people who might be driving through terrain... If the battery dies and they need to jump it then this info could be helpful. The Great Outdoors is a very broad topic website in the first place, it's not all backpacking... There's a lot of outdoors activities, and we help support them all. It would be like avoiding Vaulting (Horse) on sports because you didn't agree it was a sport... – Aravona Dec 30 '15 at 16:27
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    I upvoted this question, although I disagreed with the specific example, because it represents the vigilance we need. – ab2 Dec 31 '15 at 18:32
  • Related We need to get the question rate up – user2766 Jan 7 '16 at 16:47
  • Interestingly in that questions it was suggested that fitness and TGO merge! – user2766 Jan 7 '16 at 16:48
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Not sure exactly what your question is, but if it is to say that the way we do things here is different to fitness.SE then yes, I'll happily agree.

If you are trying to say it is not holding true to the SE model then I'd disagree completely. All sites have to have different degrees of rigidity to make them work, and this depends a lot on topic.

I moderate 7 or 8 sites, and they range from very strict (Security, Productivity) to very relaxed (Parenting, Music) and all sorts of things in between. The current level as agreed by our community here works very well, and it is closer to the more tightly managed end, with community regulars engaging in long discussions to agree any perceived changes or additions to topics.

I think you have misunderstood what is on topic here - which is fine, as we are a very broad set of topics, both from our initial spec, and from some attempted sites that failed so we managed to scoop up some of their content.

Battery chargers can easily be on topic here - and in the context of the question, very much on topic. There would be other questions about chargers that we would punt over to Mechanics or Electrical. We have a good relationship with a number of sites, migrating questions and receiving ones as required.

In fact we are on topic police for exactly the same reasons as you:

  1. Encourages people with deep domain knowledge to stick around.
  2. Doesn't really provide a place for low quality answers, and the people who generate them.
  3. Creates a better relationship with the other SE community sites, as they know we toss things their way and they do the same for us.
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    Completely agree. We have our grey areas and as said we discuss them thoroughly, but as a community who have 'deep domain knowledge' we also know how some of the more obscure questions can actually wholeheartedly relate to the outdoors activities we do. – Aravona Dec 30 '15 at 16:17
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I voted to keep the portable jump starter question open. Paul D said it best:

I would say it's relevant as it is a necessary item to take to remote areas in a vehicle. Whether it exists in urban and back country locals is irrelevant.

I would have voted to close a question about tinted glass, Toyota vs Jeep, grade of gas and your other examples. Even if the portable jump starter is the nose of the camel or the top of a slippery slope, I think we can keep all but the nose of the camel out of the tent and self-arrest on the slippery slope.

  • 1
    I like how you phrased that, especially the last sentence. I understand the concern, and certainly hope that if there's a problem I'm not part of it. I feel, though, that people here are actively keeping a close eye on what's being allowed, and are being careful not to let the quality of the site suffer. – Sue Dec 31 '15 at 17:24
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    @Sue Thanks. Feathered creatures are as much a part of the enjoyment of the outdoors as are large, furred creatures. Once when I was sitting very still at my campsite, and wearing beige kneesocks, a bird hopped on my boot, pecked its way up one leg, hopped over to the other knee and pecked its way down the other leg. That is one of my most memorable experiences. – ab2 Dec 31 '15 at 18:29

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