We've closed quite a few questions as "off-topic". This close reason references the Help Center's on-topic page. This page is currently near-empty, and provides no information as to what is on-topic and what is not. We have many questions on meta concerning the of the site, but these aren't referenced, linked to or mentioned in the Help Center.

This post is to discuss what information should be put on the on-topic page. Please provide one topic per answer, preferably with a suggested wording.

  • We've closed quite a few questions as "off-topic" are there any ones in particular you want to discuss?
    – JAL
    Jan 3, 2017 at 20:51
  • 1
    @JAL Not really, but we have quite a few notices with the words "as defined in the Help Center" around the site and, at present, nothing is defined in the Help Center.
    – wizzwizz4 Mod
    Jan 4, 2017 at 7:59
  • 1
    I've made my suggestions Community Wiki. The intention is that others can edit them with improvements rather than have reams of comments.
    – Chenmunka Mod
    Jan 12, 2017 at 12:43

2 Answers 2


Looking at the Help centres of a few other SE sites there are some common themes.

I would suggest starting the page with a definitions section
(Some text pinched from the original Area51 proposal):

How do we define Retrocomputing?

Retrocomputing involves the restoration, preservation and maintenance of computer and gaming systems of yesteryear.
Questions are welcomed on how to use or preserve computing equipment that is no longer manufactured or supported by the manufacturer.

Hardware, including peripherals and Software, including operating systems and applications are in scope.

  • Well its better than nothing....
    – Wilf
    Jan 6, 2018 at 22:06

We should have an entry on the What should I avoid asking section of the Help centre:

What should I avoid asking?

Questions about modern, currently supported computers are off-topic. This includes questions about earlier versions of a current machine or OS.

Questions regarding writing code that emulates retrocomputing features may be better asked on Stack Overflow.
Questions regarding configuration of emulators on a modern computer may be better asked on Super User.
Questions regarding emulation on specific machines may be better asked on other Stack Exchange sites. For example: Raspberry Pi, Ask Different, etc.

  • 3
    "This includes questions about earlier versions of a current machine or OS." are we saying that Windows 3.1 questions are offtopic? Or System 7? Or the original Game Boy because it could arguably be traced in an unbroken line from the New 3DS?
    – Muzer
    Feb 2, 2017 at 10:52

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