Here is a great question


It was closed as being off topic.

In the Past

The community has said advanced trading is on topic. I read that as being okay to do fun things with formulas and techniques.

We have also said in a few meta posts, if a person can do it, then it is personal finance

But anything bigger than a small, family run business is off-topic. Certainly one-person deals are on topic and bigger outfits are off-topic

So back to the question

  • Is doing finance as a small or individual business out of scope for our personal finance site?
  • Is there a cap for success or volume of activity for questions?
  • Is there an implied "hobby" to the tone of our site?
  • Is that second question relevant at all?

Maybe a clearer way for me to ask is, are the personal retirement & tax problems of Bill Gate and Warren Buffet the kind of problems we want on topic?

There have been good arguments for and against. Lets vote and make a decision.

  • I know that Bill and Warren are hyperbolic, I am just trying to avoid being wishy washy.
    – MrChrister
    Feb 14, 2014 at 6:36
  • Jimmy Buffett is definitely off topic; no matter how enjoyable
    – MrChrister
    Feb 14, 2014 at 6:41
  • 1
    Business would be more appropriate, as it is starting to get out of the realm of personal finance. In its present scenario it ain't personal finace, no matter whoever says so.
    – DumbCoder
    Feb 14, 2014 at 9:33

3 Answers 3


Expanding scope is a good idea only if we have / or can in near future get someone who is expert in these areas.

Unlike other sites [say stackoverflow] where there is a balance of asking/answering questions ... ie people who ask slowly graduate and start answering questions. On money.se we have distinct set of users who mostly answer and bunch of user who come in ask and move, very few graduate to answering ...

My only concern on advance topics or small business is we may not have the expertise and we should only expand the scope if we have the expertise in the current group or someone from the group can get an expert onto this site ... otherwise we may end up with bunch of unanswered questions that in long term may harm us.

  • Valid point; this matches my first emotion. Just to cover all the bases: How can we attract answers from experts without expert level questions? Perhaps we should raise the bar? We can always delete unanswered questions...
    – MrChrister
    Feb 14, 2014 at 14:40
  • BTW - I personally like the current scope because it is what I am interested in, and everything is already at the top of my knowledge. I would feel left behind if the site goes advanced, but that could very well be the best thing for our site.
    – MrChrister
    Feb 14, 2014 at 14:41

I raised the concern that the question was off-topic (i.e. voted to close), though I did not downvote. My thoughts were that no individual would try to get a seat on the NYSE for personal finance reasons. They'd do this if their job was stock trading. As such, I thought this question was similar to me asking, "Is it worthwhile for me to attend a Rails bootcamp to increase my knowledge of Rails, as I am a professional software developer."

I want to be very clear, though. I may be mistaken. It could be that people routinely buy seats on the NYSE for personal finance. Or perhaps not regularly people, but people with a net worth of, say, $2 million. If that's the case, I would say we should probably not have closed the question, and I was mistaken. On the other hand, if this is only a reasonable thing to do if you have, say, $50 million, I'd say it's outside the realm.

Now, the question is actually asking whether it is worthwhile. If the answer is actually complex ('no generally, but yes if you have more than x to invest, and make more than y transactions per day'), it shouldn't have been closed.

In any case, I generally enjoy Kaushik's questions and learn from them. I think it is clear that we are discussing whether this particular question is appropriate for our scope, and nobody's trying to discourage Kaushik's contributions.

  • Absolutely - we have meta to discuss these things. As a mod I try to keep the main site tidy per the community rules, but all members of the community are welcome and all rules are open to improvement.
    – MrChrister
    Feb 14, 2014 at 14:56
  • 1
    Also, I believe this answer is supporting allowing the question and +1 that.
    – MrChrister
    Feb 14, 2014 at 14:57

Generally, when a question is about an advanced issue - I'd expect the OP to be sophisticated enough to find the answer through research, and not through passively querying a Q&A forum.

Essentially, advanced questions should come in the form "I researched this, read that, and cannot understand this point - please help".

Specifically to the question, which I voted to close as off-topic - I'd expect a person considering purchasing a seat on an exchange be fully capable of providing at least a basic list of pro/con considerations, and how they apply to him. The specific question clearly shows that the OP doesn't even know what having a seat even means, let alone be able to decide or even consider if it is to his benefit to own one.

I'm sure that the last sentence of the question (essentially a question "what does owning a seat mean?") would have merit on its own on this forum. But when added to a larger question "Whether I should have one?" it only shows that the OP is, well, clueless. And answering such a question will not provide any meaningful benefit neither to the OP nor the others.

I also downvoted the question, as I downvote many questions of that specific OP, since it is evident that he applied zero effort to understanding the issue on his own. Many of his questions (not all though, but many) look as if he thought of something - and immediately ran to the forum to ask about it, without any effort whatsoever to understand what he's asking and trying to find an answer (for many of the questions - that would be a simple Google query).

While we want our answers to appear on Google, I believe our answers shouldn't come instead of Google.

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