I understand that questions about accounting are explicitly called off topic for this site.
I don't necessarily see why that is the case, especially since it seems at odds with the fact that questions about sole proprietorships are on topic and general accounting questions may be very relevant to owners of those businesses.
Is there some overriding reason to keep those questions off-topic? Some historical reason that still carries weight? Why not update the rules to make them on-topic and answer them?
EDIT Thanks to those who answered. I started writing some additional comment on the answers, but then thought it might be more productive to make an edit here. I was not surprise that a lot those who responded wanted to keep this off-topic (otherwise it would already have changed). I was surprised by the negative reaction to asking the question, and to some extent by the answers.
Let me try to put my question in better context, because it was motivated in part by what appears to me to be inconsistency in the way accounting questions are addressed on the site. If you search for "double entry" (as in double entry accounting), you'll get 98 returns of questions and answers that apparently are considered on-topic. A quick skim suggests that about 50 of them are genuinely about double-entry accounting, whereas the rest maybe just mention the term in passing. Taking the top few as examples, the question has been couched in terms of some personal application of the technique, so I guess that's what keeps in on topic. The fact is though, most of these questions are just plain accounting questions. When a person comes on the sight and asks essentially the same question but doesn't say they are doing it for some "personal" account, they seem to get routinely shutdown. I can't see the closed questions anymore, but my impression is that this happens even when the OP doesn't say why they want to know, i.e. it could actually be for a "personal" reason.
Of course "double entry" is just one search term. We could try the experiment of choosing some other common accounting terms - I didn't do that, but I think that for a good variety of them it would be about the same story.
Add to that, the help explicitly says that "Sole Proprietorship" with the bullet under that heading "bookkeeping" are on topic. I'm not sure how you all understand that term, but my CPA uses it to cover a pretty wide range of basic accounting. Probably not all the way to GAAP and advanced topics, but definitely topics that fall squarely within accounting by any usual definition.
So, as I see it, you've got
- A backlog of questions that are evidently considered on-topic and answered.
- The help (for those who actually go read it) that suggests that some accounting questions are on topic.
- An apparently arbitrary distinction that a question that is fundamentally the same can be on-topic or off-topic depending on why the poster wants to know the answer.
- There are accounting tags - gnucash, for example, comes up frequently in the search that I did. I also see two tags for different versions of QuickBooks. It seems strange that you would allow a tag for software and then filter based on why the poster wants to know something. (Usually, in my experience on these stack exchange family site, questions are on or off topic based on what is asked not why the poster wants to have an answer.)
- Considering the relatively low volume on this site, a seemingly large number of first-time posters getting turned away for questions that might more appropriately be marked "duplicate" than "off-topic."
This lead to my question of why not just take these questions and answer them all. (Or, I guess, alternatively, one might ask why not say they are all off-topic.) The "why do you want to know" approach feels wrong.