I'm aware that there tends to be some overlap between Stack Exchange sites, something being on topic elsewhere shouldn't necessarily make it off-topic here, but I'm thinking that we should be cautious about accepting questions that are more about business than they are about interpersonal skills within business.

Considering that there are other in network sites that specialize in fielding these questions we should probably draw a clearer line and direct some of these questions to those sites.

For instance...

How can I politely tell someone I won't do my job for free?

Can we use abbreviations in professional communication?

How do I tell customers they're not my number one priority?


  • What "business" site is this a cross with? Do you mean "Workplace" instead of "business"?
    – Catija
    Aug 1, 2017 at 21:38
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    Can you cite some examples? Your assertion seems somewhat vague (possibly hypothetical?) unless I missed where this has come up. It is generally better to take a closer look when these concerns become prevalent in actual practice... before we start considering if a class of questions is somehow problematic. Aug 1, 2017 at 22:46
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    I don't thing the environment, or context, of a question should make it on-topic or off-topic. If it is a question about an interpersonal skill, then it is within scope. Subject to the rest of normal question guidelines (clarity, focus, culture, etc.) Do bear in mind that being on-topic here does not mean that this is the best place to get a useful answer, however. How to handle an unruly student, who is also a math wiz, might get better answers on Mathematics Educators than here, even though it could involve an interpersonal skill. Still on-topic, and acceptable here, possibly, nonetheless.
    – User 27
    Aug 2, 2017 at 5:55
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    You shouldn't be determining what's off-topic on the basis of whether another site exists that can answer those questions. You should determine what's off-topic on the basis of what questions this site is capable of answering. Different sites have different standards for answers. If someone asks here, it might be because they want your answers, not the workplace's .
    – user288
    Aug 3, 2017 at 1:06
  • @RobertCartaino examples added. I usually try to avoid doing that to avoid the meta effect.
    – apaul
    Aug 3, 2017 at 3:46
  • @Hamlet - Actually it has been the SE policy in the past that good questions that fall squarely in the wheelhouse of a more specific SE site should be migrated assuming that site wants them. I have yet to see any statement from an SE admin that contradicts that. Aug 3, 2017 at 14:45
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    @Chad I'd really love to see this policy. I've spent several years on sites that have overlapping scope and I hear it discussed between moderators all the time... Unless there's some special deal worked out between the sites... the rule as far as I'm aware is - if it's not off topic on the site where it's asked, it should not be migrated unless the person who asks it requests that it be migrated.
    – Catija
    Aug 3, 2017 at 16:41
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    @Chad the FAQ on migrations, as written (mostly by staff) reads: Don't migrate for the sake of migration. We only migrate questions because they are off-topic on the original site. It is perfectly possible for a question to be on-topic on multiple sites, but that is not a reason to migrate it elsewhere, unless the OP requests migration. As a general rule, if someone asks a question here, and it's on-topic here, it should stay here.
    – Catija
    Aug 3, 2017 at 16:45

2 Answers 2


There is nothing wrong with things being on-topic on more than one Stack Exchange site. There are plenty of examples of overlap between Stack Exchange sites, such as the overlap between Science Fiction and Fantasy and Movies and TV. There is no inherent problem with this, and no reason why this would be a bad thing.

Let's let Workplace do their thing, and we'll do our thing. Workplace will make decisions about their scope based on what is good for workplace, and we'll make decisions about our scope based on what is good for us. If that means that there are questions that can be asked on both sites, then so be it.


This is the wrong place to draw the line. The question appears to be advocating that any question which has a business or working component be declared off topic.

If the business world is the focus of the question then it belongs on the workplace. If the focus of the question is the academic environment then it belongs on academia.


There is a person that I work with that I would like to ask out. We are in different department but I am a manager and they are not. Is it inappropraite for me to attempt to make a romantic advance on her out side of work?

This question is clearly about the business environment and acting professional, it belongs on The Workplace. As opposed to...

There is a person that I work with that I would like to ask out. We are in different department but I am a manager and they are not. My concern here is they may think my advance implies some quid pro quo offer and I would like to be able to make it clear that it does not, but also not shoot my self in the foot and be awkward. How can I approach them in a way that makes it clear this is a person conversation with no implied or direct inference to any work?

This question has a business relationship context but it is about the interpersonal relationship. This question could probably be appropriate on either the workplace or here, but this question is clearly in the wheelhouse of IPS, and since it is about the personal relationship on topic.

In your examples:

How can I politely tell someone I won't do my job for free? - This is a question for the workplace. It is how do i maintain a proper business relationship, not personal relationship.

Can we use abbreviations in professional communication? - This is a question is an example of overlap. It would work on either site - It is general enough to be applied in non business related activities, but also has enough business context that it would be appropriate on the Workplace.

How do I tell certain customers they're not my number one priority? - Is not really about interpersonal communication its about what the right business decision is to make.

  • I'll be upfront with you, your examples are not very great, and I don't see any argument for why "business" questions should be at The Workplace, and "academic" questions at Academia - why can't they be here? Your first example isn't about the business environment - your wording of that question is biased to include more information about the environment than the actual issue. Your second example is just a more in-depth extension of the first. I don't find your answer compelling at all - you haven't shown me any issue with business or academic questions.
    – Zizouz212
    Aug 3, 2017 at 18:16
  • @Zizouz212 - Because this Q&A is about interpersonal relationships skills not about business. Defining a proper scope is important especially when you have a broad topic like this. Aug 3, 2017 at 18:19
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    Okay, but what's wrong with a broad topic such as "interpersonal skills?" They are seen in business and academia. Like I said before, you haven't provided a compelling reason to limit the scope based on the environmental factors of the question, even if the fact that there is an interpersonal skill would intuitively make it on-topic.
    – Zizouz212
    Aug 3, 2017 at 18:20
  • Chad, I feel that your answer could be made much stronger if you put an effort to reply directly to the examples that the OP listed in the question. Your answer is just saying "oh, it's business, so send it to the workplace." But you never answer whether it would be okay here.
    – Zizouz212
    Aug 3, 2017 at 18:22
  • Well then we are still discussing hypotheticals of a perceived but imaginary problem, right? If the examples were fine, then we really probably shouldn't be discussing this. By trying to limit questions without seeing if they are problems for us, we're pre-emptively taking away any questions that may actually be wonderful for the community.
    – Zizouz212
    Aug 3, 2017 at 18:30
  • I have shown now how I would apply that to the example questions Aug 3, 2017 at 18:36

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