The question:

Are “what should I do” questions on topic here? On IPS.

Over at Workplace.se, they have an off-topic close reason for "what to do" questions, because it attracts opinion-based answers.

Top Answer:

I think questions of the form: "here's my tale of woe; what do I do now?" are too broad and opinion-based on many sites, especially here.

Second answer:

Yes! Make a decision for me questions should be off topic.

Has apparently been decided fairly conclusivley that the issue is off topic.

  • A recent debacle on English Language and Usage here seems to amplify the point:

This question would also be off-topic on IPS because "what do I do" is off-topic there. It would be very helpful for everyone involved if you familiarized yourself with a site before recommending people post questions there. Thanks.

  • However, the tour page for IPS contains the example question:

I love the unicorns who hang out behind my kitchen, but they do tend to eat rather a lot of the daisies. What can I do about this?

  • Which is not I think supposed to be regarded as off topic.

I find myself baffeld by a seeming contradiction here, can anyone clarify the point, is it simply a matter of a pedantic choice of phrasing between "what can I do?", "what do I do?" and "what to do?", some or other being more or less acceptable.


1 Answer 1


Thanks for bringing this to our attention! The unicorn question is a generic example question that shows up on the tour page for any StackExchange site that hasn't customized it. "What should I do" questions are definitely off-topic here, and we even have a custom close reason for such questions.

This meta post explains the limitations of the tour page:

The posts have to be short, with at least two short answers (<=400 chars). They also shouldn't have any crazy formatting.

Unfortunately due to the nature of posts here, most of them are long and with longer answers, so we only had one available choice. I've just updated the tour page now to show that one.


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