I have just voted not to close this question:

It had been suggested it be closed because the question should be asked on a Scrivener forum. Going from previous Scrivener questions I've seen, that reason didn't seem to apply.

Should we answer questions here that could potentially be better asked elsewhere? (i.e., outside of the stackexchange network.)


3 Answers 3


Writing tools are on-topic here, and the tag alone has 17 questions. Our help could be clearer on this, but I don't see a reason to close that as off-topic. That it could also be asked somewhere else does not matter.

Respect the community -- your own, and others' talks about this:

As members of a community, your first loyalty should be to that community. When evaluating a question, you shouldn't be looking to push it off on some other site; instead, ask if it could be appropriate and on-topic for you, the experts who the author decided to ask. Be a bit jealous of your site - don't blithely turn askers away simply because their question could be asked somewhere else. Don’t hit them over the head with your scope, help them tailor their question to fit into it - and if that means your site’s scope overlaps a bit with another site’s, so be it.

  • I've added a line to our help page about this; if this thread changes policy in regards to questions like this, we can change it. Nov 5, 2015 at 18:24
  • Thanks @NeilFein. I hadn't noticed that we didn't have this until I wrote this answer (oops). Nov 5, 2015 at 19:00
  • It never hurts to revisit these questions from time to time. Nov 6, 2015 at 0:40

I am the original poster of the question. The logic that was originally used to argue that my question should be deleted seems to be that (a) there are other, non-StackExchange sites where I could (should) have asked my question; and (b) the question is not relevant to this specific StackExchange site.

To respond to both these points in turn: (a) seems to fail immediately, because there are many StackExchange sites that replicate the functionality of a more "official" site. https://drupal.stackexchange.com/ replicates https://www.drupal.org/forum, or example, and https://apple.stackexchange.com/ replicates https://discussions.apple.com/. Many people tend to use the StackExchange sites instead of the "official" sites because of the extra functionality that StackExchange provides, and because of the active StackExchange community. The argument of "there is an official site where that question should be asked" doesn't hold water, if we accept those two StackExchange sites as offering a precedent.

The second point seems to be that my specific question it not relevant to the Writers StackExchange site, since it refers to a writing tool rather than the act of writing. This might hold water, and it's up to the Writers SE community to decide where it sets the limits on what is an acceptable question or not. As I'm not part of that community, I'm happy to accept whatever it decides. However, it should be noted that I did search StackExchange site-wide before I asked my question, and questions related to Scrivener occurred more in Writers SE than they did anywhere else. Indeed, Writers SE has a Scrivener-specific tag. If the Writers SE community decides it doesn't want to deal with questions relating to writing-specific software (as opposed to more general word processors or desktop publishing software) then it might like to consider where in SE these questions should be asked, as by default people seem to be coming to Writers SE for help with Scrivener.

Finally, a general point that I think applies to almost all sites on StackExchange. The way my question was dealt with was pretty abrupt. Someone could have explained to me, in a friendly way, that I had asked my question in the wrong place, and then helped me find the right place to ask my question. Instead, the comments initially started talking about closing the question. This doesn't bother me personally as I've used SE for quite a while, and I know that that is how things are done here: but it will put off less experienced users. Being friendly doesn't cost anything, and it it is an essential part of building a community.

Incidentally, I had already asked my question on the official Scrivener forum, but hadn't received an answer. I thought I would give SE a try, as often I find my questions are answered really quickly here. I note that the user who initially wanted to close my question has stated above that "If I can find an answer on their support site why can't the questioner". @Monica Cellio's response -- that some users are just better at using Google than others -- is right; I'd add that the user who wanted to close my question has not directed me to the answer he's apparently found.


I fully take on that we want to keep people on this site. However, when I am using a particular piece of software or hardware I use the resources of that particular asset to answer my question before I go elsewhere. If nothing else, many sellers maintain staff members to answer questions on forums -- they want to keep users happy and so answer questions. Surely if Scrivener is a mature product that has reasonable support, a question like this is one for the user group or the company, not for this site.

  • If you find an answer on their support site you can use that information to write an answer here. (Include a link.) Sadly, not all support sites actually have the answer that people are seeking. (I can think of several tool vendors whose supports sites are near-useless to me.) If those people come here, why shouldn't we help them? Nov 4, 2015 at 21:23
  • If I can find an answer on their support site why can't the questioner? We shouldn't supply answers because supporting them here is supporting the software/etc.that should be providing its own help system. In this case Scrivener is a paid for product. If you pay for a product you expect to be supported. Nov 4, 2015 at 21:32
  • Maybe your Google-fu is better than the asker's. Maybe you found something related, but some additional detail makes the asker's question different. By your reasoning, Stack Overflow should just give up and go home because Java, C++, Python, etc all have documentation. Stack Exchange is here to help people with (on-topic, answerable) questions, regardless of who else out there offers that service. As for expecting support for paid products, we can expect all we like, but too many times I've failed to actually obtain that support from vendors, so I'm glad I have other avenues to ask on. Nov 4, 2015 at 21:41
  • What are you talking about? Stack Overflow, for example, provides a completely different service to what a manufactorer's/publisher's site would supply. That doesn't mean providers shouldn't supply support. Extrapolating your response we should be answering homework questions: the schools/etc. aren't supplying the questions and we could, therefore we should. Nov 4, 2015 at 22:05
  • 1
    Homework questions are rarely within the defined scope of the SE sites I hang out on. Did you read the blog post I linked to? Nov 4, 2015 at 22:07

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