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As was pointed out to me earlier today, the mission statement of the site on the tour page explicitly calls out that this site is meant to aid in professional writing.

I was surprised by this, as that does not truly reflect a good portion of the questions that have been deemed on-topic.

Should this part of the tour page be amended to reflect the actual usage of the site, or should the site be more strictly policed to reflect the mission statement?

  • Any reason for the downvote? I am genuinely curious. – Weckar E. Oct 16 at 20:11
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Writing Stack Exchange is a Q&A site for anybody interested in the craft of professional writing, editing, and publishing. We cover a wide variety of topics, including fiction, technical documentation, scholarly articles, business writing, non-fiction, scripts, and blogs. Writers Stack Exchange is built and run by you as part of the Stack Exchange network of Q&A sites. With your help, we're working together to build a library of detailed answers to every question about professional writing. (ref)

I interpret this broadly. "Professional writing" can mean writing that is sold to a publisher for use as a book, article, or other work. It can also mean writing used in your profession. Letters, reports, manuals, etc. Or the art of learning to write to professional standards (anything done in school).

People who post here about writing, editing, or publishing without the immediate goal of making money are still asking about doing these things to a professional level. In other words, doing it well.

I've seen a lot of comments in my time here about how we don't have a lot of professional authors (though we have more than many think) and some folks even throw some shade at that. The reality is that, if we had a minimum standard of publication credits (or whatever measure one might devise), participation here would drop like a rock.

No matter our experience, we can all benefit from questions asked at different levels. We also have people skilled at one thing looking to break into another (a tech writer who wants to write novels, a novelist who wants to start a publishing company, writers who want to become editors or teachers, etc).

I feel comfortable with the range of questions. Yes, it would be nice to have more people who could answer some questions about professional norms and the details of publishing, etc. But questions that nurture emerging writers are also welcome.

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    I fully agree, but I have seen some people use this wording to close questions as off-topic, hence the question. – Weckar E. Oct 17 at 18:03
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    One way or another, this answer isn't really actionable. If the "professiona" does not cover it, it should be removed, no? – Weckar E. Oct 18 at 4:12
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    @weckare I think that the point is that the adjective professional refers to writing and not to writers. That could be interpreted as "writing to a quality standard that would be good enough to get a living out of it" – NofP Oct 18 at 8:56
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Actually, it says: "Writing Stack Exchange is a Q&A site for anybody interested in the craft of professional writing, editing, and publishing."

That includes people that are not professionals, but perhaps interested in professional writing, has questions about it, or aspires to professional writing or aspires to the standards of professional writing, even if they do not intend to ever get paid for writing. For example, high school teachers might be interested in this and ask questions to help their students that are thinking about pursuing a career as a novelist. Graduate students can ask questions about writing academic papers, even though they may not be pursuing a career as a professional paper writer.

  • It seems to exclude proper letter writing and the like, though; which are questions that have recently explicitly been allowed. – Weckar E. Oct 23 at 21:45
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    @WeckarE. Isn't proper letter writing under the banner of aspiring to the standards of professional writing? People do write formal letters within their profession, as introductions, references, recommendations. Professors write letters of recommendation for their students; or letters explaining their funding requirements or proposed research projects, or proposed collaborations. – Amadeus-Reinstate-Monica Oct 23 at 21:58

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