This question by a new user asks us "what to write?" The question could, I think be perfectly fine as a suggestion for how to get ideas. That may even be what the OP intended.

As a "suggest something to me, please" I think it is off-topic. To me that reads like asking for a recipe on SeasonedAdvice - it's polling the community and will generate more noise than signals.

I should note that I think the answers are awesome and written as if to an on-topic question.

The question is, do you agree? Do you think we should allow questions like this? Should we not? Why or why not?

  • 6
    Oh, I thought you were asking "do we answer questions quickly enough?" and I'm thinking, what is this, Domino's? We answer your question in 30 minutes or it's free? ;) Commented Mar 21, 2011 at 17:25
  • @Lauren: I took the question the same way, and... was a bit disappointed ;-) The question is missing a "Writing", methinks. Commented Mar 23, 2011 at 11:15
  • @Lauren, @jae - and now? :)
    – justkt
    Commented Mar 23, 2011 at 13:06
  • 1
    Yes, that's better. Although I have to admit the original was funnier. :) Commented Mar 23, 2011 at 13:43

2 Answers 2


I agree with your assessment. "Give me a writing prompt," just doesn't seem like a question we can support. It is too broad and vague.

Asking for a prompt with a specific set of criteria would be better, as answers could at least be judged based on how well they fit the criteria. Ultimately though, I think a more appropriate question would ask where to find writing prompts, as this is more likely to generate useful resources for the original poster and for others. I am an ardent believer in the "teach a man to fish" philosophy.

Interestingly, the answers that have been posted to that question are mostly addressing "how to fight writer's block". This, I think, is a perfectly valid question.

  • I agree with your assessment of the answers, which I've found to be generally high quality.
    – justkt
    Commented Mar 21, 2011 at 16:01
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    perhaps close these as duplicates of a canonical "dealing with writer's block" question? Commented Mar 21, 2011 at 22:04
  • @Jeff - sounds like a plan. I think we are in the process of writing the answers to the canonical question.
    – justkt
    Commented Mar 22, 2011 at 12:00

Honestly, no, I don't think these questions are on-topic. I'd hate to see Writers.SE turn into a site to come to to get writing prompts when you're stuck. I'm also firmly in the category that you can't rely on others to tell you what to write; part of being a writer is coming up with those ideas on your own.

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