In one question, What is the most useful and practical project management qualification for an IT professional in the UK?, we did not close it as too localized as the community felt that the audience would still be large enough to justify keeping it open.

Surely, a question such as "How do I find a job in London as a Project Manager with a PMI certification?" would be a prime candidate for closure for being too localized.

My question is this: Where do we draw the line? While we accept an entire country as meeting the criteria for being on-topic, what about cities, states, or other regions? What objective criteria do we use to determine what is too localized?


Too Localized is not about areas of land. Too localized is about such extraordinarily narrow situations, that no one on the site could reasonably be expected to answer the question in a way that would benefit anyone else.

This came up recently on Skeptics, so I'll just quote Joel's answer:

"Too localized" should be used for very tiny geographic regions or vanishingly small periods of time. It is used when a question cannot possibly be answered because nobody participating in the site is likely to know the answer, and even if it were answered, nobody else would care.

For me, the canonical "too localized" question would be:

Why is there a green Honda Civic parked out in front of my house?

This is too localized because:

  1. Who cares?
  2. Is it even still there? Go check.
  3. What are the chances that this question could ever be answered in a way that would benefit anyone else?
  4. Now is it there?

I have been dismayed to see knee-jerk closing of questions as "too localized" throughout Stack Exchange simply because they mention a time span or because they mention a geography. I think some people have misunderstood this close reason to mean ... "anything time-bound or location-bound must be closed."

In this particular case the Sklivvz reasonably thought that the questions are too localized in time because they reflect constantly changing knowledge or rapidly changing events.

This would be a valid concern, however, Stack Exchange was specifically designed to adapt well to rapidly-changing events. That's why it has Wiki features. Like Wikipedia, we are not content to wait for the first historians to write the book. We're happy to answer questions in the context of what is true today, knowing that as facts change, the answers can easily be edited or replaced.

  • Thanks for posting this. This really helps define the boundaries.
    – jmort253
    Apr 19 '11 at 5:30

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