Re this question

This question has descended into a chat, and I know I have contributed to that, but I sensed some desperation in the OP and felt they needed some help and advice, and that wasn't the time to be quoting site rules etc.

However, though it now looks very noisy and chatty, there is some very important information, advice and guidance contained there that might provde useful for others in similar situations.

So it would be shame if it were lost and I am flagging it up for discussion to see if there are any precedents for this and whether we, as a community, can do anything here?

  • Walls-of-text comments might help in the current situation but how helpful will they be for someone searching in the future?
    – Tob
    May 13, 2015 at 10:16
  • I completely agree, and that is a function of chatting in comments and not using the answer format. I am not suggesting keeping the comments, I am suggesting keeping the information somehow. Shouldn't your comment have been an answer to my question? ;)
    – Marv Mills
    May 13, 2015 at 10:26
  • 2
    The point being that whilst the question has the flavour of a legal-advice question, it is also a real case study in damage limitation after a project has descended to legal threats. There is good advice for PMs in there that find themselves in similar positions.
    – Marv Mills
    May 13, 2015 at 10:27

3 Answers 3


If there are too many comments, a lot of important information can become lost, both by search engines as well as by anyone reading. If there's valuable information in comments, see if the information can be edited into the body of the answer the comments are attached to. If it can't, can the information stand as its own answer. If so, you could write a new answer (assuming the post is not closed or on hold).

In this case, the post is blatantly off-topic due to the legal issues. I would first suggest focusing edits on the question itself to see if it's possible to make it fit our scope better. A more specific question other than "What should I do" is helpful, as it gives the question focus and ensures answers can be ranked based on equivalent criteria.

Assuming the post can then be reopened, you could try editing the comments into the answer or posting your own.

For community wiki, this isn't an option. Community Wiki is intended for content that is freely editable by the community. At one point in Stack Exchange's past it was used as a means of allowing off-topic content, but that's not the true intention of community wiki. You can read more about that here in the blog post titled, The Future of Community Wiki.

  • +1 for an outline of the best procedure. However in the final analysis I cannot be bothered doing all that work for a dozen or so views.
    – Marv Mills
    May 16, 2015 at 18:24

Legal Advice is Off-Topic

Legal advice is off-topic almost everywhere on the SE network. The lone exception at the present time is http://area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/67858/law.

Essentially, legal questions rarely have canonical answers, and invite opinions and interpretation. Even when the question is peripherally on-topic, such questions almost always end up as "broken windows" on a site. Curation is essential to a healthy site; for example, even a well-written post on bee-keeping doesn't deserve to remain on Project Management Stack Exchange just because it's well-written or valuable in some abstract sense. If it's off-topic, our duty to curate the site requires that we take the appropriate actions.

If there's a valid migration target, the content can be moved. Otherwise, it ought to be closed and/or deleted.

Use Community Wiki to Salvage On-Topic Content

In my opinion, the correct thing to do is close the question, and then eventually delete it as off-topic. If you feel there is value in the content of answers and comments, then you could rework the question (with appropriate links and citations) as a PM-related community wiki post, and place the relevant content that you deem worth salvaging into a community-wiki answer.

The important thing is that the content needs to be:

  1. Refactored to be on-topic within the site's guidelines.
  2. Properly cited and linked (even if it's to a closed/deleted thread) to comply with the CC-BY-SA 3.0 license.

Alternative: Re-Homing Content

If it can't be salvaged in that way, then you are free to reuse the content in accordance with the licensing terms. You could post the content on a personal blog, other wiki, or anywhere else the content would be on-topic and in compliance with the license.

If the current content can't be reworked into a valid PM question, then you should seriously consider migrating any valuable content to an alternative location. Whether or not it's worth your effort to do so is of course a personal decision. YMMV.

  • How does one turn a post into a Community Wiki post? I have checked the help (or rather searched for Community Wiki and skimmed the resulting pages!) and I see information about editing such a page, but not the initial designation. Legal-advice aside (I don't think the OP asks for, or is given, legal advice) there would be a danger of being off-topic as an Opinion Poll - However the non-product based answers in PMSE are rarely other than opinions on the best way forward, because the subject matter often does not have canonical answers. I still think there could be value in an edited Q&A set,,,
    – Marv Mills
    May 14, 2015 at 8:15

I would say - as an answer - keep being consequent.

  • If a chat is necessary, open one (at least I don't know how).
  • Flag chatty comments as soon as they appear as chatty
  • Give new user a hint (by comment) about SE functions (e.g. chat, accept a question) and assist in using (e.g. by opening a chat)

I believe, that's the best way to stay useful for future searches.

  • Those are all solid responses reflecting best-practise, for sure, but don't really address my actual question. This is an exceptional boundary case where best-practise has already gone by the wayside. My question is what if anything, as a community, can be done to preserve the information in this specific question, the answers and the comments, such that it is useful for future visitors and PMs in a similar situation. The easy answer is just to delete it all and cite the rules of the site, I get that, but as a community we may miss a good opportunity by doing that.
    – Marv Mills
    May 13, 2015 at 11:10
  • I keep with my answer :) let's go through the comments and clean those having none or little information (e.g. thank you). Keep the rest as they are.
    – Tob
    May 13, 2015 at 11:13

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