Recently there was a question about a quote made by Adria Richards that I objected to on two grounds, one being the notability and the other being (more subtly at first) that the question is too localized. Currently, the FAQ defines "too localized" as follows:

too localized
This question is unlikely to help any future visitors; it is only relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet. For help making this question more broadly applicable, see the FAQ.

Right now this doesn't seem to be very well defined for this site given the Richards question. As such, how should we define something as being too localized? In the case of the Richards question I fear that a year from now the net effect of the question would be along the lines of "Did $RANDOM_PERSON make the following $QUOTE" which doesn't seem like the type of questions that we should be encouraging.

  • Are you offering "what would the impression of this question be if revisited in one year? as a potential test that we could use?
    – user5582
    Commented May 15, 2013 at 17:54
  • @Sancho Maybe, I need to mull over my response for a little bit.
    – rjzii
    Commented May 15, 2013 at 18:05
  • 1
    Don't get too hung up on "too localized". It's not a very good close reason...
    – Sklivvz
    Commented May 17, 2013 at 2:10

3 Answers 3


Too localized:

"I lived in the rural Sweden town of Åsele, it's a common myth about Korpjärven that eat little kids there, can anyone prove it wrong?"

Not too localized:

"I read about Korpjärven from Åsele on CNNs homepage link here, is it true it eat little kids and actually exist?"

If you can find it on the internet, pretty much it's not too localized. Too localized is covered when people provide a reference to the claim, which IMO is part of the reason for why people need to back up their claims with references.

  • So, demonstrating notability (by linking to a source to show that the claim is believed by more than a handful of people) simultaneously demonstrates that the question is not too localized for the purposes of this site?
    – user5582
    Commented May 17, 2013 at 15:51
  • 1
    Yea, that's my opinion of it, and is also easiest way to enforce the rule, and keep the site broad.
    – Wertilq
    Commented May 17, 2013 at 15:58

Re: Too localized

Fabian has said (with no objections):

we essentially accept answer about pretty much any topic imaginable. (sic)

To show that this is likely the case, here are some examples of questions that I would consider too local (relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet), yet have been well-received and answered on this site.

Since we really do seem to accept questions about pretty much any topic imaginable, I believe the closure reason "too localized" is somewhat of a misfit for Skeptics.SE.

We could define a test to start eliminating questions that we believe are too localized.

  • Do we first separate questions into those that are too localized and those that aren't, and try to determine a test to describe that separation? (If so, how do we do that initial separation?)
  • Do we first come up with a test and then apply it after? This could have the effect of deeming many existing questions "too localized".
  • We need to be clear what we want to accomplish with any clarification or enforcement of the "too localized" test. What is the goal of the "too localized" test on this site?
  • I'd disagree with you on the chemical weapons one being too localized, whether or not they are has pretty broad Geo-political implications, and most of the other ones affect quite a few people to one extent or the other. The CNN journalist and Omar Borkan Al Gala are ones that I would say are too localized at first glance. You already know my opinion on the Richards question. :)
    – rjzii
    Commented May 15, 2013 at 18:04
  • Yes, the last one is a poor example as it is the trigger for the question. In fact, I wonder if this answer is begging the question. If the @RobZ says the the term is ill-defined and/or not being applied strictly enough, providing examples where it wasn't applied strictly doesn't disprove his point.
    – Oddthinking Mod
    Commented May 16, 2013 at 0:43
  • 2
    No, but it shows that this site hasn't applied the "too local" test as he might be expecting. We shouldn't just decide to impose a new test that goes against the way that the community has been policing itself until now. My point is this: this site hasn't applied the "too local" test very strictly, and that's apparently been fine.
    – user5582
    Commented May 16, 2013 at 0:45
  • Heineken, the Syrian civil war, the Boston bombing, Saudi Arabia, McDonald's, CNN, the United States, and Adria Richards are the respective targets of the claims, IMO. I'm pretty sure that all but the last are notable, public figures. I think the last one is somewhat borderline in notability and being a public figure.
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented May 16, 2013 at 2:07
  • @AndrewGrimm Being too localized can happen for reasons other than lack of public awareness of a subject. As per the FAQ, being too localized means it is only relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet. However, we haven't actually been applying that test.
    – user5582
    Commented May 16, 2013 at 4:43
  • I think the first example (my question on Heineken) is an excellent example of the problems with "too localized" regarding skepticism. As noted in the comments, the incident that triggered this was addressed thoroughly by Heineken over a year ago, yet it has started recirculating, much like many other memes. The Internet and Social Media has removed much of the relevancy for "too localized". I think there may be select instances for this site where it is valid, but generally I agree with this answer.
    – Beofett
    Commented May 16, 2013 at 13:01

Personally I would prefer all question about quotes and who said them be labeled as not appropriate for this site under a multitude of reasons.

  1. They don't make for very interesting questions in the first place.
  2. Providing good evidence in either direction is basically a crap shoot depending on what is "acceptable evidence."
  3. Questions like this seem to either have an obvious appeal to authority or ad hominem effect depending on the nature of the quote in question.
  4. There isn't anything scientific about determining if someone actually said something, proving the veracity of the claim is another story though provided its actually notable not just possibly said by someone notable.

Whether this labels them off topic, too localized or not constructive is irrelevant in my eyes, the close reason have always had a fair amount of overlap.

  • I've answered a quote question, and I agree they are REALLY hard to find anything substantial on. That said we should still allow them. Why? Because it's something that comes up, and it's something that people are curious about. I have seen good answer on such questions. RedGrittyBricks answer on skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/15981/… is a good example of that.
    – Wertilq
    Commented May 17, 2013 at 7:10

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