I read the faq prior to posting a recent question and found little information about the scope of this site, e.g. in bullet points at SO.

It is not clear to me on what basis my question was closed, given that the site's faq is so vague. I got the desired feedback, but now I am more concerned that this site needs a more informative faq.

So, does this site need a more detailed FAQ? If so, what should it contain?

Here are some suggestions to start:

If your question covers:

  • a particular improvement you wish to make

If your question is not about:

  • activities tangential to DIY projects, e.g. negotiating details of a project with your landlord / spouse" (posted separately for voting purposes)
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    Hmm - I hadn't realised the FAQ was so sparse. My mistake for not checking it recently. Do you have any suggestions for what you'd like to see in it? – ChrisF Aug 22 '11 at 22:19
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    @ChrisF yes, and I would post them as answers to this question for voting except that I am not allowed to answer my own question for 8 more hours. How about starting with the reasons that the referenced question was closed, e.g. "If your question covers: - particular improvement you wish to make" and "If your question is not about: - activities tangential to DIY projects, e.g. negotiating details of a project with your landlord / spouse" (posted separately for voting purposes) – David LeBauer Aug 22 '11 at 22:24
  • That's a good start - you could edit them into your question to get more visibility. Hopefully we'll get a few more then we can update the FAQ – ChrisF Aug 22 '11 at 22:47
  • On a side note: the question was likely closed because it was asking about human interaction/negotiations, not home improvement and/or construction tools and/or techniques. The FAQ does suck, but if you look around at the types of questions that are most popular you'll have a better idea of what the site is about. – Tester101 Aug 24 '11 at 19:44

I've thought the FAQ has been overdue for an update. Here's my 2 cents.

For questions related to home improvement and repair, including:

  • Questions you would typically ask a home contractor (or Bob Vila, Mike Holmes, etc)
  • Questions on tools, materials, designs, and best practices
  • Questions to help identify the source or cause of a problem within your home
  • Questions about national building codes

Questions you should not ask include:

  • Decorating advice
  • Local building codes or other advice limited to your specific city
  • Questions about contracts with builders and rental agreements
  • Questions not related to the home, including hobby projects, cars, and landscaping
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  • I think we've got a good set here. Even if no other suggestions come in these will be a useful addition. – ChrisF Aug 24 '11 at 19:14
  • Bullet point 3 in the do's (Questions to help identify the cause of a problem), is a bit vague. Aside from that, it looks good to me. – Tester101 Aug 24 '11 at 19:48
  • @Tester, feel free to clarify it. I'm thinking of issues like "why is my plumbing making noise" or "why is the voltage well below 120v at this junction". I'm at a loss for words to phrase it better. – BMitch Aug 24 '11 at 20:04
  • I can't think of a single sentence to sum it up (I'm not a writer), but I feel like the new FAQ should be fairly specific to eliminate iffy questions. maybe "Questions to help identify the cause of household problems"? Maybe the Writers SE could help? – Tester101 Aug 24 '11 at 21:12
  • @Tester: great suggestion, it's probably worth having the Writers SE review changes to FAQ's for any site. I took a shot at making it less ambiguous. Mentally I included each bullet under the "home improvement and repair" heading, but I can see others missing that. – BMitch Aug 24 '11 at 21:32
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    I posted a request for help on the writers meta site, we'll see if they are willing to lend us a hand. – Tester101 Aug 25 '11 at 2:12
  • I thought hard landscaping was allowed (building patios, terracing, fixing drainage), it was just soft landscaping (plants) that should be sent to gardening. – Joe Sep 14 '11 at 15:04
  • @Joe: landscaping to me is plants, not outdoor construction like patios and drainage. If there's a better way to say that, I'm all ears. – BMitch Sep 14 '11 at 15:56
  • @BMitch : I think it'd be better to just qualify it as 'soft landscaping' that doesn't belong. You you wanted to add something to 'allowed' section, 'Questions about patios, fences, retaining walls, walkways, drainage and other hard landscaping' ... but then you start getting into lists more than categories. – Joe Sep 14 '11 at 16:12
  • @Joe, You'll need to get a mod's attention to get the FAQ updated (see ChrisF's answer here). That said, have a look at what he did with the FAQ since he linked to the sister sites where appropriate, and that may help clear up any confusion. – BMitch Sep 14 '11 at 17:26

I've updated the FAQ based on BMitches answer and the advice given in answers to Tester's question on Writers.

If you think I've missed anything or gone too far shout up and I'll correct it.

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  • Looks good. I'm a really big fan of pointing people to the sister sites (vehicles/landscaping). Thanks Chris! – BMitch Aug 29 '11 at 12:03

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