This is the most recent offender, but really any question in the tag could possibly be included. In fact, the tag might also be in question here.

Most of the questions are overly broad, and cannot reasonably be answered. Besides the fact that in general, simply asking the question means the answer should be "NO".

Should these questions be off topic? What of the tag?

Exhibit A:

@Tester101 I'm looking for a generic description yes, but also if it is even worth tackling myself.

The OP simply wants to know if (s)he can do this project.

Exhibit B:

After being told that the question is too broad and off topic, and given suggestions on how to make the question on topic. The OP agreed to edit the question to make it on topic.

@Tester101 thanks, I have edited the question accordingly and will probably ask a few more related questions..

However, the edit did nothing to change the on-topicness of the question.

Side-by-side Edit

Closing Argument

The OP is obviously only interested in whether or not they are personally able to complete this project. They don't care at all about the millions of internet travelers that will come after them, desperately searching for information on how to complete the project. Their only concern, is whether or not they should even attempt the project.

This type of question is not a good fit for our community, and should be closed as not constructive.

3 Answers 3


I think that questions of the form "Is X a DIY project?" are often not constructive because any answer has to assume a lot about:

  • the OP's skill level.
  • the OP's time availability.
  • the OP's budget to buy or rent tools and supplies.

Any answers are going to be influenced by the answerer's skill level, time availability and budget; just because I can do X in a weekend doesn't mean that you can.

However, I think they can often be rephrased as "What is involved in doing X?", which gives them a much better chance of getting constructive answers; witness @DA01's answer on the question you linked to. From there, the OP can decide whether or not they are able to do all the sub-tasks involved.

Looking through the questions using the , some of them just plain don't need it and some of them wouldn't need it if they were rephrased as "What is involved..." questions.

  • I just don't think overly broad questions/answers are very helpful. When folks turn to <search engine> to figure out how to do something, they don't want a high level overview. They want detailed, accurate information.
    – Tester101
    Commented Apr 23, 2013 at 19:39
  • There's no reason that information couldn't be added to one of those answers, either directly or as links to other posts on the site. As a moderator, you have the option to add one of those "more detail please" notices to the post if you think it's appropriate, and regular users have the option to flag and ask for it.
    – Niall C. Mod
    Commented Apr 23, 2013 at 19:56

Its kind of like democracy. It ain't fast, it ain't pretty. Perhaps if the question got a mod suggestion earlier, it might have resolved into answerable questions sooner. I think this OP got a great exposure to our commitment to get to the bottom of something answerable.

As long as we make an effort to steer any salvageable request out of its own generality, I agree "can I do ..." is off topic.

I think the diy-pro tag is not needed.


I think the experience of a project is just as important as the steps of the project.

If you give someone 10 steps to do something and one step takes 3 weeks to do or costs a lot of money compared to other answers/options then it should be debated.

The question in question here - making your own driveway - had a lot of feedback from a lot of people with different viewpoints. I am not sure a question that said "Tell me the steps needed to replace driveway" would have had the same debate. I could probably copy and paste this from another site the steps to rebuild driveway from a simple google search. Having both pros and real diyers give opinions is the experience of the site - and thousands of internet viewers will read through this because its not your dry step1, step2, step3 crap.

I used the stackexchange for programming too. There is a lot of opinion based things because in programming there isn't always best practices or regulations. I love the opinions because the allow me to make a more informed decision.

I like the diy-pro tag and I like the questions. They are often dealing with the grey areas of diying and that is where people get stuck.

  • This is not a forum. If you want to discuss things and share opinions, this is not the right place for that. If you're looking for a discussion, there are usually folks hanging out in chat. Please review the What kind of questions should I not ask here? section of the FAQ. "Chatty, open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site..."
    – Tester101
    Commented Apr 26, 2013 at 18:56
  • I don't think his question was chatty or open-ended. He asked if a job was a DIY job. Seems to me that has just as definite of an answer given certain criteria as "what is the best was to screw something into concrete".
    – DMoore
    Commented Apr 26, 2013 at 20:51
  • Also I want to add if chatty or open-ended is what you are staying away from then I suggest that there not be so many questions with the answer of "No you cannot do that" when actually you can. Other than plumbing, electrical, and building code almost all of the advice given on here is opinion. HerrBag helped me out with a transition. It was totally opinion based and against advice I got from others. There were no facts or regulations to back up his advice (but it was great advice to me).
    – DMoore
    Commented Apr 26, 2013 at 20:55

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