There are many questions about shipping on Travel.SE and we even have a tag called which has 24 questions underneath it.

I recently observed this question on Shipping food from Texas to Canada, which I flagged as off-topic but on later considering the OP's point of view felt some logic behind their thoughts as well.

On that question, if the OP were to phrase it as "I am traveling in Texas and would like to send some food which I loved out here back to Canada, how can I do that?" That would be deemed perfectly on-topic I believe, solely because we have done that in the past.

So, are shipping questions on-topic or not? If they are not on-topic, what about the shipping tag and the questions tagged underneath it?

1 Answer 1


It's in the wording, I guess. Is he travelling? Or exporting? Or mailing? It's a travel website. Of course different wording might change that, but that's the point, we put questions on hold until they're more appropriate for the site.

So yes, same guy could word it differently and get different results, but by rewording them we keep a consistent tone on the site.

More importantly, if questions are left open which are seen to be 'basically on topic, even if it doesn't really sorta mention travel', then future people point to those as examples as to why their even-more-off-topic question should be allowed. And the downwards spiral happens :/

So it's best in these situations to put the question on hold, clarify, and reword and reopen if indeed it turns out to be on topic. That's why SE has the 'on-hold' option, to give people a chance to reword before it's closed.

  • But the on-hold option does not allow people to post answers, which means that the on-hold questions generally tend to be abandoned. Commented Jun 24, 2014 at 2:42
  • Yes, as SE doesn't want people answering off-topic / unclear / whatever questions. Once they've been edited, they can be reopened, and this has happened a few times recently (eg the mirrors on Japan taxis question got reopened).
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Jun 24, 2014 at 2:44
  • In theory you are correct, but we all know that's a one in a hundred case. Rarely do questions which go on hold come back to life. That came back to life because of a strong response to curiosity questions by the community. When the community is decided on the question being off-topic, it being edited or reworded, rarely opens it up again. Commented Jun 24, 2014 at 3:23
  • Also, the same user posted another question, which was also put on hold, because andra suggested the user to do that exact same thing which would have worked if the user would wait a good amount of time. Commented Jun 24, 2014 at 3:24

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