Warning: this post is related to a rapidly changing event.

After the bombings in Paris, the subsequent high alerts across western Europe, and finally the Brussels lockdown situation we are getting an increasing number of questions asking information about the current situation. This is obviously understandable. It is also foreseeable that more similar questions will be asked in the near future. Below is a sample subset of the questions:

The question is how should we deal with such questions? Most of them are event-based, somewhat temporary, and should in theory have little to no place on TSE. For example, it is safe to assume that at some point the threat level will decrease, and border controls will go back to normal. Others are asking for tips and recommendations, the most popular being "should I not go to YYY / should I reschedule my trip?". Personally I think there is no way to answer this type of questions. For starters, they are IMHO opinion-based: I might want to keep on travelling around regardless of the possible threats, others might not. Secondly it's borderline impossible to know in advance how the situation will evolve and what will happen.

Wanna discuss this together?

  • 1
    Maybe we need some canonical question+answer to refer to.
    – gerrit
    Commented Nov 25, 2015 at 11:13
  • Is it a subset of the WANTA debate? Or some other debate like we are not a police force? I propose that TSE is about travel +/- 1 standard deviation if you get my drift.
    – Gayot Fow
    Commented Nov 25, 2015 at 14:26
  • @gerrit look at the sample questions - they're all completely different, there's no way one answer would cover them. A tag, maybe. Commented Nov 26, 2015 at 15:12

3 Answers 3


I disagree that being event-based means they don't belong. The non-safety questions in that horribly named tag, are fine questions. They eventually become obsolete, but that doesn't make them off topic.

That said, this particular crop of questions are somewhat different. Rather than asking whether a particular museum has re-opened after recent flooding, or the expected delay until something opens again, they ask "is there going to be another attack?" "will I be safe?" "should I go?" and these questions would be offtopic even in the absence of an event. We wouldn't let someone ask if it's safe to go to New York given that people sometimes get mugged there, or safe to go to California during wildfire season. It's opinion based and broad.

As always, the fix is to ask for facts and draw your own conclusions, not to ask for conclusions. "Have there been more incidents of X since Y?" is answerable. The first few days after the Paris attacks there were some very unpleasant incidents in Canada. A person could ask about that, then decide for themselves if those incidents were enough to warrant a change of plans. We don't know if there will be another attack any more than we know if it will snow Dec 1st in a specific location. We shouldn't let people ask that.

  • 2
    I actually disagree about those safety questions being offtopic. They're obviously common concerns, and the basic answer that a single terrorist attack has essentially zero impact on overall traveller safety is perfectly valid. Commented Nov 27, 2015 at 12:52

To add to Kate's answer, I think answering those questions can serve as a knowledge precedent for later questions that call to deal with such situations. Just like questions about extreme weather occurrences or currency problems related to economic crises where the location is not so relevant but the situation is similar.

The obviously broad questions should be closed as any other question, but those that are answerable per our guidelines should remain.


The question What should our three off-topic close reasons be? had a couple of answers advocating that event based questions eventually be closed as obsolete.

Lots of information goes obsolete within a couple of years on Q&A web sites, not just questions about a specific event. Who knows, maybe will become obsolete within a few years? So no, I don't think there should be any big drive to close questions to do with this.

On a side note, we've still been getting questions mentioning the Fukushima Daiichi accident over three years since the accident, so questions about event based effects don't become instantly useless.

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