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There's a sporadic influx of questions that aren't travel related appearing on the site.

Example: Are there any standard clothing restrictions when visiting mosques?

There's another about safe ways to eat fugu. Another about a particular bungee jump.

The problem is that there's a genre of questions that one would argue are "on-topic" if you start them with "I'm traveling to xxx and would like to know...".

These are really bad questions to allow for a beta site because they don't attract expert travelers. Who are expert travelers? People that know about flying, miles, award points, hotels, etc. This is a community that has people that belong and people that don't belong.

This site could become a place to ask about any destination a la trip advisor but it would need HUGE critical mass before that happens. And the only way we're going to get critical mass is by starting to attract the smaller group of hard core travelers.

To get the hardcores, we need to start with questions that appeal to them and not the random vacationer.

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    Disagree. The way you phrase it sounds like you want this site to be for business travelers. As far as I can see on this site, most people here seem to be backpackers. – Beaker Jun 27 '11 at 1:51
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I think the mosque question is a real and valid question, though better if it asks about a specific mosque or country. I got into trouble myself last year because entered a Georgian Orthodox church with something wrong and I don't know if it was bare shoulders or for wearing a hat. Print travel guides always include this information in my experience.

I also think the fugu question has merit, perhaps with some editing. I have no idea if the training and certification fugu chefs undergo elsewhere in the world is on par with what is required in Japan. Again print travel guides do include this information.

I agree there are many questions that in the forms asked are not of the beta SE question standard but we can work on them by editing them into shape right? Isn't that part of what the beta is for? I think the best is to offer the most constructive and helpful criticism of all questions that are blurry and try to massage them into good questions before closing them outright.

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    My point is that these questions don't have a strong common theme. The type of person that could answer both well would either be someone who has a bunch of lonely planet books or a good googler – Michael Pryor Jun 25 '11 at 17:26
  • Well he was asking if there were "standard" rules and it's a fair assumption that the rules would be dictated by the religion rather than the country or mosque. – hippietrail Jun 25 '11 at 17:35
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    Indeed, and as the rules aren't dictated by country or place, I don't see how it's relevant to travel. It'd be relevant to a "religion" or "islam" SE, sure. But it has nothing to do with travel. – victoriah Jun 26 '11 at 16:39
  • @naeblis: OP could not have known that the rules are not dictated and if the question is deleted then neither will other people that need to know. I don't need a book on religion or islam in addition to a Lonely Planet to answer this question because Lonely Planet agrees this is an important travel question. – hippietrail Jun 27 '11 at 3:34
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I agree with your premise here.

I think Writers had a similar issue, where people were asking questions about research for their writing:

https://writers.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/20/is-it-appropriate-to-ask-questions-on-specialist-knowledge-areas

In general, I think it's bad to allow questions about something just because you had to travel there to do it. If this was OK then we'd essentially be allowing questions about anything.

IMO the scope of 'travel' is anything to do with the process of moving from one place to another, and topics related to the issues of surviving once you get to that other place. Tacking on "I'm flying to Japan" to a question about nightclubs or churches or something doesn't really seem on topic.

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