The Help Center has a page for What topics can I ask about here?. Part of it states:

Questions about obtaining particular datasets are off-topic (they are too specialized). The GIS site welcomes inquiries about obtaining geographically related datasets.

It seems strange to link to the GIS site but not to Open Data, which exists specifically for this purpose.

I appreciate Open Data is only in beta, but recent SE announcements make clear no beta site is in imminent danger of being culled.

Similarly, quite a few requests that get closed here are for economic data, and these requests seem to be considered on-topic on Economics SE, as can be seen from their data request tag. If GIS is linked from our on-topic help, I think it might be worth including Economics too. Perhaps something like this?

Questions about obtaining particular datasets are off-topic (they are too specialized). The Open Data site is suitable for general requests for publicly available data. The GIS site and Economics site welcome inquiries about obtaining geographic and economic datasets respectively.


2 Answers 2


I think Open Data SE should be linked to from the “On topic” help center page for the following three reasons:

  1. Public betas are very unlikely to close. Quote from a moderator: " it's been a long time since Stack Exchange shut down a site that made it to public beta (private betas are different; several of those have failed.".
  2. Even if Open Data SE closed, we could move the content on some other sites, and in the meantime the user would have gotten their answer anyway.
  3. It's best to redirect the user to some place rather than nothing.
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ This is my view. I also note that we link to Open Data SE in one of our stock close reasons (about data sets), so it seems odd not to link to it in our help page. (Perhaps that could be point 4 on your list!) $\endgroup$
    – Silverfish
    Commented Dec 23, 2015 at 16:19

GIS is a graduated site. Economics & Open Data are still in beta.

ISTM that it doesn't make a lot of sense to start changing help pages to point to sites that might not exist in six months time: it just adds an unnecessary maintenance burden.

Similarly, the network (as a principle) does not create fixed migration pathways to beta sites. Individual questions can be migrated to beta sites, but fixed pathways for speedy migration voted for by non-mod high-rep users are reserved for graduated sites, for the same reason of avoiding unnecessary maintenance burdens.

(This is not an SE Inc answer: just my impression of how things work.)

  • $\begingroup$ There is some truth in this, as I acknowledged in my question the other sites are beta. I decided to ask this question due to the change in SE approach towards betas - they will now be shut if they degrade in quality but not for failure to grow. This makes betas much safer (at present none are considered at risk, last I saw) and there should be adequate warning to change links if anything changes on this front, although I agree it would be a pain to change if it occurs. $\endgroup$
    – Silverfish
    Commented Jul 8, 2015 at 8:10
  • $\begingroup$ The lack of migration options seems to me to be a stronger argument for getting a question asked in the right place in the first place! Not everybody reads the help pages, of course, but every little signpost to the correct destination has got to help. $\endgroup$
    – Silverfish
    Commented Jul 8, 2015 at 8:12

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