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A question was recently asked about statistical classes in the NYC area. I automatically thought that it should be closed as it was too localised - unsurprisingly the questioner disagrees ;)

My general thoughts are:

  • We could easily generate infinitely questions by changing the region. For example, change NYC to "Yorkshire"
  • The question is only useful for a small geographical area.
  • How large a geographical area is acceptable? A country, city, town?

What do people think?


I've now closed the question as it seems that most people think the question is too localised.

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I come to this site to ask and answer data analysis (broadly defined) questions and do not wish the site to allow career related questions. I think asking career related questions is or should be off-topic because of the following additional reasons (apart from it not being related to data analysis):

  1. Better alternatives exist for such questions (ask your friends, colleagues, previous profs etc).

  2. Any good recommendations are likely to be very specific to your particular situation, skills and goals. Hence, asking random strangers on a website focussed on data analysis questions may not be the best idea. This point also suggests that the answers while helpful to you may not be helpful to another person because such advice is very much dependent on the person. Thus, the question is very 'localized'.

  3. You could always visit the schools themselves, sit in a few classes, speak to current students etc.

Given the above I would agree that this question is too localized and is off-topic for this site. I have voted to close it as off-topic.

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  • $\begingroup$ Overall, I agree with you, but I think there's a need for a place to ask questions like this that isn't being met (since they pop up periodically, and I've held back a few myself). It would be nice to have something like the Not Programming Related SE (programmers.stackexchange.com), but I'm not sure we could muster the numbers to push something like that through. $\endgroup$ Oct 25 '10 at 4:09
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My thinking for allowing the question

  1. it's on topic
  2. it's useful - not just for me, but for any future person in the NYC area
  3. it scales reasonably well - there are only so many places that the question can be asked. Boston, London, SF, etc
  4. there's no better place to get an answer to this question
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    $\begingroup$ I'd disagree with 1 and 3 (can't argue with 2 or 4): (1) it's subjective and it's not about statistical analysis (3) although the number is certainly finite, i'm sure there are scores, if not hundreds, of cities in the world with multiple institutes of further and higher education that teach statistics $\endgroup$
    – onestop
    Oct 25 '10 at 7:01
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    $\begingroup$ (3) is the opposite of "scaling" well: it points out just how extremely localized the question is; it doesn't scale to broader geographical areas at all, but rather requires special location-dependent responses. It therefore cannot be of general interest. (2) may be true, but a reference to the FAQ clearly indicates (1) is false. (4) merely reflects a failure to search. May I recommend Googling 'statistics knowledge skills classroom "New York City" school professional education'? (These words were obtained by parsing the original question.) $\endgroup$
    – whuber Mod
    Oct 25 '10 at 15:00

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