Apart from asking for general resources (how to learn Latin, tools, etc.), is the asking of specific sources or citations acceptable? For example, asking for an example of a Latin boustrophedon inscription appears to be acceptable, but would the same for a picture of the inscription also be on topic? Asking for examples of the future passive infinitive seems fine, but what about scholarship on it, such as asking for a bibliography of the topic?

I think we nearly tested the waters with a question on where to find ancient math texts online, so too should the above questions be material to our site, right?

  • 2
    I think they either need to be very specific, or it must be clear that even a single example would be hard to find for the average person (and hence useful for him). It shouldn't be a list, so a bibliography seems too large.
    – Cerberus Mod
    Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 23:27
  • 1
    @Cerberus Short bibliography? How is that different than the math one? I'm trying to really see the difference here at a fundamental level.
    – cmw Mod
    Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 23:29
  • 3
    True: the mathematics one could be seen as asking for a long list. On the other hand, he says "something", and any such texts from Antiquity seem to be rather hard to find, so he may be content with one or two texts? // Or perhaps asking for bibliographies wouldn't be so bad...I guess it really depends on how much fun it is for us to answer such a question. If it's fun, and the subject isn't stupid or uninteresting, then why not?
    – Cerberus Mod
    Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 23:33
  • That's my inclination. We'll st what the rest of the community thinks.
    – cmw Mod
    Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 23:34
  • Yes. When in doubt, allow.
    – Cerberus Mod
    Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 23:37
  • I asked both the boustrophedon question and the math question. The basic idea behind them both is the same: I believed something was out there but I had not succeeded in finding an example. My goal was to get one or two examples to satisfy my curiosity and maybe learn a way to find more. Admittedly, I also wanted to test how such questions would work here and give precedent for future scope discussions. (Also @Cerberus.)
    – Joonas Ilmavirta Mod
    Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 0:47
  • @JoonasIlmavirta I think we made the right decision in allowing both. I admit I was shaky on the math question, but I think the way it was asked makes it perfectly acceptable. I'm not too concerned about those questions, but about what may or may not be acceptable from there. I guess all I can really do is ask questions myself to test the limits.
    – cmw Mod
    Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 0:56

1 Answer 1


To me it ultimately comes down to how many of the requested resources exist.

Usually, if there are many resources, the question is either too broad ("give me a list of all the resources") or too opinion-based ("what is the best example of this resource?").

But, if only a few of the requested resources exist, then an exhaustive list may not be too broad. Similarly, if there are many examples of the requested resource, but the question asks for the "earliest" or "latest" or some other objective criterion, then it could avoid being considered opinion based.

Of course, if we don't know how many of the requested resources there are, it can be difficult to judge how broad the question is. In such cases, it's fine to take a wait-and-see approach: if dozens or hundreds of examples of boustrophedon inscriptions appear that fit the question's criteria, then the question can be closed as too broad, or narrowed by the OP.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .