Ian has posted a question specific to renting bikes in the UK. Where (UK) can we rent an adult tricycle or recumbent tricycle

I voted to close as its region specific (UK) which stack exchange sites tend to avoid (Is there actually an official policy on this?). I think these questions belong on a UK cycle forum, not an international one. Ian disagrees, saying this is too restrictive.

This opens the regional question again - similar to this: Suggesting bike routes, allowed?

What's the consensus on region specific questions - OK or not?

Update: The consensus seems to be that regional questions are OK.

Update 2: Revisited this question here: Regional questions revisited: Should we have them? (Please post answers there, not here. Protecting this thread temporarily until it falls off the top of Meta.)

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This question is similar, in that it's regional but broad, only to the UK: bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/513/… –  Neil Fein Sep 9 '10 at 13:30
    
@neil good post at meta.stackexchange.com/questions/64810/… ; and more opinions. –  mfg Sep 17 '10 at 13:54
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4 Answers

up vote 14 down vote accepted

The 'Too Localized' option for closing questions is meant for cases where the audience is so narrow that the answers would be useless (or nearly so). In the case of the UK question, I think that it should be allowed for the reasons that darkcanuck mentions.

I do think that posts like this would be best organized into community wiki questions by region that include list of trails, facilities etc by region. This type of question is useful for local riders and people who are traveling.

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I've accepted this answer, tho I'm not sure that every regional question needs to automatically become a community wiki question. –  Kevin Sep 6 '10 at 14:34
    
I think this issue is far from settled, actually. Accepting an answer may be premature. It looks like we're likely going to allow some regional questions, but we need a clear policy. –  Neil Fein Sep 17 '10 at 3:24
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I'm not clear where the stance on region-specific questions is coming from or what harm they pose. As far as I can tell, the only problem with region-specific questions is that they are harder to answer because they require a local expert.

Not all questions on the site are relevant to all users. I don't ride a BMX or a downhill MTB so those questions are less interesting to me. Same for questions about riding in the UK. But lots of others do.

Unlike programming (ie StackOverflow) cycling varies from region to region. Laws, cycling popularity and availability of parts are going to be different in every corner of the world. By deterring region-specific questions I think the usefulness of the site will be diminished and a lot of eager participants will be turned away when their questions are closed for mentioning the UK, Nebraska or the Himalayas.

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The harm is that if the nbr of questions that say 'how do I do this/that in [UK,Nebraska,Himalayas,etc]' outweigh the non region specific questions then the overall value of the site drops. I find it useful to see questions that I'd never have considered (like bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/530/…), but I don't see it useful to see questions about where to get a good B&B in, say, Schenectady. Having said that - the ratio is pretty low. Perhaps we should introduce a 'regional' tag per Dana's suggestion and continue to suck it & see? –  Kevin Sep 2 '10 at 16:52
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I think time will determine the ratio of regional to general questions. So far I'd say it's very low. I'd also suggest that if a question can be rephrased in a more general way then that could be suggested to the poster. –  darkcanuck Sep 3 '10 at 0:15
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We should try to answer questions that can be used by any cyclist. Region-specific questions are bad for the site because a person's geographic position is not something that is likely to change. That is, questions about recumbents could someday be useful for a user that doesn't own a recumbent, but may someday buy one; however, questions about recumbents in the UK are only useful to users in the UK, or users that someday move to the UK.

Same goes for local routes, etc. On top of that, there are likely a number of other ways or places to ask this question which would produce better results--e.g., local bike shops, local forums, local cycling groups, etc.

Edit: Since I answered this meta-question, yet another popped up, which leads me to add that we should be sure to put this in our FAQs. At the very least, we will be able to point users towards it when we vote to close.

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how do we get the FAQ modified ? –  Kevin Sep 2 '10 at 14:11
    
@Kevin - I believe any users with 2K+ rep will get access to 'moderation tools', which may include editing the FAQ. –  Dustin Sep 2 '10 at 14:29
    
well, you're half way there... –  Kevin Sep 2 '10 at 15:22
    
Correct - mods can modify part of the FAQ -- we put in the text at the top that links to on-off-topic flagged questions in Meta, as an interim measure. (That includes this question) We can also make a note once this thread reaches a consensus -- as far as I know, this may be the first SE site to permit regional questions. –  Neil Fein Sep 17 '10 at 3:22
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Some questions have lots of good answers for a large region, so only make sense when asked about a very small regain, e.g. Where Can I Legally Ride Off Road in the UK. We clearly don't want a question about "where to ride" for each town in the world!

Other quesions have a single good answer for each large region. e.g. Can you be done for breaking the speed limit on a bike?

It is normal for stack exchange sites to have region specific questions, e.g. asking about Chinese text input on StackOverflow, but you would not expect a question on user groups in Cambridge(UK).

A lot of cycling questions are regional specific even if they don’t mention a region as the equipment that is on the market is different in each region, so is the local laws and customs.

So were should the dividing line be?

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the SO example you cited is useful to programmers everywhere have have to write apps that could be used by people in China. The answers to it are not useful only to programmers in China. The question about where to rent bikes (or go off road) in the UK would generate answers useful only to people in the UK. That to me is the problem. –  Kevin Sep 2 '10 at 15:21
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@Kevin - what about people who are coming on holiday to the UK? Surely the post would be useful then? –  Mark Ingram Sep 2 '10 at 18:17
    
@Mark, yes it would be of interest to them, but that still doesn't mean it has broad enough interest to be appropriate to this Q&A site. –  Kevin Sep 2 '10 at 18:30
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