"Getting started" questions like this one (and these and these and these) are off topic. Can we get a close reason for them? I seem to see them quite often.

Something along the lines of

Questions asking us to help you get started on learning about information security are off topic. You may be able to get help in our associated chatroom.

I understand that we have only 3 slots for close reasons, but they can be increased if the need is demonstrated.


2 Answers 2


I don't see the point. “Getting started” is not intrinsically a bad thing. I think your questions fall under three broad types:

  • “Tell me all about X, I want to learn about X.” → too broad
  • “I know nothing but I want to learn how to attack X” → “Questions asking us to break the security of a specific system for you are off-topic unless they demonstrate an understanding of the concepts involved and clearly identify a specific problem.”
  • “I know nothing but I want to learn how to secure X” → too broad, with a comment.

I find the existing close reasons satisfactory, I don't see the point of introducing a new one. Furthermore a “getting started” close reason might give the impression that we reject newbie questions, which is not the case — if you're willing to learn, not trying to bite more than you can chew, and not asking for us to write a book, then you're welcome to ask even basic questions.

  • 1
    My name is Scott Pack and I approve and/or endorse this message and/or product.
    – Scott Pack
    Commented Oct 24, 2013 at 13:51
  • :( @Gilles but that's how I got all my points is the first one. Commented Nov 16, 2013 at 19:17

I have no opinion on the proposal, but I thought I'd suggest how you can handle "getting started" questions with the existing tools at your disposal at the moment, in the absence of such a special close reason.

In particular, you could vote to close as "too broad" (because you could write an entire book on the topic) and optionally downvote (because they didn't do any research before asking). That seems to fit the criteria for those actions.

You must log in to answer this question.

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