How is it off-topic ?

What can be modified in the question to be re-asked/re-opened ?

4 Answers 4


Consider yourself lucky, you've gotten two nice answers !!

  1. answer given, as per comment, directs to a massively voted Q&A on Stack Overflow.
  2. answer re-directs to a Wiki-page, about how to build an email address with the proper syntax.

This almost indicates that the information you're looking for is rather quickly obtainable or users have a hunch that the question might be off-topic, but still want to lent a helping hand.

I agree with the decision made, but don't be discouraged by it, this is how things go around here (bin there, done it).

Try to make your question as attractive as possible, because first impressions count !!


The question is not about a web application but about how e-mail in general works.

I'm not sure where this would be on topic on the Stack Exchange network.

  • 1
    quote: "I'm not sure where this would be on topic on the Stack Exchange network." --- yes, that is what i thought before posting, and i thought that this site is the closer considering that this site has questions about different email provider like gmail and hotmail, and my question is about emails in general, and I supposed that emails can be considered a 'web application' regardless of the provider.
    – sharp12345
    Jun 12, 2013 at 13:10
  • @sharp12345 Emails are no web application – Gmail and Hotmail are. Jun 14, 2013 at 14:01

The question quite clearly, to me, was

"Does gmail/hotmail have any special rules about email addresses?"

and the answer should have been

"No, they follow the standard rules for email addresses that everyone* follows.

*most everyone, I'm sure there's an exception or two out there"

I do think a young site like this should be careful about how eager it is to close questions from new members without a little more care and attention to them.

  • "Young site"? Web Apps Stack Exchange has been around for at least three years. That's pretty old in Internet terms.
    – ale
    Jul 8, 2013 at 12:54
  • And, if it was that clear to you, why didn't you edit the question so that it had a chance at being re-opened?
    – ale
    Jul 8, 2013 at 12:54
  • 1
    @AlEverett, I did.
    – Paul
    Jul 8, 2013 at 13:28

ChrisF nicely explains why it was off-topic (not about a web app, but a protocol).

For a little more help on what could have been done to get the question re-opened, though (to fully answer your question), you could have:

  • asked what characters should be used in e-mail addresses if they are to be handled by [insert webmail service here (GMail, Outlook, etc.)].

  • asked if there are any webmail services that allow [insert character(s) or character type(s) here] (asking for more things could be a "shopping list", but with very narrow criteria like this it should be fine).

  • asked what happens if [insert webmail service] encounters [insert character(s) or character type(s)] in an e-mail address.

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