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Many of the times, I have noted that a question was closed because it did not fit in the community guidelines or it was off-topic for the site, but I had answers to those questions. Examples include questions closed because it was asking for a list of things, or questions closed because of its too narrow nature. Will it be possible to create a private forum, exclusively for the community members so that such such questions can be answered? It is not a very good idea to deprive a user of an answer simply because question did not fit in the rules, especially when another community member has an answer to it.

I suggest that this be private so as to avoid spamming. Forgive me if this a naive idea, but I would really like to know the community's take on this.

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    I am personally in favor of allowing more questions that are currently off topic for these reasons as a way of getting more users to use this site. It would mean more spam to clean up has the potential to have questions that don't play nicely with the voting and reputation system. – Stephen Ostermiller Jul 16 '14 at 18:11
  • If we keep the suggested facility (forum) out of index and make it private, and make it work outside the reputation system of the website, I guess we might be able to overcome these problems to some extent. And I also agree that if we close more questions that can be potentially answered, that is a wastage of such a great resource like our community. – Rana Prathap Jul 16 '14 at 18:20
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This has come up time and time again on quite a few of our sites, and it's just not something that works well in connection with our main sites, which are designed to have an extremely high signal to noise ratio. The concern is these 'annex' sites (or attics, archives, and other neat words for such collections) would become a sort of watering hole, diverting attention from the main site.

On Webmasters, would it be that huge of a problem? Probably not, most of the stuff that is closed here isn't really valuable to anyone, including the person that asked it even a week or two after it was asked. On other sites, in particular the sites that are much more discussion oriented by nature of the topic, it would be a big problem.

If you really want it, a better way to request it would be to zero in on a very refined criteria when it comes to identifying stuff that is probably going to be high quality (just off-topic), and ask for deleted posts that match said criteria to be available in the data dumps and data explorer. You could then remix and reuse to make your own attic :)

I'm declining this not because it's a bad idea, or that you didn't make a good case for it - but simply because it's a long-had argument, which has always ended at us just not being able to do it. (anecdotal note, I was in favor of the same sort of thing for Stack Overflow years ago).

  • I agree with the point of the practical difficulty. Can I suggest an alternative? Can we better integrate the pre existing chat feature so that all closed questions are automatically moved to chat? Those who are interested may follow it up there. – Rana Prathap Jul 18 '14 at 4:39
  • @RanaPrathap The chat room feature is unfortunately (currently) under-utilized here. However, any user can invite others to the Webmasters chat room, or a newly created one. If you can address a question further, please add a link to a chat room in a comment so that others may indeed follow it. New rooms remain open for 10 days without additional activity, and the main Webmasters chat room maintains a history of comments which can be starred and shared too (see the permalink when hovering over the comment). I'm sure the help would be appreciated, and might give the idea to others as well. – dan Jul 23 '14 at 1:05

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