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A question that I asked on the main site was closed, despite following the rules as they are stated on the page about what's on-topic.

When I asked why, I was told that Rule Intent questions are not permitted, and this meta thread was cited.

When I asked why the page about what's on-topic has not been updated to reflect this decision, I was told that "[we do] not have easy control over the help page, so changing it, even after the community has agreed on something, is not trivial".

I think it's perfectly reasonable to not permit questions on X topic. But I think it's weird/interesting that such an important page cannot be edited.

Who owns this page, and why is it difficult to gain access to edit it accordingly?

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It can only be edited by the elected "diamond" moderators

Most of the help pages aren't editable at all (excepting CMs/devs), however the On Topic page is editable by diamond moderators. That means the community doesn't have means to edit, nor suggest edits, to that page leaving it entirely in the hands of diamonds.

So, we would need to remember to do it and have a good way of weaving it in. How to word something so it is clear, concise, and not off-putting nor too stilted is hard. And doing something that is a bit outside the normal pages and not time critical is easy to postpone.

Those two can compound a little, but small nudges help and a meta discussion suggesting how to do a thing helps even more. (Especially if we're given a nudge once there's a good consensus).

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    \$\begingroup\$ Though I have no proof of this, I can't imagine many people view the on-topic page before asking their question. After all, we still get game-rec questions. This leaves me unsure how much a change would even help \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Jul 3 at 18:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 I'm prone to agreeing, but it should still reflect the site, acknowledgeing that is part of what makes things not time critical. \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil Jul 3 at 18:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2: Indeed! it's especially difficult to prove because we can't know how many questions we don't see due to the on-topic page. But I'd agree that it seems moderately likely at least. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Jul 3 at 18:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Someone_Evil Thank you for the answer. I'm not very familiar with what a "Diamond Moderator" is. Is there a finite number for all Stack Exchange sites? I would expect that there at least one Diamond Moderator for every Stack Exchange community. \$\endgroup\$ – Aventinus Jul 3 at 19:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Aventinus Diamond moderators are elected (or, for new/beta sites, SE-selected) members of each community that get special elevated powers. Their (our) main job is to handle things that other community members can't handle effectively and to step in when things on the site aren't functioning properly. Generally, every site has at least one. You can see a list of a site's diamond moderators by going to the user page here on that site. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Jul 3 at 19:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ They also have a nice diamond on their nickname, like Someone_Evil and Rubiksmoose have (just so you can easily identify them in the future). \$\endgroup\$ – HellSaint Jul 4 at 3:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ I had no idea that this was even editable by diamond moderators; I thought this was an SE-only thing. We should probably consider that page some on meta, then. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jul 4 at 17:12
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Fun tidbit, we actually just discussed a very related issue in a meeting of the Pro-tem Moderator Council. Though the On Topic page is one of the few help pages dimaond moderators can edit (as explained well by Someone_Evil), the reason why the rest of the pages cannot be edited, in large part, is because unified wording allows SE Inc. to roll out wording updates to every site at the same time. Having modifiable pages obviously makes that impossible, or at least much more difficult if all 170+ sites modify their help pages differently.

But, this is something we are discussing with the company. It may be that this could be something that is realistic to see changed in the future. However, I suspect it will always fall to diamond moderators to do that editing. As always though, the community should drive those changes using rpg.meta.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Very interesting, I had no idea. Thank you. \$\endgroup\$ – Aventinus Jul 3 at 19:25

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