9

This is going to be quite tricky, a lot of it revolves around giving quick easy guidance on whats on topic and whats offtopic.

The main thing is to give the broad topic areas, eg

  • Things related to training
  • Questions about specific martial arts
  • Questions about techniques / scenarios
  • Questions about martial arts equipment
  • It may be too early to tell, mate... It's definitely something we need to keep in mind... – stslavik Feb 2 '12 at 23:32
  • 2
    @stslavik It's definitely not too early to start working on this. This is a large part of the early beta: the 7 essential meta questions for every beta – Robert Cartaino Feb 3 '12 at 19:50
  • Be aware that the Sports proposal (which has merged in other individual sports proposals such as running, football, bodybuilding, etc.) is now in private beta. – Matt Chan Feb 9 '12 at 17:01
  • Just for reference sake, I've gone ahead with a proposed FAQ and pushed it out to the actual faq location. It is just an enumeration of all the various scope issues that have been brought up over the weeks since launching in beta. – Matt Chan Apr 3 '12 at 16:08
6

There are other martial arts forums and bb's out in the interweb - usually style specific, but they are generally not nice places to be. There is a large amount of trolling (style vs style) and a very low 'signal to noise' ratio.

Generally these old sites tend to degenerate into cliques of members with very well established house rules and tend to come down very hard and (often) agressive to new members.

This is EXACTLY WHAT WE DONT WANT HERE! So any FAQ that can help define what is good behaviour (topics, question and answer style), what is unacceptable is going to be required.

Martial Arts is a very subjective subject, with very strongly held views and opinions (you could even say doctrine) - the 'community' must define the boundaries.

6

Here's my suggested starting point for the scope section at the top of our FAQ, based on the template from the Superuser FAQ:

Martial Arts is for martial arts enthusiasts and professional martial artists. If you have a question about…

  • Martial arts training
  • Martial arts technique
  • Martial arts teaching
  • Martial arts history
  • Martial arts equipment

…then feel free to ask. Please do a search to check that no-one else has asked first, though.

Martial Arts is not about…

  • Which martial art is the 'best'
  • If martial artist A would beat martial artist B
  • Martial arts movies, comics, science fiction, or fantasy
  • Fitness issues that aren't very specific to martial artists
  • Finding schools teaching style X in your area (please use a search engine)
  • Theatrical / stage fighting

Above all, remember that your question should have a clear answer. It should not prompt extended debate or invite opinion. If your question is not related to an actual problem you face, it probably does not belong on this site.

  • Good points overall. I like how it's modeled after the Super User faq and enumerates things we've already discussed here on meta. – Matt Chan Feb 6 '12 at 18:48
  • 1
    I cautious about "martial arts history" being included: some arts have well established and documented histories but there are others that have a rather opaque lineage. The trouble is that unless someone can come up with a cited and reputed definitive answer (and it is unlikely unless you have access to original and verified documents) then these discussions can quickly degenerate into a trolling flaming war that undermines the page. However, it is fairly easy to spot so could be a reason to [close] a question that looks like it's just going to flame up. – Guy Feb 6 '12 at 21:42
  • @Guy I think the site has enough safeguards to be able to nip that in the bud, and the community in general helps police this simply by using the up/down votes (answers with enough down votes get automatically deleted). Unverifiable word-of-mouth history can still be perfectly legit, you just have to know whether you can trust the person giving it. – slugster Feb 8 '12 at 23:39
  • @Nick: I would be reluctant to include the line If your question is not related to an actual problem you face... - there is nothing wrong with theoretical "I always wanted to know that" type questions, you don't want to discourage them provided they are on topic. – slugster Feb 8 '12 at 23:41
  • @Guy, I agree on the negative aspects of anecdotal history. This question is the perfect example of an aimless discussion: martialarts.stackexchange.com/q/191/121 – Bob Cross Feb 9 '12 at 3:05
  • @slugster I found the actual problem you face line in the guidelines in this blog post. I think it might help to keep things on-topic. – Nick Feb 9 '12 at 7:49
  • I've used this as the basis for a proposed FAQ which I've now pushed out to the official faq location. – Matt Chan Apr 3 '12 at 16:03
4

The first thing we need to do is differentiate between FAQ and wiki. If you use the StackOverflow FAQ as an example, it is mainly guidelines about how to use that specific site, that information has been distilled from discussions and decisions in the Meta site. Notably it doesn't include information about specific topics the site encompasses (like How would I code a bubble sort in C#?), this means we shouldn't be including things like What is the proper technique for a mai geri? in our FAQ. So in other words, the FAQ is very meta or governance oriented. Crucially, I think it is important that we give some example questions that are off topic, so these can be linked to from comments and/or close reasons.

Information about specific arts, techniques, equipment, etc. can be incorporated into the tag wikis. This means that tags like can have a dissertation about correct technique, and can also have separate sections to cover differences between the same kick in different arts.

3

I would add some variation of the following:

What Martial Art Should I Practice?

As a general rule, any recommendation question where the answer is going to be a list of specific martial arts is probably going to be off topic. There is too much room for debate over too broad of a scope with too many localized variables to be able to provide a meaningful answer to such questions.

Instead, try asking questions of the form What should I look for in a martial art/instructor for [X] purpose…. So instead of saying "what self-defense martial art should I practice?" try a question along the lines of "What should I look for in choosing a self defense martial art?"

3

A couple thoughts in regards to this:

  1. We should define what we consider to be "martial arts" for the purposes of the FAQ. There have been a couple of other questions (one, two) that have popped up related to this and this should be in the FAQ so we don't discourage people that may want to know if their question about pugilism would be on-topic when most of the questions appear to be about Eastern martial arts.
  2. We should define what the boundaries are for "side concerns" to martial arts, are questions about equipment and equipment maintenance on-topic (relevant for kendo), what about meditation or just basic first aid at the dojo?
  3. We need to better define what a bad question is to avoid debates (i.e. "Style x vs. style y") and also to ensure that the questions aren't just a list of items.

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