This question came up today:

Reusing coffee grounds

It has 1 off-topic close vote (not mine). I tend to lean more toward a restrictive scope at this point, but I'm not sure what to think about this one. It's definitely on or around the border.

What do people think? On or off topic?

2 Answers 2


Just a couple of my own thoughts:

  • It is related to a food (if you consider coffee a food - I do - but if you don't, just pretend it's about apples).

  • It does seem like the kind of information that an expert might not already know but still be able to use.

  • At worst, it seems pretty harmless; I can't see this leading to a slew of hundreds of questions on reuse of organic waste. Then again, I could be wrong.

  • As a corollary, I'm considering how I'd react to a question about safe disposal of cooking oil (i.e. "dirty" deep-fry oil - you don't just dump it down the sink). That seems fine to me, and if somebody suggested in an answer to reuse it as lube (or something), that also seems fine.

  • On the other hand, there is no right answer; it's a bit of a poll, albeit a highly-specific one. Many if not most cooking questions don't have single "right" answers, but they do have wrong answers, and I'm not sure if this one does.

Despite the last point, I'm inclined to just let it be, but I could be convinced to change my vote.

  • You're point about this specific question being a poll should have no bearing on the overall question of "should recycling/disposal be on topic". Other than that, I agree on all points. I let it be as well, and I consider myself to be a bit of a hardass when it comes to closing. Jul 19, 2010 at 16:12
  • I agree - this particular question is on-topic, I think, since it seems the questioner is looking for a kitchen use for a cooking by-product. I think there's a world of difference between asking about uses for coffee grounds and asking, "What happens when I put coffee grounds in my compost?" (which I would consider off-topic). Jul 23, 2010 at 22:56

I think we need to relax a bit;

  • Software engineering requires logical thought, as a prerequisite.
  • Cooking doesn't - it's a creative discipline, and is not an exact science.

This kind of debate could seem overly pedantic.

  • read blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/07/… . The most important question to ask right now is "what is on topic or off topic". While cooking is creative, so is programming. And just like programming, there are plenty of objective questions and answers. Jul 19, 2010 at 22:15
  • If you can consume it as part of a meal - it should be allowed in. The steps required to source, prepare, cook and clean up after should also be fair game. Jul 19, 2010 at 23:03

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