First up, I don't understand why people closed How to make Salad Olivier? [closed]

A how to question, yet allowed:

How to make large clear ice cubes

How do you make General Tso’s chicken as generally found in the Eastern USA?

How to make thick and fluffy pancakes?

and others?

They're all 'how to's' regardless of the semantics of the question.

On a separate note, I wonder if we're restricting the scope of the site unnecessarily? Let's face it, we're not exactly inundated with new questions every day, and the majority of those we do get are North American.

Down vote this if you want, but at least 'try' and think about the future of the site.

  • I'm not an "original" here so it would be inappropriate for me to venture an answer however, the question is valid and should be discussed, in my viewpoint.
    – apaderno
    Jul 24, 2010 at 18:02
  • @Cinque: You don't have to be an "original" to give an answer. We welcome all input, you're a part of this community too.
    – hobodave
    Jul 24, 2010 at 18:58
  • if it makes you feel better, it's the weekend! I'm seeing lower activity in all the betas. This is a normal traffic pattern for any site... let alone a site that is basically designed for procrastinating at work! Jul 24, 2010 at 22:20
  • There's a difference between 'how do I do a general thing' and 'how do I make this specific recipe when I have already linked to how to make this dish in my question.' When one adds the...idiosyncratic username, it's pretty obvious the question was not in good faith.
    – daniel
    Jul 25, 2010 at 9:36

2 Answers 2


This is a good question. I too am a little concerned about the new question volume, it seems to have died down considerably.

However, I still feel that we should pay more respect to quality over quantity. The Salad Olivier question is rather vague, and the OP doesn't demonstrate any prior knowledge or provide any specificity to his question, nor are any objective criteria given. I'm never had this dish, but looking at the Wikipedia page there seem to be several different ways this is made. I find this style of question to be closely related to this good recipe for teriyaki question. Ignoring the fact that it is ridiculously localized (a specific exit off of an Interstate in a specific U.S. city), he doesn't do anything besides state the name of the dish and qualify it with "damn good".

The ice cubes question is specific, and objective. The OP knows how to make ice cubes, but he wants specific help making large clear ones.

My general tso's chicken question also contains specificity. I indicate ingredients. I compare and contrast my expectations with my experiences eating this dish in other regions. I also provide guidelines for taste, color, and consistency. I think that, given this, my question falls in the scope of the restaurant mimicry meta.

The fluffy pancake question is also specific. If it were "how do I make pancackes?", I'd say it was definitely off-topic. Granted, I feel it's borderline because I don't feel that the OP put much effort into the question, but it can still be answered objectively by a professional chef, and has.

P.S. Not that this should necessarily be used solely as a reason to close a question, but the OP's name for the Salad Olivier question is a somewhat dirty American joke. If you say out loud it comes out sounding like "Hey, would you blow me?". This likely played a significant role in not taking the poster seriously.

  • Thanks for pointing out the name thing. Not being a native English speaker, sometimes these things get missed.
    – Pulse
    Jul 25, 2010 at 13:05

It wasn't closed because it was a "how to" question. It was closed because it was a generic recipe request. This topic has been discussed at length; if you disagree, please post your thoughts as an answer there.

Summary: Questions requesting recipes are on-topic if and only if they are specific enough to be "preparation" questions - in other words, there is some reasonably objective criteria for evaluating the correctness of an answer, and there can be only a small number of correct answers.

Even if a bunch of generic recipe requests would draw in a lot more traffic, it wouldn't be the kind of traffic we want. It doesn't give us any competitive advantage over the thousands of other recipe sites and recipe forums.

Anyway, I'm not worried about the lower traffic over the past 24 hours or so. Traffic on every Stack Exchange site is lowest on weekends. If we're well into next week and still aren't seeing many new questions, then I might start to worry that we're not promoting the site well enough (but I still wouldn't worry about scope).

  • Countered the random -1.
    – hobodave
    Jul 24, 2010 at 23:24

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