Proposal: Dumpster Diving

I was surprised to see this closed as "not a real proposal."
I am not aware of a "checklist" of requirements for a valid proposal, but this one has at least some points in its favour:

  • The subject matter and the audience are well-defined
  • Although nobody gets paid for dumpster diving, those who practise it consider it productive (similar to homebrewing)
  • There is a potentially unlimited supply of technical questions
  • Experts exist
  • The practice is not inherently illegal (it is possible to break the law while doing it, but that applies to many hobbies; Again compare with homebrewing)
  • A lot of the potential audience are nerds (giving it a good chance of getting critical mass.)

So what makes it "not a real proposal?" Is it because of concern for damaging SE's "clean" image? (that might explain why it was closed by a SE employee.) Does it break some other unwritten rule?

Edit: maybe my mistake was to tag it as "science" instead of "recreation?"

It being closed by an employee is nothing unusual. There doesn't seem to be a large amount of VTC-ers here so Dori does most of the policing. – John Sep 19 '11 at 23:00
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Such an off-beat proposal isn't going to have long to "prove" its value, before being closed as "not a real proposal."

Perhaps there is some "dumpster diving" sub-culture that I'm aware of, but if you are going to create a proposal on such an obscure topic, at least be on the ready with a serious-sounding description and a complete list of on- and off-topic questions.

With a vague description and only two example questions, the proposal didn't offer much in the way of showing how this could be a valuable resource to anyone.

Yes there certainly is a dumpster diving sub-culture. I assumed everyone would be aware of it. This answers the question though. Thanks. – finnw Sep 20 '11 at 8:39
I find this rather irritating. Every proposal starts with a rather low quality, why should this one have to start nearly-finished? – Adrian Heine Sep 20 '11 at 12:15
@Adrian Lang: I didn't say it had to be "nearly finished" but enough forethought and presentation has to be put into the initial proposal or you risk being dismissed as a non-starter. I don't see a Dumpster Diving site making great Q&A, but the proposal wasn't written for me. Still, as it was written, it came across as a bit silly; and worse, it wasn't terribly well developed thereafter. This is an iterative process and I was trying to be helpful about where the author may have missed the mark in his efforts. – Robert Cartaino Sep 20 '11 at 15:43
@RobertCartaino Thank you for trying to explain this :) I don’t really see anything silly and I consider less than one day not that much time for developing. So I’ll stick with thinking that the standard applied to this topic was not the same that would be applied to something more familiar to the moderators – I see quite some topics not exactly doing a rocket start and yet not being closed. – Adrian Heine Sep 20 '11 at 16:12

If I had to guess, it would be because:

  • It likely would not attract the kind of users that SE wants.

  • There is no limit to the variety of questions you can ask if you include anything that you can possibly find in a dumpster. It's range would be far too wide for a coherent community.

Let's take your example question:

I found a couch that appears to be in good condition, but am concerned about bedbugs. Is there a reliable way to detect and/or kill them?

Seems more like a cleaning or extermination* question. It is only tangentially related to the fact that you found it while dumpster-diving. See: bullet point 3.

*I'm not sure if this specific question would fit, but extermination is already on-topic at Home Improvement.

Who would be your experts? Homeless people? No (most DDs are not homeless) but why would it matter if they were? – finnw Sep 20 '11 at 7:00
Also there is no limit to the variety of questions you can ask if you include anything that you can possibly write a program to do. That does not stop StackOverflow being successful. – finnw Sep 20 '11 at 8:38
Upon rethinking, I'll concede that there probably are DD experts that aren't homeless. (If they were, what would be the chances that they would get on the internet a lot?) Yes, but SO is about programming. They are very strict as to what your question has to have to be on-topic. Your example question could easily have nothing to do with DD. – John Sep 21 '11 at 2:10
My question implies that somebody has thrown the couch away, so it is on-topic. – finnw Sep 22 '11 at 11:24

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