This question asks for guidelines on what to write about. In the realm of fiction we have already declared questions asking generically for plot ideas off-topic. In the linked meta question HedgeMage shows how questions asking more specific, focused questions can be on-topic.

Questions asking for what to write about in an essay seem to be a non-fiction version of asking for a plot idea. Are they also off-topic if they are not the tightly focused type of question that HedgeMage proposed?

I would propose that questions about what to write about, in any genre, are off-topic. A question that tries to hone an author's existing idea, on the other hand, should be on-topic. What do you think?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I would propose that questions about what to write about, in any genre, are off-topic. A question that tries to hone an author's existing idea, on the other hand, should be on-topic.

Agreed. If he does not know what to write about, we cannot help him anyway. Neither can we help if he is too timid to ask his advisor.

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Agreed. This is another "help me pick a topic" question, this one is just more specific. (Although the answer looks good.) We can point these users towards fora and chat rooms, they're better at brainstorming than SE sites are. –  Neil Fein Feb 9 '12 at 3:40

I felt bad for the poster because it seemed clear that this is a person who is not a native English speaker, and possibly not familiar with how Western universities work. However, those questions probably should have been addressed to the person's advisor, or the university itself.

I don't feel strongly that they should be closed, particularly if the person is asking because s/he doesn't even know what s/he doesn't know. But I see why they'd be considered off-topic.

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