Having read the current tour the "ask / don't ask" is short and vague. Now I would expect that since we are currently in private beta. However, to me a big definition on scope would be a debate between fiction and non-fiction.
- Specific issues with literature
- Real problems or questions that you’ve encountered
- Anything not directly related to literature
- Questions that are primarily opinion-based
- Questions with too many possible answers or that would require an extremely long answer
- written works, especially those considered of superior or lasting artistic merit.
- books and writings published on a particular subject.
- leaflets and other printed matter used to advertise products or give advice.
Now, I feel our target audience is for the first definition, possibly the second, and almost certainly not the third. However, all of that is up for discussion, hence this post.
Even within the first definition one would expect to find non-fiction works. There are great stories to be told in the real world. The only argument I can see here is where to draw on lie what I am going to call "history" questions. Say I read a book on the (American) Revolutionary War, but want to know a bit more about Benedict Arnold, should I ask a question here or on History Stack Exchange?
The second definition is where I feel things get hazy. Things like scientific papers, encyclopedias, technical manuals, and similar items may be defined as literature. My thought is that technical questions should be asked on their respective site (i.e. Math SE, Physics SE, etc.). Newspapers and magazines might fall into this category as well.
The third definition is of least concern to me, because it is probably the easiest to conclude the pamphlet I received about new timeshare is Costa Rica is off-topic. Although, if you have arguments to support this category, I am willing to hear them
To tie it all back together: What types of non-fiction are on-topic here?