This question "Tips for finding a good mechanic" was flagged as off-topic. I have decided to leave it open, at least tentatively until I get some community feedback here.

I think this is a good question and the community would benefit from it, the current FAQ doesn't list any examples or specific guidelines on what to ask, just what not to ask.

My question to the community is do you think this question and others like it should be allowed?

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4 Answers 4

I think the site has low enough traffic that we should be encouraging these "low-hanging fruit, possibly marginally off-topic" questions for now.

I also think any real mechanic would certainly have a thing or two to tell people about how to find a good mechanic!

Therefore I vote for it to stay open and become community wiki.

(It's certainly true of programmers and "how do I find a good programmer?")

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it is important to note that the traffic took a dive when there was an outside mandate imposed. People got mad and left: meta.mechanics.stackexchange.com/questions/12/… –  Bob Cross Jun 3 '11 at 0:26
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I'm open either way, so don't worry about my feelings :)

I admit I haven't been very faithfully fulfilling my commitment to this site, but I was partially 'scared off' by the professionals only warning (even if it was subsequently nuanced).

But... coming back here today (via Area51), I saw lots of 'worrying', and thought maybe I wasn't the only one. So my question was also partially 'testing the water' to see if a) the scope can be broadened slightly and b) if it will make a (positive) difference to the worrying statistics.

I haven't been to Home Improvements enough to know if they had a similar injunction, but that site seems to have taken off really well.

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Short form: this is a good example of a wiki question. It could use some tuning / editing for content. It could also lead into "how do I become a good mechanic?"

I still don't agree with the original Grand High Directive on appropriate questions. The quote "mechanics.stackexchange.com is a site for people who repair vehicles" sums it up for me: that's not me. I love my car (and am fond of my wife's car) but I already have a full time job plus kids plus hobbies. I like to think that I approach car-related tasks in a professional manner but I'm not working in a fully stocked shop drawing pay from a car dealer.

Wiki questions like this are an opportunity to flesh out a FAQ with specific additional content. This might not be the perfect example as is but that's why a wiki is handy - everyone can adjust it until it is the perfect example.

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I feel it is off topic. On Stack Overflow a question like "Tips for finding a good programmer" would definitely be considered off topic.

Edit due to Bob's comment:

From the FAQ:

Motor Vehicle Maintenance and Repair - Stack Exchange is for mechanics and DIY-enthusiast owners of cars, trucks, and motorcycles.

Reading this makes it seem clear to me that anyone looking for tips's for finding a good mechanic is not a mechanics or a DIY-enthusiast. Therefore, I believe this question is off topic. I did not flag it as such, so it sounds like I am not alone in this opinion.

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I don't agree with the exclusionary attitude on StackOverflow either: "if it's not typing, it's not programming." The original question as written is not fully effective but it's not evil. –  Bob Cross Jun 1 '11 at 18:35
    
@Bob, I agree it is not evil. In fact is an interesting question, but I think it is off topic. I have updated my answer. –  jzd Jun 1 '11 at 19:54
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here are some concrete examples: I can do a lot of tasks in my garage. However, I can't do major body work: I don't have the tools. I also don't own a welder: I would need to contract that out. Likewise, I can't fabricate parts: I would need the help of a machine shop. The FAQ still applies to me and I could easily imagine a very specific question that fit the site. The original question was too general: as written, it needs work (like I said). –  Bob Cross Jun 2 '11 at 0:39
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