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There have been a couple of questions recently regarding websites and software on the main site that I interpret as being off topic. Namely these two questions:

  • Body animation - Asking for a software package that can be used to do body animations for exercise demonstration
  • Website/PDF of examples - Asking for a catalog of exercises with images

The way that I look at them is that they are not really on topic, as they do not fit in what we consider to be on topic (From the help section):

  • improving your exercise performance or technique
  • choosing a training program
  • nutrition as it relates to exercise
  • gear and gadgets used during exercise
  • achieving physique milestones
  • injury prevention

I bolded the one that they might fall under. However, the first one (in my opinion) does not enable the average user to improve their program. Knowing that there is an animator still relies on someone to use that animator to create exercise demonstrations, and that is also reliant on the skill and understanding of the person doing the programming. The end product might be helpful/on topic in an answer, but the process and the tool(s) are not on topic.

For the second, I am on the fence about this question, leaning towards either off topic or possibly a community wiki of good reference sites. Again, just knowing that it is there is not really useful in and of itself, there is a program context that is lacking.

I'd like some feedback on this, with reasons why you do or do not think that the questions are on topic.

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I'm inclined to agree that these questions are not on topic especially the two in particular. I remember seeing these kinds of questions a long time ago (in the early years of Fitness), and they weren't good questions either.

These kinds of questions asked for lists of items. They could be helpful, but they get away from any modicum of specificity. The intention of a question shouldn't turn into a be-all, end-all monolithic encyclopedic page about a topic.

More importantly, what makes these questions not on topic is that they also entertain recommendations which fall under the kinds of questions that should not be asked.

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Honestly, I'm kind of inclined towards the first one and not the second. It's useful to have a way to illustrate a movement, not for doing it yourself necessarily, but for demonstrating it to someone else. Admittedly, one could argue that taking a video of yourself doing the exercise might be better in some ways, but it loses the ability to modify the angle of display.

The second I just didn't like because it boiled down to "What is a chart of all the exercises?" although I think it could have worked in a more constrained question like "Is there a poster-sized chart of common stretches?"

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