At the moment, there's a question on the site asking how to improve Emacs Lisp Performance.

That is clearly on topic and it's not subjective, but it's also quite vague. How do we feel about such questions here?

Other possible examples I can think of:

  • Things to avoid when writing elisp.
  • How can I organize my init file?

3 Answers 3


Emacs Lisp performance is the poster child for too broad, which is a close reason. Topicality and subjectivity are not the only two criteria to determine whether a question is suitable. As it says in the help center:

Your questions should be reasonably scoped. If you can imagine an entire book that answers your question, you’re asking too much.


The answer to your question is this: We answer them.

Such questions can of course, like any questions, be too broad, unclear, or otherwise off-topic. In that case, we close them or we ask the OP to narrow or clarify them.

IOW, it is not just because a question asks for tips or guidelines that it is necessarily a bad one. To be a good one, it needs to be sufficiently narrow and clear. And a great one will be one that helps many people.


A good question is one that attracts good answers and is interesting to people who are knowledgeable on that topic.

Stack Overflow does not allow broad or vague questions simply because they don't attract good answers. We will need to choose how accepting to be based on what the community is willing to answer.

How to Improve Emacs Performance?

If this was about a specific snippet, then it's possible to answer. As is, this is simply too broad and I can't imagine a question that would deserve to be the accept answer.

Things to avoid when writing elisp.

I think a community wiki post that lists the most common pitfalls (especially for users coming from other languages) would be a reasonable answer here.

How can I organise my init file?

At a high level, there aren't many ways to organise it: one big file, convert it to a literate org file, split it into separate files, or use something like use-package. Again, I can imagine a reasonable accepted answer for this question.

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