I think I have found an appropriate tag for this type of questions:

Inventor and History of programming technology

My view of the tag relationship is:

  • for significant historical questions
  • Questions about historical, but are not significant enough to worth remembering, can be called . They may be tagged both.
  • Other questions which are also not significant enough to remember, can be just tagged .

My question is: is trivia questions acceptable on P.SE?

  • 3
    note that the foo and bar is only closed because it's a dupe, not because it was off-topic... Commented Jul 29, 2011 at 18:43
  • @Jeff: it seems the original question (the first asked, non-closed one) was grand-fathered? If so, does a grand-fathered example set a precedence?
    – rwong
    Commented Jul 29, 2011 at 18:51

2 Answers 2


Any question that's trivia, by definition, would be any that ask about unimportant (i.e. trivial) facts and matters. Those would be prohibited and should be closed as not constructive:

You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face. Chatty, open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site and push other questions off the front page.

That said, a question stops being trivia the moment an actual, solvable problem is defined: that is, if one tells us why you want to know X or how knowing X solves Y problem, the question is a whole lot more constructive.

  • So, what if "my problems that needs to be solved" is "I need to do a school project or presentation about the history of X" ?
    – rwong
    Commented Jul 29, 2011 at 18:46
  • An example of "real problem" is like: "I have to use a .Net 1.1 module inside a .Net 4.0 project, so I need to know the differences etc". A non-example is like "I need to know (same thing) just because I'm curious".
    – rwong
    Commented Jul 29, 2011 at 18:48
  • @rwong your first example, "I'm trying to compile a history for a project" would be enough to get it out of the realm of trivia, I would think. That is, the second question in your list of examples wasn't closed because of a trivia issue: it was closed because it was just asking for a list of dates with no invitation for expertise. Your characterization of your other examples would be correct.
    – user8
    Commented Jul 29, 2011 at 18:52
  • 4
    I think it can be justifiable in some cases; for example in the foo/bar example, indicating that you keep seeing foo and bar in code you're looking at and wish to understand more about it is not that fundamentally different than indicating you keep seeing some particular coding technique in code you're looking at and wish to understand more about it. Commented Jul 30, 2011 at 6:43

It depends and it might be one of those cases where the quality of the answers determines whether the question remains open or not.

A trivia question that just elicits short or one line answers is almost certainly "not constructive". From the FAQ:

Constructive subjective questions …

  • inspire answers that explain “why” and “how”.
  • tend to have long, not short, answers.

So, if the question gives rise to longer answers that go beyond that which is necessary then it might be left open, but there's no guarantee.

However, as Mark states in his answer, it helps if you've got a real problem you need solving.

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