I think the on topic questions help page needs to make it clear that not all questions about syntax trees are off-topic.
- "Please make me a syntax tree"
needs to say something more like:
- "Please make me a syntax tree" (of course you can ask questions about syntax trees, just not "do my homework for me")
(If I'm wrong, and all tree diagrams are off-topic no matter what, then the help needs to actually say that, and it should link to a meta question that clarifies it, rather than one that says the opposite.)
Here's what the linked meta question Should we make questions about syntax trees off-topic actually says in the accepted answer:
This only refers to questions asking the community to "do the homework for me". If you provide the tree yourself and ask questions about it (maybe you want a clarification or you have doubts about something), that is on topic.
Why do I think there's a problem? Because there's a chunk of the community that's absolutely sure that there is a rule that anything with any syntax tree is automatically off-topic.
For example, see the comments on this question:
- Tree diagrams are not permitted on SEL. - BillJ
- @BillJ There are plenty of questions and answers with tree diagrams, and, AFAIK, the only rule about them is that you can't just ask "can someone diagram this" homework questions. Is there something I'm missing? - abarnert
- @BillJ There is no such rule. – prash♦
- @prash Nonsense. The rules clearly state that tree diagrams are OFF-TOPIC. -BillJ
- @BillJ Point me to those rules. – prash♦
- @prash I'm not here to spoon-feed you. Read the rules yourself and you'll find it in there somewhere. In any case, why does it bother you so much? You've made no contribution in this thread other than to nit-pick about the rules. - BillJ
Shortly after that last comment, the question received a VtC, and soon had 5 votes and was closed. (BillJ's last comment is 5 hours ago; the close was 4 hours ago.) The close reason is, of course, "Questions requesting to make syntax trees are not within the scope defined in the help center. For any doubt, please ask on Meta." The question isn't an amazing one, but it clearly matches "you provide the tree yourself and ask questions about it (maybe you want a clarification or you have doubts about something)" from the meta answer, so it shouldn't be closed.