This question on sustainable PCB removal: How can I remove PCBs from my soil? has picked up three votes to close as off-topic, but I don't see why.

Fertile soil is a depletable resource. PCB contamination renders it unfit for many purposes.

Can those who've voted to close as off-topic, please describe their reasoning? A discussion about this now, during the private beta, will help us define the site scope.

2 Answers 2


I don't see why this is getting closed as off topic unless it's because it's to do with gardening, and people feel it should go on that SE site instead. Questions definitely shouldn't be getting closed with no explanation in the private beta, it just causes confusion over what's on topic and not, and puts people off contributing.

The only thing I might suggest is to rephrase the question more in terms of the sustainability of soil, and perhaps that will make it more clearly on topic. Other than that, if it does get closed without a decent reason I'll be casting a re-open vote on it.

  • 4
    IMO, this would be off-topic in gardening.SE and fits much better here.
    – bstpierre
    Jan 30, 2013 at 21:14

I also don't see how this can be off-topic. If we aren't defining sustainability as "sustaining an environment capable of supporting (human) life," then isn't the word pretty meaningless? Taking a long view of things, we're all headed for heat death anyway, so if our species' survival isn't a concern, it could be argued that anything is sustainable. Or rather, nothing is.

Personally I don't think that particular question needs to be rephrased. There are some cases, especially with garden-related questions, where it helps to clarify that they're asking about the sustainability angles, but soil remediation is pretty clearly on-topic for the reasons EnergyNumbers stated.

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