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When defining the scope of a site like this one, we need to decide what is on topic and what is off topic. How can I discuss such things in Latin? It can be a pair of adjectives or some other construction to make the distinction. The best option that comes to mind is situi aptus/ineptus, but I wouldn't be surprised if there is something better.

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    Why not use the feminine, as in rogatio apta? – Rafael Jul 26 '17 at 21:49
  • @Rafael The adjective aptus/ineptus with a question word sounds like a good idea. Can you give that suggestion as an answer? – Joonas Ilmavirta Jul 27 '17 at 3:52
  • I'm still hesitant about aptus. It is good, but I wonder if there is something better. Would a Roman understand what we mean by ad hoc? – Rafael Jul 27 '17 at 12:46
  • @Rafael I think using ad hoc in this meaning would be a little... ad hoc. I don't think a Roman would understand it in its modern (English) meaning. It could work with some other words to support it. I'm hesitant about aptus too, and that's why I asked. Perhaps gratus would work? – Joonas Ilmavirta Jul 27 '17 at 13:08
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    I decided to collect the suggestions from the comments into a CW answer. Feel free to edit it if something new comes to your mind. – Joonas Ilmavirta Jul 27 '17 at 13:32
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Here are some ideas (mainly adjectives to go with rogatum or some such word) that have been proposed so far in comments and the question itself. Feel free to add any new ideas here.

  • situi aptus/ineptus
  • ad hoc
  • gratus
  • pertinens
  • decens
  • decet
  • adhibere/prohibere and adhibitus/prohibitus

This list contains no explanation or justification, just possibly useful ideas. If you want to elaborate on one or more idea, please write it up in a separate answer! This answer is community wiki so that anyone can edit to add a suggestion but no one gets reputation for the votes.

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My submission is [situi] consentaneus:

agreeing or according with something, suited to, becoming, meet, fit, proper

The formulaic phrase consentaneum est, in this context, would mean "That is on-topic," based on its L&S meanings:

it agrees with something, it is according to reason, fitting, consistent, proper

Off-topic could be non/haud consentaneus or even, as attested in later Latin, [situi] inconsentaneus.

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One of the pleasures of this site is the civility shown to those who enquire and to those who reply. In keeping with this nonjudgmental ethos I would therefore suggest:

nitēns, (present participle of niteō) brilliant, shining --to show approbation, on-topic

nītēns (present participle of deponent nītor) on one's knees, striving, making an effort --for off-topic.

Provided that it was not said out loud, or marked with a macron, the only giveaway, I suppose, would be the Accusative/Ablative situm/sitū.

  • This is a fun one! It's a little difficult to make the distinction between nĭtens and nītens in writing, but not impossible. – Joonas Ilmavirta Jul 27 '17 at 13:02
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    This is the best thing – blagae Jul 27 '17 at 13:46
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    I was going to post a finger-wagging about how far-fetched the "off-topic" meaning was, but then I saw meaning I.B.3 of nitor and lost all composure :) – brianpck Jul 27 '17 at 13:49
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    I added macrons to show that the two are indeed marginally distinct; feel free to roll back if you don't like them. – Draconis Jul 27 '17 at 17:46
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    @brianpck To help (?) you get your composure back together, I decided to ask a question about the meaning I.B.3 of niiti. – Joonas Ilmavirta Jul 28 '17 at 12:56

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