I've seen the comment
Relevance to space exploration?
Appear quickly, directly below several question posts over the past several months, and I'll explain why it makes me uncomfortable.
- It creates the impression that a question asker must demonstrate "relevance" whenever asked, specifically to the SE website's short name. I'm pretty sure that the only relevant issue (to borrow a word) is if the question is off-topic, or not off-topic.
- It creates the impression that the onus is on the OP to prove topicality, to any user who drops a "relevance?" comment. That's not now SE works. If a user feels a question is off-topic, a user can 1) vote to close as off-topic, and generally should show the courtesy of explaining specifically why they feel it is off-topic or better yet 2) simply leave the comment sans answer-blocking close vote which provides that explanation. The onus is in fact on the commenter to explain why the question might be off-topic, not for the user to guess what the unstated concern is and to defend the question against it.
This kind of comment creates a situation where the OP must guess why the commenter thinks the question is off-topic then try to defend against an invisible argument.
It also suggest that any user at any time can simply type "Relevance to (site name)?" under any question at any time.
This kind of commenting also creates the false impression that the question has issues, without any specific issue being raised. This is problematic.
It casts shade on a question without being productive, helpful, or actionable.
To me this feels like "Guess where the invisible hoop is, then jump through it".
Question: I think this kind of commenting should stop. What do others think?
note: Words like "relevance" or "relevant" do not appear in What topics can I ask about here? or What types of questions should I avoid asking?. The latter does include "anything not directly related to space exploration" but questions about planetary science for example have been well established to be explicitly on-topic (example) so we can not use the site's name alone as a gating mechanism for topicality.