Maybe I'm missing something, but there seems to be a clear gap in the FAQ for Ask Patents.

Things we allow:

  1. Prior art requests
  2. Patent law or patent approval process
  3. Questions about a specific patent claims or ideas

Things we don't allow

  1. Not productive
  2. Not patents
  3. Legal advice...

But the gap I'm seeing is asking for help about patents. Similar to Where can I view the figures from a patent? Perhaps the better question is "How do I find the images in a patent?" I think this kind of thing should be in scope. The answer isn't really even all that helpful, "go look on patentscope", isn't actually helpful, but maybe there's a button for patentscope that I can't see.

This is pretty similar to my request, Should the on-topic page reflect questions about tools used with patents? At least insofar as supporting that would implicitly support this (I suspect, although I suppose that could be debatable. But I think it would).

I think these sorts of things are already allowed, just not "officially." Community Managers don't close these sorts of questions (assuming there's nothing wrong with them), and neither do the relatively few members of the site with VTC privileges. So yes, I agree that this should be added to the scope officially.

I also think a good base of canonical questions is really useful on a Q&A site, so we can bounce duplicates to them. The field of canonical potential from questions about patent tools and research is rich, but finite. In other words, we'll open up to a good base of questions, but won't be risking overrunning the site and bringing it away from being about patent law. I suspect Ask Patents doesn't show up in a ton of search results right now (aside, obviously, from the "Discuss this Patent" link on Google Patents documents), and having some good, "how do I find x-information?" questions might get us on just a few more.

  • Yes, I thought they were very similar. You seemed to express yours better, so I hopped on your bandwagon. – McKay Dec 1 '14 at 13:50

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