This question is in response to the exchange I had with @Tal Fishman on this question focused on finding the historical weights of the S&P 500 online.

I know this is a hot topic, and I'm trying to find out where the limits are between on and off topic.

I guess this question could have been seen as a duplicate of this famous post, but I guess the underlying question was "how could we compute the weights of the S&P500?".

If the questioner was just looking to find a data source, then fine, it is a duplicate.

If he was looking to know how to compute the weights, then I guess it is related to quantitative finance as the way an index (the S&P 500 in this instance) is computed.

Just wanted to know if the community agreed that it was too basic, and hence off topic.

"Young professionals" or students might not know how the S&P 500 is computed. In my opinion, it's still on-topic.

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    $\begingroup$ Jeremie, if I take a harsh tone at times, it is only because I would like to prevent occasional visitors from getting a mistaken impression of the site. I think you've given some great answers to various questions, but some types of questions may be so off-putting to the types of knowledgeable experts we are trying to attract that it actually damages the site to answer them and pretend they are acceptable questions. $\endgroup$ Oct 18, 2011 at 21:44
  • $\begingroup$ @TalFishman, I don't think your comment is harsh. It contains good suggestions. $\endgroup$
    – Ryogi
    Oct 19, 2011 at 2:29
  • $\begingroup$ Neither do I. It was really related to the decision of closing the question. $\endgroup$
    – SRKX
    Oct 19, 2011 at 5:38

1 Answer 1


There is, I believe, a misunderstanding of the question implicit in your meta post. The questioner does not seem to want/need to know the methodology behind computing the weights. Rather, he wants help on how to use his Bloomberg to find the weights (or other data necessary to calculate it himself). This site is not a Bloomberg help board, nor a Yahoo! Finance help board or any other data source help board. The data is clearly available, either in Bloomberg or one of the many other sources listed on our main data question page. As such, all the questioner wants to know is how to use his tools to look up data, which really has nothing to do with quantitative finance.

Now, if the question were re-worded to ask about S&P's methodology for constructing weights, then maybe it would be on-topic. AFAIK, the S&P methodology is pretty straightforward, so I doubt even then one could construct a question that a simple google search won't solve, but I'll concede it is possible.

  • $\begingroup$ Ok I'm fine with that answer. I'll delete my answer and vote it off topic. After reading it again, I agree the guy didn't look to be willing to understanding much, just to look for shortcuts. It's a bit surprising given the type of answers he provided before though. $\endgroup$
    – SRKX
    Oct 18, 2011 at 21:54
  • $\begingroup$ @SRKX Yeah, a bit surprising, so perhaps we will get more clarity next time he chooses to visit the site and sees all this activity regarding his question. $\endgroup$ Oct 18, 2011 at 21:58

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