Am I right to assume that questions about Esperanto culture and community should be accepted as on topic here?
Yes, certainly the cultural issues and challenges that come with the Esperanto movement should be a strong part of this site.
We went back and forth a few times on the name of the site itself, but ultimately we decided to use "Esperanto Language" to reaffirm its place among our successful language sites.
This shouldn't throw anyone off in actual practice. Our "Latin Language" site is chock full of questions about the history and contemporary issues of using the Latin language — it's one of the strongest and most interesting apects of that site — so no one seems to be confused by including "Language" in the title.
I want to point out that when Esperanto was initially proposed for StackExchange, it was originally only "Esperanto," because the idea was to also include questions about its culture and community. We changed the name, because all the other languages on StackExchanges were listed as "X Language" and it would be strange if Esperanto were the only language listed as just "Esperanto" and not "Esperanto Language." To be clear, I propose that questions about Esperanto community and culture should definitely be accepted here.
I would be in favour of allowing questions about Esperanto culture, especially because
- Esperanto is not "owned" by any nation or ethnic culture, which makes it stand somewhat apart from other languages,
- the creation of Esperanto has a specific historic background, which includes Zamenhof's goal to "foster harmony between people from different countries" (quoted from Wikipedia, and that goal has not lost its relevance.
It definitely should. The Esperanto language massively influences the Esperanto culture, and the Esperanto culture massively influences the Esperanto language. The scale is not comparable to the languages that have a country.
For example, we can think of the movement "La Bona Lingvo" who discourages the use of neologisms if it is possible to create a more easy word with the help of the word-construction rules of Esperanto. This mouvement originates from the Esperanto culture, from the will to have a language easy for people from all nations.
The values commonly shared in the Esperanto culture have active influence on the language. Also, Esperanto is a reflect of this culture since the ideas of creator of Esperanto is shared by many Esperantists.
I don't think we can really understand Esperanto without understanding its culture. This is why Esperanto culture should be accepted here, along with questions about the Esperanto mouvement.
In general, you can't disregard the cultural topics related to a target language.
It doesn't matter whether it is a planned or a natural language. On the Russian stackexchange site, there are many questions which one can't answer without explaining the culture. A language and its culture are strongly intermeshed with each other.
I am rather pessimistic as far as the potential of Esperanto SE to ever leave the beta stage is concerned. From what I have heard, SE sites that don't have enough activity will be deleted. (An archive is made available in that case.)
Currently even German language SE is struggling to get the expected 10 questions per day. Its average, after over 5 years of operation in beta, is about 5 questions per day. Given that German has almost 100 million native speakers and is among the handful of standard second languages taught in the Western world, that doesn't bode well for Esperanto SE - Esperanto having no native speakers worth mentioning in this context, an order of magnitude less non-native speakers (Wikipedia estimates), and much less grammatical problems to ask about.
Permitting questions about Esperanto culture is the absolute minimum for this site to have a chance of long-term survival. But that will hardly be enough. I believe the question that really needs asking is: What else can we declare to be on topic to ensure a steady stream of (non deletable) questions even after most reasonable Esperanto-related questions have been asked?
I totally agree that questions of culture and community should be allowed. Any language is a tool for communication, but Esperanto is historically linked to the idea of intercommunication between people with different native languages and cultures. Zamenhof referred to it as "La interna ideo de Esperanto".