Discussion here relates to questions being on topic on SuperUser, and therefore not here.

I suggest adding the following as a custom close reason:

"Hardware Recommendations" was created for questions seeking a specific hardware products given a set of definitive requirements. If your question involved general computing or hardware issues, it can likely be asked on Super User; but nevertheless, it is outside the scope of this site.

This will help refine the site scope even during the private beta (but especially in the public beta, which we hopefully will achieve).



This close reason should not be added at any point, because it is doubly harmful.

Content-wise, we should not restrict the site to questions that have the form “what X should I buy?”, and we have not so far done so. We also have questions like “what criteria should I consider?”, and this is just fine. A site should be built around an audience or a topic, ideally both. Our topic is computer-related hardware (exactly what that means is a debate for another meta thread or three). We should at the very least include in our scope all “pre-buy” hardware-related questions. A better scope may even be all purely hardware-related questions (as opposed to questions involving software, e.g. driver installation or development), but there we'd go into electronics tinkering which I think is outside of our focus.

Form-wise, this site is not Super User's toilet bowl. Defining a site's scope as “stuff that isn't allowed elsewhere” is harmful, and this is part of the good advice given by Stack Exchange about site scope management.

By the way, whatever definition of hardware we end up with, it's clearly going to be far broader than Super User's restrictive definition (Super User is pretty much restricted to PC hardware and peripherals; for example smartphones are clearly on-topic here and clearly off-topic on SU). So we couldn't just say “if it doesn't have the accepted form then go to SU”.

Let me mention the obvious precedent of Software Recommendations. SR only accepts questions of the form “what software should I use to do X?”. But its scope is not defined as “what's off-topic elsewhere”. There are plenty of Stack Exchange sites that accept software recommendations (for example, Unix & Linux has no qualms with them, we just apply the usual quality control and it works fine). SR ended up with a requisite question format largely because it was an experiment to see whether such questions would work on Stack Exchange. The result of the experiment is that the questions do work, but the site as a whole doesn't work so well — SR has the lowest percentage of answered questions, and the lack of a focus of expertise is definitely part of that. It would be difficult to tweak the scopre of SR to make it attractive to experts, because so much software is of interest only to a small community (Windows users, accountants, etc.). For Hardware Recommendations, there is a rather clear focus: computing hardware, with tags to indicate the type of hardware. SR ideally redirects askers to the site where they'll find the experts. For HR, that site is HR itself.


Why to close question with superuser content when it can be migrated to it, with the following workflow:

Closing > Off-Topic > Migration -> belongs on superuser.com


Once we appoint moderators pro tempore, they can perform the migration when needed. Later on, when site graduates, this can be added into the Off-Topic options similar as this works on other SE sites.

  • 1
    we can implement it in here when required - incorrect. On beta sites, migration paths are not available. Migrations are performed by moderators. – ArtOfCode Sep 21 '15 at 21:41
  • @ArtOfCode So we can ask mods to migrate such questions, later on this can be done by votes. – kenorb Sep 21 '15 at 21:43
  • When we have mods, yes, though it's up to them and the target site mods to have the final say on the migration. Later on is not worth thinking about yet. I'd suggest you edit this to indicate that what you're suggesting can't be done until we graduate; meantime we have to rely on mods. – ArtOfCode Sep 21 '15 at 21:47

Yes, but not yet.

In general, I tend to wait to add custom close reasons until there's a demonstrable problem with a certain type of question. We've had a couple that would fit into this category, but not that many yet.

More to the point, let's wait till we have moderators. Hopefully that won't be long after we enter public beta (I'm reliably informed that Software Recommendations, our sister site, got them in short order after their transition to public beta). Our own moderators will be more familiar with the community and their needs than any Stack Overflow employee will be.

(It feels weird to call them Stack Overflow.)

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