On SR, we decided that "X vs. Y" is not a good question. Thumbing through the example questions for this site on Area 51, I see a few of them:

  • Do mechanical keyboards have any real advantage over traditional keyboards?

  • DDR3 vs DDR2 -- is either better than the other? If so, why?

  • Help to choose between Nvidia GTX 860M or AMD Raedon R9 M290X for a gaming laptop?

  • Do laser mice have any real advantage over optical ones?


Are these questions on-topic here?


3 Answers 3


What strikes me about those is that most can be changed to the form of a recommendation question, without losing the question, for example:

I'm picking a graphics card, and have got my choice down to X and Y. Recommend me one of them. [criteria]

I'd say yes, they are on topic. The theory behind recommending hardware to people is also important to cover, and the advantages of DDR3 over 2 might well be a reason that you recommend X laptop rather than Y - because X has DDR3. In that case, you could add a link to the question explaining their differences and advantages in order to explain why you did so.

  • I agree - we should steer them away from being overly broad, but they are still valid requests for recommendations when considered in that way. My initial reaction to the keyboard question was that it was too broad, but thinking about it a bit more I would like to know why people would recommend mechanical over traditional, and then some good examples of the genre. Commented Sep 10, 2015 at 16:33
  • Listing {this} or {that} as product examples for consideration is just a really, really specific way to add to your requirements. As long as these don't become an opinion poll of "which is better..." they should be okay. If the question includes the same exacting criteria we require in other questions, I don't see a problem. But if it's simply asking to express a general preference for one product over another, the question should be closed as "opinion based". We don't do popularity contests and we don't do reviews. Commented Sep 11, 2015 at 19:21
  • 1
    @RobertCartaino They are inevitably which is better questions. The important thing is that they don't become unjustified which is better.
    – ArtOfCode
    Commented Sep 11, 2015 at 19:22

I would allow such questions.

For the simple fact that the one who posed the question saved us some time on finding and recommending something for him, by narrowing the results to two, let's say 3.

Also he knows his budget, preferences but not what's better than what. That is where some of us come in.


I would not think in that form it's a good idea. However, small edits can change those questions to be good questions.

Do mechanical keyboards have any real advantage over traditional keyboards?

can become:

What advantages do mechanical keyboards offer over traditional keyboards?


DDR3 vs DDR2 -- is either better than the other? If so, why?

can become

What are advantages of DDR3 over DDR2?

  • 1
    At this point, would the question be on topic at Super User, though? I'm not familiar with their scope.
    – user1
    Commented Sep 9, 2015 at 16:53
  • @Undo I think the bigger question is, will the scope be more limited to "recommend me hardware based on X, Y, Z needs" or include questions about hardware recommendations. The "XY" question discussion is separate from that.
    – enderland
    Commented Sep 9, 2015 at 16:54
  • I don't understand the difference between the edits. Both ask the same question and will receive the same answer. Commented Sep 10, 2015 at 16:05
  • Cost is a big factor on hardwarerecs. Whereas cost is a non-factor on superuser.
    – Pacerier
    Commented Nov 8, 2015 at 3:12

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