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The tag has a strange wiki.

For questions about protective cases for hardware. May be off-topic.

Am I missing something? We have 10 questions tagged and a lot of them are very high quality questions. For example:

So far, only one of them has been closed, and that question was about a complete PC build including a case, rather than about a case specifically. Is there any reason for that wiki description that I am unaware of?

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As far as I can tell, there is no reason that excerpt should say that. As you said, almost every question using the tag is a good one. I have taken the last sentence out about being off-topic and replaced it with something a little more informative and accurate:

For questions about protective cases for hardware. Consider using the [enclosure] tag as well.

I noticed a few questions with the tag also use the tag, and since those are very similar, I threw that in there.

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    I think "enclosure" needs a wiki, or needs to be merged with "case". "For questions about protective cases for hardware" seems like it would fit both. How do we know which to use? – Andy Jan 4 '16 at 4:37
  • I am also curious to know if your opinion on cases has changed since this comment, or if you are proposing a very specific exception with this answer – Andy Jan 4 '16 at 4:40
  • @Andy I think of a case as something form-fitting usually and an enclosure as something more open. The difference is negligible in most cases, so the two really could be merged. And since I've always thought of things like phone cases as off-topic, I wasn't considering them here. – Adam Jan 4 '16 at 6:03
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I was the one who wrote that original excerpt, so I'll throw some light on why.

As Undo says in a comment, reading What is Hardware? indicates that cases and enclosures are indeed off-topic. And, to be honest, I think that's right - if we start allowing questions about them, then we come across problems when we link that scope definition, because it's now incomplete.

For those questions in the tag that are useful questions, that's no problem - they can be kept. We just can't allow any further questions about the topic, under our current scope definition.

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I am going to argue that "cases" are off topic. I am basing this argument on the accepted answer to What is Hardware?.

In that post, it appears the community has defined hardware to be:

Hardware is any primarily electronic item that can perform more than one task, designed to interface with, connect to, or be, a primary computing platform in day-to-day operation.

Emphasis is mine.

A case, for a PC, is not electronic. It's a box used to contain all of the electronic parts of the machine.

Additionally, a "case" in this instance is arguably different from an external hard drive enclosure. In the latter, a hard drive sits in an enclosure which then has to interface via "something" (usually USB) to the computer itself. It fits the second portion of the above definition: "designed to interface with..."


The second (and just slightly more upvoted answer) to What is Hardware? argues that cases (and other peripherals) should be on topic. I disagree with this and mentioned as such in the comments to that answer. By allowing these "fuzzy" items, we make our scope very unclear.

I think that is shown, already, in the comments to Adam's answer on this question.

[...]And since I've always thought of things like phone cases as off-topic, I wasn't considering them here.

By accepting one type of common case (computer case) and not others (phone cases) we have made our scope unclear. Now we have to spend time when a case question comes up deciding if it's on topic or not. Then, we have to justify why one particular question is on topic and another is not.

What is the difference between a phone and PC case? Both protect the fragile internals of the main device. Both are technically not needed. Both can be replaced. The biggest difference that I see, is that a phone case is often sold as an "accessory".

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