After a recent discussion about technical support questions, I went through some of our recent closures to gather more data. I return with a question for the community:
How do we tell the difference between "pre-purchase" and "technical support"?
A few examples to illustrate my point:
The user clearly states what they are trying to do - cool the CPU - and asks how quickly an additional fan should spin to accomplish this goal. I voted to close it as technical support. However, after looking at it again, I can see that it could very easily be a "pre-purchase" question. The user needs to know if they should look at fans that spin fast or slow before they can narrow down their choice of fans. How is the line drawn in this case?
This user is asking if something is compatible with two other pieces of hardware. It was closed as technical support (which I agree with). However, looking at it from the "pre-purchase" perspective, would a compatibility question such as this be on topic? The user has a list of hardware they already have and want to know if something else is compatible with it before purchasing. The question is lacking some potential details, but the idea remains - can compatibility questions, if scoped correctly, be pre-purchase questions?
This is asking about an AMD vs an Intel chip. The user explains their goals and requirements for this potential purchase. Now they want to know if they should consider AMD and just update their CPU or if they need to look at Intel instead and consider a much larger upgrade. Is this technical support or pre-purchase?
I am not saying that all technical support questions are potentially pre-purchase questions. But, after looking at a few in the last couple days and being able to see both sides, I am looking for a bit of clarification. What is the difference between a well defined pre-purchase question and a technical support question?