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This site should be renamed "Computer Hardware Recommendations for Computer Techs That Require Validation"

And no, I am being very serious here and in no way should you take that as a flippant remark.

Why?

Seriously, in all of the SE forums that I participate on, none have the restrictive and unwelcoming tenor this one does. After a little bit of research, we find that:

enter image description here

It's no wonder that your number of questions per day is a paltry 3.8 due to the excessive number that are put on hold or deleted through excessive down votes.

Hold Everything!

Out of the only 20 questions over the last 7 days that have been posted, 8 have been put on hold. enter image description here

That's 40% that are stopped in their tracks waiting for the OP to fix the question which rarely happens.

Many are put "On Hold" for reasons that are not congruent with generally accepted terminology (DDR4 memory for HP ZBook Studio)

enter image description here

"Technical Support" is defined on Wikipedia as:

In general, technical support services attempt to help the user solve specific problems with a product rather than providing training, customization, or other support services.

The key to a question being classified as "Technical Support" is that the question is directed at solving a problem.

Asking a question if "something will work" is not "technical support." It's called having a tech question. In the above referenced question, the person asked if the product would work, not that it doesn't work and how to fix.

I also hate to break it to everyone here, but most of the time people are searching for Hardware, is because they have run into a problem they need to solve.

Do Your Research!

This one is key to my suggestion to renaming the forum. A good example of the confusion caused by what the fourm is called and what you are expecting your users can be summed up by the question https://hardwarerecs.stackexchange.com/questions/2457/better-cpu-for-encoding

A quick read of the OP's question tells you that it is in relation to video encoding. It tells you what he has currently, what his specs are and what he would like to get.

This is a very answerable question.

His responses?

From two moderators, he is told to go do more "research" and/or to provide "more details"

Two other comments from users answer his question. Sometimes the answer is there is no answer.

enter image description here

My point here is that this particular user knows he needs something that will increase his productivity when it comes to encoding video. He doesn't understand system building and shouldn't have to. If your expectation is that he become proficient enough to understand the technologies behind CPUs and their architecture, then what would he be doing here other than seeking validation?

Pouring Concrete

I have never seen answers to questions deleted with such frequency as they have here on "HR". Even my comments are deleted

Many times, I have been told by ArtOfCode that there needs to be a single "concrete" recommendation like in (deleted) Network controlled HDMI switch This is utter nonsense. One of the reasons cited is "not to recommend a manufacturer.

Really? Why? Because the manufacturer might no longer be in business and the post might become obsolete? What then, do you do when products are EOL'd?

As a side note, the product referenced was a link to their exact product.

enter image description here

Pièce de Résistance

I don't think you guys truly understand what "Hardware" is. From your definition:

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.

A primary computing platform is any primarily electronic item that can perform meaningful tasks on its own with minimal external support, and designed to be operated by a user, consumer or professional.

Given that, how do you justify putting the question https://hardwarerecs.stackexchange.com/questions/2493/can-i-change-the-hdd-pcb-with-one-for-a-different-size "On Hold?"

Explain how that question falls outside the scope of being a hardware recommendation.

But it all comes down to this statement buried deep within the answer of a question posted on Meta....

The purpose of this site (as I see it) is to help folks in making purchase decisions, whether it is in finding the right product given a definitive set of requirements, or (updated) to ask what you should consider to help assure your purchase will work for you. Fair enough?

If your "help" of making a purchasing decision to expect a user to learn all about the technology to adequately articulate his requirements in terms specifically idiomatic to you then you need to clearly articulate this requirement. It should be..

Large, bold, and very conspicious that the user should have a certain level of computer knowledge to ask questions here.

Please understand, I am not saying you are right or wrong; you are free to run this forum how you like. am saying that the connotation of "Hardware Recommendations" is too broad and should be rewritten to specifically target the audience you want to attract....

Computer Hardware Recommendations for Computer Techs Who Require Validation.

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    Sites generally aren't named to conform to their scopes. You raise some valid points, but renaming the site isn't a great solution. – Undo Apr 10 '16 at 23:48
  • @Undo - it's mean as a direct solution to the problem this site is experiencing as detailed in the first pic. – Digital Boffin Apr 11 '16 at 0:07
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    No Stack Exchange site is a forum... use the correct terminology and then we can talk... – AStopher Apr 11 '16 at 19:41
  • @cybermonkey - what are you getting at – Digital Boffin Apr 11 '16 at 21:09
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    It's always a bit worrying when a meta post leads with the words "this forum." – Robert Harvey Oct 24 '16 at 17:44
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Underneth a lot of what you have here are some concerns that I've had for a while. I don't think you've gone about it the right way though.


Hold all the things!

We do have a lot of questions that are on hold and closed. Your stats are actually a bit low. According to the Question Close Stats, in the last 30 days, we've closed 57.46% of questions. In the past week, we've closed 58.62% and today we've closed 2/3 of the questions asked. Of those closes, over 45% of them are for the technical support reason and nearly 40% is because they are "too broad". To me, that's a pretty clear indication that we aren't doing enough to explain what is and is not on topic.

Of the closed for technical support questions, 2 were eventually reopened. Of the broad questions, there have been 7 reopened. These aren't huge numbers, but it does show that users are willing to work with the community to get their questions in line with our standards.

What is Technical Support?

I agree with your Wikipedia entry. However, there was no need to leave the site to determine what we are here to do. In the Tour:

Hardware Recommendations Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people seeking specific hardware recommendations

You are correct in saying that asking if "something will work" isn't technical support, but it also isn't about recommending hardware. Additionally, "Will it work?" isn't a good question in the first place. The answer is either "Yes it will work" or "No it will not". An example answer to the question you pointed out:

  • No
  • No
  • N/A
  • N/A
  • N/A

That answers each of the bullet points. But, focus on that first one:

Is this memory compatible with the ZBook?

There is no request for alternatives and the rest of the follow up questions assume the first answer is "Yes". If it's not, the user gets nothing out of it. The question is broad and is asking about compatibility. To me, and using my years of experience, "compatibility" falls under "technical support". If your screenshot you'll see that I was one of the close voters. I stand by that vote. The question hasn't been edited since it was closed.

Who does research? This is the internet!

One very quick note before I get to the heart of this question, you mention that two moderators ask for more details. I do not see moderators involved in your screenshot. A moderator will have a diamond (♦) after their name.

This is a very answerable question.

I can hear the anger and frustration on your part. You are correct. This question is answerable - but it is not on topic here. Just because it can be answered doesn't mean that "Hardware Recommendations" is the place that should be providing that answer. I see the following questions:

  • How do I determine whether a processor is how many times better than mine?
  • Do I use core speed?
  • Do I use number of cores?
  • Do I use number of threads?
  • Do I just use price?
  • What processor is 6 times faster than my current processor?
  • What processor is 10 times faster than my current processor?
  • Is AMD better than Intel at the same price?

If you squint at those, you can see the two recommendation questions: What processor is 6 or 10 times faster than my current processor? However, to answer that in a way that is helpful to the user, we need more information. Other users have used the comments to already request some of this information.

Sometimes the answer is there is no answer.

While I agree with this sentiment, sometimes it also takes a bit more feed back from the user to get to that point. Additionally, this question poses so many sub-questions that it's easy to miss the actual, on topic, question. Hardware Recommendations isn't here to teach users how to judge CPUs compared to their current one. We do attempt to teach users to fish in our recommendations, but the question itself should be about the hardware not how to fish. In this case, the main goal of the question does not read as a recommendation.

Comments aren't concrete

Even my comments are deleted

Good! I hate comments. Comments go old. They get out dated. They get lost in long conversation threads. If you are adding something to multiple comments, ask your self a question: "Why isn't this in the question itself or an answer?". Comments are hard to follow because they get hidden. Users can remove comments breaking one side of a conversation. They can add information in a comment that should really be in the question itself (for example, missed requirements). Comment should be deleted when they aren't relevant. I flag comments here and will continue to do so.

Related to your deleted answer, I ask you to take a good look at what you typed. Here it is, without the link:

There is one company that I have seen that makes a pretty good product for this - Gefen.

They have a multi-view switcher that takes 4 HDMI inputs and scales them, sizes them and outputs them either full screeen or in a "windowed" layout on a single HDMI montor.

I certainly don't click every link that appears on this site. Reading your first sentence clearly makes this look like you are recommending a company not a product. The second sentence explains that they have a product. I understand ArtOfCode's comment - he has better things to do than click every link on every flagged answer. To me, your answer reads as low quality. You have two sentences. One of those is so poorly formatted that it reads like you are recommending a company and not a product.

I highly suggest you take a look at our FAQ on high quality answer. Specifically, look at the "Content" section.

We speak French here?!

This question falls outside of the scope of hardware recommendation because these are the following questions:

  • Will it work if I put that PCB?
  • What's the worst that could happen?
  • Will it read the platter and assign the size or is it pre-written on the ROM?

None of those are asking for a new piece of hardware. Your answer doesn't recommend a single piece of hardware. In fact, your answer reads as technical support.

If your "help" of making a purchasing decision to expect a user to learn all about the technology to adequately articulate his requirements in terms specifically idiomatic to you then you need to clearly articulate this requirement.

Our goal isn't that the user knows all about the technology. Our goal is that the user is at least some what knowledgable though so that we can provide useful feedback and hardware that will actually help them.


At the beginning of this answer, I mentioned that I agree with you in some of the underlying aspects of your post. One of those is that we do seem to close a lot of posts as technical support requests. I am not disputing that we are closing them incorrectly. I don't believe that we are. I'm more interested in way to prevent such questions in the future. Clearly there are various definitions on this. We've attempted to solve this previously. If you have feedback on "technical support", I highly recommend taking a look at this meta question about what we can do about technical support questions.

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    That was a well thought out, reasoned, and well articulated response. It clearly illustrates why this site is struggling to attract and retain members - the high degree of qualification that each and every question must have so that people can participate. More rules; less participation. Again, I am not saying you are right or wrong. I am just saying what is. – Digital Boffin Apr 11 '16 at 2:24
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    Great answer, and I'm fully behind this. It's all about how we communicate our scope to people which is very tricky given the site's/network's layout. I'm sure it can be done, but the solution isn't obvious. – Adam Apr 11 '16 at 4:38
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    I have almost nothing to add. Something worth considering (especially from the perspective of an ex moderator of the other recommendations site) is recommendations is a strange place for Q&A, and least on SR, we had to have a very similar narrowing of scope and pickyness so that we'd have a good base of 'what was on and off topic; – Journeyman Geek Apr 11 '16 at 5:57

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