As a spin off from What type of hardware is allowed?, I'd like to discuss an area that doesn't exactly fit into the answers provided there.

It is my understanding from the linked question that on topic questions need to be linked to a computer somehow, with more details still being worked out.

Thus my question - is hardware that can be linked to a computer, but isn't during operation on topic?

As an example, I asked a question about drones. The type I am looking for isn't sophisticated, but does have the ability to capture data (video). Higher end ones can capture additional information (GPS coordinates, altitude, acceleration, etc). Some can be pre-programmed with a flight path. All of this data can be streamed in real time or downloaded later.

I would not consider a drone an appliance.

1 Answer 1


In your case specifically, that drone has a (fairly sophisticated) computer onboard, and in many cases it's being controlled by a phone, tablet, etc. I'd say that alone makes it on-topic.

In a broader sense, though, it would make sense to me to allow thse 'hobbiest' questions. We naturally want professional questions - those are what draw the professionals in, and the professionals can answer both categories. I'd like to see more 'professional' questions than 'hobbiest' questions for that reason.

However, it would be hard to come up with a way to objectively/consistently separate the two categories. Why not just let them exist anyway?

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    "sophisticated computer onboard" is not a good way to categorize things. My car has a very sophisticated computer onboard, too.
    – enderland
    Commented Sep 12, 2015 at 14:44
  • @enderland True, hadn't thought of that. We really need to find a good way to categorize these.
    – user1
    Commented Sep 12, 2015 at 14:55

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