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Background

I want to find out which phones have an ambient room temperature sensor, so I asked for a reference by which I could look these up. It was immediately marked duplicate even though none of the answers to the existing question were correct for my question.

Moving on...

I asked, https://android.stackexchange.com/questions/47143/which-phones-have-environmental-sensors-e-g-ambient-temperature-humidity-pr, and it was promptly closed as "not constructive" because...

This question is not a good fit here. It's asking for a list and it's a list that potentially can never be complete.

But the list is apparently very small (only 1 phone) according to one commenter, and I've seen a dozen or more questions that, to me, seem similar in principle, including an entire series titled, When will my device get the android X.Y update. When I asked how my question is any less suitable than those, I was told,

Completely different. Those questions are canonical references to prevent hundreds of "when will app X get Android version Y" ...

(I assume he meant, "when will device X get Android version Y.") By this logic and his previous reasoning, it sounds like those questions actually are not any more suitable for this site but they are allowed anyway because the mods have given up on trying to close "hundreds" of such questions.

  1. Is this the case? (i.e., is a special exception made for them just because so many people ask those questions?)
  2. If so, does it follow that a canonical reference of phones' hardware specs would be allowed if there were enough people asking?
  3. If not, then could someone please explain more clearly why a reference of android devices and supported OS versions (with release dates) is suitable while a reference of android devices and sensors is not suitable?
  4. If this is not the place to ask my question, is there any stack exchange site where my question (or some rephrased version of it) would not be closed as off-topic or not constructive? (Stack Overflow is not appropriate because I am not asking for coding help, and it is definitely off-topic on Super User.)
  5. After rereading the FAQ, it sounds like Android troubleshooting would be a more accurate name than Android enthusiasts for this site. If I phrased my question in the form of a technical support question, would it then be considered appropriate for this site? For example: "I installed a room temperature app on a dozen different Android phones but it doesn't work on any of them (I think because they don't have ambient room temperature sensors). What are some phones that it will work on?" If that version is still not appropriate, why not?
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  1. I think you are correct in saying that the Android update questions are not really a good fit for this site. They are excepted because of how broadly useful they are; we did, and still do, get hundreds of questions asking when Device X will get an android update.

  2. Yes, very probably.

  3. See #2

  4. No, there's no SE site where you could ask this. Do see Where can I ask questions that aren't Android Enthusiast questions?

  5. I agree, the site title does not necessarily give a good idea about how the Stack Exchange platform works and the kind of questions we accept. You should read it as an SE site for Android enthusiasts, rather than as a general website for them.

    Your rephrased question is the same question. Just because questions without problems behind them are not normally accepted doesn't mean all questions with problems behind them will be accepted. The problem is, as noted, that it's a list question.

  • Thanks for the thorough answer. It's really sad that the scope of Android Enthusiasts is so small, because many questions I've seen which had great answers were closed as not constructive, and I would like to think those and other questions would have had even more great answers or could have received helpful answers including newer information. – rob Jun 13 '13 at 21:58
  • One other side question...regarding #5, would it be appropriate then to ask, "What is a phone that supports ambient temperature sensor readings?" and hope for more than 1 phone (if more than 1 even exists)? I didn't phrase it that way because I saw another question here where people were discouraged from posting one feature or one phone per answer. – rob Jun 13 '13 at 22:00
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    @rob Yeah, that also wouldn't work -- any device with such sensors would be a valid answer, which essentially leaves no way to distinguish answers. You'd end up with a list, just broken up into separate answers, and voting would turn into a bizarre popularity contest instead of being quality-based. – Matthew Read Jun 14 '13 at 4:01
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    I also agree/confirm we have several closed questions with great answers -- but I don't see a problem with that, for two reasons: 1) these answers are still available (the question is closed, but not deleted -- and we take care to differentiate between the two), and 2) I could imagine even more great answers on several topics, which still wouldn't make them (including their respective questions) on-topic on ASE :) So the link Matthew gave you: Where can I ask questions that aren't Android Enthusiast questions?, is my recommendation, too :) – Izzy Jun 14 '13 at 8:33

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