It seems to me that the quality of this SE site is low. Most questions appear to be about minor issues/bugs rather than Android itself. Should something be done about the quality or allowed topic?


This seems like a bug rather than a "real" Android issue - Google Nexus 7 not recognized via USB

Use Google - Is there a valid Android alternative to iTunes U?

Too Localized? - How to connect your Nexus phone to a VGA projector?

Did this break the rules? - What's the risk of installing Cyanogen Mod on unsupported phone?

Some questions are accepted even though they are questions open to debate. See (https://android.stackexchange.com/tour) - "Questions with too many possible answers, or that would require an extremely long answer". The user in the above link asks for possible risks, which is not easily answered question, thus breaking the quoted rule. Yet, this user's question received many upvotes.

I think it would also help this site if the criteria for good Android questions were more "clear cut".

EDIT NOTE: I removed everything about Cyanogenmod since that seemed to confuse the people reading it. Yes, I understand the definition of Cyanogenmod and Raspbian.

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  • A point of order: Stack Exchange sites are not for discussion. They work best for questions that are about a specific problem that have a single, correct solution. (Or, at least, the potential for one.) That said, cyanogenmod is on-topic here, for the most part. Questions about modding it or otherwise getting into the programming part of it are not. Note also that we're not trying to be the be-all/end-all of Android knowledge. For some topics there are better places to go. – ale Dec 18 '13 at 19:48
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    "Questions with too many possible answers, or that would require an extremely long answer" is the 'too broad' close reason, which is meant for questions that have no value because they are too broad. I think that this isn't true for "What's the risk of installing Cyanogen Mod on unsupported phones". It is a concern that many users who want to install CM on their unsupported phones share. – Flow Dec 18 '13 at 21:52
  • @Flow Okay, thanks. That makes since. Should the rules be made more clear? – Devyn Collier Johnson Dec 19 '13 at 0:52
  • "Made more clear" in what way? The "rules" are purposely a little vague to allow for flexibility and change. What was accepted here a few years ago is different than we would accept today, primarily because we've come to see what works and what doesn't. It also allows us to break our own rules when it would be more useful to do so. (See the various "When will my device get Android X.Y" questions, which violate our anti-speculation guideline, strictly speaking, but are quite useful and so we keep them.) – ale Dec 19 '13 at 0:57
  • I think, perhaps, I'm not seeing exactly what you're driving at. By all means, we would like more Android experts here to answer the meatier questions. But that means we need more meaty questions. It's a chicken-and-egg problem. Also, too, this format does not lend itself to a lot of back and forth like you might have in a discussion forum when you're helping someone who is having trouble installing a custom ROM. "Do this." "Okay. Now this error happens." "Okay, flim the flommer." "Where's the flommer?" etc. Here, we want: Here's a question. Here's an answer. Done. – ale Dec 19 '13 at 1:00
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    This site also has more than its share of hit-and-run askers. A large percentage of the people asking questions come in, ask their question, and never come back, or certainly never come back after they get their answer. It's hard to engender a culture of good, interesting question asking if the vast majority of questions are from people who've spent all of 10 nanoseconds here. All we can really do in that case is close and delete the worst drek and hope that at least some of these fly-by-night askers are led by example. – ale Dec 19 '13 at 1:03
  • Just to add to add to the modified OS's part of this, see this previous meta question Are questions on Kindle Fire on-topic for Android?. Amazon's Kindle Fire version of Android is far more heavily modified than things like CyanogenMod, and has far less in common with mainstream Android than CM does, but we've previously agreed to allow that. CM users still have access to Google Apps and the Play Store, Kindle fire users don't have that. – GAThrawn Dec 19 '13 at 11:07
  • OP requested the closure of this post. But as there is no valid closure reason, I simply add the status-completed tag. – Flow Dec 19 '13 at 11:09
  • @Flow: Why closure? This would seem to be a valid topic for us to be discussing here. – ale Dec 19 '13 at 13:22
  • @Krampus Many users on this thread have stated that they do not understand my point or they do not see this thread's purpose. Clearly, this thread is not helpful. My post did not receive any up-votes, so clearly no one finds this thread useful. – Devyn Collier Johnson Dec 19 '13 at 13:40
  • @Devyn: That's what comments are for: to work to provide clarity in the post. I also think some people were put off by the tone of your post. But, c'est la vie. – ale Dec 19 '13 at 13:43
  • @Krampus Then this thread needs to be deleted if it puts people off. – Devyn Collier Johnson Dec 19 '13 at 14:06
  • I'm closing per the OP's request. – Matthew Read Dec 19 '13 at 20:20

Regarding some of your specific examples:

This seems like a bug rather than a "real" Android issue - Google Nexus 7 not recognized via USB

I don't really see why that's a problem. People sometimes encounter bugs when using Android. Trying to find a workaround for a bug (if that is the case) is a perfectly reasonable problem to want to solve. How is that not a "real" Android issue? What would be your definition of a "real" Android issue if not an issue you encountered while trying to use Android?

Did this break the rules? - What's the risk of installing Cyanogen Mod on unsupported phone?

Do you have a specific reason why you think this question is off-topic? What about it is not related to using Android? This seems like a reasonable question for someone unfamiliar with Android/CyanogenMod to ask before they dive in and get themselves stuck in a bad situation.

Too Localized? - How to connect your Nexus phone to a VGA projector?

I suppose I could see this being kind of a niche question, but I don't think I'd go so far as to say that it's "too localized". That close reason doesn't actually exist anymore as it is, but when it did exist it was generally intended for problems that were only reproducible in the environment of the OP, or questions that were (or would be) rendered obsolete quickly over time. On Stack Overflow a common use was for questions where the error was a typo. Anecdotally, I had my boss come ask me how to do exactly what this question describes before going to a meeting once (he needed to demo an app for some potential clients).

Now, regarding the general quality of the site: yes, we have over the course of this site's existence had a persistent problem with low quality questions, in my opinion. I think part of the problem is that there are a lot of questions that people want to ask that just don't fit on SE sites, which we have chosen not to accept ("Recommend a phone for me", "Help me find an app", etc). There's not a whole lot we can do about these other than to point people to resources that will be able to (possibly) help them, like forums and such.

We also regularly get questions that are just not answerable because they are too vague, usually with regards to bugs or other problems. "My messaging app is force closing. Help me?" is not descriptive enough for us to be helpful, for example. However, I would say that every site ultimately ends up with questions like this, particularly ones focused on end users (though, Stack Overflow certainly gets plenty of dev questions that are simply remarkably poor). Again, we just have to be diligent in keeping the site clean of these questions, and trying to guide the askers into posting more detailed questions.

In sum, I'm not really sure what the end goal of your post is, honestly. I personally don't find the questions you list to be particularly "fuzzy" in terms of their appropriateness, and you haven't really provided specific portions of the on/off-topic guidelines that you think need to be tightened. This makes it kind of difficult (for me, at least) to really provide much in the way of meaningful discussion on the perceived issue.

When you suggest:

Should the rules be made more clear?

...then I would recommend that you point out specifically the parts that you find unclear so that we can discuss them. Alternatively, perhaps you could explain what you think the appropriate topics of our site should be, and why. That would at least give us somewhere to start, but definitely do explain clearly the "why" so that we can accurately evaluate the merits of your stance.

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  • "Food for thought" means something to think about. I know AskUbuntu is not the same as this site. I meant for people to think about AskUbuntu's view on what they do. – Devyn Collier Johnson Dec 18 '13 at 20:50
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    @DevynCollierJohnson: I understand that, but I still don't see how it's relevant to the discussion. We're certainly under no obligation to model ourselves after AU. Perhaps more significantly, though, I would say the analogy is flawed. A more accurate framing of CyanogenMod vs Android (IMHO) would be Ubuntu vs Kubuntu/Xubuntu/etc. CyanogenMod is different from vanilla Android, but it's not that significant of a departure to be considered an entirely different operating system. Either way, though, I don't even know what AU's policies are, and I don't think that should really matter. – eldarerathis Dec 18 '13 at 21:01
  • I understand. It is just something to think about. As far as Cyanogenmod is concerned, I was trying to say that the site should make it more clear that Cyanogenmod questions is welcome. Without searching, the site appears to only support Android. For example, AU does not support Super OS, so people coming here may not assume that AE allows Cyanogenmod questions. I think the "Food for Thought" gave you mental nausea. (^u^) I am not trying to pick a fight or anything. I just think outside the box. – Devyn Collier Johnson Dec 18 '13 at 21:04
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    @DevynCollierJohnson I think the people familiar with AU's rules who come here and assume we have the same ones is going to be an extreme minority :P – Matthew Read Dec 18 '13 at 21:59

This seems like a bug rather than a "real" Android issue - Google Nexus 7 not recognized via USB

No matter if it is an bug or not doesn't mean that it shouldn't be allowed here. You can't often tell if it's a bug or just a common user error.

Use Google - Is there a valid Android alternative to iTunes U?

This is a borderline question, because it's of the form "Is there an App that does X?" and should maybe rephrased to "How can I (like iTunes U)?" But then it's a good quality question for this site.

Too Localized? - How to connect your Nexus phone to a VGA projector?

The too localized close reason is long gone. For a good reason, who can decide how many users are interested in the question? What is they harm if it only helps a handful of people, if it's still helpful?

I agree that Cyanogenmod questions should be welcome, but to see an "Android" site, it seems like Cyanogenmod questions do not belong.

This read as you would like to contradict yourself. And I also fail to see an valid argument why Cyanogenmod questions should be disallowed here. If have a feeling that most people would consider Cyanogenmod questions on-topic on Android Enthusiasts.

...but not Raspbian (Install Raspbian on Android (ARMv7) Devices).

This was a community decision, The mod that closed the q was only the needed 5. vote. For example, I do not consider this question off-topic, but the community decided otherwise.

I am not sure if I get the intention of your meta question. If it's whenever Cyanogenmod questions should be allowed or not, then I say *Yes, Cyanogenmod questions are perfectly fine here".

If it's because you feel the quality of questions has dropped, then I say we have already all the tools at hand to improve the quality of posts:

  • edit
  • down vote
  • vote to close

Remember that negative score posts won't get bumped by community on the front page. If they don't have an answer, they also will get deleted after some time.

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