Clearly questions like...

"How do I register the someThingTechincal() intent within the framework by daisy chaining the java.tree before I compile the MySQL class..."

...are off topic and better suited for SO, but there is going to be some overlap between Development questions and questions about dev tools that are relevant to power users.

For example: Questions about the Android Emulator, or the Android File System.

How do we want to handle these?

Personally, I am not a developer and do not plan to develop any apps but I am looking into installing the emulator and I am interested in hacking the hell out of my phone in the interest of making it do exactly what I want. Do we want to keep these hacking/power user questions here even if they tread into development area or do we want to ship em off to SO?

If we do choose to keep a big tent and keep them here how do we articulate the difference in the FAQs so that it's clear where the line is?

  • Recently this question was closed, more probably because of asker's terminology than other causes. The words "I was building an Emulator" should be interpreted in the "create an AVD" way, not in the "build from source code" sense. I think it was closed unfairly because other power users that use the emulator for preliminary testing devices (not developing apps) could face the same error shown in the question. I think the FAQ should create a specific section that trace the line between what can and can not be asked about the Android Emulator. Jan 22, 2013 at 13:43

3 Answers 3


Personally I'm inclined to keep a big tent attitude and keep a lot of those questions here for 2 major reasons:

  1. I want to keep developers around because they are some of the best suited to answer questions on android.SE (as long as they are clear that this isn't the place for programming questions).

  2. Even if a borderline question could be answered over at SO, as a laymen, I think that the SO community can assume that you have a certain baseline knowledge and provide technically complicated answers, whereas I think those questions are likely to be answered in a more appropriate style here.

  • These questions would draw some attention from XDA-like folks, which would be a big win for this site, both in terms of knowledge and for spreading the word around the Android community. Furthermore, I'd assume that Android devs that use SO, also keep an eye out for this site, so we're catering to the same community
    – Ivo Flipse
    Dec 7, 2010 at 7:57

This emulator question seems to be a unique use case. He isn't really asking a programming question, but a hardware question (emulated via software) for a user's purpose (new to Android and wanting to try it out before he buys into it). I don't think this is much different then telling a physical-phone user that they need a bigger SD card.

I would even say this "Tips and Tricks" question(for the most part) would even belong better here than SO.

This however would be a good example of a developer specific question of an emulator question. More likely than not, emulator questions will be developer questions.

I would also consider questions about attaching DDMS (developer logging utility) to a phone (or installing/using aLog) somewhat relevant, because a user may need to do this to get error logs of an app to provide us more info (or to a developer). There may be other similar "tools" that would fall under this.

Sometimes high-end power users might actually have to get their hands dirty and actually tweak some things that you might even consider programming related. Rooting/custom roms falls under this area. If I think the question is too advanced (beyond what I know), I often point people to xda-developers because they much more experts on rooting and roms than I could ever be. I'm fully open for these questions being asked here, it's just I don't know if we have the people here that can answer all of these types of questions. I might consider myself an expert with rooting and using a custom rom on my Motorola Droid or G1, but if someone asked me about [X] or [Y] phone, then I myself would go to xda-forums to see if I can find an answer for them and try to break it down for them here.

(As a side note: providing answers here that xda-forums would provide is much easier to parse/read than a 60 page thread on xda-forums on some new hack a developer came out with for [X] phone because of all the noise and "discussion." I was reading about the NookColor being rooted today and that thread had some interesting gems in it hidden by a LOT of noise).

  • 3
    That's exactly why I hate forums. For pure unstructured discussion they are fine but for any topic of utility I'd much rather have something like the SE platform that allows the community to filter out the garbage. It drives me nuts when I go to XDA and I have to sift through 110 pages of posts that add no actual value back to the topic at hand.
    – Matt
    Nov 30, 2010 at 20:56
  • 1
    That Emulator question that you answered is perfect example of one that could have been asked at SO but I think was more effectively answered here. I think there's a clear distinction between the first one and the other two in that the first one is about using Emulator as an Android enthusiast and the other two are about using Emulator to develop apps.
    – Matt
    Nov 30, 2010 at 20:59

It's worth considering the type of answer that one will expect to receive.

On a development forum like SO, one will likely receive a very technical response. On a softer (is that the right word to use) forum one will likely receive a less hard-core techie response.

Thus, there is merit in having this cross over and even an argument for identical questions on both forums as they'll be asking them in different contexts.

  • 2
    Cross-posting of identical questions on multiple SE sites is always frowned upon.
    – Chenmunka
    Dec 6, 2016 at 10:35
  • I'm not talking about the same person posting in two places, just that the same or similar question can be on both and receive an answer directed at a different audience.
    – BanksySan
    Dec 6, 2016 at 11:57

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