The question is dead simple. What are Android-independent questions? If that's a broad thing to answer, then alternatively, how do I identify that a question is Android-independent?

There are some related questions which I should mention here:

I've checked all of them and none of them gives me fine impression on what's considered as Android-independent. Up until now, whatever the number of questions I've flagged or voted to close as Android-independent were based on the instinct I know it when I see it which says:

(Emphasis mine)

The phrase "I know it when I see it" is a colloquial expression by which a speaker attempts to categorize an observable fact or event, although the category is subjective or lacks clearly defined parameters.

I don't have any set of parameters which can guide or help me in identifying Android-independent questions other than a vague description in help center:

Android-independent questions, such as "Does Carrier X have prepaid plans?"

It is not hard for me to skip a question where I fail to judge whether the question is on-topic or not, but what bugs me is the lack of reasoning when I find question like Is there some hidden admin in a WhatsApp group? being put on hold or voted to close for being Android-independent question. (Note that I'm not questioning anyone's judgement here.)

That lack of reasoning is related to the on-topic guideline which says:

Using a particular app on your Android device

I get the point that some of the apps are cross-platform but as long as the author is using them on the Android, they should be treated as on-topic.

Some questions that I encountered and were closed as Android-independent:

Some Android-independent questions are too easy or takes moderate efforts to identify, but the ones dealing with apps are hard for me to judge. Can I know why those questions dealing with apps like the ones I linked get to be closed as off-topic (Android-independent)?

It's not like I can continue to skip the questions for eternity!

  • There's a slight differents between "issues with using an app on Android", and asking for specific features on a wide-spread multi-platform "virus" like WhatsApp. While I'd consider the former on-topic, I'd VTC the latter as "Android independent". – Izzy Aug 22 '15 at 11:09
  • @Izzy But I'm trying to argue that as long as that cross-platform app is used on Android then the question should be considered as "Using a particular app on your Android device". Why do we discriminate against such apps just because the developer decided to support multiple platforms? It's not the fault of the poster that the app is cross-platform. 2) Could you elaborate on "issues with using an app on Android"? I'm suspecting that you mean issues related to Android OS somehow, such as connectivity, SD card, crash, and more. Is that so?..... – Firelord Aug 22 '15 at 13:31
  • But that would be your own definition IMO. Can you bring me a meta post or help center link which supports your definition? – Firelord Aug 22 '15 at 13:32
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    You've got my idea of "using an app" correctly. The philosophy of an app is a completely different thing, not having to do with Android – whether the app is x-platform or not. I bet you'd agree on this exaggerated example: "how to reach the next level in Tetris". Just because Tetris might be available on Android, I'd still consider that off-topic and "Android independent". – Izzy Aug 22 '15 at 17:52
  • As for relevant posts: Is this question off-topic?: "you're asking about a company who might be doing something in this arena and if you can get into their beta program. That's off-topic here. Go ask them." // Are questions about LINE on-topic here?: "as long as the question relates in some way to being Android usage … these questions are fine". Also related are hardware questions. Please check there for context! – Izzy Aug 22 '15 at 17:58
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    I agree this close reason is the trickiest to judge. Meanwhile, reviewing also need efforts, sometimes including researching. In case you're not sure, just skip it (I know I skipped a lot). Now, back to the question, here is my opinion: 1) "hidden admin in WA group" is Android independent, because it applies to all platform in general, 2) "installing Kali Linux" is borderline. If this question about Windows is acceptable, then Kali is no different... (cont'd) – Andrew T. Aug 25 '15 at 9:03
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    3) "leave Viber group permanently" is unclear except for Viber users, and after researching a bit, I can say it's Android-independent, which mean: there's no way to prevent the issue, even on other platforms = it's Viber issue, not related to Android. 4) "Android constantly sending radio data" is unclear/borderline. If it happens on all mobile phones, then it's independent of Android (generally, if it's more about the technology like wireless charging, big chance it's Android-independent), and I assume it happens on iOS and Windows Phones too. – Andrew T. Aug 25 '15 at 9:09
  • @AndrewT. Thanks for the time your put here. For your first comment: yeah, I guess I forgot the point that reviewing occasionally does need more efforts than we normally put.1) "because it applies to all platform in general" -- in that case can we elaborate in help center (one/two line) that the guideline "Using a particular app on your Android device" is restricted to issues dealing specifically with Android OS and not just about any issue with any app that happens to be supported for Android... continued.. – Firelord Aug 25 '15 at 9:23
  • Or perhaps in the off-topic guideline that app questions that are applicable to other platforms as well are off-topic here because they do not meet the criteria "Basically, what problem (with your Android device) are you trying to solve?" specifically. – Firelord Aug 25 '15 at 9:23
  • I'm open to all suggestions that improve the quality, though it's mod privilege to update help center. Honestly, this post has a big potential by defining which is closeable and which isn't. I hope the rest of this community can chime in too... – Andrew T. Aug 25 '15 at 9:36

An Android-Independant issue springs from outside the core operating system. i.e. an issue that originates from a source external to the device/OS and not an "in house" function . Which is hard to peg the difference sometimes.


So example questions,

Android-Specific Question;

Hi i installed gapps and when i run/start play it force closes immediately. HELP!!!

ps im running 5 adnroid


You are likely running the wrong gapps version. there is a difference between Android 5.0.X and 5.1.X. Check which Android version you actually have and then what version of GApps you should be running.

Reply from OP;

Okay yeah derp, i wuz runnning the wrong version evrythings fine now. Byeeee

Android-Specific Question;

Hi, I am running Android 5.1 stock on a Flexus 42, after update the Stock Browser is hanging on pages at random. I've checked out my wifi setup and everything is square, what am I missing.


If by update you mean that you jumped API levels, meaning from 4.4 to 5.X, then it's likely you have some incompatible data remnants in /sdcard/Android/data that may be causing problems. Reboot to recovery [if custom installed] and perform a factory reset to clear out that data. You need to do that when jumping API levels whether up or down, meaning from JB-->KK or from LP-->JB and so on.

Response from OP;

Yup, that did it! =) I installed FLRP Recovery. I didn't know about that. Thanks.


Android-Independent question;

yeah, i'm running game snoozle 3.5 on kitkat and when i ttry to log-in it say please update to game snoozle 3.5.3/4's but i don't wanna so how can i trick the server or hack to app to say it's that version?

Result VTC as OT.

While it is an app running on Android the "problem" originates from an external source and not the OS itself. The same with the app-hacking question. While the question is about an Android app, the problem is with a 3rd party app and not an app that is part of the core system.

Android-Independent question;

I cross-compiled the tar compression utility through my debian chroot on my tab so i can use it in Android natively. I work with some very large archives and when trying to compress an archive larger than 1.5 gb i get this crazy output in terminal and my device hangs and i have to reboot. When my device is back on line instead of the archive i was trying to create has some wierd name instead $$@$*??? and now i can't delete it, no such file. Any ideas?

Result feel bad for the user but VTC as OT.

While Android does have it's own implementation of tar [may depend on stock or custom rom] , the OP is asking about [again] an issue that originates from a source external to Android even though the chroot the binary was compiled in is technically on device. This would also be OT because the issue is more likely the tar source code, as well as this would be a development question.


I know some of that sounds like nit-picking but that is what it is. You walk on some tricky hybrid ground every now and then.

We discriminate 3rd party apps because of the high likelyhood that the issue with those apps originates from the app developer's end and because there are sites that are better geared for that kind of support/shop.

My understanding of SE is

Question --> Answer .


Question---> bang out the issue ---> Answer.

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    Apart from the quality of the question (1st question is terrible :), I agree with all of your examples, though the "tar compression" depends on the context: if it's about how to fix the binary, it's OT; but if it's deleting corrupted file, it's on-topic. – Andrew T. Sep 4 '15 at 8:29
  • I disagree with your first "Android-Independent" example. Would you cite any official link or Meta Q/A supporting that only core Android apps are on-topic? On the comments on my question you would notice that app related questions become OT if apps are cross-platform and the issue exists on all platforms, which means it is not specific to Android now. If I go with your first example then I suppose "Using a particular app on your Android device" would become invalid. – Firelord Sep 4 '15 at 10:27
  • Your second example of Android-Independent question IMO is on border-line. A solid evidence first has to be there to clarify that the issue occurs because of faulty binary (and we can't take care of it because development/prog. is OT here), otherwise, it's on-topic because it is simply dealing with a binary giving weird output on Android shell. – Firelord Sep 4 '15 at 10:30
  • @Firelord That's fair, how broad a scopre does AESE intend to cover? I may be thinking more with my xda brain on that one. The second example is actually a problem [the tar binary question] i had last year and was resolved by switching sources. If you consider any problem connecting to an Android-ized shared source as fair game the list could get even longer. – moonbutt74 Sep 4 '15 at 13:28
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    I disagree with your reasoning, because there's often no way for the questioner to know what the origin of the issue is. This site is for people who use Android: it's not an Android bug-tracker. We don't care if an issue "comes from" the OS or from an app. The answer may well be an OS-based thing even if the question looks like it's app-specific. e.g. "How can I stop this third-party app sending me notifications all the time" -> "Either fix it within the app or use Android's 'Hide notifications' feature" – Dan Hulme Mar 2 '16 at 10:33
  • @Dan Hulme , I disagree with your disagree-ment-ous-ness-ity. xD .The problem with Android users is not caring where the problem comes from and opting for the blah-fix-it-now-and-i-don't-want-to-be-bothered-with-X-approach. Alot of/most of the problems with/in Android need a logcat, or kmsg or dmesg. And alot of the "simple" answers have the tendency not to work. If you don't care where the issue comes from then there really is no point to this question. So no standard, at all, may as well ask about toasters. – moonbutt74 Mar 2 '16 at 23:22

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