I haven't been a member of this community for very long, (or SE as a whole for that matter), however:

I feel that this site is going down the tubes. There are a ton of people asking low quality questions about rooting, why something doesn't work in a custom ROM...

I could be wrong, but I doubt those types of questions will EVER get an accepted answer.

Even this question, that I asked, and which I believe is completely on-topic, has been ignored: WiFi direct on 5Ghz band?

Therefore, I'd like to propose one of two things:

  • Rooting, custom ROMs and the like become off-topic
  • There is a separate category exclusively for these types of questions.
  • What do you mean, a separate category? Categories aren't a thing on this site.
    – Dan Hulme
    May 13, 2016 at 12:52
  • @DanHulme - For example, the meta site is a category for questions about the site itself. May 13, 2016 at 13:17
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    The meta site is special, and there's no way to have another thing like the meta site.
    – Dan Hulme
    May 13, 2016 at 13:28
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    While the sentiment might be true, it's impossible to have another category without creating a new site. However, I don't think that's a good idea either, because with current situation, there's no one who will answer those questions, and basically it's just a dump of ignored questions.
    – Andrew T. Mod
    May 13, 2016 at 13:28
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    @DanHulme - Then I propose that rooting, custom ROMs and the like become off topic. May 13, 2016 at 14:08
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    The core problem is actually that this site has few active users, while there are so many possible questions. Your on-topic question was not ignored, but almost all of us (regular users) don't have the knowledge/experience to answer it.
    – Andrew T. Mod
    May 13, 2016 at 14:28
  • I definitely agree with Andrew -- your question being unanswered is most certainly due to no one knowing the answer rather than being hidden by other, worse questions. May 13, 2016 at 21:57

2 Answers 2


You are right in a lot of ways:

  • Many of these questions are underspecified, and we need to prompt the user for details.
  • Many are not applicable to very many users, or if they are then they are hard to find via search.
  • Many are common issues that we should be collating into a single comprehensive question/answer.
  • Many are due to bugs that we can't help with or can't reproduce.

And so on.

However, the site is not "going down the tubes" because this is not new. We have always dealt with high numbers of these questions, and right now our activity levels are pretty consistent with the past.

Making rooting questions off-topic is not really an option. They can be perfectly good questions and answers (example) and are obviously highly relevant to many Android users. Many of our most active users are also experts on those types of questions — it is a core part of the site.

I also don't think that separating them out into another area/site will help. One of the biggest issues we have here is people who completely ignore our existing types of off-topic questions, so such separation would (a) be ignored and (b) not reduce the number of low-quality questions in any way.

Instead, I think we should focus on how we can improve them. We've slowly been forming many "canonical" questions for common issues; continuing this is important so that we can quickly mark relevant questions as duplicates and reduce the clutter. There have also been some suggestions that we ask SE to alter the Ask Question interface to have some sort of warning about our scope and the required level of detail which would be helpful if we could convince them to add it.

  • And BTW, I am in no way saying that rooting and custom ROMs aren't helpful. Every single Android device I own is rooted. I am an avid user of TWRP and CyanogenMod. It's just that people can't seem to ask clear, answerable, and helpful questions about such things. May 13, 2016 at 22:33
  • 10 months later, I still think that something drastic needs to be done to improve the quality of this site. Just out of curiosity, what is the question/answer ratio? Apr 17, 2017 at 21:50
  • @AndroidDev It is almost exactly 1:1 over the last 6 months. I am not sure how to see the breakdown of answered vs unanswered questions in a specific time period, however. Apr 18, 2017 at 14:49
  • What about the answer-to-accept ratio? Apr 26, 2017 at 14:20
  • @AndroidDev I can't see that from the mod tools, but you might be able to figure it out with data.stackexchange.com Apr 26, 2017 at 17:39

Rooting, custom ROMs and the like become off-topic

Definitely not. They are a genuine part of Android to many of us. While I agree that many of those questions are of poor quality – that doesn't make the topic poor.

I agree with Matthew here:

  • Many of these questions are underspecified, and we need to prompt the user for details.

And this is how I deal with those usually:

  1. Adding a comment pointing out what's wrong and how to fix it (edit-in missing details etc.)
  2. Close the question (unclear/too broad, or whatever matches)

So if OP improves the question in a way it "becomes useful", I immediately re-open it. If not (and as long no one starts a discussion in the comments), Roomba will take care for it.

  • Many are common issues that we should be collating into a single comprehensive question/answer.

This is what we address in several places already, e.g.:

  • one rooting question per device
  • closing ROM requests as dupes to our central "Where can I find a ROM"

Looks sufficient for me.

  • Many are due to bugs that we can't help with or can't reproduce.

These we often close as off-topic already, and point the OP to the corresponding forums, bug-trackers, etc. We could "enforce" this a bit more, maybe, via a separate post on Meta with a strong consensus declaring them "off topic". Still, a "gray area" might be left with us (how to tell when it's a "clear bug report" or a misbehavior caused by other reasons?)

If you'd ask me for what I'd declare off-topic, I had a clear candidate though: 95% of the WhatsApp questions fall into that category ("Android independent"). But not being an expert in "asocial media", I keep my fingers off of those :)

  • You can't have one rooting question per device. (Well, for a nexus maybe) But for all the others, a single software update could render the solution useless. And thanks to the carriers, the rooting process would probably be different for each carrier's firmware. Furthermore, how could we ever get our hands an every Android device, let alone running each carrier's firmware, AND be able to test every single version of Android it could run? May 20, 2016 at 12:08
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    "You can't have one rooting question per device": Yes, we can :) // "..different..": A question can have multiple answers. Each answer could e.g. begin with "tested on FW/branding/carrier/Android version". // "how could we ever get our hands an every Android device …": We never aimed to. We take what our community members contribute. We're not a "contracted service company" that has to provide answers to all questions (or our answer would be "42" to all :)
    – Izzy Mod
    May 20, 2016 at 12:25

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