I have come to notice that although we have a flag-to-close reason for questions related to ROM development, the help center's on topic page does not do a good job at all of showing that. See the development and expressly off-topic sections (reproduced below):

What if I have a question about Android development?

Development/programming questions are not covered on this site. You can visit our sister site, Stack Overflow, instead.

What about other Android-related questions?

The following topics are expressly off-topic here:

  • Marketing your Android app or doing market research

  • Issues with the Google Play Store (or any other app marketplace) from the point of view of a developer or publisher

  • Questions asking the community to find or recommend something for you (a device, app, ROM, website, etc), including what to buy and where to buy it

  • Speculative questions, like "When will X be available in my country?" or "Why does Company X do this?"

  • Legal questions, such as "Will X void my warranty?"

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

Development is covered, but I suspect some more stubborn ones will object to the fact that ROM development/modification ex-situ can't be off-topic as "development" is misconstrued by them to mean "app development".

My proposal: Can we reword the "Development" section of the on-topic page to go something like:

App and ROM development (including modification of existing ROMs in a manner enabling redistribution)..."

Too much legal-proofing there. Please do suggest something more natural if possible.


I forgot to add the reasoning behind this.

It's somewhat like, someone flags to close a question based on the fact that it is about ROM development, and leaves a comment on the matter, with a direction to the help center's on-topic page, as the auto-review comments do. Now if someone goes through the link, he/she may find no explicit mention of ROM development, and protest the comment, all since the question has not been closed yet (the "closed" message and the reasons there mentioned aren't shown), so the reason for the close flag has no official justification.

Alternative proposal:

I do not disagree with the text of the custom close reason, it is most definitely to the point and unambiguous. In this context, I suggest that the "Development" section of the help center page have its contents mirror the custom close reason, which goes:

Questions about writing and publishing Android apps, writing custom ROMs, and other topics that are primarily of concern to developers are off topic.

2 Answers 2


eldarerathis recently split off that section to give it more prominence, which is great. I think you have a fair point about the wording, though. I've added this line:

Creating or modifying custom ROMs is also off-topic.

I think that should be sufficient, but let me know if not.

  • 1
    How about reducing to "Questions in relation to anything which requires creating or tweaking the source code are off-topic here"?
    – Firelord Mod
    Commented May 17, 2016 at 18:58
  • I'll accept this, but @Firelord 's suggestion is also a good idea, as it is very succinct. Commented May 18, 2016 at 15:32
  • Hm, is mount -o remount,rw /system && vi /system/etc/… or adding system applications something else than "modifying (custom) ROMs" then? ;)
    – Izzy Mod
    Commented May 20, 2016 at 9:51

The form of words in the site-specific close reason is certainly broad enough:

Questions about writing and publishing Android apps, writing custom ROMs, and other topics that are primarily of concern to developers are off topic

I think this is clear and reasonably unambiguous - or at least, any areas of ambiguity are in areas where the community has differing ideas of what questions we want answered. In any case, it seems eminently sensible to me that the wording we use to tell people their question was off-topic should be the same wording that we use to tell people up-front what questions are off-topic.

If anything, we could do with an extra explanatory sentence below the bullet points, to explain that SO takes app development questions, some kinds of ROM development questions, but no publishing questions.

  • I have edited the question to make the point clear that this is about the help center rather than the site-specific close reason. If that be the case, then why not make the "Development" on-topic page of the help center mirror the wording of the close reason? Commented May 17, 2016 at 14:55
  • 4
    That's what I'm suggesting, yes. I think the close reason wording is better and should be copied to help/on-topic. (The wording in help/on-topic is older.)
    – Dan Hulme
    Commented May 17, 2016 at 15:39

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