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I've been trying to figure out if a particular question I have is on topic, and haven't been able to find much in the way of guidance. I found the question, Should the FAQ section on off-topic questions be clarified?, but that didn't seem to provoke much of a response.

I realize that the particular section being referred to in the above question is not editable, however, most sites, especially sites that are out of beta, have added this information by now. See for example:

I posed this question in chat and someone implied that it is somehow self-explanatory. I really don't think that it is. For example, which of the following are on topic, and what, if any, are the restrictions on them?

  • App recommendations (what's a good X app)?
  • App comparisons (which is a better X app, Y or Z)?
  • Carrier/network concerns - (is phone X compatible with carrier Y)?
  • General network questions (what's the difference between 3G and 4G)?
  • General device questions (what's a Candy Bar form factor)?
  • Extremely basic questions (how do I use the alarm clock)?
  • Obscure tech support questions (error X in app-that-nobody's-heard-of Y)?
  • Tactics for Android games (which may or may not be unique to Android)?

That's just off the top of my head. If they're all on topic, then that's great - please mention this on the on-topic section. If any of them are off-topic then it would really help to have a supplementary off-topic section in the FAQ, as many other sites do.

P.S. I also found the entries in FAQ: "What kind of questions should I NOT ask here?" to be of no help at all. Shopping recommendations, duplicate questions, and speculation questions are all already covered by the boilerplate FAQ and aren't on topic anywhere in the network. The complementary What kind of questions should I ask here? isn't much more illuminating.

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App recommendations (what's a good X app)?
App comparisons (which is a better X app, Y or Z)?
General network questions (what's the difference between 3G and 4G)?
General device questions (what's a Candy Bar form factor)?
Tactics for Android games (which may or may not be unique to Android)?

Off-topic. Recommendations can get a pass if they're very specific and there's a real problem you're trying to solve, but we prefer "How can I do X?" rather than "Is there an app that does X?" We only take questions about Android, so network/carrier questions are off-topic when they have nothing to do with Android. Device question are off-topic as well if they're not Android-specific; asking whether an Android phone has a particular feature is different from asking about general cellphone form factors. Android games are on-topic at gaming.stackexchange.com, not here.

Carrier/network concerns - (is phone X compatible with carrier Y)?
Extremely basic questions (how do I use the alarm clock)?
Obscure tech support questions (error X in app-that-nobody's-heard-of Y)?

On topic. Note the caveat above — your example is on-topic because it's about an Android phone, but carrier/network questions are not on-topic when divorced from Android. This is all discussed here on Meta, but if the FAQ needs work I'll look into it as soon as I can.

  • Agreed, and the top two are definitely covered by "shopping questions", unless they're incredibly specific, and stated more as a problem. – GAThrawn Aug 21 '11 at 18:38
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I think most of those could be broadly summarized as

What problem are you trying to solve?

and

... do you have reason to believe it can be solved with an Android device?

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    One could make this type of argument about any of the sites, and yet they all have nuances like this. If I found such a broad definition useful, I wouldn't have asked the question. The "what problem are you trying to solve" in particular doesn't really have to do with scope at all, just constructiveness. – Aaronaught Aug 21 '11 at 6:32

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