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Should such questions be considered on-topic?

This is a pattern that has been repeated in a few questions now.

Examples:

Some are obviously "not constructive", but there are some borderline cases.

I think these should not be allowed, just because there are potentially too many of them (one for everything you might want to do on a PC or server.)

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I think if it's possible to answer either Yes or No (by performing a benchmark, for example), then it should be allowed.

It shouldn't entice discussion if it's measurable.

For example: Can I stream 1080p video from the Pi?

It would be possible to answer by setting up a media server, and recording the rate at which a 1080p video transfers. If it is faster than live, then it would work.

  • I don't think this makes a good question, because it is effectively "please run a benchmark for me" or "please google for benchmark results for me." – finnw Jun 14 '12 at 14:41
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    But then SO would be the final destination from Google - isn't that the desired outcome? – Alex L Jun 14 '12 at 14:42
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    Also, I imagine a lot of users wouldn't have the ability (either knowledge or access etc) to run benchmarks – Alex L Jun 14 '12 at 14:42
  • If I search google for something like that I would rather go straight to the results, not to a SE answer with a link to the results. – finnw Jun 14 '12 at 14:44
  • I was thinking along the lines of meta.stackexchange.com/questions/8724/… – Alex L Jun 14 '12 at 14:47
  • that says you should not post "google it" as an answer, but that is orthogonal to whether it is a good question – finnw Jun 14 '12 at 14:53
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    If it's going to be asked (which is likely) and is on topic and answerable, then I think it should be on here and have an easily findable answer. But this is just my opinion, I'd love to get a better picture of where you're coming from - could you post an answer? – Alex L Jun 14 '12 at 14:54
  • I am not really convinced either way yet. – finnw Jun 14 '12 at 14:57
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I don't think a blanket answer can be given as to whether we allow these types of questions or not - it depends on how they're phrased (and yes I'm well aware I'm the author of some linked to there.)

Taking Can I stream 1080p video from the Pi? as an example - the question has a definitive answer, which in this case appears to be yes. I don't see how that's in the slightest bit subjective.

Similarly, while What kind of performance can I expect from using a Raspberry Pi as a webserver? has a relatively subjective title, the questions within that question are actually quite specific and again, have a measurable answer.

On the other hand, you could have questions like "Would the raspberry Pi make a good file server", with no clarification as to specific questions, and no mention of concurrent connections, load, necessary speed etc. - I believe those sorts of questions should probably be closed.

I don't see the issue in asking questions along the lines of "run a benchmark for me" either. Who says that the person asking the question even has access to a Pi to run the benchmark? It's a perfectly reasonable question to ask if someone was thinking of buying one for that purpose. Even if you take that out of the equation, then you're still assuming everyone visiting here has the necessary knowledge of how to properly run a benchmark, and how to interpret the results etc. - if we start going down the line of banning those sorts of questions, by the same logic we'd have to ban a lot of other "easy" ones too.

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If the question was phrased, such as.

Is the RPi fast enough for X?

Then I would say close it as subjective. Just because people's idea of fast differs. What may be really fast for me, I only get a 10 Mbs Internet connection, may be really slow for you, you get a 200 Mbs Internet connection.

However, if they asked for benchmarks then I think the question should be allowed to stay. As the question is not answerable and doesn't depend on opinion.

In any case, maybe we should edit those fast-enough questions to ask more for a benchmark than an opinion.

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