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There's a few questions come up asking "should I use the Pi for " recently, and this got me thinking.

It's by definition at least somewhat subjective as a question, much more so than "is the Pi fast enough for " which usually has a definite answer (and generally in my view isn't as subjective.)

However, if we want this site to be popular for beginners asking questions I'm not sure we should just rush to close these questions as subjective, I was wondering about the following general policy:

When we see such questions, how about editing them along the lines of "what tools are available for on the Pi? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each?"

In my view, this turns it into a much more objective question, and by scope often answers the original at all. For example, if the only tool costs £1k and crashes every 2 seconds and is unusably slow, that strongly shows that the Pi isn't suitable for the particular task in question. If there are a range of good tools that run well, then this shows that it is a task that can be sensibly accomplished. And if it's 50/50, we have an objective list of tools / reasons why it's 50/50, so whoever reading the question can make up their own mind.

If this were most other SE sites I'd be tempted to say just close. But I don't think we can necessarily hold beginners to the site and possibly computing in general to the same standards if we want to be successful.

In my mind, these kinds of questions can be edited into objective questions relatively easily, and therefore I'm suggesting instead of rush to close so quickly, we can edit and thus save a lot more questions first.

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I think this part is a red herring:

However, if we want this site to be popular for beginners asking questions...

Just because a question is likely to be asked by, or of interest to begginers, does not mean it belongs on this site.

Closing, or downvoting does not mean "you're an idiot for wanting to know that", it just means "this was the wrong site to ask that."

It's easy to fall into this trap.

  1. "We must encourage newbies/beginners. And they are likely to ask question X"
  2. "We must not close question X as that will bruise their egos and drive them away from the site."
  3. "Therefore we have no reason to close any question that is even vaguely relevant to RasPi users"
  4. "Therefore, anything goes!"

Now you've just invented Yahoo Answers at best, or 4chan at worst.

StackExchange (or rather StackOverflow) was created partly to avoid this.

There is another issue that does not affect all SE sites but affects some including us: Competition with another established forum, in our case the official Raspberry Pi Forum operated by the foundation. The more overlap, the more we compete with them and the more likely they are to be hostile towards our site. Which is unfortunate because it would be very advantageous to have some of them active on our site. These kind of questions fit the forum format better than they fit the Q&A format, so maybe we should direct those users to the forum.

When we see such questions, how about editing them along the lines of "what tools are available for on the Pi? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each?"

All you can do with this is turn a "discussion" question into a "product recommendation" question.

So my answer is yes, we should rush to close these questions, and many others, in fact we should be more strict about subjective questions than most SE sites are. We are being far too liberal at present.

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