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Our site has overlap between many other Stack Exchange sites:

What defines the borders between our site and these other sites? When should borderline questions be closed as off-topic or migrated?

For each of these topics (Linux, electronics and coding), what defines the borders?

  • Should the question be at least a little specific to the RPi? e.g. code must contain RPi specific features/libraries; the RPi must be doing something with the electronics; or the OS or features should be RPi specific
  • Can the question be on-topic even if it's not specific to the RPi? e.g. is a general Linux question on-topic just because I'm running it on a RPi?
  • Is there another border?

(if possible, please provide examples of on and off topic questions according to your answer)

  • If the community can voice their opinions on this and we can come to an agreement, we may be able to develop one of our off-topic reasons. – angussidney Jan 29 '16 at 8:00
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There are even 21 questions on Arqade, tho' they go untagged there.

The current policy is outlined in our help center, which recognizes the overlap and states (emphasis mine):

When in doubt, ask there first. Questions where the Raspberry Pi is not a significant factor will likely be closed.

Real life close votes however do not be that stringent. It also points out what is on topic and what is off topic, which already covers some of your cases:

on topic:

  • Raspberry Pi hardware, including GPIO and other related electronics.
  • Raspberry Pi peripherals.
  • Software specific to the Raspberry Pi.
  • Operating Systems built for the Raspberry Pi.

off topic

  • Raspberry Pi orders or delivery.
  • Asking for specific purchasing recommendations.
  • Raspberry Pi accessories relating exclusively to appearance (such as cases).
  • Questions directly related to Linux/Unix issues. Please use the Unix & Linux Exchange.
  • General programming questions, e.g., "How do I implement a keyboard interrupt in python?". These will be better off on Programmers or Stack Overflow.

  • Should the question be at least a little specific to the RPi? e.g. code must contain RPi specific features/libraries; the RPi must be doing something with the electronics; or the OS or features should be RPi specific

Yes, definitely. If phrased that way it's very ease to say. Yes, indeed, it should be specific to the Raspberry Pi. If it is a coding issue not related to the Pi it fits SO better. If it discusses general Linux issues that are not related the arm-build of the Pi or certain hacks to the distributions of the Pi it fits U&L better. (But there's more than one meta discussion to that.)

  • Can the question be on-topic even if it's not specific to the RPi? e.g. is a general Linux question on-topic just because I'm running it on a RPi?

General Linux should be in U&L if the issue is not specific to the Pi but would happen on any other box too. I would argue that the user base is larger over there, so that better answers come up more quickly.

  • Is there another border?

Well, probably there are. I think it would be best to discuss the rules as outlined in the help center. If amendments are to be made, the guidelines listed there should always reflect our current policy.


The existence of the listed questions at other branches of SE however is not only related to what is on/off topic here but also how things are handled over there, i.e. many of those questions were not migrated from RPi.SE to those sites but have been asked there, and - obviously - not considered off-topic.

  • I agree, although pragmatism sometimes prevails. If a new user asks a 'NIX question I will often answer, because the questioner is often new to LInux and the Pi is the first and only experience. Besides Unix & Linux (Operating systems) can be intimidating. Users there don't seem to understand absolute beginners and confuse them with technicalities. – Milliways Jan 31 '16 at 1:54
  • @Milliways, pragmatism should prevail ;) There are of course thing that need not be migrated: obvious crap and questions that already got good answers here. And your assesment of U&L is probably right too... – Ghanima Jan 31 '16 at 8:52
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What defines the borders between our site and these other sites?

The community (at least, that proportion with relevant voting privileges) does, based on our interpretation and application of the guidelines specified on the on-topics page.

The only way for a question to be closed (other than by moderator or gold badge fiat) is for 5 voting members to agree, and this depends of the willingness and availability of participants. Put another way, that a question may clearly violate an on/off topic boundary does not mean it will happen instantly and automatically. It must be done manually be a human being.

The only way for a question to be migrated, except to meta, is for a moderator to do it. If you feel that a question should be migrated, flag it. My personal attitude regarding this is biased toward instead closing as off-topic and making a recommendation to ask elsewhere, unless the question is of sufficient quality and does not require too much editing to recontextualize.

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