I was looking at this question and wondering if we really want to be a hardware support site. Generally speaking hardware has a (relatively) short life span, which is why most sites don't allow product recommendation questions.

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    I'm downvoting because I think the question itself includes a "disallow" answer, which I disagree with. I would recommend editing it to be more answer-neutral and posting your own "no" answer below with your arguments, then people won't have to choose between upvoting a good and interesting question vs. downvoting because they disagree with your answer to it.
    – DVK
    Dec 22, 2013 at 21:30

3 Answers 3


I think allowing hardware is a good idea, for several reasons:

  1. The scope of this stack is already narrow. If we narrow it down too far there won't be enough activity to sustain it.
  2. There will be many questions that relate somewhat to hardware and you'll end up with lots of meta discussion over time as to what kinds of hardware questions are okay and what are not. I have personally found it annoying with one stack I'm involved with that the same natural pressures come up over and over and over but several individuals feel it is there duty to beat back the pressure so lots of energy is expended for little gain.

Here's example questions during the commitment period that at least somewhat concerned hardware:

  • Is there a measurable difference in terms of eye strain reading on an E Ink device compared to an LCD screen?
  • If I get the Kindle with Special Offers can I upgrade to disable the ads?
  • Do the new backlit e-books have noticeably less battery life?
  • Which e-book readers [or manufacturers] have a mode for viewing three-column pdfs?
  • Can I replace the internal battery of my Kindle Touch and if so how do I go about this?
  • Will I damage the battery in my Nook color if I don't charge it up all the way before I unplug it?
  • What liquids can be used for cleaning the screen of my Kobo without damaging it?

All of these questions receive 10 votes. While some of these questions are obviously about hardware, it is not at all clear for several others - so then you have to develop a complex set of guidelines as to what constitutes hardware, and what doesn't.

  • How specific? For example, "My NST freezes at X step during the rooting process; how can I fix it?"
    – Ian
    Dec 18, 2013 at 22:27
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    @Ian As with other parts of stack exchange, a general convention can be applied: Questions of extremely limited scope should be avoided. Your sample question is arguably too limited in scope.
    – Joe Golton
    Dec 18, 2013 at 23:12

This is not product recommendation question, but specific question about hardware failure. The reason why most sites don't allow recommendation questions is independent from whether hardware questions should be on-topic here.

But answering your second concern, I think that such hardware questions should be on topic. They are allowed on Android SE, for the same reason they should be allowed here. Hardware for reading e-books is the crucial part of the whole e-books concept, and the audience of the site will be the people interested in such topic.

Coutering your accusation that hardware has a relatively short life span - I hope you're wrong and my Kindle will still be fully functional after 10 years :) It's quite a while, longer that SO exists...


Plain hardware issues are not really ebook related. They should be off-topic, or we will be overrun in no time by those questions.

  • While I agree with you, we are apparently being outvoted. That's democracy for you. Dec 19, 2013 at 4:25
  • Agree, we should avoid hardware questions that aren't closely related to ebooks, or this site might as well be e-reader support Dec 19, 2013 at 4:55
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    I actually want the site to be for ebooks and ebook readers, so in my opinion hardware questions should be on topic. If we exclude them this site will be reduced to ebook editing and drm.
    – Tim
    Dec 19, 2013 at 17:11

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