(caveat: Although the trigger here are questions of a single user, this is not about him or the things he want to learn)

Over the last weeks a multitude of questions have been asked pondering around the idea of creating some kind of 1980s video logic. While this is an area many of us like to discus (count me in on frontline), I feel that they are mostly borderline on topic and in total an abuse of the stack exchange philosphy.

What makes me wary are

  • Questions don't seek to solve a specific, existing problem
  • Questions asking an extreme broad area
  • Questions that do not include a description of the intended behaviour
  • Questions that do not include the base they are asked on (design (so far))
  • Questions asking for opinions
  • Questions asking for recomendations
  • Questions geting repeated in a slight modified way all over and over again

All of this isn't realy in line with the RC bylaws. It feels way more like a discusion on a miling list (or a web forum) where a group chats about the optimal C64 configuration, or how to build a killer home computer. Don't get me wrong, this is fun (as with doing the same on a mailing list), and can lead to quite interesting and useful new information. But I don'T feel that RC is teh right place. Isn't RC and Stack Exchange in general, about being focused on solving issues (1).

And again, it's not so much about a single borderline question, as it's about the flood of interlinked alikes geting out of hand.

Long story short, my question here ist how to handle this, or do other see this guessing and dreaming as something RC should evlove into(2)?

I would love if we can find a way to get this back on track. Keeping RC tidy.

(1) Yes, I'm very guilty in telling war time stories - but thats within an answer to a given problem, so more of a background colouring.

(2) I would have like a zillion of questions along that. Lets start with "What instruction would you like to have added to the 6502" "And wouldn't it be much better if SO would be level triggered" :))

  • "level triggered" meaning?
    – Pacerier
    Mar 2, 2018 at 20:36
  • @Pacerier That's an example for a ridicoulous question. You're not wanting to get into 6502 esoteric reading.
    – Raffzahn
    Mar 2, 2018 at 21:18
  • ?͏͏͏͏͏͏͏͏͏͏͏͏͏͏͏͏͏͏͏͏
    – Pacerier
    Mar 9, 2018 at 16:00
  • @Pacerier Mind to explain what ? is supposed to mean?
    – Raffzahn
    Mar 9, 2018 at 16:09

1 Answer 1


Some of the items in your bullet list are already covered by the standard close reasons.
If a question is too broad, flag/vote to close it as "Too broad".
If a question invites opinions or recommendations - "Primarily opinion based"
Repeated in a slightly different way - "Duplicate"

I see nothing wrong with general questions about computing history. We have discussed this before. Like all questions, if it is clear, someone can answer it.

The matter of questions about creating new machines from old parts has also been discussed. The consensus is that such questions are better asked elsewhere.

I agree that questions like What was a chip price differential in 1982 tell the reader nothing about computing history. They are too narrow and arbitrary to be of any use. A question regarding the price change of different chip sizes over time and the effect it had on manufacturing and the availability of larger home computers would be much more enlightening.

I don't see that the site is evolving into a discussion forum. There have been questions that have gathered a lot of comments but these have been tidied. If we've missed one - flag it.

All StackExchange sites are kept clean and on-track (to use your words) by the community as a whole. Let us keep it that way.

And on a final note...
Very few people ever use the chat room. This is the perfect place to ask for opinion and mull over potential uses of kit. That is what it is for!

  • Regarding retrocomputing.stackexchange.com/q/4863/276 - I actually don't think that question is so bad, to be honest. It does illuminate a bit of the background about something that I think is quite important, which is that it shows some of the reason why the BBC B computers were in many ways higher quality than their contemporaries: most mass-market 6502 computers of the era ran slower than necessary in order to accomodate memory speeds, but Acorn picked memory (at what cost we have failed to determine) that was fast enough to run the CPU at full speed. Nobody else did that.
    – Jules
    Oct 18, 2017 at 23:51
  • While I agree that a broader question than the "chip price differential" one, with a good comprehensive answer, would be much better, that's a lot of work to ask and answer well, and currently runs the serious risk of being closed for being too broad or not specific enough, due to a certain number of people in our community who are strongly against such questions and answers. The chip price differential question at least serves as information that can be used towards such a more general answer, on or off this site.
    – cjs
    Feb 17, 2020 at 1:50

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