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In July this year, rwallace posted a question about the Largest ratio between base and maximum RAM, which was well received. Earlier this month, the same user posted a question about the Maximum size of 8-bit computer cartridges, which has gathered several close-votes.

What's our policy on these sorts of questions? Is there a significant difference between the two questions that I haven't noticed?

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Well, these questions are stupid, funny and revealing at the same time - and more important, they tickle a certain nerd sense. One that will make people eager to shine and steal the show. I can't throw a stone, as this includes me as well.

Like @Chenmunka, I would give them some credit as beeing on topic, but not helpful in a technical way. They satisfy a shallow curiosity of the BuzzFeed kind.

I try to either use them as a hook to provide some basic understanding or debunk them as the nonsense they are (nicly both citd questions also show the atempts I tried :))

Like with many other borderline questions it's hard to kick them out easy. I think we should give alike questions a (short) time to see if someone can come up with a good way to transform it into knowledge. This ofc, does not include questions about ponies.

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    Ponies aren't on-topic, but are unicorns? :-) Seriously: thanks for the answers you've been giving to these sorts of questions. It's that sort of answer that makes me disinclined to insta-close them. – wizzwizz4 Nov 20 '17 at 19:07
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    Unicorns are not important enough to deny anything :)) – Raffzahn Nov 20 '17 at 19:22
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    I came to this question to write exactly this answer. – Wilson Nov 22 '17 at 9:19
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    Unicorns are on topic on Worldbuilding, but you have to be careful in asking the question. :-) // cc @wizzwizz4 – a CVn Nov 22 '17 at 15:43
  • @wizzwizz4, "insta-" meaning? – Pacerier Mar 2 '18 at 20:30
  • @Pacerier A little faster than instantly. – wizzwizz4 Mar 2 '18 at 21:23
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My take on this is that they are simply trivia questions.

Although I would consider them to be on-topic, they are of interest to a very limited audience and provide little benefit to the site. For example, they don't help anyone who is trying to restore or maintain an old computer system.

I don't believe that the two questions that you have linked are significantly different, although the latter is broader and harder to answer definitively.

Your question is a good one and I hope we get a number of views expressed here.

  • Personally I found the first to be way to broad. Without any usable definition what forms a 'maximum RAM', there is no way to answer ist. After all, as soon as there is some kind of signal that can be formed to switch banks, unlimited Memory is available. Maybe not fast, but availabe. Not to mention, that RAM can as well include a wide variety of storage, not at least including disks or tapes :)) – Raffzahn Nov 20 '17 at 18:44
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No, because my computer was always better than your computer … ;-)

Unless the questions are explicitly time constrained, there will eventually be someone who adds gigabit ethernet to their Oric Atmos, or a SATA interface for their Sinclair Spectrum. Similarly, the questions will become a race to the bottom of obscure systems and peripherals. Then, of course, there's the Amigan problem, sometimes called the Amiga Syndrome, where historically Amiga owners have vastly inflated their machines' capability:

… whenever anyone discusses computers, the stereotypical Amiga user will always claim that the Amiga is a better, faster, cheaper, more user-friendly computer than any other, ever, and any opposing view is treated as treachery, oppression, and a declaration of nuclear war.— Advocating Linux, Lars Wirzenius, 16 August 1996.

  • A link to context needed for "Amigan problem". – Pacerier Mar 2 '18 at 20:32
  • @Pacerier — added. Count yourself lucky never to have experienced this. – scruss Mar 3 '18 at 1:35
  • My Amiga was pretty darn good ;) – Jim MacKenzie Mar 18 '18 at 14:53

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