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Are threads like this one about clubs/meetups on topic for the site? It's so far off from my concept of a "retrocomputing" SE site that I've got no idea what to think about it, but it's clearly not totally unrelated.

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I'd say it's off-topic.

On the one hand, such meetups are of interest to retro enthusiasts (so as you say, it's not totally unrelated).

On the other hand though, answers to this question would have a limited geographical scope, and probably a short half-life — some meetups are long-lasting, but many aren't, and the information on them tends to move around so even external links might not be useful very long. An answer which is valid now might well be useless or misleading in a couple of years' time... Both these factors mean this seems like a poor fit for a StackExchange site.

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This kind of question doesn't seem to fit SE very well. Its not off-topic exactly, but its a bad question. Thinking about what kinds of answers we would get to questions like this and I think they would be short, every answer would be equally valid, and would be mostly useless without links. None of that sounds like a good QA idea.

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    Totally agree. We should probably also consider the same policy toward inquiries like "What's a the best place to buy a vintage XXXXX brand computer?" – Aaron May 13 '16 at 14:44
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    @Aaron I agree, a question like that is way too vague to be useful. A specific question about how to buy something would be ok though. For example something along the lines of "How can I import an MSX from Japan?" – mnem May 13 '16 at 15:30
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Questions about meeting have cropped up on other site metas in the past. Certainly on Genealogy and more recently on Motor Vehicles.

The consensus seems to be that suggestions of a meeting should be made in the chat room.

That would seem to be appropriate for this site too.

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    The original question wasn't about having a meeting(s) for Retrocomputing SE members, but rather it was asking for a list of local computing clubs / meetings in the user's area. – mnem May 18 '16 at 16:56
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    I'd argue it does answer the question asked: Users asking such questions should be offered a comment that the question would better be asked on a chat room and the question closed. – Joseph Carter May 28 '16 at 22:26
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I'd argue it's conditionally off-topic.

I suppose if you can find a way to have a specific question of general interest and use on the topic of clubs/meetups, that could be quite topical. For example, a question about the history of the Home-Brew Computer Club where both Microsoft BASIC and the Apple 1 were famously introduced, that's should be topical.

A question such as "Are there any 8 bit Commodore clubs/user groups/meetups in the Portland, Oregon metro area?" would not be. I could answer such a question in the affirmative--but I see two reasons why that is a poor question. First, the question and its answer are not useful to people in Tampa (or anywhere else). Secondly, it's a request for information that may change in the future. Currently there is a Portland CUG, whose current meetings are held at this location on these dates, at these times. Any of that information may change in the future, causing a well-accepted answer to become completely wrong.

We have questions of selective interest now, but there are a lot of people who share those selective interests. I don't have an Amstrad CPC and am therefore not hugely interested in questions and answers about it. But even if the Amstrad users are a small segment of our userbase, it is not exclusive the way questions of gatherings based on geography are.

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This might be a good candidate for a community wiki question. In a round about way I think it'd be of benefit to the site.

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    Everything I've read on the use of community wikis suggest that using them to get around bad or borderline questions is poor form. Making it a community wiki would make it easier for any member to update the answer, but it would still need to be constantly updated to not fall out of date. This kind of question really does seem like its less suited to the QA format and something more suited to the various forums out there, or a well worded search. – mnem May 19 '16 at 13:19
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    Yeah, that's a fair call. – Matt Lacey May 20 '16 at 0:30

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