Proposal: Hardware Recommendations

Hardware in the title of this proposal is a very vague term. While this may be intentionally vague, most of the example questions in the proposal seems to focus on traditional computing hardware. That is re-enforced in the discussion in Site name of (computing) hardware recommendations and longevity of answers

15 years ago, this could have been a very simple line that was easily evaluated, but in the current world, the line between computing hardware and non-computing hardware is becoming more difficult to discern. Internet connected devices are everywhere.... Phones, Cars, Refrigerators, TV's, Media Boxes (Roku, AppleTV, et al), and a slew of devices that don't fit into any category. So where does "computing" hardware end and other hardware begin? How do we decide if a recommendation about which coffee maker is better is off-topic when a question about which CPU is better is on-topic? And where is the line between on-topic hardware and off-topic hardware?

Given the committment % of the current proposal, this might be a good discussion for meta, but I figured I would get the discussion started early with the intention of moving this to meta.HR if/when this moves to beta

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    I am a bit confused. On the proposal, nothing is mentioned about computing hardware. I thought that meant electronics HW. Like which transistor could I use to make this or that. Which microcontroller would comply with my requirements. Etc. Would those be in or off-topic here? Commented Sep 1, 2015 at 14:08
  • @bilbo_pingouin part of the issue. All of the example questions are about computer hardware. And the other discussion I linked suggests that they change the name to "Computer Hardware". Commented Sep 1, 2015 at 15:11
  • Right, but that discussion is more than 1 year old. I assume it was a previous proposal...? In any case is it wanted to be limited to computing HW? Commented Sep 1, 2015 at 18:52
  • @bilbo_pingouin why I asked the question - I don't want it to be about computing hardware. I'm trying to make the argument that even if that is what the community wants, it is not a simple line to draw Commented Sep 1, 2015 at 20:27

1 Answer 1


I think the answer lies in the fact that hardware proposals will be most likely used as a computer hardware site, and other subjects will be seen as off topic (Toasters). I believe that to be on topic, a computer needs two have to things.:

a processor

and an intended ability to do computing

In my opinion, internet usage counts as computing.

I realize that the only real qualification to be a computer is to store data according to a set of instructions. But realistically, a coffee maker should not count as a computer.

Coffee makers belong either in an appliances site, OR in a section of Hardware Recommendations in a section labeled "Appliances."

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    What about USB Wireless Toasters or Coffee Pots supporting HTCPCP?
    – kenorb
    Commented Aug 27, 2015 at 14:55
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    I think it depends on the question asked. For example, asking about which coffee maker would be compatible with your connected home would be, but which one makes better coffee would not. OF--topic questions could be closed as needed.
    – user3169
    Commented Aug 27, 2015 at 21:17
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    @Firepower, So what is "internet usage"? What about a fridge that has cloud-access so that I can remote control it with an iPhone overseas.
    – Pacerier
    Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 8:57
  • @Pacerier A fridge is an appliance, but one that can use the internet should clearly be in a part of hardware recommendations... just in an appliances sight. Even though a part of the fridge is technically a computer, it's not really meant to do computer related tasks. It would be to control a temperature and display a grocery list. It is not to do math, or to process any real amount of data. T Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 21:51
  • @Firepower0701, "It is not to do math, or to process any real amount of data" was the description they gave phones just 10 years ago...
    – Pacerier
    Commented Dec 3, 2015 at 23:46

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