I wrote a question about computer hardware. A smartphone (tablet) is a computer these days. However, this question is "off-topic".

Let's admit. However, why then there are topics like this: example?

Here is a link to my question: What happens to a Li-Pol battery if it is left on an external charge?

Can someone finally explain to me why my question is constantly being closed, while others similar are not? Double standarts?

The rules are very vague. If you wish, you can fit absolutely anything under them. If you are in doubt, I will give you an example.

For example, you also deleted my question about the WFS standard: "How to get video and audio from DVR (WFS0.4) on a camera's SD card?" It also turned out to be off-topic, although it was not like a request to throw off literature, but a request for an answer on how to do it. Just paint in steps. This is something that is not a request to recommend literature, if you please.

Explain to me the situation with vague rules and their deflection for closing questions, please.


2 Answers 2


Android tablets fall under the "not about... electronic devices, media players, cell phones or smart phones" clause in our help center. The operating system is essentially locked down and inaccessible without specific tools, with the tool used highly dependent on the device.

They are a computer in the same way a smart-fridge is a computer. They might have a processor that computes things but they are far from being "general purpose" computing devices with hardware and software that is user accessible.

Outside of the relevant store having an app to do what you want they lack any real low level access.

The hardware is entirely custom and generally only the manufacturer knows the exact details, and the same goes for the operating system.

"Computers" on the other hand have a reasonably fixed platform architecture, and can predictably have access to USB devices, PCIe, mostly have interchangeable processors and memory and are at their heart general purpose devices. Don't like how your computer works? Wipe it and install an OS that does what you want inside an hour. The instructions necessary for one computer will almost certainly work on any other computer.

Tablets are difficult to repurpose due to their locked down nature. They have processors but they are far from being general purpose computing devices. You cannot simply turn it in to an elite gaming PC or a headless Linux box without throwing it away and buying something more appropriate. If you want to repurpose the hardware then generally you need to have first spent a week researching that one device to find out what others have picked apart from it. The instructions used to modify one device will almost certainly turn another into a brick without that research.

If you consider a tablet to be a "computer" then we should probably also consider a $2 pocket calculator a computer as well, after all it does compute the answer to "2+2". The line has to be drawn somewhere, and we drew it between what are essentially glorified media players and "real" computers.

The specification of the word "computer" might well be vague, but the exclusions are clear enough in my opinion. General electronics with a processor in it does not count as a "computer". At best tablets are glorified big screen smart phones which are explicitly off topic per our help center on topic page except insofar as they interface with your computer

See this answer to a discussion on what we wanted to allow.

We have other sites for more specific mobile devices such as Android Enthusiasts and Ask Different.

To address why some tablets are on topic: because some tablets are real computers.

There are "tablets" that are based on standard computer hardware and use a "full" desktop operating system such as Windows or Linux. Those tablets are considered on topic because on the software side anything you can do on a normal computer is relevant to those tablets. The hardware might be non-replaceable but is still the same hardware you would find in a desktop or laptop. Android and iOS tablets are custom hardware and software for every device and there is very little cross applicability.

  • 2
    The question also asked 4 very different questions. Three of the questions probably would be within scope on a more scientific Stack Exchange community since it deals with the chemical properties of a lithium polymer battery. The only question that would be within scope at the Android community (in my opinion) is the question with regards the battery preventing an automatic shutdown of the tablet (which would be a feature of the operating system). The question would equally be out of scope of these same questions were asked about a Surface Pro 7 tablet (in my opinion).
    – Ramhound
    Commented Jul 20, 2021 at 13:41
  • Well, it's a good thing that you are guided by some principles in determining the appropriate question. There is a so-called "line". However, the authors of the "non-right" questions was referred not to the description of the "route" of this line, there is no description of the bends of this line, there is no description of this "line" at all. Why your help center have no definition of "real" or "unreal" computers?
    – Alex A.
    Commented Jul 22, 2021 at 7:46
  • And so, if there are principles for filtering out questions, there are non-desirable and desirable questions for the neighborhood (for example, linux tablets like pine phone, as I understood from your answer, is acceptable), why is there not what you wrote in this answer in the help center? You know the principles of filtering questions, right? Wouldn't it be better to write in detail once, so that the author does not waste his time waiting for an answer where the question will simply be closed?
    – Alex A.
    Commented Jul 22, 2021 at 7:52
  • And yes, it would be appropriate to write to the help center where the line of acceptability passes, since your answer, however, like this question, will be deleted, since the question has a negative rating. I'm surprised that a question like this has a rating of only "-8". I expected at least "-64", however, everything is still ahead.
    – Alex A.
    Commented Jul 22, 2021 at 8:00
  • This answer won't be deleted. Any positively scored answer will block question deletion. The help center is intended to be a short but sweet summary and filling in all the grey areas would end up with people seeing a great wall of text and simply ignoring it. The current help center text contains enough information if you are willing to actually absorb what it says is on and off topic.
    – Mokubai Mod
    Commented Jul 22, 2021 at 8:07
  • @Mokubai Answer will not be deleted, ok. If I will still want to write sth here, I'll be able to reread it, BUT: other authors even does not know about this answer. Help center must countain a link to the similar explanation, for example. Few people will disagree that different people understand "slightly" different things by one and the same words. It seems that you could notice this even in the example with me.
    – Alex A.
    Commented Jul 23, 2021 at 14:54
  • For example, if you wrote in the rules that the site was created for questions about "computing devices", then you should not be surprised that I asked a question about wooden abacus. If questions about wooden abacus are unacceptable, you need to give a more detailed definition of what is meant by a "computing device". I hope I've made that point clear.
    – Alex A.
    Commented Jul 23, 2021 at 14:54
  • By the way, you can point out that questions about abacus are unacceptable, but this will not solve the problem. For example, if the question is about a computer that does not start, if its motherboard is not backed by exactly wooden abacus?
    – Alex A.
    Commented Jul 23, 2021 at 15:05

While Mokubai has very clearly answered your question here, there was an inherent flaw in your original question and the details, or lack of details, you provided…

You need to provide a bare minimum of details if you expect anyone to be able to assist you.

It took about 12 comments back and forth for you to finally reveal the make and model of your tablet: Lenovo Tab 2 A7-30 and a L13D1P31 battery.

Additionally you stated this in a highly contentious manner in your comment that reads:

“I can’t know what’s going on with my particular device, because it’s not going to happen. And I would not want to. If that helps, I have a L13D1P31 battery and lenovo tab 2 a7-30hc. However, I doubt as much as possible that this data can somehow help. I am almost 100% sure that this battery and the device do not have the necessary protections and the battery is degrading. I am wondering what can happen in the worst case.”

By knowing what the exact make and model of your device is, the community can help you. For example, if this was a tablet that was running Linux or Windows, it might have been a repairable question. But knowing explicitly that this is an Android device is what allows us to say, “Sorry, we cannot help you…”

Additionally you have lots of differing questions in your question as well as a very basic flaw of wording the question to make it too broad and too opinion-based. The reality is this lithium-ion batteries in the year 2021 behave differently in different devices based on whatever hardware or software safeguards are in place.

For example, I am using a MacBook Air (2020). Even if I plug this thing in 24/7 the OS clearly shifts from charging the battery to being purely using A/C power based on various conditions such as CPU load, temperature and even heuristics of usage; meaning charging is delayed until the OS knows you are using your machine.

For a modern MacBook like this there is utterly no problem keeping this thing plugged in 24/7; the battery won’t be touched if it is not needed.

This small example is exactly why one cannot generically answer your question even if it was on-topic. There is no generic answer here.

  • Yes, I agree that the questions are quite broad, but I said that I am asking you to consider the worst case. Namely - a dull tablet. The most stupid, which does not turn off the battery charging and it recharges all the time when it drops even slightly from 100%. Yes, I do not know how stupid my tablet is and how bad the battery is, but this is not the question (I doubt that my question will be found by those who have used this tablet). I just wanted to know what happens to a typical Li-Pol that is left on perpetual charge ...
    – Alex A.
    Commented Jul 22, 2021 at 8:14

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