While performing reviews, I was asked to review a question that basically asked "Will DDR3 RAM work with motherboard XYZ?".

For the purposes of Super User, is this considered a hardware recommendations question?

In some ways, I see it as so: the OP is asking for which hardware will meet their needs.

On another way, I see it as not: the OP is not asking for any specific RAM modules to purchase; they are simply asking whether or not DDR3 RAM is compatible with a particular motherboard.

Note that such questions can typically be answered by (simply?) finding the manual for the motherboard online. But for this Meta question, let's just focus on the narrow query asked above.

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    Honestly that kind of question would be better pointed at a better and more generic question such as superuser.com/questions/18995/… teach a person to fish and all that....
    – Mokubai Mod
    Sep 20, 2023 at 6:48
  • As to whether it is a hardware recommendation, I do not see it as such but others might. I would still prefer to mark it as a duplicate which contains a lot of methods of answering the question rather than as a hardware recommendation.
    – Mokubai Mod
    Sep 20, 2023 at 6:54
  • @Mokubai Yes, I'm just using this as an example (the actual question actually had other issues, so I didn't link to it because I didn't want it to get picked apart here). For this type of simple question, I like your idea regarding helping them figure this out in general (by linking to the relevant SU Q/A). But does that then mean it's a duplicate? Hmmm... I lean towards "yes", but need to give it some thought. Feel free to write an answer. Sep 20, 2023 at 7:05
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    Well - "Will it work" isn't a hardware recommendation question - but in the form its in, isn't a great question. It'll end up with OP being referred to the fine manual (Admittedly at least some of my answers are literally 90% manual screenshots, fillers and mechanically separated product). I'd wonder what details would convince someone otherwise...
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Sep 20, 2023 at 8:21
  • @JourneymanGeek I wholeheartedly agree... they aren't fantastic questions, but questions asked by people seeking help nonetheless. Perhaps the real meta question is "why do we get a fair number of these questions". Unfamiliarity with manuals? Where to find them? How to read them? Not knowing what type of information is contained within them? Laziness? Loneliness? Sep 20, 2023 at 8:53
  • I frankly just answer with a screenshot, and an explanation of what to look up - but those are.. unsatisfying. Its certainly not a hardware rec, but there's other reasons it could be closed
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Sep 20, 2023 at 8:59
  • Isn't this already covered by the existing rules? I remember they used to say "…instead, ask how to find out what suits your needs" which seems to me like it implies that it is explicitly allowed to ask about compatibility. (Though of course, that doesn't stop questions which literally, word for word, ask how to find out what suits OP's needs, occasionally getting closed as "asking for recommendations" anyway...) Sep 22, 2023 at 17:15
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    @u1686_grawity What prompted my question is the large number of questions improperly getting flagged as hardware recommendations. I wasn't sure if my understanding of a hardware recommendation was incorrect, or the flags. It appears it is the flags. Sep 23, 2023 at 7:00


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