Recently I've posted my first question on SU, which was closed for being offtopic.

Now, when I wrote the question, the entrybox warned me that the title might be offtopic, so I'm very aware of that. However, I assumed that whoever would encounter this question would rather not blindly close it, but instead read the question, and decide afterwards... Either this did not happen in this case, or my question is/was indeed offtopic.

When clicking the mp3-player tag, one will most likely notice that there are some similar questions, which did not get closed.

So my question is, When is a question on SuperUser ontopic, and when is it offtopic?

  • You can just edit that question to be explicitly clear about the connection to the computer and the end result you want
    – random Mod
    Dec 9, 2010 at 16:04

1 Answer 1


The requirement that questions be related to “computers” is interpreted very narrowly: as mentioned in the FAQ, special-purpose or ultramobile computers such as game consoles, mobile phones, PDAs and media players are not considered “computers” here. (“Except insofar as they interface with your computer” in the FAQ really means “except insofar as your computer interfaces with them”: your computer has to be the center of attention, not the other device.)

Your question looks like it's about using a media player (Sony Walkman). You do mention Linux and Windows, but it's not at all clear where they come into play.

If your question is about using the Walkman, it's off-topic on SU. If your question is about using a program on your PC that happens to interface with the Walkman, it's on-topic, but you'll need to make this abundantly clear in your question to avoid closing (for example (I don't know if this is your actual question or if it even makes sense, this is just an example that would have a chance of surviving): “I have a Sony Walkman with …. On Windows I use a program called … that lets me upload podcasts to the Walkman. Is there a program that can do this under Linux? If I just copy the files, it doesn't work because …”).

  • In the original question, I've explicitly asked for a program/method on Linux to transfer files in a way that would make them available in the Podcast feature. I also wrote what happens when I just copy it. Without ever editing the question.
    – user38584
    Dec 8, 2010 at 4:11
  • @nebukadnezzar: When I read your message, I see: “… Walkman … Main menu … a way to …” So it's natural to see it as a Walkman-based question. The last sentence doesn't clearly relate to the rest of the question. Hence, no, I disagree that you “explicitly asked for a program/method on Linux”. Even I would have gone along with the question closing, and I'm on the lenient side. However, I think that the question you meant to ask is on-topic. I suggest you ask it again, and emphasise the “software on Linux” aspect since there are people who close questions too eagerly. Dec 8, 2010 at 20:17
  • asking again, or reopening the question? Besides that, I highly doubt it would make a difference, whether or not I open a new question with the same topic.
    – user38584
    Dec 9, 2010 at 0:18
  • 1
    @nebukadnezzar: You can try editing the question, but that requires 5 votes to reopen, and given the traffic on SU this is a very high threshold. In either case, make sure to word your question differently, emphasizing the on-topic aspects, or it'll get closed again. Dec 9, 2010 at 0:26

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