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A while back, I asked a question about how the Raspberry Pi compares, but it was closed as "Not Constructive". I don't see how. I'll break it down:

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit in our Q&A format.

Huh. Why?

We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise,

Ummm. What? It's a comparison question. I'm asking for stats. Unless I'm an idiot, stats are facts.

but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion.

How? I'm not asking which is better. I'm asking how they compare.

If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.

It looks good to me. That's why I asked.

If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit your question or leave a comment.

It already fits the rules from what I can tell!

Can anyone shed some light here?

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The easiest way to ask a good question is to have it about a real problem. Lets pick this question apart.

From your question

"This hypothetical setup would be a vanilla Debian installation with nginx and such."

From the [FAQ]

you are asking an open-ended, hypothetical question: “What if ______ happened?”

Also from your question

How does this setup compare between a Raspberry Pi (maybe a couple of them for balancing), a desktop used for everyday tasks, and a commodity rack mounted server?

What sort of desktop? What sort of loads? Where do we reasonably expect a bottleneck ?

Would we be comparing a modern core i7, a still reasonably competent and realistically retired c2d?

What sort of rackmount server? A brand new 4u server running dual xeons and inconceivably huge amounts of ram? someone's old alpha we pulled out of a university dumpster>

In short, you've asked a hypothetical questions about hypothetical hardware setups, and expect it to be treated as a real question.

The 35 dollar + S&H question I'd ask is why not try it?. Its one hell of a geek toy and cheap enough to buy after mowing a lawn or two. Throw on a copy of raspian, try your setup, and see if its good enough for your needs.

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Because it is a comparison question and we do not field comparison questions. It's the same as asking for a review. In this case the terms would be interchangeable and both equally valid in reason to close.

It was either this or too localised. Or too broad now.

You are asking about a hypothetical which ends up throwing in guesses and discussion about how one tweak or change in configuration would compare.

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