Will an Apple tablet device (iPad) be a "computery" enough subject for questions on Super User?

I plan to get one, and since I've never owned an iPhone or anything similar, I'm sure I'll have some questions.

UPDATE: Looks like a lot of iPad questions on SuperUser have been getting closed. Is there official policy or is that just the ad hoc / organic decision making process at work, and the mods have more or less decided iPad is off-topic?

  • 5
    See: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1696/… – Shog9 Jan 19 '10 at 14:38
  • 2
    LOL :-) The 8-ball says "Outlook not so good", darn ;-) – Chris W. Rea Jan 19 '10 at 14:43
  • 17
    Outlook not so good, use Apple Mail instead. – squillman Jan 19 '10 at 15:03
  • @squillman: Joke-stealer! Not that it's original, of course... – mmyers Jan 19 '10 at 19:25
  • @mmyers: I rarely have a problem walking through wide open doors! – squillman Jan 19 '10 at 20:01
  • 1
    This should have been posted on friday..... – Chacha102 Jan 19 '10 at 21:04
  • 1
    I don't know about you, but I'm quite disappointed that Apple's new tablet turned out to be a beefed up iPod Touch instead of the tablet Mac that I'd been hearing rumours about for the past year or so. This is just a 21st century answer to Star Trek's data padds; I was envisioning something in a flip screen tablet PC form factor that runs Mac OS/X. We're never going to get a proper tablet Mac as long as this thing is on the market. :-( – RobH Jan 28 '10 at 22:41
  • @RobH: I have no plans to get one now, but I bet it'll sell better than a real MacOSX tablet would have. I already have what I need, and the iPad will be great for my mother-in-law. – David Thornley Apr 4 '10 at 20:01
  • 1
    I'd almost reject any question on the iPad simply to prevent new users pointing to questions on the iPad (that do interface with a computer) left open. – Ivo Flipse Apr 5 '10 at 8:34

We now know what Apple had in store for today's event. It's officially dubbed the iPad, and is in fact a tablet form-factor modified iPhone-OS-running computer-like device.

I am personally of the mindset that this would be completely appropriate material for Super User. (However, I'm also of the mindset that Palms, Windows Mobile devices, Google Android devices and iPod Touches should be, too. Should size and a physical keyboard be what truly defines a computer?)

However, ultimately, I think it should be left to the moderators at Super User to make that decision. Diamonds, we await your word!

(Side note: My Moses wisecrack wasn't 100% off, but it was close. Instead of Steve himself playing the role, he used an image of Moses and the tablets, and a quote from The Wall Street Journal: "Last time there was this much excitement about a tablet, it had some commandments written on it.")

  • 8
    +1 for the Moses Thing. – Chacha102 Jan 19 '10 at 14:54
  • Exactly, we don't know for now. As for the off-topic, now that you mentioned it, I can't imagine another way for him to do that... – Gnoupi Jan 19 '10 at 14:54
  • 3
    xkcd.com/559? – Arjan Jan 19 '10 at 16:16
  • 1
    @Arjan: Apple sells its products through its own store. Thus, what they unveil on the 27th will be "in store." – Dr. Gonzo Jan 19 '10 at 16:28
  • Thanks :-) (If your comment spoils the fun then feel free to remove it; I'll clean up then as well.) – Arjan Jan 19 '10 at 16:38
  • @Arjan: It's OK, this whole answer's probably going to be rewritten after the 27th. :) – Dr. Gonzo Jan 19 '10 at 17:32
  • @G.P. LeChuck: So it was – Macha Jan 27 '10 at 19:16
  • The contrast between the highest voted answer and reality is amusing ;-) – Ivo Flipse Apr 6 '10 at 9:10
  • @Ivo: To be fair, at the time the iPad was introduced (back when this was "we don't know because don't know what the event is"), this answer was already at like +15. That said, I stand by my opinions, but respect the decisions of the SU mods to not support that content on their site. :) – Dr. Gonzo Apr 6 '10 at 11:12

I don't really see a difference between an iPad and an iPhone, besides the size and the lack of a phone capability for the iPad. The issues remain the same, they are particular to the device, and only this device.

I really think that questions on Super User should be about computers, regular ones, the ones on which you have control over the OS you install, the application you install, and what you do with it.

The iPad, in my opinion, does not meet these criterias.

This remains of course my personal opinion, with no more value than that.

  • 3
    i tend to agree, at least for the stock device. imho, a jailbroken device is inherently more of a "computer you control" and thus a source of potentially interesting questions, and i'd allow those if i were in charge. but i expect questions about jailbreaking your ipod/ipad are equally welcomed on SlideToAsk or PhoneHow, so it makes sense to direct all ipod/ipad questions to another Stack Exchange site. – quack quixote Apr 4 '10 at 21:35

The /faq is already pretty clear on this.

Super User is for computer enthusiasts and power users. If you have a question about …

  • computer hardware
  • computer software

and it is not about …

  • videogames or consoles
  • websites or web services like Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress
  • cellphones or mobile devices, except smartphones such as iPhone that interface with your computer
  • electronic devices or media players, except insofar as they interface with your computer


Really, iPad should have its own specific Stack Exchange site, a community of avid iPad users.

Go start one!

  • 3
    I just consulted my iPad and it informed me of a SuperUser FAQ update in the near future. – Diago Jan 27 '10 at 19:07
  • Is this new? I thought the policy was iPhones/iPod Touches were basically mini-locked-down-computers, and treated as such. – Macha Jan 27 '10 at 19:12
  • Not new. During beta we allowed some questions, but the requirement has always been it needs to involve a computer. There is already 3 iphone stackexchange sites dealing with the devices themselves. – Diago Jan 27 '10 at 19:28
  • 4
    Aside from its apparent silliness as a product (I'm a fanboy and I'm so skeptical I'm openly mocking it on Twitter), what really is the fundamental difference between it and a computer? It really is a computer with a silly form factor, it seems. I agree that the FAQ is clear; it's the device itself that's not. Or conversely: Would a Tablet PC (same concept, Microsoft OS, "real" version of Windows vs upsized iPhone OS) be computer-y enough? – Dr. Gonzo Jan 27 '10 at 19:28
  • Thanks, Jeff - but running one StackExchange site already is enough for me ;-) – Chris W. Rea Jan 28 '10 at 1:20
  • 8
    I need to mention to somebody, somewhere, that I disagree with this policy. iPad, while not a traditional computer, is a computer. It performs computations, is programmable with relatively traditional programming languages, and provides the basic services of a computer. If iPad is disallowed on SuperUser, than so should NetBooks. Each are variations on what is traditionally considered a computer. The only possible argument towards an iPad is that it uses an operating system that is specific to the unit. But, then I'd have to argue that Mac questions shouldn't be allowed. Preposterous! – Frank Feb 11 '10 at 4:04
  • 6
    @Frank: It performs calculations, just like my CD player and printer. It is programmable with relatively traditional programming languages, like an Xbox 360. It provides some of the basic services of a computer, not all. I know it's a real unimportant line for 99% of the population, but I'd define a real computer as one I can use to program itself - and the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad don't count here. I could program on my wife's Asus, so I call it a computer. – David Thornley Apr 4 '10 at 20:05
  • 1
    @Frank: I’m totally with you. I bet when the Mac debuted, there was a sizeable community of people who thought it wasn’t a real computer because it had a GUI. Excluding iOS from Superuser seems really short-sighted. @David: “I'd define a real computer as one I can use to program itself”. I look forward to the day Apple releases XCode for iOS. I give it 10 years tops. – Paul D. Waite Sep 9 '10 at 9:32

Given that the currently highest voted answer states it should be allowed and that a diamond mod (other than Jeff I guess) should respond: voila here I am!

I went over to the Stack Exchange Meta list and quote:


So we have several iPhone and other smartphone related SE-sites. Someone explain to me why Super User needs to allow these kind of questions?

The problems I do see is that (currently) there is some fragmentation and you can't be sure what site will gain the most traffic, the best users and most importantly the best answers.

Furthermore, Super User already has higher traffic than these SE-sites, so it would be 'easier' for getting answers on you question there. Personally I'd love to see an API solution that simply let's me browse all SE and trilogy sites for interesting topics through one highly customizable portal.

That way, everyone will have their own version of the SE-sites based on what they personally like. If you're a programmer that doesn't like other topics to cloud his frontpage: good for you, go follow C# on SO alone. But that doesn't mean that there are other people who would like to follow other topics with the same ease.

As has been mentioned in similar discussions: even though someone likes Stack Overflow doesn't mean they instantly like Server Fault or Super User. However, that fact ignores all the users that do! It has been suggested by letting SF/SU question pop up to SO audience could draw a lot of SO's much larger traffic to the other sites. Now I don't want to clutter the Stack Overflow homepage, but do see potential for the API to create a medium here.

This could then also work for Super User and other SE-sites on smartphones, gaming consoles and other peripherals or web-apps.

Stop cluttering Super User with other topics and fix the problem, not the symptoms!


I've proposed a Stack Exchange-based Apple site that you can ask iPad questions on. Just go here and click "Follow" to help get the site up and running.

  • The Gadget site proposal is also matching for the iPad. Questions about it will be welcomed there, from what I understand. – Gnoupi Jun 7 '10 at 18:28
  • 1
    i still think an Apple-only site is a horrid idea. put iPad questions on the Gadget site where they can be discussed and compared with the Kindle and the DroidPad or whatever. let the Apple fanboys create their own SE clone; i don't think fanboyism is something SE should be enabling. – quack quixote Jun 7 '10 at 19:48
  • @quack I disagree. Apple makes a wide range of products that closely integrate with one another (Mac, iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, etc) that would greatly benefit from a single site rather than being split up based on the category of the device. Besides, there's no reason why the sites can't coexist. – Kyle Cronin Jun 7 '10 at 19:52
  • @quack - while I agree fully with your point, you won't prevent Apple users from wanting their own "self space", without anyone else, just to have their precious "ecosystem" in one place. @Kyle - there are other products which are interacting with each other, Windows Mobile, Windows 7, Xbox 360... And yet we treat them separately. However, I agree that no real reason for not coexisting. Survival of the fittest, we will see. – Gnoupi Jun 7 '10 at 20:10
  • 2
    I'm following and contributing to that proposal. I think we need a site like this to bring in Apple people who wouldn't otherwise participate in the trilogy. They'd be a good user base for launching other sites eventually. e.g. sites about turtlenecks, expensive coffeehouses, etc. ;-) – Chris W. Rea Jun 7 '10 at 23:18

SU is not a "insert company product name here" support forum.

So general purpose iPad questions are not acceptable.

  • 5
    I often agree with you, but by this logic, SU shouldn't exist. SU is not a "Microsoft Word" support forum, go away. SU is not a "Windows 7" support forum, go away. SU is not a Gateway hardware support forum, go away. Kinda falls apart fast. :) – Dr. Gonzo Jan 28 '10 at 0:15
  • 1
    It's not a Microsoft Word Support forum. Post a message, "How do I put in a bullet list in Word 2007?" and it'll be closed post-haste. – Pollyanna Jan 28 '10 at 15:27
  • 1
    No, I'll post a screenshot with freehand circles and gather masses of rep! – Ivo Flipse Apr 6 '10 at 5:55
  • 4
    I would ask my Word questions on SU. – Lance Roberts Apr 6 '10 at 6:14

IPads are just a tablet computer, and so are just a computer of a different form factor. Just like we would allow laptop questions, we should allow tablet questions. Since a lot of the world is going to tablets for their computing needs, we will really be niching ourselves to not allow them.

Please use some common sense on this.

  • 2
    We don't have to allow them, they are perfectly on-topic on Apple.SE – Ivo Flipse Aug 23 '11 at 13:18
  • @Ivo, yes, but they should be perfectly on-topic here also. And the larger question is ALL of the tablets out there. – Lance Roberts Aug 23 '11 at 13:22
  • 2
    It's an over-sized cellphone man, come on. These questions should go on Apple.SE and stay there! Just like all Android tablet questions should be on Android.SE. The issues on SuperUser usually are restricted to larger desktop and laptop-like computers running Windows, Linux, Unix, or Mac operating systems, especially since most software for those platforms is cross-platform. The same can not be said for Android/iOS/WP7. – Breakthrough Aug 23 '11 at 13:58
  • @Breakthrough, while I disagree, thanks for putting out a rational argument. – Lance Roberts Aug 23 '11 at 14:20
  • At this point in time, they are a consumer electronic device and not really a computer... in the same way as some people can do emails on their televisions, it doesn't mean we should start answering questions on televisions. The only exception IMHO is Jailbreaking... If you have terminal or similar access so it really is a standard computer like device and want a question such as "how to install ping command", then fine... but, it can still be phrased in a way to exclude the fact it is an Ipad, and you will probably get a better response on Apple.se anyway. – William Hilsum Aug 23 '11 at 20:15
  • I think the basic problem is that iPod/iPad devices are currently so unique that they're not likely to have much useful overlap with desktops. A question about software is common between laptops and desktops, but not really with tablets. The current APIs pretty much require a unique codebase for an iPad app... and a different interface, usually with it's own unique set of bugs. – user11934 Sep 1 '11 at 16:09
  • @Cody: Disparaging other users isn't really helpful to either the discussion or your desire to convince more neutral parties. The major discussion on every meta in the whole network is "scope of this site." Personally speaking, I'd vote iPod/iPad questions as on-topic, if it weren't for the existence of apple.SE, by far the more appropriate (specialized) community. – user11934 Sep 1 '11 at 16:13

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .