Is the following question on- or off-topic for Super User:


I choose to interpret the FAQ liberally, and the question as I see it does relate to computer hardware and software: it's asking about computer manufacturer support resources. When I have a problem with my computer hardware, that's the first place I go then Super User. (Well actually - we go to Google first!)

@Josh K, in his comments at the question above, quotes the FAQ and points to other meta questions that seem to be talking about web applications. I don't think that's the case here. So:

Is it fair to ask a question at Super User about how to most efficiently access support resources (e.g. drivers, BIOS updates, tools, manuals) from a computer manufacturer's web site? Many super users are de-facto support personnel for family and friends. Wouldn't it be handy to have shortcuts to computer manufacturer resources for specific service tags?

We're on a slippery slope if any question about a web site is a target for closure. I think the >3000 community ought to be more liberal in interpretation of the FAQ when a question clearly has some on-topic content and merit. The FAQ is necessarily terse and therefore vague because nobody wants it to be a 500+ page document with law-like precision. I don't believe the FAQ is terse to justify strict interpretation.

p.s. I'd have counted myself in that >3000 community but my rep got nerfed after the recent recalc. :-(

  • +1. I'm simply trying to interpret the FAQ as other people have defined it.
    – Josh K
    Commented Mar 24, 2010 at 1:25
  • 2
    I simply tend to ignore these kind of questions, since it's such a grey area. I prefer killing Facebook questions!
    – Ivo Flipse
    Commented Mar 24, 2010 at 7:09
  • There are Facebook questions?
    – Josh K
    Commented Mar 24, 2010 at 7:26

4 Answers 4


I'm also not active enough on Super User to make any kind of judgement, but my 2 cents: I would definitely rule it in because it is a useful resource in terms of the area that Super User is meant to cover: Hardware and Software support.

It is beneficial for Super User as a whole in that it provides a resource that pre-empts questions that would be (rightly or wrongly) treated as valid ones ("I reinstalled my xyz laptop, but now the abc doesn't work anymore. What do I need to download?") it would also be a great linking target in case such questions come up.


We've had quite a lot of debate about Super User and the website-questions-policy. Here are two of the more major threads:

That's the basis of current policy, so start there.

Is it fair to ask a question at Super User about how to most efficiently access support resources (e.g. drivers, BIOS updates, tools, manuals) from a computer manufacturer's web site?

Yes, it's fair to ask. But if the question is more about how to use the manufacturer's website than supporting the hardware, it may fall afoul of the website policy.

Resolving this is simple: don't ask how to use the manufacturer's website; ask how to fix the problem hardware. (Or software. Whatever.)

  • +1 Well said ~quack
    – heavyd
    Commented Mar 24, 2010 at 1:38

That's a website support question. Ruling it out.

Just because it's about support for computer parts doesn't skate the fact that yes, this is essentially, "Are there tricks for this site?"

  • 1
    i tend to agree. as a "tools in the IT toolbag" sort of question, tho, i think it could have a home on SF, and have voted to migrate it there instead of closing outright. (i'm not familiar enough with SF to know whether they'll just close it or not; i just feel it's not appropriate for SU, and if SF gets it they can decide for themselves.)
    – quack quixote
    Commented Mar 24, 2010 at 1:23
  • Agreed - my vote closed the question.
    – Jared Harley
    Commented Mar 24, 2010 at 1:38
  • 2
    @~quack: I give it 7:3 odds for survival on SF. It might live, but depends on the mood of the community when it's asked. Questions that skirt the help desk/desktop support line frequently fall off the side of the cliff.
    – squillman
    Commented Mar 24, 2010 at 1:38
  • @squillman: thanks, that gives me at least a bit of insight into how SF might look at the desktop support type questions.
    – quack quixote
    Commented Mar 24, 2010 at 1:49

Interesting question. I'm inclined to say no, but I'm not active enough in SU to be able to make that judgement. However, I don't think SU is suitable, because

  1. Techincally, it could be interpreted as a web application. (Yes, I know this is a poor argument)
  2. The manufacturer's support web site would probably be a better place, even if the question is about that very web site. (META)!

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