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I am on the lookout for a laptop for development. There seems to be no shortage of questions addressing this issue. However, the answers to these posts seem outdated. This is the kind of question which needs to be raised time and again as the market changes. I am pretty sure that a post titled "Budget Laptop for Development - 2010 Q3" will be closed in no time and downvoted mercilessly.

Could we have some way to protect such posts? This is definitely programming related and could also lead a lot (that's understating it) of search traffic to the site. Not to mention that the best answers to such a question are to be found nowhere else but on SO.

How do we go about discussing such topics? How do we protect such discussions from being downvoted/closed/flamed?

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3 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

In SO, we have a lot of questions, which are tolerated, about tools for programming. Apparently, these are tolerated as long as they're software tools or methodologies or nonphysical things like that. Some of these nonphysical tools go through changes themselves, and some of these are easily usable for things outside programming (I have a Mercurial archive with not-particularly-good fiction and a few essays, myself).

I don't see why we need a distinction between hardware and software. The needs of a developer are not necessarily the same as the needs of a typical user, and the hardware is much more related to the programming than, say, background music (which we mostly agree is off-topic).

Hardware isn't all that ephemeral, and recommendations don't change from week to week. Therefore, I don't think a chat room is a good place for this. I also think that a chat room devoted to the right sort of computer would be low volume, and would require constant moderation to keep the S/N ratio up. I don't think a SE site about the right computer would attract people who know what to recommend. It would fill up with questions (many somewhat inane) and no knowledgeable answers.

This is an important question for programmers, and is as programmer-specific as other questions we seem to think on topic. I see no better place to ask these questions. I think considering them on-topic in SO would be a good idea.

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What you said about the chat room is being proved correct. chat.meta.stackoverflow.com/rooms/201/hardware-for-programmers –  Agnel Kurian Aug 30 '10 at 8:32
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This in my opinion is off topic in SO, and as you say easily outdated. The moment I decide for a programming hardware it is in fact outdated already.

I would propose this to be a good thread for a chat room in the third place.

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The chat room is not the kind of place I can easily recover information from. I can't even bookmark a result there. As for the information becoming outdated, IMHO advice in this category is valid atleast for about 3 months... –  Agnel Kurian Aug 27 '10 at 10:13
Well, in a chat room that focuses on exactly this topic, wouldn't the latest messages be the most important? Bookmarking the chat room would therefore suffice. And it is possible to display the full transcript and search it. –  malach Aug 27 '10 at 10:28
chat.meta.stackoverflow.com/rooms/201/hardware-for-programmers That's what happened to the chat room after 2 whole days. Let's wait an watch. –  Agnel Kurian Aug 30 '10 at 8:30
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I would ask this question in superuser.com. A lot of people there should be able to point you in the right direction of hardware.

Jeff even states that the people there most probably build their own machines. Link below. http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/08/super-user-1-year-anniversary-super-contest/

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