I imagine that question only distantly related to programing are off-topic such as 'What is the best laptop for programming'. However my question https://stackoverflow.com/questions/19939767/is-cmstepcounter-supported-on-the-new-ipads relating to a specific API was closed because

"Questions about general computing hardware and software are off-topic for Stack Overflow unless they directly involve tools used primarily for programming. You may be able to get help on Super User."

However I don't understand how this question could be closed while a question like this: Does Apple's M7 Processor support low-power GPS tracking? remains opens even though it doesn't ask about a specific API. Could someone help me understand the difference or suggest a better site to submit my question to since Super User doesn't even have a Core Motion framework tag?

edit:For those who can't see my question this was the gist:

Apple added step count support with the M7 in the new iPhone 5s. Is step data via Core Motion's CMStepCounter method available on the new iPads that have the M7?

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    It is not clear to most people what this has to do with programming. Perhaps the close reason is not correct, but I would have closed this since it is not clear what problem you are trying to solve. The question is not stated in terms of a problem to be solved.
    – Oded
    Nov 23, 2013 at 18:36
  • I can't judge your question, a snapshot or copy of the text would be benefical for those who don't have 10K on SO, but I'd say the example question you linked is off topic as well. Nov 23, 2013 at 18:38
  • Gist? That was the question.
    – Oded
    Nov 23, 2013 at 18:42
  • @Oded This question can be answered by someone with a new iPad and Xcode. Do math questions like what is 2+2 have to have the context of the OP (like adding apples?) for others to benefit from it? Nov 23, 2013 at 18:46
  • @SteveMoser - the two possible answers are "Yes" or "No". This is not a good question for Stack Overflow.
    – Oded
    Nov 23, 2013 at 18:47
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    I remember seeing that question and not voting to close in the end but only after reading it several times trying to see where you're at. I guess if you added a couple of lines of code, explaining the results on the 5s and then asking: What is needed to obtain the same result on an new ipad with the same M7 would have helped, I guess but I'm not an apple dev at all!
    – rene
    Nov 23, 2013 at 18:48
  • I've added more content to a new question and changed it so that a yes or no answer is not sufficient. Plus I added "code"... stackoverflow.com/questions/20166556/… Nov 23, 2013 at 19:06
  • It's a site about "code", Steve. Super User and Ask Different are there for all our hardware needs.
    – brasofilo
    Nov 23, 2013 at 19:09
  • @brasofilo exactly, and my question is about values returned from a framework when ran on different hardware. I don't see any framework tags on Super User or Ask Different. Nov 23, 2013 at 19:11
  • @SteveMoser "Which devices support x" is almost a recommendation question, which are off-topic as well. I'm not confident enough in my assessment to actually vote to close it, but I would not be shocked if this did get closed. Nov 23, 2013 at 19:15
  • @psubsee2003 On SO's about page the part about recommendation questions being bad is in the section about 'primarily opinion-based'. I don't see how a method returning yes or no on a specific device could possibly be opinion based. Nov 23, 2013 at 19:20
  • Showing some code that pulls the property on an iPhone might do the trick and make the question look programmer-y enough..... that said, are you sure the documentation doesn't answer your question? developer.apple.com/library/ios/documentation/CoreMotion/… It says "available in iOS 7"
    – Pekka
    Nov 23, 2013 at 20:01
  • @probablyPekka Thanks. It's unfortunate that I have to make a question look programmer-y, hopefully SO could auto detect bad questions based on how they look and let mods judge the content. When the documentation says 'available in iOS 7' it means that you can call this method without crashing in iOS 7, not that all iOS 7 devices will return YES for this method. Nov 23, 2013 at 20:15
  • @SteveMoser my guess is based mostly on the other problem of shopping/recommendation questions. That is is the list gets outdated quickly as the technology evolves. Questions are suppose to stand the test of time. Nov 23, 2013 at 20:16
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    @psubsee2003 While I agree in general that questions should strive to be timeless I think we have to be practical in these matters. Eventually Von Neumann architecture will be outdated and thus the majority of SO questions... Nov 23, 2013 at 20:24

1 Answer 1


The lines certainly get blurry when we cross from software into closer-to-metal topics. So unfortunately , there isn't a clear-cut litmus test for it.

But generally, once you get into things like specific processors and computer-engineering stuff, it feels like it won't fit into StacKOverflow, which is primarily programming-questions.

I think one good measure is the question "is there a tag for this topic? and how many references to that tag?"

good luck

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    Thanks. My question was tagged with Core-Motion which was the framework in question. That tag has over 200 references: stackoverflow.com/questions/tagged/core-motion At this point I think the close reason is not correct per @Oded. Nov 23, 2013 at 20:16
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    @SteveMoser - I agree with you, I think this is an on-topic question. I undeleted it, but I saw that you asked a more refined version here: stackoverflow.com/questions/20166556/… , so I marked the original as a duplicate of that. Your new question is exactly how I would have reworked your old one. Nov 23, 2013 at 21:17

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