Would someone like to explain to me why this question "CPUs for retro computer school project" was considered off-topic?

The reason given was "Questions seeking recommendations for specific products or places to purchase them are off-topic as they are rarely useful to others and quickly obsolete."

The OP was not looking for a specific product, he was looking for an architecture that was appropriate based on a set of criteria (external bus, > 50 MHz, serial interface).

Now his idea of retro is a little different than mine (I was thinking 6502, 600 etc.) but I guess a 25-year old architecture (MIPS) is enough retro for today's kids. So I recommended the PIC32 family.

Uh duh, I don't think the PIC32 is going to be "quickly obsolete" (in fact, Microchip just brought a whole new family, the PIC32MZ which I mentioned and the OP is considering when it becomes available). So this whole thing about "rarely useful to others and quickly obsolete" is nonsense in relation to this question. I think my answer could be very useful to someone else searching the site.

Now I admit, I did suggest, as an example, a specific PIC32 for him to look at, and where to buy it. If you want, I can take out my recommendation, and leave it more general. But I don't see why that is necessary, because questions are closed based on the wording of the question, not one of the answers, am I right? Or do I have that wrong?

  • \$\begingroup\$ p.s. I see the question has been reopened, but I'll leave my question here as I'd like to know why it was closed in the first place. \$\endgroup\$
    – tcrosley
    May 24, 2014 at 18:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ The question is rather "too broad" or "primarily opinion based" than a shopping question. It's not so much "I'm shopping for such and such" as rather "tell me what should go into a retro system (with some minimal constraints) and I will shop for that". \$\endgroup\$
    – Kaz
    May 28, 2014 at 23:46

1 Answer 1


The close reason reads:

Questions seeking recommendations for specific products or places to purchase them are off-topic as they are rarely useful to others and quickly obsolete. Instead, describe your situation and the specific problem you're trying to solve.

No matter how you look at it, that question was asking for a recommendation for a specific product, and I disagree with it being reopened.

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ He was looking for a recommendation for a microcontroller family (Z80, PIC32 etc.) which are not specific products. The PIC32MX250F128 is a specific product. I don't know how it can be more clear than that, but I guess we will have to disagree. \$\endgroup\$
    – tcrosley
    May 24, 2014 at 22:22
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ I guess so, but it's still a shopping question. \$\endgroup\$
    – Matt Young
    May 24, 2014 at 22:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'll add electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/112878/… as a similar question which could stay open, or at least wait for a community vote to close. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 3, 2014 at 1:14

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