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About Friday, this question was transferred to 3D Printing Beta: Which NEMA 17 Stepper Motor for Titan?. I left work for the day without clicking send on my comment, or my answer, and found today that it had closed, locked, and rejected. A comment said it should be rejected for being a hardware recommendation question. Ultimately it was closed for being off topic.

IMO, both of these reasons are incorrect, and miss the point of the question.

Yes, the OP admitted that they were facing their conundrum because of a long delay from China, but the question was not about vendor A vs. vendor B. The question was about what the requirements are for a motor in a particular application. This was about specifications and parts selection, not, in the sense of I think it was intended, a product selection.

The OP wasn't asking about one 3D printer vs. another, or one system manufacturer vs. another. The OP was asking which of two motors would be more suitable to the application. This is engineering, not marketing. This is education, not shilling a vendor.

As for being "off-topic", are we rejecting all questions about components and 3D printer engineering problems? Have we become strictly a user group for off-the-shelf printing systems?

I feel strongly that this should be the place for discussing 3D printing engineering, and use, and tools. But, perhaps this interest is unique to me, and I should find somewhere else to interact with 3D printing users who have engineering problems.

Have others noticed that the volume of reddit traffic related to 3D printing has dramatically increased in the last few months. Has reddit become the preferred place for engineering questions?

As for the user who had the 3D Printing Beta door slammed in their face, IMO both options they presented were sub-optimal, and by closing the question we can't help them either with the choice, or with understanding why.

It is a shame when a curious OP with a question that is real to them is rejected.

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  • $\begingroup$ Do you have an answer that you wish to post? It could be reopened if you wish to do so. After all, it was closed prematurely, with only four votes. $\endgroup$
    – Greenonline Mod
    Nov 19 '19 at 11:42
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Well posted.

I agree. Whilst I know that other people's opinions do and will differ, myself, I feel that this is on-topic. After all it is not an open-ended recommendation, but rather "is this suitable?" Personally, I can't see what is wrong with it and we have quite a few of questions like it, that haven't been closed.

TBH, this particular question has been playing on my mind ever since it was migrated, and it is a shame if we can't help people with these sort of questions.

I feel like maybe posting a "Why can't we allow (non-open ended) product suitability questions/recommendations" meta question, although your question has already done this, I guess.

I know that SE.Electrical Engineering has a similar type of thought process, and I have previously posted some questions asking "Can I use this component?" or (more tenuously) "What can I use to replace such and such a component?" and they were closed almost immediately - I'll have to dig around to find the examples - and it was quite frustrating that I couldn't get an answer, and I didn't really know where else to turn. Admittedly, the latter question was/is open-ended... however, if I suggest a component and ask as to its suitability, I personally can't see what is wrong with that, as it isn't open-ended, and more of a yes/no binary question.

I guess one could say that it invites opinionated answers - a bit like my answer to the stepper motor question, which after re-reading could be read as just my opinion, I suppose.

Even so, it is still a shame as it would tend to put people (especially new comers) off from approaching SE again, as they may perceive that SE has a rather strict set of guidelines as to what can be asked and what can not. However, that is more down to SE's rules as a whole, which we can't really debate here.

However, that said, it isn't like this particular SE site is so inundated with questions that we can't bend the rules a bit. Most of the time we are lucky to get one or two questions a day...

At least it wasn't closed immediately and the OP was offered some guidance in the comments and answers before it got closed. Well done to all for that.


This has been a bit of a brain dump of what has been on my mind the past day, hopefully it doesn't sound like a rant (it isn't meant to be). I'll go over it later and modify and supplement, when I get more time.

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