In this question's comments, Jay Carr suggests to ask here (on meta) if tech support should be on topic. There are multiple arguments:

  • tech support is the essence of stackoverflow
  • each communitity on SE has its own rules and guidelines
  • tech support is not listed in the help center
  • aviation.SE could be a reference for GA related tech support
  • aviation.SE's purpose is not to second a manufacturer's tech support
  • other arguments I don't imagine (yet)

I really think a good clarification on this subject should be done. Although I think GA-related tech support might be on topic, but this may open question about commercial tech support (which I think should not be on topic as this is a non commercial website)

  • $\begingroup$ Many questions about products could be considered "tech support" type questions, but this question is probably "too specialized", or the scope is too narrow to be answered unless they get really lucky and someone else had the same problem (and was able to fix it or get a definitive answer). I don't see a problem asking, but I would be very surprised if an actual helpful answers is given. $\endgroup$
    – Lnafziger
    Aug 26, 2016 at 16:55
  • $\begingroup$ Related $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Aug 31, 2016 at 16:12

3 Answers 3


I think that this question may have been closed because people feel that answering it requires specific knowledge that is not available in this community. Whilst it may be the case that we don't have this knowledge yet, closing it would definitely prevent attracting this kind of knowledge. Just the fact that the knowledge isn't available in the community does not warrant a close vote.

I note that there is a lot of tech support being provided on this website already, I don't see any reason why this particular question should not be allowed.

Yes, it is a very specialised question. Yes, only few people will be able to answer it. Yes, the answer may only interest a few people.

But the people who are able to answer or who are interested in the answer are aviation professionals working with aircraft only few people get to lay their hands on.

Our community is still growing and I would like to welcome more aviation specialists to this site. Closing this kind of questions means closing this site to a group of people who can provide valuable insights to the aviation world.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Very good points. One thing that would help would be to have tags to identify a posteriori very professional Q or A, that could be voted only by the minority of "knowledgeable" people (I'm not one) so that these posts can be filtered regardless of the regular up/down votes that sometimes doesn't really reflect their interest for specialists (random sample). $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Aug 31, 2016 at 7:36

IMHO NO, technical support questions are not on-topic here.
Questions about how a specific product or service works or how to get result X from product Y should be directed to the manufacturer or service provider, as they are the entity best equipped to answer questions or resolve problems.

There is a blurry line between "tech support" (which the datalink question is, and troubleshooting/systems knowledge type questions like the one about uneven fuel burn in a C172, or even Kevin's example of the G1000 "Flashing X", though the latter may be closer to the line.

  • $\begingroup$ The G1000 question is really no different, other than applying to a wider audience, imho. $\endgroup$
    – Lnafziger
    Aug 27, 2016 at 18:54
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Lnafziger The G1000 question is borderline: It's about an avionics system, but it's really something that should be looked up in the manual for that system. I wouldn't close it, but I wouldn't be heartbroken if people voted to do so. The datalink question on the other hand is clearly over the line: This is a service they've paid money for - at some point the answer is "Call the people you're giving money to and ask them!". $\endgroup$
    – voretaq7
    Aug 27, 2016 at 19:44
  • $\begingroup$ Well, at the heart of the matter, the datalink question is an avionics question too. Does the hardware even transmit the data? Is it possible to change a setting so that it does? Is there a manual in which we could look that up? The website is simply a viewport into the data being transmitted from the aircraft. On SO I would vote to close the datalink question as too localized because it doesn't have a broad audience like something displayed in the cockpit that many pilots can see, but on a fundamental level (other than scope) I don't see a difference. $\endgroup$
    – Lnafziger
    Aug 28, 2016 at 2:55

Stack Exchange is aimed at providing useful information to a wide audience. If the question is general or commonly encountered by the community, e.g.

How to I cancel the flashing X symbol on the G1000?

  • Garmin G1000 is common in the community
  • There is a chance that others will encounter the same problem
  • A good portion of the community knows the solution
  • The solutions are applicable to others who encounter the same problem

The question we are now concerned, however, suffers a few problems:

  • It is not a common tool used by most people in the community
  • Solving it requires specific knowledge
  • It is unlikely to be interesting to other readers
  • It looks like a support ticket

I'd tend to vote tech support questions as off-topic unless it is interesting to the majority of the community members and other readers.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ "unless it is interesting to...": what follows this will shape the audience. So "the majority of the community members and other readers" will tend to prevent the community from changing, and that could be a problem in the long time. This is not a criticism at all, but is that what we actually want? Some refresh / improvement is generally a greater alternative for the majority of the members. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Aug 31, 2016 at 7:52

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