This question has come up around our big sister Stack Overflow.
I like Kevin Bourrillion's guidelines:
- How do I? -- StackOverflow!
- I got this error, why? -- StackOverflow!
- I got this error and I'm sure it's a bug -- file an issue!
- I have an idea/request -- file an issue!
- Why do you? -- the mailing list!
- When will you? -- the mailing list!
- You suck and I hate you -- contact us privately at firstname.lastname@example.org!
- You're awesome -- aw shucks!
Jon Skeet adds:
Topics requiring "deep" knowledge and discussion are likely to be best on a specialist list - whereas questions which "dabblers" can answer easily would do well on SO.
Here's an attempt to condense those into guidelines that would work on GDSE:
A tools question is on-topic if
- the tool in question is specifically for game development, and
- the problem can reasonably be answered by that tool's users.
A tools question is off-topic if
- the tool is not game-development-specific, or
- the problem can only reasonably be answered by the tool's developers (it's about a bug or feature request, or requires deep knowledge that isn't present in user-facing documentation).
That question about installing UE4 is on-topic because UE4 is game dev specific and users can be expected to know how to install it.
That question about Unity's machine identification is probably off-topic, because although Unity is game dev specific, the question isn't reasonably answerable by a user: The hardware changes necessary to invalidate Unity's license are undocumented and would require a large amount of experimentation for a user to derive. (It sounds like a documentation bug report actually.)