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Consider, for example, these few questions:

The first few of these are closed, while the last is (currently) not.

These questions are all making requests about the timeliness of some technology.

In the past, SE sites had a "too localized" close reason that was often used to cover questions that were off-topic because they were highly dependent on the point in time they were answered.

Should we consider the above sorts of "is X still viable?" questions as on or off topic here?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I read this as timelines at first and was really confused. \$\endgroup\$ – John Hamilton Dec 4 '17 at 7:09
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I think these questions are tough to answer in game development especially. People are still making games for downright ancient systems and tech.

I've helped ship AAA games on forks of engines over a decade old (in the 2010s we could still find fossilized comments from the 90s). And I think we all have a chunk of our codebase somewhere that we now know is horribly outdated but just not bad enough to be critical to replace just yet. It happens. It might not be what we'd call "best practice" but if a thing works, it works.

So, I think the answer to all of these questions ends up being "yes" in the sense of "nobody will stop you" but also "no" in the sense of "if you decided to ask, you probably already know there are 'better'/more popular options you should probably use today" without a lot of conclusive evidence we can present either way.

(Sure, Flash support is officially ending, but sufficiently-motivated players still dig out and maintain their original NES systems, so is a lack of support an absolute deal-breaker? Seems like that will vary based on a developer's opinions and aims)

So, I have a hard time envisioning what a high-quality, useful answer to this type of question will be. Most I've seen boil down to "I wouldn't recommend it" which the asker probably already knew, else they wouldn't have asked in the first place.

I don't think the site or its users gain from considering these questions on-topic.

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I think we should consider these sorts of questions off-topic because fundamentally, they're still asking for a technology recommendation. The recommendation is less open-ended because the focus is starting from a particular piece of technology, but the inherent subjectivity of the query is still there.

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    \$\begingroup\$ That would be true if the questions said "What should I use instead of Flash?", but they do not. \$\endgroup\$ – user253751 Nov 22 '17 at 4:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @immibis But isn't that really the only direction to develop any answers? I can't imagine any answers outside the templates "Yeah, it's dead. Try these alternatives." and "No, it's still alive, and this is my opinion on it.", which are both about tech recommendation. \$\endgroup\$ – Anko Dec 5 '17 at 0:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Anko "Yes, here's why" and "No, here's why". It is fundamentally a yes/no question, but it could also go on to include, say, a chart showing the installed userbase declining sharply over time. \$\endgroup\$ – user253751 Dec 5 '17 at 3:51
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These questions are kind of in a weird spot.

On the one hand, you could think of them as software recommendations. This would be on the assumption that if a piece of software is not being developed is effectively an anti-recommendation.

But on the other, they're unlike software recommendations in that some of them really do have definitive answers. For example, whether OpenTK is still being actively developed or not is something that can be determined based on objective evidence: look at their repositories for any recent check-ins, and see how many. Look at their bug lists and see how frequently they close bugs. And so on.

The Flash question in particular is interesting due to the fact that, not only is it being discontinued by its owner, it is such a pariah in the web world that there are numerous browser extensions that exist for the sole purpose of killing it. And browser makers themselves are doing everything they can to kill off Flash ASAP.

If you're a game developer evaluating Flash, it is valuable to know just how much Flash is hated as a technology.

So it might be better to turn these questions into less "should I still use this" and more "is this still being worked on/are people actively trying to kill this technology off" questions.

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