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Is the site only about solving etc of puzzles?

I was going to ask a question about what easy to obtain lubricants are suitable to use on a speedcube that's getting a bit sticky.

Would that be on-topic here?

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    $\begingroup$ If your question ends up being closed here, it's possible you might have better luck at Arts & Crafts. (Don't take my word for it though.) $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Sep 9 '16 at 9:07
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    $\begingroup$ Well twisty puzzles are neither an art nor a craft and maintenance is neither an art nor a craft. Making one might be a craft. $\endgroup$ – hippietrail Sep 9 '16 at 9:21
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I believe this question, at least categorically speaking, is on topic. I think people may be forgetting the principal mission of Puzzling Stack Exchange:

Puzzling Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for those who create, solve, and study puzzles. It's built and run by you as part of the Stack Exchange network of Q&A sites. With your help, we're working together to build a library of detailed answers to every question about creating, solving, and studying puzzles.

The site mission explicitly states questions about how to solve puzzles, in the broadest sense, are on topic. At no point in the site's history has this excluded tools and tricks for physical puzzles. Speed-solving Rubik's cubes is a category of question that fits on Puzzling, and lubrication is a critical element of speed solving. I'd say this counts. We don't get many of these questions, but that doesn't make it off topic.

That being said, since this looks like a shopping question, I'd still think actually may need some work. I'd recommend editing it to reword and ask how to properly lubricate a Rubik's cube without professional lubricant, rather than asking which one to buy - or any other way you feel like editing it to avoid the shopping nature of the question.

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    $\begingroup$ I would like to add that CTV 'offtopic' is a mechanism to "clean out" the site and prevent it's direction from straying too far. "Boarderline" questions as the one asked here will not deteriorate the site and they are unlikely to shift the balance in a wrong direction. That's why I would give the benefit of the doubt for "on topic" for those questions. If we see dozends of similar questions a day, it's time to act. But for now, it is a useful question. I agree that "shopping" questions are off-topic, though. This one is borderline with this respect, too. I think the OP just wants some advice. $\endgroup$ – BmyGuest Sep 9 '16 at 8:38
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    $\begingroup$ For those who aren't aware, as well as being a mod, Emrakul is our top expert on Rubik's cube questions. (That said, you might want to clarify whether in this answer you're speaking as a mod and saying what the official site policy is, or just speaking as a user and saying what you think it should be.) $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Sep 9 '16 at 9:03
  • $\begingroup$ If you actually read the link about shopping you'll see it says more than "shopping is bad mkay". It's about avoiding brand recommendations, which store has the best price this week, etc. I might have access to a suitable lubricant even without having to enter a shop. If all questions comparing the merits of things are "shopping" then comparing the merits of puzzles or solutions would also be "shopping". $\endgroup$ – hippietrail Sep 9 '16 at 9:28
  • $\begingroup$ Read the part of the linked article with bad then good example questions about buying a digital camera for instance. $\endgroup$ – hippietrail Sep 9 '16 at 10:43
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I would say they are on topic, yes. (As long as the puzzle-relations stays intact. When it becomes a pure crafting question, some other sites might be better.) We might need a new additional tag, though.

Originally, this site was more about puzzles (including mechanical ones) than of puzzles. The scope shifted a bit from its alpha proposal.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks. I went ahead and asked. $\endgroup$ – hippietrail Sep 9 '16 at 6:54
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    $\begingroup$ A single answer with a single upvote and only two hours after the meta post was created, is not a consensus at all. The fact that your object is used for puzzles, does not mean your question is about puzzles, just as a question about the the pen used for writing riddles and solutions is not a question about those solutions or riddles. $\endgroup$ – Nij Sep 9 '16 at 7:30
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    $\begingroup$ Please give an example of how choosing the wrong pen can destroy a riddle or solution or choose an analogy that illustrates your point. $\endgroup$ – hippietrail Sep 9 '16 at 9:38
  • $\begingroup$ You're reading far more into the analogy than is necessary to understand the point of it. You're not asking a question about solving the puzzle, you're asking about how to improve a machine's performance. $\endgroup$ – Nij Sep 9 '16 at 21:54
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No, this is not on-topic.

This site is for creating and solving puzzles, and questions about that. Puzzles like this are not a good fit for this site, in my opinion.

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    $\begingroup$ Not only creating and solving, no. It's as well about learning about puzzles, identifying puzzles, etc. I think Emrakuls answer is better than mine, though. $\endgroup$ – BmyGuest Sep 9 '16 at 8:40
  • $\begingroup$ If it's really off topic then it shows this particular community is doing a pretty poor job watching over tag wiki edits. the Rubik's Cube tag cuuently says "The Rubik's Cube is a puzzle invented by Ernő Rubik in 1974. This tag primarily concerns algorithms with the cube, as well as modifications and construction". I cannot see how long this text has been there or who wrote it. Allowing modification and construction to me absolutely includes lubrication. $\endgroup$ – hippietrail Sep 9 '16 at 9:36
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    $\begingroup$ @hippietrail That tag wiki was written in May 2014, at which poit Puzzling was a very different site. (But from the voting on this meta thread, it looks like such questions will indeed end up being declared on-topic.) $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Sep 9 '16 at 10:32

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