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The topic has come up in relation to this question, and at least from my point of view, has caused quite a stir in the community. It would seem that the community is split on the issue of graphics cards-based questions in relation to gaming.

As it currently stands, the tag description is as follows:

Referring to problems with a graphics card, the graphics processing 
unit, usually on a PC, or specific settings on a graphics card for a specific game.

This is a bit of generic description, but it also seems to be pretty limited. Graphics cards, at least in the past 4 years since this topic was discussed in the meta, have become an integral part needed for gaming. Sure, games can be run off of on-board graphics, but I believe that for what it's worth, and for the sheer amount of games that do indeed require a GPU, the topic should be revisited.

I believe that Arqade's current definition, and the subjective definition from some users, is archaic. To need a game attached to a graphics card question is, at this point in time, silly and illogical. GPUs can be used for video editing and rendering, sure, but their primary use is most likely for gaming, which falls under our jurisdiction. It is rare to even see companies like NVIDIA and AMD advertising their GPUs for anything other than gaming. As they are directly related to gaming, those types of questions should be allowed on Arqade, whether they have a game attached or not.

Additionally, the linked question mentioned OpenGL as well, a platform for rending 2D and 3D graphics. This was also seen by some users as ambiguous information that has nothing to do with gaming. I'm not suggesting that OpenGL become a tag for Arqade, as I know its usage spreads beyond gaming, but questions pertaining to the use of OpenGL with a graphics card should also be allowed.

I'm sure I'm missing parts here, as it's a pain to go back into the chat and look for every point that was made, but anything additional is welcome. I think this is an important distinction that should be made for Arqade, and there also needs to be a solid place where the usage is defined, instead of multiple meta posts from years past.

  • Graphics cards are no more integral now than they were four years ago. We went through the same arguments then as you're making now. Do we really need to rehash this every few years? – Frank Aug 15 '16 at 16:09
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    @Frank 4 years is a long time, and it's worth revisiting this topic if the view of the community has changed. – Wipqozn Aug 15 '16 at 16:20
  • @Wipqozn If there are new arguments, yes. Not much point in doing so if there's nothing new to bring to the table; we're just repeating the same old things over and over. Otherwise, why aren't we revisiting ITG? Or game recs? – Frank Aug 15 '16 at 16:24
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    @Frank If you don't think it's worth having this discussion again, at least not without new argument being brought forward, then I'd suggest downvoting the question. – Wipqozn Aug 15 '16 at 16:26
  • I was hoping there'd be a new argument provided, beyond that which we already have done. To be honest, without that, this is a duplicate of our previous discussions. – Frank Aug 15 '16 at 16:29
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    Nothing seems to please you ever, @Frank. I'm sorry I can't come up with any other adequate reasons for you, but I'd like you to try and realize that your opinion is not the only one. – Kaizerwolf Aug 15 '16 at 17:52
  • You're missing the point. We've been over this. Unless you have something new to bring to the table, we're just repeating old arguments. I know my opinion's not the only one; but you're failing to acknowledge that we've been here before. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. – Frank Aug 15 '16 at 18:25
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    @Frank What games can you play without a graphics card nowadays? You're also missing the point, and I think your logic is flawed; the acid test will always work. If you take a game out of a question about graphics-cards, then that question will always be about just graphics cards. Why can't we accept those as questions anyway? I'm not proposing we become part SU and take on graphics card hardware questions, but if they relate to gaming, which the linked question does, then we should accept it and answer it. – Kaizerwolf Aug 15 '16 at 18:50
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    @Kaizerwolf It doesn't relate to gaming. It relates only to a graphics card. Yeah, the asker wants to play a game, but so? That's just barely mentioned in passing; the core of the question is strictly about GPUs, and if you can upgrade their capabilities or not. How is that gaming in any sense? At best, it's a bullet point you have to tick on the system requirements sheet. – Frank Aug 15 '16 at 19:01
  • @Kaizerwolf Do you mean a separate dedicated graphics card? Because I only have whatever is already integrated, not a separate one, and I manage most games just fine. – Ash Aug 18 '16 at 6:14
  • @Ash I guess the point could be made for either dedicated or onboard. While onboard cards are usually less powerful, you can indeed still manage a lot of games with one. I guess I'm not sure exactly how onboard cards fit into this, but dedicated cards are still more gaming related than the meta wants to believe. – Kaizerwolf Aug 18 '16 at 13:06
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I think graphics cards, and related support, should stay off-topic. Graphics cards, if anything, have become much more ubiquitious in the last few years; heck even laptops now come with integrated GPUs. They're just another standard piece of computing hardware. I'm making no distinction between a run of the mill bog standard video card, and one dedicated for graphics acceleration and marketed towards gamers; at the end of the day, they all do the same things. Some just do it better, and some others do it differently.

Gamers also use motherboards; does that mean we support them, too? There are motherboards marketed towards gamers (Lan Party, anyone?), so those, too, could fall into gaming specific hardware and utilities. A subclass of hardware marketed towards gamers doesn't automatically mean we support that class of hardware; it's like saying we'd support Macs if Apple all of a sudden decided that Macs are perfect gaming hardware, and tried to sell us on that; it's not really relevant to the issue at hand.

The primary usage of dedicated GPUs is for gaming; I wholeheartedly agree with that. But we're still not the people to ask about how to fix, update, or mod them, or anything else you think you can do with it. When your GPU breaks or does something funky, do you take it to gamers to fix? Or a computer shop?

I propose we continue applying the tech support acid test to determining whether or not questions related to graphics cards are on or off-topic. If you remove the game from the question, and the problem remains, it is off-topic.

There are some types of questions we can support; things that happen in-game still pass the acid test with flying colors. That's what the tag's primarily been used for, and something we are actually experts on.

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    In this sense, if an Xbox 360 or PS4 breaks, do you take it to gamers? No, you talk with the respective support channels. But we still field questions about those bits of hardware, despite them having other uses aside from gaming. – Kaizerwolf Aug 15 '16 at 19:50
  • Yeah, if it breaks, we might be able to tell you what's wrong, but chances are rather good we can't fix it for you; you'll still have to take it to a repair shop. For instance, the YLOD for the PS3. We can tell you what it is, and that's it. Not really relevant to the question, though. – Frank Aug 15 '16 at 19:52
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    I believe it is relevant. If we want to alienate one bit of hardware that relates to games, simply because it doesn't relate 100% of the time, then same can be applied to the other hardware questions we support. It's like there's some strange, inexplicable bias against graphics cards in their current sense. Furthermore, this is a very subjective topic, I get it, but it seems that the predominant theme is that graphics cards have nothing to do with gaming, whereas others such as myself think otherwise. – Kaizerwolf Aug 15 '16 at 19:56
  • I didn't say they didn't have anything to do with gaming. I'm just saying we're not the place to ask them. GPUs are one single solitary piece of hardware, unlike consoles. There's more that one piece for consoles, but we don't make that distinction; it's all one piece, for us. Our expertise here is gaming. Not computers. While there are parts we probably know in passing, that's not expertise at all. Incidental knowledge, at best. – Frank Aug 15 '16 at 20:01

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