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I asked https://iot.stackexchange.com/q/680/250 which is about when a device will ship. Helmar suggests that questions about shipping timetables should be off-topic. What does this community think about this such questions?

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I initially answered this question, but after writing my answer I've realised that the question itself isn't something that can be answered well at Stack Exchange:

  • For tracking your particular order, you would need to contact the manufacturer (or use an order tracker, if provided) - we can't find out the progress of your order without lots of personal details, which would obviously be inappropriate.

  • If you're just wondering how long it'll take, no-one can tell you authoritatively (as Gilles suggested in a comment, it's probably primarily opinion based). You might be able to get an answer based on experience, or on what the manufacturer has stated is the estimated time, but the answer won't be particularly useful.

If we put the above issues aside, I have to say that shipping times for anything (IoT or not) probably isn't something that we should accept here - I don't feel that it's really relevant to the Internet of Things.

On the other hand, questions about using sensors and connected devices to optimise shipping is, in my opinion, a great topic under the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). I'd be interested to see something asked about that in future.

So, in conclusion, I believe we should make delivery predictions off-topic, because it's not relevant to our scope and we simply can't provide a good answer, so we're doing users a disservice if we encourage them to ask about things we can't answer properly.

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You might just as well ask 'I backed this kickstarter, will it ever ship'. Although the product is worthy of questions, I think questions about the company and its ability to deliver to a timescale are off topic.

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Thank you for opening this meta question, every on-off-topic decision we can get a clear meta consensus on makes the boundaries of this site clearer.

Since I cast the first proverbial stone, it won't surprise anyone that I think shipping timetables should be off-topic. When will the device ship? This question is a bit problematic.

It's hard to make predictions, especially about the future. - Niels Bohr


Why I think it should be off-topic

The problem is that we can almost only guess. The only one who might be able to answer kinda authoritatively is the manufacturer. Users would only be able to tell how long it took for them to get a shower, which depends on dozens of factors they don't see. (Was the model delivery ready in storage? Was it individually produced? Was it exactly the one day before they ship everything they produce that month? Does the company ship everyday? Et cetera.)

Even then the answer would be restricted to the location that user lives. Thus, the answer wouldn't be of much use to future users. Even if we had tons of users from all over the place who had ordered those showers and we had an answer for every location those answers would still be short lived because the logistic partners like FedEx and DHL they list and all their competitors basically get better faster all the time. Additionally the manufacturer could create a new plant in India for the Asian market.

Thus, shipping timetable questions are too localized in time and geography and no help to anyone in the future.

Furthermore it's a logistics question, not an IoT question. If the same company would sell regular showers and IoT showers—let's assume for the sake of argument the shower is a viable IoT product—the shipping of those items still doesn't seem IoT for me. Not from a customer perspective.1 It's just getting item X from A to B. So, from a customer perspective, it's not IoT.


1 Smart logistics on the other hand certainly is.

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