Edit: The changes have been implemented. Individual device rooting questions are encouraged, though we want answers to be complete -- covering all Android versions. The big rooting question now indexes the individual questions.


Recently in chat it was mentioned that our Community Wiki question, How do I root my device?, doesn't quite work. I had been thinking this myself recently and I think it's time we brought it up here on Meta.

The crux of the matter seems to be two points:

  1. Forum posts are incomplete, badly written, and sometimes just plain wrong. We can do better than just link to them.
  2. Rooting methods often vary from version to version. At minimum, we need more than one entry for many of the devices and a way to classify them.

Solving these problems via the current post would require adding a lot more information to the post. Even if we didn't include our own rooting guide, we'd still need to add versions numbers, explanations, and so on. The post would become massive.

Given this, I think it's best that we create one post per device. These questions should each have one answer with a complete rooting guide that addresses all software versions, referencing forum posts if applicable but not relying on their existence or quality. We can create posts for highly-anticipated devices on release (to grab the traffic) and wait for questions to actually be asked about others, to avoid cluttering the site with every guide on the planet.

The current question could continue in its current form, changing the index to link to our questions instead of externally. The general tips and list of rooting tools that work on many devices is certainly useful.

Side benefits include searchability (the question "How do I root my device?" is less likely to match the search "How can I root my Kindle Fire?" than a question titled the same as the search) and hopefully drawing some (constructive) users here from XDA and the other forums.

Should we do this?

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How would you handle cases where a number of phones can be rooted the same way? E.g., HTC phones and unrevoked.com. In general, I think it would be a good idea, but would require quite a bit of time and expertise for each phone –  Bryan Denny Jan 3 '12 at 17:23
    
@BryanDenny It doesn't work for all versions, at least not without downgrading, from what I hear. That said a "How can I root with Unrevoked?" question might be useful too depending on the particulars, and device-specific questions can link to it. –  Matthew Read Jan 3 '12 at 17:27
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I'll be honest, I think the consolidated question is and always was a bad solution. As a generic fall back with generic info it's okay, but we should not close or discourage "how do I root X exact device?" questions because that's how people search, and the generic question is extremely unwieldy. –  Ben Brocka Jan 3 '12 at 22:47
    
The all-devices question is a horrible pile of outdated and uncommented random links. Please just close it. –  Lohoris Feb 12 '12 at 9:50
    
@Lohoris The general tips are useful, I'd rather see the pile of links replaced with links to our individual rooting questions. It's CW, so feel free to edit in improvements. –  Matthew Read Feb 13 '12 at 15:46
    
As to the question of @BryanDenny I'd suggest we should at least tag them in a recognizable way then, i.e. make sure the tags "rooting" plus the device-tag (e.g. "sony-xperia-x10") should be present. Otherwise it will get harder with the time to track the "real duplicates" here with the increasing number of questions. –  Izzy Aug 22 '12 at 22:56
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2 Answers 2

up vote 11 down vote accepted

One post per device for rooting questions is OK. Don't even make them CW, this only prevents people from answering because they don't get any reputation. They will automatically become CW when it's time for it.

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New users often hit these questions and I'd rather err on the side of letting them add info instead of catering to those just in it for the rep. –  Matthew Read Jan 3 '12 at 18:09
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I wouldn't expect that someone adds some information when he is also too "lazy" to register. On the other hand, the strive for rep motivates users to add quality content to the site. That outweighs your argument in my eyes. –  Flow Jan 3 '12 at 18:16
    
You seem to be arguing against having any CW posts. They're supposed to be made intentionally; the automatic conversion happens when the mass editing indicates it should have been done earlier, not "when it's time". –  Matthew Read Jan 3 '12 at 18:18
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On second thought, given Bryan's comment I think you might be right here. It will require a lot of effort to put these answers together, so rep rewards make sense, and having a ton of CW questions is discouraged anyways. –  Matthew Read Jan 3 '12 at 18:24
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Agreed, giving rep for these answer would be a great motivator. –  Bryan Denny Jan 3 '12 at 20:37
    
And it would be less of a "wiki" of compiled information like it is now and more of a Q&A as it is geared to one specific device –  Bryan Denny Jan 3 '12 at 20:38
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@MatthewRead Community wiki is no longer used just to allow new users to edit posts, see here. Users of any rep can suggest edits. Rep rewards are encouraged and lots of people have questions about rooting; may as well encourage those people with rewards. –  Ben Brocka Jan 3 '12 at 22:30
    
@BenBrocka Yes, the form of the desired answers (complete guides) is what I think would make them good CW candidates. One of Grace's comments on that blog post: "Unchecked, this kind of question could gather everyone’s home remedies, and then some. As community wiki, it encourages people to contribute by adding to the existing content, with a small benefit of also discouraging unwarranted and low quality posts." That said, all you guys's points stand :P –  Matthew Read Jan 3 '12 at 22:47
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@MatthewRead that's why Jeff suggests community wiki for answers not questions. Plus the autoCW does that for us if necessary. IF one guy really does make a complete guide with no editing needed IMO he deserves the rep, and we don't need CW to make it easier to edit. –  Ben Brocka Jan 3 '12 at 22:49
    
with tools like SuperOneClick, which can root almost any device, it becomes multiple questions, all with the same answer of "use superoneclick. –  Ryan Conrad Mar 5 '12 at 20:02
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I am very unlikely to root my device, so I don't really have any skin in this game.

That said, I do believe the current canonical question is getting too big and unwieldy.

I think "How do I root device X" or, even better, "How do I root Y class of devices" is a good way to go.

I'm concerned, though, about the different ways one can root a device. I would caution against ANY "how do I root device X with method Y" questions.

I also agree with Flow in that these shouldn't automatically go to Community Wiki. It will take work to put this information together; the people who do should get the reward.

We also have a slew of closed questions that can be re-opened and answered. That should make the askers happy. (Although that's not a reason to do this.)

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I would say that each "method" could be a different answer to the question, if it ever comes to that (so a generic device question with specific answers). –  Bryan Denny Jan 3 '12 at 20:38
    
Sure, I like that. –  Al E. Jan 3 '12 at 20:39
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Most people seem to search "how do I root droid x" and want instructions for their specific device rather than searching "how do I root android" and picking through the onslaught of generic advice. We should tailor our questions and answers to devices. –  Ben Brocka Jan 3 '12 at 22:32
    
I'm against one answer per method. Some devices will get a ton of answers and voting won't make sense -- did a lot of people have that software version, or is the method simpler, or more reliable, or terrible but just better written? This is again why I think they should be CW-style if not actually marked CW: –  Matthew Read Jan 3 '12 at 22:51
    
"Unchecked, this kind of question could gather everyone’s home remedies, and then some. As community wiki, it encourages people to contribute by adding to the existing content, with a small benefit of also discouraging unwarranted and low quality posts" per Grace. –  Matthew Read Jan 3 '12 at 22:52
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+1 for suggesting re-opening already present questions –  Lohoris Jan 9 '12 at 8:12
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