I have asked a question about how to handle a certain load with Postgresql, including an accurate description of the table and numbers about the expected load but it was voted as off-topic.

Is there any place to ask that kind of question or I just have to use Google and look around?

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    For the record, the description of the table was added after the question was closed as off-topic. And it had 1 or 2 re-open votes after that addition (and before it was deleted.) Oct 1, 2015 at 13:33
  • @ypercube should I ask again? I deleted it because it was flagged so fast that I think it was not the kind of question expected here
    – F.C.
    Oct 1, 2015 at 13:37
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    I'm just going to undelete it. Seems simpler all round. It will stay on hold though.
    – Paul White Mod
    Oct 1, 2015 at 13:37
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    Also for the record: I closed it as "unclear what you are asking" before you added a table definition. The close reason you see ("Shopping list question") is the majority vote - which had some justification, too, given the missing details, but I wouldn't have closed it for that. I downvoted this question here because you make it seem like you had an "accurate description of the table" all along, which is (was) not the case. Oct 1, 2015 at 13:56
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    @ErwinBrandstetter you are right but it would have been more helpful to ask for more details in a comment instead of just voting to remove the question as if it can not be improved
    – F.C.
    Oct 1, 2015 at 14:05
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    @F.C. we have found (from experience) that closing a question that has not enough information (and asking in comments) is often a far more effective way of getting that info than making questions in comments. Questions can be easily reopened (as easily closed). Oct 1, 2015 at 14:06
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    @F.C.: It would also have been more helpful if you had put some effort into your question to begin with. We are kind people helping for free, remember? Oct 1, 2015 at 14:06
  • @FC: It would really be difficult to tell you about hardware specs by just knowing the table definition and that there would be many connections. Actually you can reach to correct hardware specs after round of testing and specifically testing I/O responses. You also need to know number of connections and concurrent users. I have worked VERY LTTLE with Postgresql but the method holds same for all RDBMS
    – Shanky
    Oct 1, 2015 at 14:10
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    @ErwinBrandstetter I did put some effort, maybe it was not enough for you but others asked for more information and I added it. This sites are great and I always appreciate the help I get but also remember that questions are a vital part of this
    – F.C.
    Oct 1, 2015 at 14:14
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    I was one of the voters. At work we set up a new server about once a quarter, have a well documented process and deal with familiar applications. It still takes several days to sign off a non-standard spec. I saw no prospect of Q&A answering this with the information available. @Eric's answer summarises many of my thoughts. Perhaps too broad or too localised would have been better votes? I foresaw a heated discussion on SSD versus 1TB of RAM and choose shopping, however. Oct 1, 2015 at 15:27
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    Please mark one of the answers as accepted, or add your own and accept that.
    – Paul White Mod
    Oct 2, 2015 at 4:50

2 Answers 2


Personally, I don't think this type of question is a good fit for our site for several reasons.

  1. Bigger/more hardware will almost always lead to better performance. As such the answer "As much as your budget will allow" is always a valid answer.
  2. Too many implicit assumptions. You can't possibly fully describe all the details of your system to us so we are forced to make assumptions. These assumptions may lead to recommendations that are completely inappropriate for you and/or people who read the answers later.
  3. Profiling your system is the only accurate way to know what your true load is, and how well your current hardware is performing. We can't do that, and even if we could that is obviously too narrow in scope to help a significant number of future readers.
  4. There are always going to be ways to distribute/reduce the load to help undersized hardware. For example in your question you state "300 inserts per minute peak". If your hardware couldn't support that load you could put a queuing mechanism in front of the database so the peak insert rate was limited to a manageable level. Similarly expensive queries can be cached for a time reducing load, etc.
  5. In case it wasn't clear from points above: By their very nature the answer is going to be too personalized, or too broad to be helpful. Everyone's load/requirements/budget/etc. are their own unique snowflake.
  6. Hardware choices and trade-offs will dramatically affect the quality of the result. E.g. core cache vs RAM vs IO bandwidth. Everyone has an opinion and all can be right or wrong.

I'm making this a community wiki to encourage anyone that sees a reason I haven't mentioned to add it to the list.


The "on hold" notice placed on your question included a link to the Help Centre, which I repeated in a comment on your question here. To quote:

Questions that need additional work or that are not a good fit for this site may be put on hold by experienced community members. While questions are on hold, they cannot be answered, but can be edited to make them eligible for reopening.

It would have been better to edit your question to improve it as suggested, rather than simply deleting it.

Regarding the "shopping list" reason, we generally discourage questions of that sort because they:

  • Can be very open-ended, leading to extended discussion
  • Go out of date very quickly
  • Tend to attract link-only and spam answers

See: Q&A is Hard, Let's Go Shopping!

Thus, when it comes to shopping questions, don't ask us what you should buy - ask us what you need to learn to tell what you should buy.

The relevant point is that asking for the specific hardware you need is much less useful on Q & A sites than a question that asks how you should go about determining what sort of hardware you need for a particular workload; for instance, what sort of things you should measure.

That said, a very well-asked question about the hardware needed for your specific circumstances might still be answered and not closed as off-topic by our community - but it would have to be very clear and precise, with much more relevant information than the first version of your question.

The latest version of your question (at the time of writing) is making progress in the right direction, by mentioning the hardware you are currently using (and revealing it as a cloud-based deployment for the first time).

The question currently has 3 reopen votes (of the 5 needed). Further edits in light of the information above and submitted in comments and answers to this meta question can only help bring this question to a state where it is properly on-topic and answerable.

Update: the community have now voted to reopen this question.


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