This question about ice maker repair seems off-topic to me. I went to check the FAQ, but it says the "equipment" questions are on topic. Does that include repair? That seems more appropriate for the DIY community.
I don't think so.
The "kitchen equipment" part of what is acceptable is rather poorly defined, primarily because we haven't had many off-topic candidates asked.
There have been two equipment meta discussions:
Unfortunately, neither set very good boundaries on what is considered on or off topic. Even Aaronut's answer only leaves it at "questions about kitchen equipment are on topic". The only things I can specifically take away from those are: (1) product comparisons are OK, (2) use questions are OK, and (3) acquisition and assembly may not be.
That said, I think it's pretty easy to draw a line here. I cannot recall the location of this answer, or recall the actual topic it was addressing (it wasn't equipment), but someone said (paraphrasing):
If the knowledge is something that would be taught at a culinary school it should be allowed.
Granted, that does not mean that anything that isn't taught at a culinary school is not allowed, but I think in the case of equipment repair we should make that connection. I think it's uncommon for any cook or chef to know how to diagnose or repair an appliance, they certainly wouldn't have learned that in a culinary school, cookbook, cooking show, or any other cooking resource that I've ever seen.
The DIY seems the perfect site for this.
To be on topic, the question should be about using the equipment for the purpose of preparing food. Using a dishwasher to cook salmon is on-topic, but asking why your dishes keep coming out dirty (possibly covered in scales) is off-topic. Though ice can be consumed, I don't consider an ice maker to really be involved in cooking. The question mentioned isn't even about making ice; it's the ice dispenser that is broken...
I think that "care of" kitchen equipment can also be on topic. There have been several questions along those lines already (seasoning cast iron). Repairing equipment that has broken isn't as necessarily a task of the home or professional cook as maintaining equipment.
I think you are correct. There may be a good amount of discretionary space here, which is probably good for community, but I think that keeping people here instead of sending them to DIY regarding how to oil a wooden cutting board is ideal.– mfgSep 22, 2010 at 14:58
"but asking why your dishes keep coming out dirty (possibly covered in scales) " +1 because hilarious. Jan 10, 2017 at 12:48
I guess this always seemed obvious enough to me that I never thought it warranted explanation. Nevertheless, now that we're on the subject, I would say that the following sub-topics of "kitchen equipment" are actually of interest to cooks:
- Evaluation & selection of equipment (choosing the best mixer)
- Culinary uses of the equipment (e.g. almost any knife-skills question)
- General equipment maintenance (seasoning pans, cleaning a chopping board, etc.)
By contrast, anything that a typical cook wouldn't do or know/care about is going to be off-topic, and that includes installation and repair, and might include purchasing/acquisition (depends on how far-out the question is).
There's really no need to overcomplicate this. Is your question aimed at cooks? Great, ask it here. Is it aimed at repair technicians? Sorry, we can't help you.
how about a content contrast like this: How do I install the water line hook-up to my espresso machine VS. What do I check for to make sure my espresso machine is pumping out enough steam into my milk (that seems to keep falling flat)? In the former its obviously a technician's area (maybe a cook), on the latter it's something that the cook needs to know how to do.– mfgSep 22, 2010 at 15:02
@mfg: I've made similar comparisons in my answer to What types of equipment questions are allowed? (that is now the canonical discussion for equipment issues)– AaronutSep 22, 2010 at 16:21