How big is too big? - Discussing large builds on SFF Forum

PlayfulPhoenix

Founder of SFF.N
Original poster
SFFLAB
Chimera Industries
Moderator
Gold Supporter
Feb 22, 2015
1,051
1,969
Hey everyone,

I'm a bit surprised (and, personally, a bit ashamed) to say that we, the staff, haven't intensely considered a scenario in which a user on SFF Forum would post a decidedly not-so-SFF build, but that day has come with @MunneY's recent build log post for the NZXT Manta.

Now, a lot of us may scoff at the Manta, given how massive it is, at over 40L in volume (even as it only supports mITX motherboards)... But if you look to the rules of the forum, we have no restrictions on size, form factor, or any such metric when it comes to what people can post about. This is partly because we wanted to keep the rules simple and the enforcement of those rules soft-touch. This is also partly because we knew we couldn't think through all the scenarios like this beforehand.

Anyways, though the snap reaction by some to the build log is understandable given that we're "SFF Forum", we're worried that certain posted content may be policed by community members whenever it doesn't fit their definition of what "Small Form Factor" is. Certainly, with the Manta, most will agree, but even in this more extreme example I have serious concerns that really awesome content (like this build log) will be brushed off or bullied away simply because it isn't in the wheelhouse of our most vocal members.

More importantly, just because SFF Forum is focused on builds that are small, that does not mean we should do so while willfully ignoring or excluding builds that aren't unilaterally focused on minimizing volume. Enclosures and computers exist on a continuum of sizes and space efficiencies, and I've elaborated before that the importance of SFF is the philosophy behind it, which is one of intense focus on the things that matter most to us. Sometimes, that means that the size becomes a reduced concern. Sometimes, that means you have large cases that are still incredibly space-efficient because of all the hardware that's inside.

TLDR: The question of "How big is too big" is actually pretty complicated. It doesn't boil down to one number.

---

I'm taking the time out of my incredibly, incredibly busy day to write this because it's clear that a balance needs to be struck, whereby we keep the focus of the forum on "SFF" enclosures, while still empowering members to post builds and other things that don't quite fit underneath that umbrella when literally taken. This is incredibly important for us to get right, because improper handling of this will alienate community members and degrade the quality of the discourse on the forum - and those are all things that we have vigorously defended and tried to hold up to the highest of standards.

Internally, we've debated everything from hard limits/caps on build sizes, to no limits at all, to a global limit with a "Not-so-SFF" section where that limit is not in effect. But this is absolutely a consideration that we think the whole community should process and voice their opinions about, given the importance and relative complexity.

So, what do you all think? What's the most productive and community-positive way to handle this? And if there should be a size limit - what should the number or numbers be?
 

iFreilicht

FlexATX Authority
Feb 28, 2015
3,243
2,357
freilite.com
The problem I'm having with the current implementation of tags is that you don't know whether you're just creating a new one or whether something is already commonly used. Some people tag a post ITX, others tag it mITX. With not-so-sff it could be even worse, and for new users there's no indication of the existence of that tag either.