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This was the the closing announcement from the previous incarnation of Arduino:

The future of Arduino on Stack Exchange

After a week and a half in private beta, Arduino Stack Exchange has attracted some excellent questions, with great answers written by helpful, knowledgeable Arduino experts. Kudos!

What you're doing is great... But this isn't the right site for it, not right now. The volume of questions here is very low; more importantly, this is clearly becoming an Arduino-focused electronics site - and we already have an excellent site for electronics and electrical engineering professionals, students, and enthusiasts with a big focus on Arduino.

Therefore, we plan to close this site on April 25, 2013.

This is our screw-up, not yours. When we were debating whether to send this site into beta, I voiced some concern that there was a lot of overlap in the definition. After some debate internally, we decided to go ahead with the launch, thinking there would be enough interest in other Arduino topics to carry the site. We were wrong. However, I still think this site does demonstrate that there is a wealth of knowledge that hasn't necessarily found a place within EE.

Well... It should. There's no reason why y'all shouldn't be asking and answering the same good Arduino-specific questions on EE.SE that you've asked and answered here. Over the years, many different products and platforms have found homes within larger Stack Exchange sites by directing folks to a specific tag and just being active enough to guide them toward asking good, on-topic questions. Indeed, a fair number of Stack Exchange sites came into being after a thriving community developed on an existing site and then later broke off...


Some day, Arduino may follow this same path. Until then, I welcome you to help incubate the Arduino community on Stack Exchange by becoming an active member of Electrical Engineering. I've started a discussion on bolstering the Arduino community on EE.

The community needs to be on point this time around and focus on building a successful community. Moving forward out of private beta will not be a freebie for us.

What can we do differently this time to better our chances at a successful site?

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    We need to all post more questions. Last time, we kinda "rushed" to get a whole bunch of people to sign up at the last minute (and pulled some funny stuff with the suggested question voting), so participation in Beta wasn't nearly what it could have been. (My $0.02) – apnorton Feb 12 '14 at 1:01
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    Mods may want to migrate Arduino related questions from EE (where they were often derided, ridiculed, or discounted). – Ron J. Feb 12 '14 at 1:21
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    @Ron perhaps in the future Arduino questions that are closed as off-topic at EE can be migrated over here, but that's not an option for private beta. The site needs to prove itself on its own first – JohnB Feb 12 '14 at 1:30
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    How many times do we have to run a beta arduino site before we get a pass? I agree wholeheartedly that all the previous questions that were migrated to EE should move back. Take my points away from my EE profile if you want. I just want the SE experience without the intimidation of the EE area's community. The types of questions asked on EE force the relatively beginner type of questions for the arduino answer-seeker to be overwhelmed or intimidated. And while I'm glad there's an arduino subreddit, it's pretty lame for aggregating correct answers. – Steve Cooley Feb 13 '14 at 0:37
  • I think that more weight needs to be placed on the quality of the questions. There are already a number of questions where it isn't quite clear what is being asked. The onus needs to be on the person asking to provide enough detail and a clear enough question to get good answers. There seems to be a tendency on beta SEs to just answer poor questions anyway to gain rep, but in the long term, these questions do not contribute to the knowledge base. – Cybergibbons Feb 13 '14 at 8:40
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    @Cybergibbons Agreed. The key aspect however is that we can guide those users into asking better questions, rather than intimidating and alienating them. But that's something we have not being doing so far in our beta. We should put a stronger focus on quality of questions. Probably a good way to do it would be through coaching of the editors that we already have. – Ricardo Feb 15 '14 at 1:02
  • @cyber Use examples please. Quality is hard to discuss without specific cases to compare and evaluate. – asheeshr Feb 15 '14 at 1:41
  • Regarding posting more questions, yes that's important: repeating my previous comment, when the Arduino Tre board comes out (linux + Arduino uController) there will be a lot more questions being asked, since the Arduino universe will expand in scope. Perhaps a question of timing, if this beta lasts long enough so we can start seeing questions from the new board. – Chris O Feb 27 '14 at 14:46
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Our beta is still in its infacy, but I already see a very diferent set of questions and audience here, when compared to EE.SE.

I think that the vast majority of questions in our beta wouldn't be accepted in EE.SE as they are. They would have to be carefully reworded to make them fit into their scope, and even then, they would be quickly closed as off-topic, as it usually happens.

The main reason for classifying our questions as off-topic there is that most Arduino questions aren't about electronics design. Instead, being about a line of products, some Arduino questions tend to be classified as shopping questions or use of electronics devices.

Also, the minimum requirements for asking a question on EE.SE are really high. They expect that you know something about EE (ie. draw schematics) before they welcome you there. That counters the nature of Arduino users, who tend to be newbies, very inexperienced hackers (I include myself in that category). Other related reason may be differences in jargon (ie, saying sketch instead of firmware, shields instead of pluggable boards), and so on.

For those reasons, despite of having the tag with most users (arduino), EE.SE still alienates the majority of Arduino users out there. Many come in and ask one question and is quickly shown the exit door. There may be a ton of 1 rep users just like that. For that, and other reasons, EE.SE may be classified as a very marginal Arduino resource, at best. There are far better places on the Net to ask questions about Arduinos than in StackExchange, places where Arduino users are far better appreciated.

The Arduino community is large, but StackExchange still fails to tap into that resource. Having an Arduino site here at SE is, in my opinion, the proper way to get the attention of the 200k+ Arduino begginer hackers out there.

So, to answer your question, one thing we can do to make sure this instance of the Arduino.SE thrives is to keep our scope broad and accept everything about Arduinos, so that any Arduino user feel at home here.

Along the way, I think that we, as a community, can help at least some of those noobs graduate and become better Electrical Engineers and help them move on to ask and answer great questions at EE.SE as well. We can show them how to draw good schematics, design and etch their own boards, and so on. But in a much nicer and forgiving way.

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    I strongly agree. I think you've captured the essence of what Arduino.SE needs to be. Visitors here will often be people just tinkering for fun, so they'll be inexperienced and probably lacking confidence. Sites like EE and SO are much more geared towards professionals or very enthusiastic amateurs. In contrast, we perhaps need to be more down-to-earth, flexible, and encouraging if we want to make this site/community thrive in the long run. – Peter Bloomfield Feb 15 '14 at 1:21
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    This doesnt really answer the question what should we do differently given that the previous beta didn't work out. – asheeshr Feb 15 '14 at 1:59
  • @AsheeshR - That's a technicallity. What the OP probably wants to hear is what we can do to make our site a success this time around. Whether it's something we did wrong the other time and will do it differently now, or something we did right and will repeat now, it's irrelevant. I didn't participate on the other attempt, so how can I know what's been done? – Ricardo Feb 15 '14 at 15:36
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Update the Help and 2 Minute Tour to clarify what Arduino.SE is about (and not about) compared to EE.SE.

Possible examples:

  • "Do ask about Sparkfun, Raspberry Pi, Lilypad, Adafruit, Beaglebone etc. projects that you're working on."
  • "Do ask about programming sketches with the Arduino IDE, johnny-five, etc."
  • "Don't ask about soldering or [some other example which demonstrates the line between EE.SE and Arduino.SE]".

(Or, whatever's appropriate; because I'm brand new here I don't actually know what areas the community does/doesn't want to work on.) These examples should be informed by how the community feels about what's on/off topic, and will need to be updated as time goes by.

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