3

I was reading this question (Arduino as USB HID) and was surprised that it already had two votes to close as being off-topic only after a few minutes of being asked.

I started discussing with @AsheeshR that although I would agreed that the question is in the frontier of being on/off topic, we should give it a chance as it someone knowledgeable could add facts that could reveal that the question is on-topic.

I just thoght that we are repeating the same mistakes as SE.EE (see my related question there), which sometimes compulsively try to quickly close on-topic questions.

Although putting a question on-hold is a useful quality assurance tool, I think it was misused in this particular example, as putting a question on hold also discourages knowledgeable people from answering it, and I would like very much to know the answer to it even if the answer is just what you are saying (on the windows side).

Instead of voting for closing, the reviewers could have edited or answered the question so that us readers would understand better why the question isn't related to Arduinos and why it's being closed. That would have been much more constructive than voting for closing it.

So, my general question is: Where should we draw the line for closing votes in this particular case?

1

I won't come as a newbie on a forum and give lessons to the people who built it, but that question, should not be closed because of what it is asking, because what it asks is definitely possible using AVR only code, cf my comment.

I guess I'd need to do a little bit of research on how to guide the OP on actually implementing that, because I guess most of the people doing USB HID devices use the leonardo, not the uno.

The only thing that would be wrong about the question, is how it looks like, and maybe encourage the OP to edit and improve it by giving him time and advices.

In this specific example, I really can't see how this is "on the line". The question is specifically asking how to develop a software layer on Windows to utilize input being sent using the serial connection.

it's actually not, only part 1 of the question is, but part 2 of the question is open to suggestions.

we should give it a chance as it someone knowledgeable could add facts that could reveal that the question is on-topic. Yes, there is. But the OP is not interested in trying that out, as is clearly mentioned in the comments.

the OP only said in the comments that he is afraid of flashing using DFU because he may brick his stuff. That's because he does not know he can actually build a cheap ISP board using another arduino to reflash it in case everything gets wrong!

[...] A question about Windows APIs would best be answered on Windows development forums. That is not a question for Arduino.SE

though the OP asks whether it's possible to do it using Windows stuff, wouldn't it be the role of an Arduino community to tell him that he actually can do using the Arduino hardware and no windows code? Which would make that an even better solution, as it would be portable!

I explained albeit in few words, as to why the question was off-topic. I do not think this was at all a problem in this case.

I do not agree a question that definitely has an answer should be put on hold for one week in a few minutes after posting. If I could, I'd definitely vote for reopen, and guide the OP to understand what's wrong in his question.

Question closing/holding/rerouting is for keeping the knowledge base sane by keeping track of dupes, moving questions where people might get an answer or delete questions that are offending or just totally un-answerable.

That question applies to non of those cases, it can be answered and is definitely interesting for future readers of the forum.

HTH

  • All of us here are newbies as far as Arduino is concerned, and everyone's opinion is welcome. However, I disagree with your answer for reasons mentioned in my post. – asheeshr Mar 1 '14 at 13:57
  • 1
    I strongly disagree with your post, because you assume that the OP wants to do windows stuff, whereas he only says he prefers to use windows stuff and he's afraid of bricking the arduino doing DFU updates. As a community we shall guide the OP through that to show him that he's wrong and should'nt be afraid! Au contraire, putting his question on hold only shows him that he shall get on the wrong direction and will try to implement some terrible windows hack that is very likely to never work. – zmo Mar 1 '14 at 14:11
  • Just a note: The bricking concern is very real. It is pretty hard to get hold of Atmega chips and other components depending on where you live. For example, in my city, there is just one shop which keeps Atmegas in stock. Online purchases can take a week or more, as well as, can turn out to be expensive. – asheeshr Mar 1 '14 at 14:17
  • 1
    the bricking concern is not real. The only way you can brick an AVR is by fooling around the fuses, and reset all the programming fuses, and even that can be solved by using HVSP. Otherwise, you can always reflash a firmware using the ICSP headers and an AVR flasher, whether it is an arduino or an atmel one. – zmo Mar 1 '14 at 14:24
  • 1
    @AsheeshR and zmo - While I agree with zmo, let's cal it quits and agree to disagree? What I think we should learn from this case is that, if there's controversy like in this case, let's give the question and the OP the benefit of the doubt and leave the question open, shall we? – Ricardo Mar 1 '14 at 15:57
  • Here's a question I posted on EE.SE 2 days ago that's a good example of what I'm talking about. Right after I posted it, it quickly got a few votes to close as off-topic. Then a fierce discussion ensued (see comments). In the end, the question was not closed (but still has 3 votes to close), it's got 15 upvotes, and got 1k views in 2 days. It even figured as a hot question of all stacks (continues below...) – Ricardo Mar 1 '14 at 19:05
  • So, the question was now considered on-topic, but it ran the risk of being closed by some that quickly vote to close them. I'm not arguing against closing obviously off-topic, shopping recommendations, opinion based questions. Those should be quickly closed. But if there's any doubt as to whether the question is on-topic, specially if it is because the question concerns only programming (or not), let's give the question a chance. – Ricardo Mar 1 '14 at 19:07
  • 1
    Since we now found somebody more knowledgeable (than me) to argue in favor of that question being on-topic, I'll accept this answer as it agrees more with my beliefs. – Ricardo Mar 1 '14 at 19:10
7

Questions that appear to be borderline off-topic should either:

  • Be edited and improved to be made on-topic (by the OP or any user that understands the problem well)
  • Be voted to close (put "On Hold")

The first action is preferable of course, but when not possible, we should not hesitate from voting to close. The entire closing interface was recently redesigned to be far more simpler and easier to understand with greater emphasis on editing and reopening. The current behavior is that the question stays "On Hold" for an initial period of 7 days, during which it can be made clearer, edited and improved; and automatically get pushed into the reopen queue. The "On Hold" status clearly signals that it is a temporary state and can be lifted after improvements

In this specific example, I really can't see how this is "on the line". The question is specifically asking how to develop a software layer on Windows to utilize input being sent using the serial connection.

Lastly, to answer point by point.

we should give it a chance as it someone knowledgeable could add facts that could reveal that the question is on-topic.

Yes, there is. But the OP is not interested in trying that out, as is clearly mentioned in the comments.

Although putting a question on-hold is a useful quality assurance tool, I think it was misused in this particular example, as putting a question on hold also discourages knowledgeable people from answering it, and I would like very much to know the answer to it even if the answer is just what you are saying (on the windows side).

A question about Windows APIs would best be answered on Windows development forums. That is not a question for Arduino.SE

Instead of voting for closing, the reviewers could have edited or answered the question so that us readers would understand better why the question isn't related to Arduinos and why it's being closed. That would have been much more constructive than voting for closing it.

I explained albeit in few words, as to why the question was off-topic. I do not think this was at all a problem in this case.

Moreover, in general, the new help center consists of extremely well-written content accumulated from community-generated posts, which does not necessitate the need for comments explaining whats wrong with a question, every time a question is closed.

  • 1
    You're really good at picking up technicalities, aren't you? Are you a lawyer, too? But really, I wans't specific in my question about who nominated you, so I think I still included why you didn't nominated yourself. XD – Ricardo Feb 27 '14 at 16:44
  • By the way, I mean no offense to you or the lawyers. All of you are great people :D – Ricardo Feb 27 '14 at 16:46
0

To answer my own question, I think we shouldn't vote to close a question unless it's glaring obvious that the question must be closed (as off-topic for example).

If it's not obvious, then the reviewer MUST explain why the question must be closed in a comment. Link answers don't count here. There must be an explanation. If you want to close the question, you must show effort, too!

If the post is too large to fit in a comment, just give up, answer the question and leave it open. If it takes that much effort to explain why the question must be closed, there's got to be something about it that involves Arduinos that is of interest of this community.

  • I think I did explain why I voted to put on hold (if that was directed at me). – asheeshr Feb 27 '14 at 16:18
  • @AsheeshR - don't get me wrong, I'm not directing this at you. My complaint is more general. I wanted people to think twice before quickly voting to close a question and reflect if they could instead make a better contribution by either editing the question to make it on-topic or to just answering the question. – Ricardo Feb 27 '14 at 16:23
  • 1
    Generally the first action would be to comment the question, mentioning the fact it look off-topic and challenging the OP to edit it to make it clearer that is can be considered on-topic. – jfpoilpret Feb 27 '14 at 21:17
  • 1
    @Ricardo For most cases it's fine to close it if it's too vague. If edited within a few days, it's automatically reviewed. There's no reason to leave a vague question open just because it could be edited. Questions that aren't fixed should be closed and reopened if needed so we don't get many open ended answers or answers that are opinionated. Plus, links are fine if they sum it up in a few sentences. – Anonymous Penguin Apr 9 '14 at 0:59

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .