5

Before I started to tinker with Arduino some months ago, I was already a heavy-user of StackOverflow (I am a professional programmer) and at times EE (home-made electronics now and then has been a hobby for almost twenty years).

As such, when I started the Arduino think I was glad to find out there is an Arduino SE, and looked for some some questions and their answers here, and even asked some myself.

Two things that I notice are:

  • The quality of the answers seems to be quite lower than answers you would get from EE or SO with a similar or identical question;

  • Virtually any question you could ask here could be answer with minimal modifications at one of the two other SE sites. They even have, as already noted elsewhere, very active "arduino" tags. If I'm not mistaken, I have already asked here and, due to lack of convergence, re-asked at SO and quickly got a good answer.

    I believe this happens because there is a relatively high availability of specialized "software guys" or "hardware guys" in each of the other sites, so answers come quick and have good quality. On the other hand, if I was to consider myself an "(sort of) advanced" SE user, I could say I was, say "disappointed" with the results I got, and preferred to stick to the well-beaten path of SO for software or EE for hardware.

So, question would be:

Should Arduino SE make anything to attract interested power-users from SO and EE? And what could be done in that direction?

0

Fundamentally, the way to get skilled and knowledgeable posters to answers Arduino questions is to discontinue this site and put those questions back where they belong and where - as you have observed - there are already pools of knowledgeable people to answer them.

Unfortunately, the existence of this site serves as an excuse for dumping questions from more appropriate settings such as Stack Overflow and Electrical Engineering Stack Exchange, even when the details of those questions are far, far more appropriate to the respective subject areas of those sites. The test is simple - if a question would belong had it mentioned some other MCU or embedded evaluation platform, then fundamentally it still belongs even if it mentions an Arduino, and pretending otherwise is just uselessly fragmenting things.

Apart from oddities of the IDE and the like, there are few problems that are uniquely Arduino - rather, most issues that come up are classic ones encountered across the whole of embedded, programming, and electronics work. Flush a question to the "Arduino backwater" and you can't get help from the person who solved the same problem on a PIC or ARM last week, nor can an answer contributed in the ATmega/Arduino context to an obscure site help someone solve the same problem on a different chip next week in the way it could if posted to the site that handles that topic for all other contexts.

The solution is not to segregate the Arduino questions, but rather to push back against the bigots in certain communities, work with posters to improve the quality of questions asked in their natural and appropriate settings when the initial posts aren't complete enough to answer, and do our best to make sure that questions get useful, technically sound, and transferable answers. A lot of questions here aren't even about Arduino at all - but rather about peripherals that could be used with any processor.

Hiding the Arduino stuff on this backwater of a site does none of the above - instead, it means that Arduino questions get few answers, often containing glaring technical errors, and it allows the bad behavior on other sites to continue unchallenged.

  • As sad as it is, being myself an Arduino convert, to deny the joy of having a dedicated SE community, every line of your answer is totally true either from experience or from analysys of what you've written. I have to agree, thanks for caring! – heltonbiker Jul 10 '15 at 11:49
  • (by the way, the very "radio silence" on this question is already a bad smell...) – heltonbiker Jul 10 '15 at 11:49
2

I fear that as the very nature of Arduino is that of the beginner - that's why it was created, after all - that an increased integration with either SO, EE, or both could sink the ship completely.

There are people asking question on ArduinoBeta everyday who have no clue about programming or electronics whatsoever. Even the basics, despite there being so many tutorials knocking around on the internet. Thus, they don't know that a simple edit or rewording is going to get them a better result from one of the full-blown sites.

ArduinoBeta needs to be nutured by a careful and patient few, at least for now. I get a little annoyed by the migration of questions from SO/EE to here just because it has an Arduino tag, especially a question that has been well laid out and is worthy of somebody's time to answer it. That will only stop as ArduinoBeta grows and sheds its Beta skin.

I stumbled across ArduinoBeta - don't remember how - and was surprised by how quiet it was. It hasn't taken long to spot some regular contributors who are no doubt like you or I; specialists in something, adventurers in something else and a downright liability in others, but if the masses from SO or EE start flooding in then the potential over-complication of answers may begin, through nobody's fault. Eventually the Askers will stop coming back, and never bloom into contributors.

Perhaps let's just let the stumblers stumble. I think a rapid addition of some canonical questions may serve to up the general level, but then there will still be the task of teaching newbies how to use this site.

Additional:

I don't really like to name names but this user is precisely the reason we need to protect ArduinoSE from grumpy outsiders. His scathing comments in response to this question, about AT328 vs AT32u4 with regard to the Arduino community are damaging and vindictive towards anybody that would dare utter the word 'Arduino' in EE.SE . He is a respected member of SE and I don't question his knowledge or expertise one bit, but if he can't accept an new ethos in a particular field he's that makes him a bad engineer.

  • I cannot see how to reconcile the essence of SE communities - that of users that come back and have a long-term improvement trajectory around a common interest, gathering badges and rep - with the idea of "perpetual novices". The more one uses ArduinoSE, the less beginner she is, and thus less "fit" she is to be here. Perhaps I got it wrong, but I think this surmises the (sort of) discomfort I feel when I think about it. – heltonbiker Jul 10 '15 at 22:30
  • 1
    (well, it has already been said that Arduino is a gateway drug into darker realms of programming and electronics... :o) – heltonbiker Jul 10 '15 at 22:31

You must log in to answer this question.

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