4

I know this may seem as a troll, while the beta is going on and the community is building up, but I'm sincerely wondering how relevant is a site such as Arduino SE (same question applies to the Raspberry Pi Q&A site). The SE network has begun with Q&A sites oriented by "concerns" not by technologies: SO is all about programing problems, SU is about computer/application usage problems, SF is about system/networking problems.

Then you got a Q&A about apple iStuff questions, another about Unix questions (but no MS/Windows Q&A, though). And now, we've got a RPi Q&A and an Arduino Q&A community... So in my point of view the whole Knowledge Base aspect of SO is being diluated and redundant.

So let's get to my point, most of the questions I saw on the site could be moved elsewhere:

In the end, when I get through the list of all the questions I see no questions that are really 100% pure arduino topics. The questions could have been asked either on stackoverflow, on electrical engineering, on programming, and if we were closing the beta, I'm pretty sure we could move 99% of the questions on the other existing sites...

Maybe the only Q&A community site that's missing is a general abstract "DIY/hacking" community that given a problematic suggests a hardware and software solution to solve it, giving the best options to solve this problem.

In the end, Arduino is a nice prototyping tool, but it's far from being the only one, and it's not good at doing everything. The ST, PIC or MSP boards have their strong points as well, and shouldn't be excluded by the name of the Q&A forum. The only way I'd consider an arduino Q&A site, would be to turn into an arduino-tag aggregator from the other existing sites.

Reading this topic, makes me feel that SE/EE has a problem in the way it is working (when they downvote/offtopic arduino questions), where actually the tag system can be used for filtering out or favoriting the newbies/arduino questions. And I've been answering questions on SO about arduinos, and saw no real problems over there.

And the shopping questions gap should not be filled by a product-oriented site (because the problem stays with the ST, PIC or MSP prototyping boards which also have their own environment of shield-like/accessories), but with a "DIY/hacking" community that would actually fill the void between EE and SO, and be a good place for the "varied" audience a site such as this one here would get. And in the same time I fear that questions for embedded design will be made offtopic on SO or EE to be moved on other product sites, whereas questions about 100% alternative hardwares to arduino or RPi will still be offtopic on those sites, while not gathering a community big enough to build a product Q&A community.

And with new Arduino board like the Due, the Yun, or Intel's Galileo, the gap between Arduino and RPi/cubie/beaglebone boards is getting more and more blurry.

So, here am I asking your opinion:

  • how relevant do you think is Arduino SE?
  • don't you think it'd be a better idea to create a "hacking/DIY/inventing" community to talk about ideas and suggest paths to build a solution to a problem and fill the gap that product-oriented sites like RPi and Arduino do?
  • how to deal with alternatives platforms, like MSP/STM/PIC for MCUs or Beaglebone/Cubieboard/Gooseberry/OlinuXino... boards?

In the end, I'm here to share my knowledge, and that's my main motivation in participating to whatever Q&A site, the hackerspaces ML I'm on, or even on IRC. But I strongly believe that a concern-oriented Q&A site is way better than a product-oriented Q&A site. If the arduino community want to build a support forum, they can make their own Q&A site like the Jolla community did using AskBot.

  • 2
    Out of curiosity why do question the relevance of RaspPi.SE? That site seems to be rather popular/active. – Chris O Mar 5 '14 at 15:00
  • 1
    I'm not participating at all on RPi.SE, and I don't like the RPi for many educated reasons. But I'm a user of the beaglebone, the cubieboards and a few others which makes me "an expert" (I mean a guy who can answers lots of questions because it's my daily job), for which I still have to ask/answer questions on SO, SU/SE and EE. And now that the latest high end Arduinos are leaving the MCU world to the OMAP world, making them RPi-like boards. – zmo Mar 5 '14 at 15:06
  • and the "paper roll" question is a good example of a bad XY-problem question. I have a problem, I want to solve it, it's hardware+software, so I ask on Arduino.SE. What if the best solution is using a RPi-like board? or another MCU platform..? – zmo Mar 5 '14 at 15:08
  • @zmo But if I own an Arduino board, then I am constrained to a platform. – asheeshr Mar 5 '14 at 15:27
  • it's not because I own a screw driver that I shall use it as a hammer! – zmo Mar 5 '14 at 15:28
  • 5
    Yes, I don't understand this splintering either. The original site, Stack Overflow, was specifically not split into a Java site, a .NET site, a Python site, a Scala site, a COBOL site, a Forth site, a PHP site, an SQL site, a jQuery site, a JavaScript site, an Android programming site, a C++ site, a Ruby site, a Perl site, a Flex site, etc., instead relying on tagging for some degree of separation (e.g. excluding the horrible PHP questions from view). – Peter Mortensen Mar 6 '14 at 20:33
  • zmo: That's like saying that someone should be open to using a CNC machine instead of a drill press. If one user wants to know how to do something with one platform, then they should do it with that platform if it's possible. //cc @asheesh – Anonymous Penguin Apr 5 '14 at 19:16
  • 1
    @AnnonomusPenguin - often times an experienced operator of a milling machine is precisely the person to explain why trying that operation on a drill press is highly dangerous. Problems are frequently general cross vendor technologies, and by in effect "hiding" questions here, lower quality answers tend to result. – Chris Stratton May 5 '14 at 21:10
  • @Chris I agree totally that if it's not possible to tell the OP that. For example, if they want to do a true AI bot with Arduino, then we should inform them that that's simply too much for a little AVR chip. However, if they want to do a simple web page with Arduino (which is very possible and fairly simple) and already own $100 worth of Arduino parts, there's no reason to make them use a RPi – Anonymous Penguin May 5 '14 at 21:47
  • anyway, I think we can correlate the spread of stack overflow topics on other Q&A forums having an effect on the lower quality of questions and answers everybody is witnessing on the main site. – zmo May 6 '14 at 10:00
2

I completely disagree with you. There are plenty of questions that wouldn't fit on any other site:

  • Arduino Lego Robot Shopping question!
  • Serial data showing up weird

    Serial data showing up weird is not a real question, even though I do not deny it could be useful, I'm not sure the way it is being asked will actually help people looking for answers: this is an example of "serial data showing up weird" question on another topic which shows how differently things can be asked. ~zmo

    This question was asked a while ago and it seems like it was to set good examples for good formatted questions. By the way, there is no problem with answering your own question, it is even encouraged.

  • Where can I find a central repository of all available Arduino libraries?

    is totally borderline imho, and even on arduino.SE I would tag that question as "too broad". And btw, there's the new library format being worked on that will lead into a pypi/apt-like registry for arduino libraries. This is being discussed and will be ultimately solved ~zmo

    Borderline where? Not here... you must mean on SO. Exactly my point. We have a little corner of the web that we shape, we don't need to follow the typical site pattern. Also, it's not solved now, which is when users need it.

  • Are there any signal smoothing libraries for Arduino?
  • Are there any good and maintained libraries for using DS2482 I2C to 1-Wire bridge?

    well I would tag that as too broad/primarly opinion based… Because in the end the answer to the question is where the OP went: update other's code or write it yourself. ~zmo

    There's no harm in the user wanting a library that he/she can't find and then, after finding out there's none, writing their own and posting it. You don't close a question because they solved it themselves.

These are some borderline ones that may be acceptable if they're worded correctly, but they wouldn't get nearly as much attention as here:


A couple more responses:

but I don't see the coherence of multiplying product sites on Stack Exchange, whereas we're not addressing all the concerns.

SO it getting so big that it's surprising it hasn't turned into a wasteland yet. Even some SE folks have said so. Our network needs to expand and attract new users.

But the Arduino stack [exchange] is full of overhead and boilerplate, to make it nicer, but that in the end makes it difficult to move from the "funny hack" to something used more "seriously". There are other frameworks that are worth being included in the Q&A realm the same way you guys do for Arduino, and there are other platforms on which you can run the Arduino framework that are not 1:1 copycats of the Arduino.

I'm not exactly sure what you mean by that. There are other frameworks that are worth being included in the Q&A realm the same way you guys do for Arduino Why don't you propose some on Area 51? Are you saying that this should be expanded? It's hard to create a focused site with so many broad topics included: especially with many different levels of users (i.e. beginner vs advanced).

[Edited 4/4/14 to update questions and add new content]

Another note, there was a lot of decision making at SE whether to allow this or not. Last Arduino beta, it failed for a reason you're proposing. We would've gotten shut down way before this if there wasn't unique territory here. Of course, there's going to be overlap on other sites... EE and SO have some overlap. That's inevitable. A better question would be how can we avoid overlap.

[Comment by me earlier.]

1

ok, let's answer to your opinions and elaborate on my point:

@AnnonomusPerson: I can't disagree more with you when you say There are plenty of questions that wouldn't fit on any other site:

it took me more than two minutes to get to the point, and yes, it can be fun to create an arduino Q&A, but I don't see the coherence of multiplying product sites on Stack Exchange, whereas we're not addressing all the concerns.

@AsheeshR, I hope that you will be able to build a community here, and maybe become the official Q&A of Arduino, I'm not trying to mine your project, guys… But I think that Arduino is just a trendy and nice brigde between hardware and software world.

But the Arduino stack is full of overhead and boilerplate, to make it nicer, but that in the end makes it difficult to move from the "funny hack" to something used more "seriously". There are other frameworks that are worth being included in the Q&A realm the same way you guys do for Arduino, and there are other platforms on which you can run the Arduino framework that are not 1:1 copycats of the Arduino.

  • to value more my point about this forum, what to think about that question which is talking about the PIC32 using the Arduino framework and pin compatible with arduino, but asking something about sleep modes which is not handled by the Arduino framework. It's not a good fit on EE or SO, but it's neither on Arduino.SE! It deserves the embedded dev forum proposal. – zmo Mar 8 '14 at 13:08
  • 1
    First of all, calling our site a forum is insulting to many users across the whole network of Q&A sites. That's like calling an espresso machine a drip coffee maker. :) Another note, there was a lot of decision making at SE whether to allow this or not. Last Arduino beta, it failed for a reason you're proposing. We would've gotten shut down way before this if there wasn't unique territory here. Of course, there's going to be overlap on other sites... EE and SO have some overlap. That's inevitable. A better question would be how can we avoid overlap. (Edited my answer a few times) – Anonymous Penguin Apr 5 '14 at 0:48
  • well, coming from a strong usenet background, where many forums are dign ancestors of SE's Q&As, I can't consider calling a Q&A site an insult. The web-only php-bb like "things" where an insult to the whole concept of communication! I'm not going to fight against a moving train, I think I made my point quite clear, and I don't think I'll be able to accept any answer, except if there's one answer that gets a lot more points than the others ;-) About the how can we avoid overlap I think the answer would be to keep on separating Q&As by concern and improve the tag filtering accross sites! :-) – zmo Apr 5 '14 at 19:04
  • Hey! I'm not the one who get's offended by that... although most people just like users using the technical term. Your point IMHO isn't clear. There is a ton of overlap between SO and EE. SO is getting to big: half of the Arduino questions are about circuits and they aren't closed or answered. They "fall between the couch cushions." There's still unique questions here that can't fall into any other site (including, but not limited to shopping questions). Also, SO isn't focused on programming errors, it's about coding in general. – Anonymous Penguin Apr 5 '14 at 19:20

You must log in to answer this question.

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