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:
- Why can I not use pointers instead of array with PROGMEM is a perfect example of a SO question (and is actually a duplicate of that answer) ;
- Digital IO pin as ground is a good example of a EE question
- What are the FLASH_ARRAY/FLASH_TABLE macros in this code?, SO again
- How can I sense very high temperatures with Arduino? is again a topic for EE SE
- How to trigger an alarm when toilet paper is low? would be a good question for EE SE, or maybe it could be a good example of the need of a "DIY"/"hacking" Q&A community site. Somehow the "opposite" of the reverse engineering site.
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.