This Arduino SE community has a more laid back scope than most sites. We have a fair number of shopping questions, which aren't allowed on most other sites. However, that doesn't mean that we shouldn't close a question if it's asking for too much information. I don't mind helping people out, but I hate when a question gets focused on such a small audience that it's only useful to the OP and one other person.

For example, Creating a wireless remote was asked a few minutes ago. Should we refuse these questions and require the OP to break them down into smaller groups? It's asking about:

  • Does this board fit my needs?
  • What should I use for Bluetooth?
  • How would I code this?

That seems like it's useful to only one person: the OP. I feel the OP has good intentions, but we don't want to get a lot of questions that are this specific. I personally feel that this should be closed and then either split or edited by the OP to focus the question. I didn't want to close it because I felt that closing this might spark a little controversy, and I wanted to get the community's input.

How should we handle this? I don't know if all of the parts would be a good fit for our site, but I don't know how to really tell the OP that in a nice way. They need help, but this doesn't seem to fit the theme of other SE sites. Should we allow this type of question on our site? It would help gain newbies, but other sites have abandoned this practice for practical reasons a long time ago. However, it seems like we need to allow some of this type of question so we don't "scare" off new users.

Another question that might have a limited audience is specific board recommendations. IMHO the consensus was that you can't which board would fit [insert purpose], but you can ask what differences between boards.


There's no debate if that question should be closed. It needs to be broken up. What I really want to discuss here is if such open ended questions would be good for the site. We shouldn't leave them open just to get more questions. If we feel these types of questions, such as "would this board be good for my purpose?", would be constructive then they should be left. I, personally think they are too specific, and the how to ask page even says to make it applicable to more than one or two people. Like I said earlier, I want to know what the community thinks (and document the policy here if any confusion were to arise.)

2 Answers 2


I've used SE for some time now, but only signed up when the Arduino section was established. In my opinion there is the official Arduino site which caters for the advice and recommendations type of question, and SE has built up it's reputation by being a straight forward Q&A site. Look at the 'Hot Network' questions down the right hand side of the screen, all precise questions and not a lot of latitude (embellishment maybe) with the answers they will receive.

  • So you're suggesting that we don't allow these questions? Where do you think we should draw the line You're right: we have built up a reputation for being straightforward, but that doesn't mean we can't do this in a straightforward way... Apr 9, 2014 at 20:40
  • I don't think questions where everybody who is signed up can give a different, yet valid, answer should be allowed. The questions need to be specific is perhaps what I'm trying to say. In the initial example, the questions are too vague. What I think is a good piece of hardware you may have had a nightmare with...
    – DavidA
    Apr 9, 2014 at 20:49
  • Honestly I find the arduino site poor in terms of recommendations; it looks more like a list of stuff you may use, with not much further explanations or experience. If you want deeped insight then you need to check the forum which is very big mess in general.
    – jfpoilpret
    Apr 10, 2014 at 5:09

SE sites are supposed to be experts sites, hence even if someone has a specific question that may be useful only to him, this question is worth answering as any other question (this is my personal viewpoint).

Also, how can you be so sure that a given question would be interesting to just the OP and nobody else? No one ever knows.

I would also like to add that, given the current number of new questions created per day, the time has not come yet when we should wonder if we must limit this number further.

Since Arduino.SE beta is still far from the expected achievements, I would rather avoid too much censorship on questions or answers: we must attract people here, both people who have questions and those who can provide answers should not be turned away for some reason that may sound obscure to them (at least to newcomers).

Make no mistake: I don't say any question or answer can be left as is even though it may be not "good", but I just say that we should relax a little bit our expectations on questions and answers "quality", given that such "quality" assessment is really much subjective in general.

For me closing a question is like using an H bomb to try to cure a pandemia; there are many other ways to make a question (or answer by the way) better:

  • add comments to suggest changes to the OP (a lot of us are doing that already)
  • based on comments, directly edit the question if the OP did not do it yet (I do it sometimes)
  • downvote the question if its quality does not improve after several days
  • threaten the OP (in comments)
  • close the question

Please note that I find it pityful when I see comments where a moderator says "welcome" and then a couple of hours the same moderator requests to close the same question.

My conclusion is that this site needs a graduated response to poor quality.

  • we must attract people here... [don't close things that aren't allowed on other sites] I totally disagree. If we have to allow lower quality content to get new users, then we're doing something wrong. We won't graduate if we only get the expected numbers by allowing low quality content. That'll never happen. Sure, I don't think we should turn off as many users as possible, but now that I look at it more, it seems too broad and partially opinion based. Part of the how to ask is make it relevant to others. Apr 9, 2014 at 22:24
  • You did not read my answer carefully, I said quality is subjective; my view of qualit for questions and answers is obviously lower than yours; it seems YOU are always overreacting to all questions and answers that may not be of topnotch quality. As a moderator, I think you should be more... moderate!
    – jfpoilpret
    Apr 10, 2014 at 4:52
  • Dully acknowledged; you're right. There are other tools that could be used. However, other members of the community agree with me. It got closed recently. Also, the community has powers to close/reopen at will, so we should use it. Apr 11, 2014 at 20:45

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