8

It's been a few months since your previous beta progress update, so I want to check in again.

I'll start with the good news: you're continuing to do well on the primary metric for graduation, new questions per day. And you're making progress on the main issue I was concerned about in the previous update, building a corps of higher-rep users; you've gone from no 10k+ users to two, and you're right on the edge of having ten 3k+ users, too. Well done!

Unfortunately, as you might have expected from my wording, there is still bad news. A while ago, one of your mods asked me about stepping down for personal reasons. There hasn't been any visible change because I haven't been able to find a replacement for him yet. Those of you who have read about the changes to the graduation process posted last year on the network meta (maybe after reading the first beta progress update?) may remember that the second half of the post dealt with making the site closure process more systematic. From that post:

If there's enough moderation for a public beta site to consistently remain free of spam, for flags to be cleared, and for our Be Nice policy to be upheld, your site will remain open. However, if community leaders drop off, flags sit without being addressed, and we can’t find any suitable volunteers to step forward, the site gets closed.

Please do not be alarmed. This is not a "we are closing Arduino SE" announcement. We aren't at that point yet. Your mod team hasn't abandoned you, and the proverbial lawn is still getting proverbially mowed here. If anything, this site feels a bit like it's on autopilot. I don't get a sense of the community taking ownership here. Aside from the lack of people willing to be pro tems, there's little activity on meta—especially for a site this size— and still a somewhat low answer rate. This may be due to as simple a reason as diffusion of responsibility, or it could be somehow related to the topic of Arduino itself, or something else entirely; discussion is welcome.

This is an admittedly unusual situation. No community has ever simultaneously set off the questions-per-day graduation trigger and the "lack of moderation" red flag. To be honest, I never seriously considered that it might happen. I don't see any reason to deviate from the procedure in place for handling the moderation situation, though, so I am announcing an open call for new pro tem moderators. You can find out more about the job at the company blog post A Theory of Moderation and the now-somewhat-old meta post Who will be the Moderator? What attributes should they have?. If you have questions or want to volunteer, please e-mail me at pops@(stackoverflow or stackexchange, either one works).com.

Quick recap: there's (still) a lot of good here, but there are a few serious problems, too. Keep up the good work on question volume and building up the ranks of medium- and high-rep users. My immediate priority is finding new pro tem moderators. Once that situation is stable, we'll try to tackle some of the less serious issues, and re-evaluate for graduation.

5

I'm really new to Arduino, though not to SE. What I've found so far in my perambulations on the web is that there's still not a lot of expertise out there, or that this expertise is not being shared in the same way that, say, Bicycle knowledge or Mathematical knowledge is being shared.

This reflects in part what you are describing: lots of new questions, not a ton of answers, no one stepping up to moderate or lead the community. Could it be the relative newness of IoT in general? Or is there a component of intellectual property protection that goes hand-in-hand with the hardware/product development aspect of Arduino that is a cultural shift away from the Open Source philosophy that was so seminal to the success of the original SO?

I do hope this takes off. It's such a shame when good beta SEs close down - I've seen a fair share.

  • 2
    Where do you see IP protection in the Arduino community? My understanding is that the whole Arduino ecosystem is based on open source. – MarkU Jan 10 '16 at 4:12
  • Or is there a component of intellectual property protection that goes hand-in-hand with the hardware/product development aspect of Arduino that is a cultural shift away from the Open Source philosophy that was so seminal to the success of the original SO? - are you referring to the internal Arduino problems? Even if so, this hardly impacts on this site. Most people in the Arduino community are happy to share their knowledge. – Nick Gammon Jan 11 '16 at 8:48
  • No, not at all. I'm referring to the fact that many IoT projects have aspirations to go on and get productized. While the code side of things might be very open, I was wondering aloud if the productization side of things might account for a certain reluctance to help others get ahead. It was just a theory and certainly doesn't reflect my own attitude. – Tom Auger Jan 11 '16 at 14:13
  • I am presuming IoT is Internet of Things. I think it is in the nature of Arduino and microprocessors in general that people have such a wide range of ideas (many very interesting) that there is not necessarily a direction they can be "led" in. As for moderation (I am a moderator on the Arduino Forum) we try to keep discussions polite, and posts on-topic. After that is done, quite a few points of views are aired, and we all learn something. I certainly have. – Nick Gammon Jan 11 '16 at 20:40
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    I think you also have to consider that Arduino itself is an amalgamation of two different communities, software developers and hardware developers; and unless you were around in the 70's early 80's there hasn't been much crossover in the last 20 years. Many of the questions that I see are, "I want to do XYZ with hardware 123", and most of the time there's not a good answer because no one has written a decent hardware library for 123, or if they have it includes only the most rudimentary functionality, that is difficult to expand upon without more driver development knowledge. – ZacWolf Jan 19 '16 at 18:25
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    Without having certain hardware or using it, it's quite hard to answer many questions. For example I have encountered so many weird things with the NRF24L01+ modules, I can help with it (I also somewhat help to maintain the related libraries), but with GSM and other less common things it gets harder. Certain hardware would possibly need better tag info so that people could read more about the hardware. – Avamander Jan 20 '16 at 19:45
  • Those are some awesome perspectives - if I could downvote my own post I would, based on these insights. I definitely agree that it probably is more closely linked to the huge diversity - both in terms of skillsets and platforms, than any selfish desire to keep information close to the chest. Thanks for commenting! – Tom Auger Jan 21 '16 at 14:01

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