10

I realize this has been discussed in the Area 51 proposal and in the old site before it died, but I think that it would be a good idea to set this straight on Meta for the future's sake, so we have a strong

What separates Arduino.SE from Electronics.SE?

Some topics I believe might make a difference, and I'd like to hear the community's input specifically regarding these (but about Arduino & EE in general):

  1. Arduino has a more varied audience than EE in general. As should be well known, Arduino is used by people ranging in career from artist to engineer. Thus, the answers on this site will be written in a different way than on EE, where more inherent knowledge of EE is expected.
  2. The Arduino platform is a product-line (along with some similar, yet not official, products) and not subject of study. This is a key difference--some questions that would be categorized as "off topic" as a "shopping question" on EE may be perfectly on-topic here. (Yet, this is just a guess--I want community input)
  3. Arduino users may have programming issues that are very closely tied to hardware issues. This fills a void left by EE and SO, as EE doesn't like anything too software related, yet SO doesn't want anything too hardware related.
  • 1
    The varied audience argument is valid (in the context if this site) only when we actually have that audience on the site. At present, the questions don't seem to show that we have artists or designers in the community. Too early to tell, so I may turn out to be wrong. – asheeshr Feb 12 '14 at 4:12
  • So, what about compatibles? Are only those which go through the IDE going to be of interest? Of course, that doesn't rule out those that aren't pin-compatible. I couldn't seem to wrap my head around that reading the proposal etc. – Matthew G. Feb 12 '14 at 5:25
  • Also with various shields, arduPi etc. it's not only about arduino anymore. And to be honest I'm sick of this what is the difference bla bla. If you say no difference they close all questions as off-topic, if you say there is a diffrence then they say no we have already XXXX.SE maybe they should once make up their minds. – percusse Feb 12 '14 at 22:20
  • Is Intel Galileo on topic? – enedil Feb 21 '15 at 14:32
6

As our site thrives, there will be a lot of Arduino questions that are now barely accepted on EE.SE that will be migrated here. All of them will, I'm sure. A few stray Arduino programming questions from SO should be migrated as well. That will be great because that's where their home is.

To prepare for that, we need to make sure that our scope is not as strict as of those other sites. In particular, I think we should make our scope as broad as possible: everything related to Arduinos should be allowed in here. That includes:

  1. Boards: official, compatible, almost compatible, attempted to be compatible, one-off boards that I designed and etched at home, incomplete or failed attempts of boards, whatever Arduino-like boards.

  2. IDE: official, semi-official, underground, whatever.

  3. Shopping recommendations: as the OP said well, Arduino is a line of products. Some open-source hardware, some not so much. All these should be welcome here.

  4. What else?

Someone coming from EE.SE may think this is too radical. But we can make this site the way we want.

I don't see why we shouldn't allow questions about some obscure board or IDE in here, or shopping questions. That's what Arduinos are all about: diversity, trial and error.

I usually see arbitrary restrictions in scope as reasons for closing questions that some users don't know or don't like to answer. That goes against the freedom I think we should have here.

That doesn't mean we won't worry about the quality of questions and answers. We should be strict without being mean. We should educate, but not be harsh. But that's topic for another question.

In any case, we should also try and educate instead of censoring. If someone asks a poor quality question, editors should educate these users on how to ask better questions. The editors should try and improve the questions instead of quickly closing them. So, we should avoid closing questions as much as possible. We should try and improve the questions. And having the broadest possible scope will be really important to achieve those goals.

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    Please do be careful about migrating questions from the other sites - the threshold should really be not that a question can fit here, but rather that it does not fit there. – Chris Stratton May 10 '14 at 21:09
  • This is now becoming a very serious problem. The incumbant curmudgeons of EESE use the existence of this site as a handy excuse to dump any question which even tangentially mentions "Arduino" - not because it is a better fit here, but simply because they inherently hate questions from beginners. The result is that questions which belong there end up here, and as a result end up with weak, ill-informed answers with factual errors which often go unchallenged. – Chris Stratton Jan 20 '15 at 1:50
2

I do realize this is an old question, but I finally have a solid answer to this question!

Lately, I've been studying the scope of Arduino SE very closely. The difference between Arduino SE and EE was bothering me. I managed to sum it up in one sentence:

EE is for making electronics, where Arduino is for using electronics (more specifically, Arduino).

EE has closed many questions with the reason that "it's for building electronics, not using them." For example, I've seen a question about using battery packs to power Arduino that was closed. They're trying to build a more professional user base, where here at Arduino we get diverse backgrounds.

There are exceptions both ways for this rule, but it's a general rule. Scope is a really hard thing to master, and IMHO this covers a large part of our scope in one sentence.

2

This comment from one of the best contributors to EE.SE sums up the attitude of some:

When are the ardweenies finally going to learn they don't belong here until they are ready to learn about the underlying electronics!?

Fair enough. It is often frustrating to answer questions from absolute beginners. I think most beginners now start with Arduino, and actually half of Arduino.SE questions could be accurately characterised as beginner EE.SE questions. So that is where Arduino.SE is different: it is forgiving of beginner questions.

Which brings me to another point of difference. If Arduino.SE is a starting point of many beginners then I don't think we should be too strict with what is and isn't on topic. For example, questions about programming a computer to interface with an Arduino over serial should be welcome.

  • The problem is that the EESE folks now use the existence of this site as an excuse to dump beginner questions which even tangentially mention Arudino - regardless of the fact that the questions are entirely about "understanding electronics" and not at all about Arduino. – Chris Stratton Jan 20 '15 at 1:51
  • @ChrisStratton yea I've seen that a bit there. I would love to see Arduino.SE expanded to include all kinds of systems like Launchpad, beagle bone, etc. I don't know what it would be called.. "Hobby electronics" isn't right because so many engineers now use these. For example, the undergrad students in my lab and IEEE student branch use Arduinos and other similar devices to make some pretty complicated stuff. Perhaps "macro-electronics'? What do you reckon? – geometrikal Jan 20 '15 at 2:21
  • We already have a site which covers all of these topics in a sound technical manner - it is called EESE. It's merely desperately in need of a change in local management to bring it back inline with the stack exchange mission. The system isn't designed to support duplication, so the problem isn't the lack of duplication but that one site has been allowed to veer so far off-mission. – Chris Stratton Jan 20 '15 at 2:24
  • EE.SE has a few (and I emphasize 'few') vocal curmudgeons who, while being competent to extremely competent in their specialties, can be intolerant to outright rude if someone rubs them the wrong way. I even had a moderator get his fur up when I pointed that out that there was a (small but noticeable) degree of contentiousness in the group. I'd like to see A.SE not mirror that aspect and kick questions that were kicked to us, back to them. There's no point in starting or aiding a p**sing contest and if - as I'm reading here - [continued...] – JRobert Jan 23 '15 at 1:00
  • ... A.SE is trying to attract members, we'll need to keep our boundaries just a little softer and welcome folks who may well become solid contributors if they can just find a home. – JRobert Jan 23 '15 at 1:02
  • The problem with soft boundaries is that the mission then becomes inherently at odds with the structure of the SE system. It's not designed to support distinct "serious" and "beginner" sites for the same topics. – Chris Stratton Jul 10 '15 at 4:25

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