I recently posted When should I use a transistor, mosfet, and when should I use a relay? to see how the community would react. (Only 3 views so far so not really a big reaction yet, as you can see.) Here's the controversy:

Why it should stay here (obviously my own opinions here, add yours in the comments):

  • That person would get outrageous downvotes from EE members because it is a simple question
  • This site is for beginners and trying to get them to use Stack Exchange
  • EE might refuse to answer it
  • It still is applicable (if they do ask how to control it)

Why it should be migrated:

  • It doesn't have to do much with Arduino besides if someone asks "How do I control it with Arduino"
  • There would be overlap with EE.SE

The number of reasons for keeping it outnumbers the migrating, but those two reasons are very big. I doubt that the Stack Exchange team wants us creating duplicate sites with much overlap: it may be a matter of time until advanced questions start coming up here.

I do know that this is similar to other questions on meta but no real policy of on-the-fence questions has been established. What do you think we should do? How can we prevent this from happening on a daily basis if they aren't fit for Arduino.SE?

  • In my opinion there are quite a few beginners questions on EE.SE. What is usually frowned upon is when a question obviously has not been researched and misses trivial knowledge before being asked.
    – jippie
    Feb 18, 2014 at 5:31

2 Answers 2


We are looking at this wrong.

This question When should I use a transistor, mosfet, and when should I use a relay? clearly shows knowledge on the part of the OP of basic EE and is not entirely relevant to Arduinos in the way it is phrased. It should either be re-written, migrated, or closed.

How a beginner to Arduino-verse would ask the same question is:

I am trying to control A with Arduino B. The power requirements for A are this but B provides something else. How do I control B using A without burning out A?


The control current for A seems far higher than the safe value of B. What method can I use to throttle the current and/or control the current input to B through A?

In either of these cases, the question highlights that the OP has a problem, has maybe tried to solve it, and most likely lacks the specific knowledge or terminology to reach the solution to the problem themselves without a nudge in the right direction.

These questions, and this audience, is one of the reasons that this site is up and I feel we should keep such questions within our scope. The usual restrictions of basic research, clear problem and progress made should be applied and questions found lacking should be closed. The level of difficulty should not solely be a parameter on the basis of which questions should be closed.

  • 1
    This is very right. The "example question," as written, should be migrated (and is why I wrote what I did in my answer). But I agree that the examples you've listed above should be on-topic.
    – apnorton
    Feb 17, 2014 at 17:35

I am one of the (as of now) 3 people who have voted to close the question as belonging on EE.SE.

This site is not "EEBeginners.SE," and we should not try to become that. Especially in private beta, we need to stay away from making this site a perfect subset of EE.

The question, as written, doesn't relate to Arduinos in the least. Even just tagging on "How would I control one with an Arduino?" doesn't really make it obviously on-topic--it doesn't focus primarily on Arduino usage, and relates more to choosing between electrical components.

Something I had to come to terms with last Arduino beta period was that not all questions deserve to have a home on Stack Exchange. Certain "beginning EE" questions might never be accepted on SE because of the culture of EE.SE. Just because the question isn't accepted there doesn't mean it is on topic here.

  • You do bring up a few good points: there may never be a home on SE for some of these questions, and we don't want to be Beginners EE.SE either. BTW I cast the final close vote. Although it is my own question, I just tried it to see if it would provide good answers that wouldn't come up on EE. It, however, would've been good on EE too. I'm going to try to see if I can get the post locked for reference, or if it should be deleted. Feb 17, 2014 at 19:01

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