I can picture questions like this popping up everywhere:

  • How do I hack a treadmill?
  • How do I hack my alarm clock?
  • How do I hack my garage door opener?

Some of those things aren't really meant to be hacked. We already have one question like this: Using the Waspmote Sensor Board. It isn't that bad alone, but questions like this could add up and really clutter our site.

The treadmill is already on EE (answered my me). Some devices that use AC shouldn't really be messed with, especially from users who don't even know that it is dangerous, or how to do it in the first place. However, I do believe that some of these "hacking questions" may be useful. For example, should we allow, "How do I simulate pressing a physical push button on a PCB?" What should we do about this?

Edit: After a while, questions like this seem to have died down. This doesn't seem like a problem now.

  • It's hard to answer a question that targets a specific device. Hacking could also mean illegal modifications in some cases, and those should definitely be banned.
    – TheDoctor
    Feb 20, 2014 at 22:17
  • @TheDoctor Definitely not allowed for illegal. Feb 20, 2014 at 22:20

1 Answer 1


The example questions you give are poor examples of the kinds of questions we want to see on the site and should not be allowed.

Questions should ask something specific. Like this:

How can I log the distance and time from my treadmill to an SD card using an Arduino?

There are two parts to this question:

  • How do I interface my treadmill with Arduino?
  • How do I log data to SD card with Arduino?

We can clearly help with the second question.

The first part of the question may or may not be off topic, depending on how much detail the person has provided (schematics, datasheets), what kind of effort they've put into solving the problem themselves, and the scope of the problem.

tl;dr: it depends on the question. Maybe we can answer part of it and another part is better for another site on the SE network.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .