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We have had a number of questions come in that were clearly consumer electronics, but now we have a few coming in that are boundary questions.

There are a few specific instances we have just had both about batteriesand batteries. One was closed, which I reopened because 2 of the 5 votes were for duplicate, please forgive me if you thought I was trying to overrule you, I am trying to make sure we get this consistent as a community.

Currently I think they received some close votes because they were asked in such quick succession by the OP. Lets have a talk, Do these cross the boundary? Should we smash questions that are right on the boundary, or should we keep them open and hope it brings in a few engineers that need help also>

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When a question is borderline, I think what you need to consider is

  • how much 'broken windows' harm will leaving this type question around on the site cause? If other users see this and think it's on topic to ask this class of question, how bad would that be?
  • is this a quality question? is this a quality person we would want contributing to our site?

See:
http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/11/the-pee-wee-herman-rule/

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @jeffAtwood, I actually read all of your posts, and I got a giggle out of that one especially. The community quickly voted to close, but it was significantly more complicated than just off topic, the user asked 3 "similar" questions in a row, and people reacted negatively. I overruled and started a discussion, and now I am trying to get the community to discuss what consumer electronics questions fall under too out of our engineering domain. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Dec 17 '10 at 18:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ "is this a quality question?" Probably the most important question; as the only thing that matters if it improves the site('s content). \$\endgroup\$
    – Nick T
    Dec 17 '10 at 19:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nick depends how off-topic it is. Can be high quality, doesn't mean it belongs, so it's still a judgment call. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 17 '10 at 19:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NickT, the broken windows in Jeff's post is the primary thing that concerns me with these posts, but I do not think they cause too many. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Dec 17 '10 at 19:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ I was probably being over-broad; I would assume "improves the site" would imply it was at least remotely on-topic. The degree of leniency might differ depending on the quality though. \$\endgroup\$
    – Nick T
    Dec 17 '10 at 19:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nickT, the main focus here is if these are on-topic enough to allow to stay. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Dec 17 '10 at 20:25
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Those may be consumer questions, but the consumer is always relevant in electronics, because the customer (engineering manager, marketing, sales, end-user) will come back with questions about "why?"

Does any of that mean it would be in-scope for this site? No, but if we're looking at those questions specifically, battery charging as the consumer sees it is fairly thinly veiled compared to what an designer deals with. (It's not RF magic, etc.)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ That may seem true, but I should differentiate. When a user comes here and has no technical knowledge, but asks us a technical question hoping we can explain, I think that is perfect. When a users asks us a question that belongs on superuser.com then we need to shut it down. What power supply would work, how do I fit this heatsink to my processor has no home here, and a comfy home on SU. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Dec 17 '10 at 18:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think the battery questions are close enough to our topic to be worthwhile. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Dec 17 '10 at 18:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kortuk Battery questions are relevant to the community, but not from the point of view of a consumer wanting to know what to do. An example is this questions: electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/6583/… Heat sinking is very related to electronics, but the question wasn't asked from the right view for this site. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kellenjb
    Dec 17 '10 at 20:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @kellenjb, write an answer, and explain your opinion, maybe even what we might want to add to the FAQ to make this more clear. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Dec 17 '10 at 20:46

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