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I'm working on a small-scale CNC router. I know that many of my questions will cross over between Stack Overflow, Electrical Engineering and Robotics. For instance, if I want to understand how to make my stepper motor do what I want...I'll need to understand the EE behind the motor, the software, and a good way to translate the software/motor interaction into a physical X-Y-Z movement--which may even be a mechanical engineering issue.

How do I determine the most appropriate place for a question that invovles such a huge crossover between SE sites (most of which is relevant for an understanding of my problem, so I can't easily separate it into multiple questions) without crossposting? Any examples you can point to that do this elegantly and from which I can learn?

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If your question is such a "huge crossover", then it's probably too broad anyway. The first part of asking a good question is figuring out what you really want to know. Well thought out questions will be well targeted and probably obvious enough where they go. If you are truly in a gray area, then both places are probably OK. If you just ask "how do I make a stepper motor move this arm", then neither place is appropriate and it should be closed as not a real question on account of being too broad.

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Stack Exchange sites are not a perfect taxonomy of questions. Some questions are appropriate in more than one site, and some are not appropriate for any site.

Since we prefer tightly focused questions, I suggest you wait until your question arises, then choose a site based on the nature of the specific question.

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Over on Robotics, our policy is to migrate questions which aren't actually about Robotics but be relatively tolerant of questions which are.

As long as you keep any given question scoped to the site you post it on, you should be on pretty safe ground.

Although you may think it looks difficult to split a question into its component parts, having the discipline to do so could help you understand the question better. It will also result in better researched questions that are more likely to be voted up and more likely to be answered.

Also, if you split a large crossover question into several sub-questions, posting each question on a different stack exchange site, I would highly recommend linking them between each site. That way, people on each site can see that there are related questions elsewhere, relevant background information doesn't have to be posted on every question (though each question should stand alone) and each site can benefit from the expertise of all of the other sites involved.

For example, How can I get my robot arm to briefly lift an object heavier than it normally could? on Robotics, might get answers which suggest further questions:

  • What algorithm would allow me short bursts of high toque while staying within the duty cycle of the motor on Robotics.
  • How would I modify this protection circuit to allow higher instantaneous current on Electrical Engineering and
  • How can I integrate partial sums into my integer based control loop? on Stack Overflow

While we would probably allow all of these questions on Robotics, you will probably get better answers sooner by posting the programming question on Stack Overflow and the Electronics question on Electrical Engineering.

Each is well scoped to the site it is asked on, and linked together they are far more useful and interesting than each one taken on it's own.

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