When asking a question on electronics.stackexchange I try to bear in mind two main characteristics of this site
- The kind of people who hang out here.
- The kind of questions which are useful to the most people over the longest time.
The latter is largely guided by the community of the former.
Who hangs out here?
I suspect it is, in rough order of weight of contributions:
- electronics engineers involved in designing and building commercial products.
- people who want to find out about electronics (but know very little yet)
(I'm ignoring the lost, the willfully ignorant and the trolls)
My guess is probably no-one here is doing research on graphene or it's applications.
What is the site for
I believe it is intended to be a searchable repository of answers to practical problems that practicing electronics engineers are likely to need help with.
The Q&A are expected to have lasting value, not be ephemeral.
This doesn't rule out other types of questions but it probably means you need to be very careful how you put together questions that don't fit the usual template.
Are questions about graphene on topic?
I don't know, they probably could be - for the reasons you suggest. Graphene is likely to be an important material in FETs for example.
However, of the 21,500 questions here, only two are tagged "research" and, for example, there is no "Germanium" tag!
Perhaps this suggests that this community isn't really spending much time on research level questions about materials.
Is that particular question on topic
The concerns I had about that question were that it seemed like a potentially very broad subject and the question was kind of open ended.
Most questions here really focus of practical problems that electronics engineers face. I think that's the heart of this site.
What about downvotes
The downvote button on a question has a tool-tip that says "this question does not show any research effort, it is unclear or not useful" - so, amongst other things, you have to be thinking about who else, in future, is going to find answers to this question to be useful to them in their job or hobby.
Downvotes cost the downvoters rep points! This is an important point. People on this site care a great deal about rep points. Every time someone downvotes your question they are aware that they are also stabbing themselves in the ego. People don't do this lightly. Even when I don't like receiving a downvote, I respect their self-sacrifice. Since May 2011? only downvotes on answers incur a -1 cost. The Stackexchange engine is optimised to "maximize the happiness and enjoyment of answerers."
I think it best to regard a downvote as a strong hint that I need to think about clarifying my question or making it more specific or more informative etc.
Comments are supposed to be there to help the questioner improve their question. I try to interpret them in that light (and I try to ignore them if the commenter doesn't seem to understand the purpose of comments).
Some people are short of time, look at a lot of questions and can be maybe a bit blunt in comments. Maybe bluntness is an attribute common to many engineers. It's easy to mistake bluntness for rudeness (and I agree it's a fine line) but I try to sift the gold from the dross and use it to improve my question so it can earn me more reputation points.
What to do
I take one of three approaches.
Edit the question as ruthlessly as needed to address the comments (sometimes even if I disagree - part of the rep-points game is to give folk what they want)
Delete the question to staunch the loss of rep points, do something else, maybe come back and think about editing and undeleting
Delete the question and write a different one with the same core subject - but which better fits the expectations of the community here (I more often do this with answers but I think the idea still applies).
One of the architects of stackexchange wrote about the Pee Wee Herman Rule - I'm OK with admitting that I may, on occasion, be guilty of infringing that rule.
Compared with Usenet, I think this site is a haven of sanity and good manners. That doesn't mean it is perfect, but I think it's well worth putting up with occasional hassles and annoyances. I hope you stay around and continue to contribute positively.