I read this, (from a post cancelled for being off topic.)

"Questions seeking recommendations for specific products or places to purchase them are off-topic as they are rarely useful to others and quickly obsolete.

Wow, I thought, we can't talk about distributors, vendors, manufacturers?
I was going to ask about film capacitors, and this one in particular,


Is talking about specific capacitors and replacements off topic?

Color me a confused newbie, (is this post off topic?...)

  • \$\begingroup\$ Depends on the specific of your question. If you ask "what part can replace this part" its less good than asking "what are the important specs I need to look for when trying to replace this part". \$\endgroup\$
    – Passerby
    Commented Jul 19, 2014 at 2:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Using search engines, I frequently find forum posts about particular components that includes mentions about price and where to find them, and more often than not, the part isn't available, or the vendor has vanished, etc. Sometimes such posts are helpful, like finding a surplus company you didn't know existed (and is still around) on an old forum post. The rule-of-thumb on EE.SE, however, is to avoid those types of questions and answers. We try to focus on EE knowledge and skill rather than economics and availability. \$\endgroup\$
    – JYelton
    Commented Jul 28, 2014 at 2:45

2 Answers 2


The goal of StackExchange in general is to provide a repository for reference material that has long-term value, in a question-and-answer format.

However, as the message states, answers relating to the availability of specific products have a very limited scope in terms of both place and time. They quickly go out of date, after which they have no value whatsoever and just clutter up the site. THEREFORE, questions that are designed to elicit such answers are deemed off-topic to begin with.

  • \$\begingroup\$ OK thanks for the clarification. I guess I've got a more selfish desire. There are times when I'm looking for a replacement of some electronics "bit". It's then nice to get outside advice. For the above capacitor. Well it hasn't gone away yet, but I've been dealing with EOL of numerous film caps. I use the above 10 uF in a bunch of places and was wondering if I should put in a new circuit. (Integrator in PI thermal control loop.) Or some other type cap (ceramic) Or should I just go digital. Is that type of question appropriate? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 19, 2014 at 13:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, questions about a general design approach are quite appropriate. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dave Tweed
    Commented Jul 19, 2014 at 14:43

Anything with the word Arduino in it, apparently.


Like this one: https://arduino.stackexchange.com/questions/3702/controlling-floppy-disk-drive-with-arduino/3706#3706 , which was transferred from EE.SE.

The answer was that the disk drive had open collector outputs and a pull-up was required. I feel that if there wasn't an Arduino in the title it would have been answered in EE.SE.

But this is not a whinge, send 'em all over to Arduino.SE and get it out of beta!! :D

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ The data don't back that up. Search the tag and sort by newest. Two or three out of 100 were closed. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 10, 2014 at 12:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Unfortunately, this is probably incorrect. However, when they start talking about shields and sketches, I'll look for any possible excuse to close and downvote to oblivion. When are the ardweenies finally going to learn they don't belong here until they are ready to learn about the underlying electronics!? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 10, 2014 at 22:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @OlinLathrop I've flagged a few for transferring from EE.SE to Arduino.SE myself, and am happy for them to all be directed there. Currently, Arduino.SE is filling the niche of questions from beginners who don't even know they don't know about the underlying electronics. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 11, 2014 at 4:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ You mean users on the right border of the Dunning-Krugyer effect \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 11, 2014 at 12:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ Heh yea I guess. Worse yet is working with them. They think putting a circuit together is like LEGO, and hire casual staff who couldn't tell you the polarity of a battery to do complex troubleshooting. Sigh. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 12, 2014 at 3:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ The problem is that underneath the "shields and sketches" wording, many of these "Arduino" questions involve very real EE and embedded design issues. When they get flushed to a smaller, weaker site they tend to get answers laden with errors, misinformation, and oversights - sometimes absurdly or even dangerously so. Answers with those kinds of outrageous problems are far more likely to be usefully challenged here than there, where the eyeballs are fewer in number and far less informed. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 14, 2014 at 17:43

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