# "What is this XXX component" type of questions

From the number of responses and also from the lack of closes to these types of questions, I assume most people like these.

I am not suggesting that we get rid of them, but perhaps make them more useful.

The main problem, in my perception, is that we have a long list of "what is this connector?" or "what is this chip?" which does nothing for future visitors who might be looking for these exact same solutions. Now they have to wade through these questions, a lot are entirely visual which makes it even harder.

Is there a way to actually make these easier to find? Show thumbnail pictures? A special tag?

IF you have ideas or suggestions add them below. If you think there is room for improvement vote up, if it's not an issue for you vote it down.

• At least go back and re-tag with the most specific available tag after the answer is determined. Aug 5, 2014 at 17:15
• Including a verbal description of the component (particularly printing on chips) would probably improve searchability. Size, pin-count, etc. might be useful aspects to specify verbally. It might also be useful to include general guidance (e.g., perhaps including logos for popular chip companies) in the identification tag wiki (though tag wikis seem to be infrequently read). Aug 6, 2014 at 4:19
• We already have a a tag for this [identification]. Aug 9, 2014 at 20:51
• I think these type of questions are the one exception to the "long-term usefulness" rule. (Though, an answer saying "this is a widget" might be useful to someone searching for "widget" in the future, if they don't know what they look like.) The reason these questions work is they are answerable, and do provide a lot of help. (Yes, I asked one, and it helped a lot!) Aug 13, 2014 at 16:26

I don't feel we are overrun by such questions, so I don't mind them. I usually go into these questions to see if I can spot the part. Even though the question and its answers have little long term value to the site, I think they are legitimate questions if asked well. We've probably all at some point tried to scavenge parts and wondered what a particular one was.

However, the question must be well written and presented. This means take a decent picture that is properly focused with good lighting so we can see the details, and properly cropped so that the part in question fills much of the frame, but with some context around it if it is still in the device. Actually it is better if this is two pictures in that case. One to show the context, and the other to show the details of the part. Sloppily snapped cell phone shots with no attempt to clean them up afterwards need not apply.

Generally this means a camera with macro capability is required. Not having access to the appropriate camera is no excuse. If you can't take reasonable pictures of the part, then you don't get to post here. Perhaps that's not fair to you, but the reverse wouldn't be fair to us, and wouldn't get you the desired result anyway. Even many cheap cameras have macro capability, and free post-processing software is available out there. Again, there is no excuse for posting sloppy pictures.

• +1 Good points all, and don't crop away bits of the device to show the numbers better (or whatever is the reasoning for that..). If the person posting the photo knew what was important they wouldn't need to ask. Aug 19, 2014 at 0:41
• If the question is about identifying connectors, then the O.P. should also measure and post the pitch (distance between pins). That narrows down the search space a lot. Aug 22, 2014 at 19:30

There are questions that have only a short term value and only for the O.P.
The questions of the "What is this component in the photo" type often have this trait.

A lot of such questions used to get closed as "too localized" back when we had that option in the menu. Indeed, many of them are localized to some obscure component that O.P. have scavenged from a ink jet printer made somewhere in Asia 10 years ago. Do we want more of such questions? The benefits of these questions being more discoverable have to be weighed.

            Short term                  Long term

for         Beneficial                  Neutral
O.P

for         Neutral                     Neutral
EE.SE       Some members can get        The question will
a kick from being           generate little traffic
able to ID obscure          because search engines
things.  Some               don't see it well.
members can get             By the same token, it will
annoyed from being          not consume a lot of EE.SE's
The border b/w surplus
and garbage is in the
eye of the beholder.


There are rare exceptions, however. For example, some questions deal with antique equipment, and they can get lengthy answers containing useful historical perspective.

• Search engines also see the answers. If I search for some obscure component, find an answer about it, and see the question "What is this thing?" with a picture of it, that has real value. Aug 11, 2014 at 13:13
• @PhilFrost ... as long as we don't get overrun by questions of this type. Aug 15, 2014 at 21:12

I suggest to add the solution in the title after identification. This will empower our search function.

For example, I suggest to change in What is that component?

What is that component?

to

What is that component? (HDX vibration sensor)

• I can see where you're coming from, but say it's an ADXL345 accelerometer then nobody who knows what the part is will be searching on ADXL345 to see what one looks like. Jan 6, 2018 at 12:12
• The question and answer are still searchable even without adding clarification in the title
– Voltage Spike Mod
Jan 6, 2018 at 22:09