I have taken a look at the list of recently migrated Arduino questions. I thought we had reached the consensus that questions regarding Arduino that involve a good deal of electronics are fine on this site. But I still see many questions migrated.

I would like to do a general suggestion that if the community agrees according to vote counts on this question and its answers, this type of questions be no longer migrated or only if there seems to be support from the community (other than only from one or two).

As a moderator you're still part of the community and there is no reason to migrate away the questions you don't like if there's no support for this within the community.


This question, Operate Arduino Nano using variable voltage, was first migrated to Arduino. I had to flag it there to get it migrated back here. Such moving around of posts isn't be beneficial to anyone.
NB: (without sufficient rep?) you won't see this in the post history, but it's really true. I flagged the post on Arduino.SE and asked for a migration back.

Related: Can we stop the random migrating?; +22/-5; not a duplicate since this is a general request (which the other was as well actually, but this was massively misunderstood, even after emphasising that aspect of the question).

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Take that stupid millis() question off the list and I would probably agree with you. That question is pure Arduino and didn't belong here. \$\endgroup\$
    – Matt Young
    Mar 15, 2015 at 13:35
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ It's a valid question that works for any case where one tries to cast integers to smaller integers. The current answers are also valuable here. If it should've been migrated, it should have been to SO. \$\endgroup\$
    – user17592
    Mar 15, 2015 at 13:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ Where is there question mark after anything related to casting? \$\endgroup\$
    – Matt Young
    Mar 15, 2015 at 13:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ Take the variable voltage question off your list, too. It's specifically about the power supply design on the Arduino board(s), and as such, belongs squarely in the Arduino SE. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dave Tweed
    Mar 15, 2015 at 16:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DaveTweed you're right, I misread that one. \$\endgroup\$
    – user17592
    Mar 15, 2015 at 16:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ While you're at it, take the "ATMega328P-PU and 328P-AU" question off the list, too. It's specifically about designing an Arduino-compatible board. How more appropriate to Arduino.SE can you get? \$\endgroup\$
    – Dave Tweed
    Mar 15, 2015 at 17:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's about differences between two chips. That it's for an Arduino is not really important for the question. There's no harm in letting the community decide, and you can't disagree that this is at least a controversial issue. \$\endgroup\$
    – user17592
    Mar 15, 2015 at 18:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ One, I'm not the one who's whining here. YOU raised the question. Two, I'm not stopping anyone from doing anything. Three, that particular question is about the differences between the chips that are relevant to the Arduino environment. Four, yes it does seem to be a controversial issue for at least some EE.SE users. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dave Tweed
    Mar 15, 2015 at 18:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DaveTweed I should not have said that, I take my words back. I don't consider this question to be whining though. Two: you're taking power away from the community, essentially the same. Three: doesn't mean the question is irrelevant for EE, and again, it's at least controversial, there is no harm in letting the community decide. \$\endgroup\$
    – user17592
    Mar 15, 2015 at 18:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not stopping the community from deciding. But it will be up to me and the other moderators to implement whatever policy the community decides on. The end result of this debate needs to be one or more clear-cut guidelines that guide our actions. Anything less leaves it up to the individual moderator's judgement, and it's clear that you do not agree with me on this issue. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dave Tweed
    Mar 15, 2015 at 18:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DaveTweed no, I don't blame you. I blame Nick. We have discussed this before many times and as far as I remember the outcome always was that questions with a clear interest in EE are fine here - and that is only reasonable. Nick doesn't follow this agreement. I don't see why we need a new debate. It's enough if Nick stops doing what he wants and starts doing what the community wants. That's what he was elected for. \$\endgroup\$
    – user17592
    Mar 15, 2015 at 20:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @CamilStaps I recommend reading this: A Group Is Its Own Worst Enemy by Clay Shirky. Lengthy, but it's well worth reading. This text is on the StackExchange recommended reading list. Originally, I came across it here. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 15, 2015 at 20:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NickAlexeev I'm not going to read that long an article because you're not willing to justify/change your behaviour as a moderator in a simple answer. You have a responsibility to the community. When that community thinks you're not doing a good job [on some points], either you explain yourself or you change. You don't give someone a lot to read so that he's busy for a while. You are completely inaccessible for the community. If you for whatever reason think you're serving the site with that, you should explain that in an answer, not by linking to a too long article. \$\endgroup\$
    – user17592
    Mar 16, 2015 at 5:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ I am doing my job, Camil. Along with the rest of the moderator group I'm shoveling my share of manure out of EE.SE all the time (even if you count only the obvious things, Arduino questions aside). You take that for granted. You take the high quality of EE.SE for granted. You have a negative bias against me, and you are stacking the deck. This has reached the point where you avoid, ignore, don't notice, and try to suppress information that doesn't support your bias against me. I'm patiently describing to you how this looks. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 16, 2015 at 5:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Nick Ad hominem attacks FROM a mod? WTF \$\endgroup\$
    – Passerby
    Mar 20, 2015 at 4:42

4 Answers 4


Part of the reason why (I think) migrations are so frustrating from a community perspective is that there is no recourse if the community disagrees with the migration. In fact, the only way to undo a migration is to coordinate with the moderators of the target site to close the question, and then it can be "bounced back" to the original site. This makes migrations an unchangeable moderator action, instead of a normal close vote.

I started asking myself "How many bad migrations are we getting?", as that really sets the tone of this discussion. Here are some numbers to bring facts into the discussion. In the last 90 days, 78 questions have been migrated to Arduino.SE. Of those 78 questions, 4 have been rejected. While that sounds like a good number, it's worth noting that there are some different dynamics on Arduino.SE in the sense that they are a smaller beta site and don't quite have the numbers required to close questions by community. This is part of the reason why migrations to relatively new sites is discouraged - they don't have as much capability to deal with bad questions.

Below is a list of questions migrated to Arduino.se in the last 90 days or so. This is not all of them as I seem to have missed some, but it's most of them (and I didn't intentionally omit questions). Some of them are deleted. From the perspective of migrating solid EE questions with a hint of Arduino, it doesn't seem so bad at first glance.


Most questions have been automatically deleted at this point (about 30 days)


  • \$\begingroup\$ There's also about 2x more that amount for that same period, which remained on EE.SE . (Rough estimate.) \$\endgroup\$ Mar 19, 2015 at 5:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for getting some more data. I still think that how many bad migrations we have is not the most important thing here though. As I've said before, the main point is that some things are going wrong. This is not a problem, if criticism is received constructively. As said before, I appreciate the work being done by the moderators, and I do not think most of the migrations are bad. I think some of the migrations are bad and we can improve that (although I'm starting to doubt that last part considering Nick's attitude). Nevertheless thanks for getting the data; +1. \$\endgroup\$
    – user17592
    Mar 19, 2015 at 23:05

You seem to be the primary agitator on this topic, and you also seem to still not understand the fundamental difference between Arduino users on one hand, and electronics hobbyists and student/professional EEs on the other. This difference has already been discussed extensively in your other questions.

Yes, there's a considerable overlap in topics between the two groups, but Arduino users need answers that are specific to the Arduino hardware/software environment, and they're not likely to get those answers from EEs who are not very familiar with that environment. It's all about context, and the way that SE deals with context in general is to have separate sites. We've already discussed how the use of "meta-tags" to provide that context is not appropriate on SE.

There's nothing wrong with EEs who are interested in Arduino belonging to both EE.SE and Arduino.SE and answering questions on each site as they see fit. And there's nothing wrong with directing Arduino users who show up here to a site where they'll feel more at home and get better (for them) answers. And if there are some who decide that they want to learn more about the underlying engineering issues, then they can belong to both sites, too.

  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not against migrating Arduino questions to Arduino.SE. I'm against migrating EE questions to Arduino.SE. Also, judging from the vote counts on that other question, I'm certainly not the only one who feels this way. \$\endgroup\$
    – user17592
    Mar 15, 2015 at 16:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ You still do not understand that a question on this site from the typical Arduino user is not an EE qeustion! The asker does not really care about the EE issues; he just wants the easiest way to get his Arduino-based project to do a specific thing. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dave Tweed
    Mar 15, 2015 at 17:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ You have absolutely zero evidence for that. \$\endgroup\$
    – user17592
    Mar 15, 2015 at 17:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ Actually, I have plenty of evidence for it, but I'm not going to try to dig up any examples for you. I have seen many instances of Arduino askers and EE answerers talking past each other simply because they do not share a common vocabulary. And since this dichotomy was deliberately created by the Arduino community, the onus is on them to deal with it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dave Tweed
    Mar 15, 2015 at 17:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ I find that a totally inappropriate attitude for a moderator to 1) claim to have evidence, 2) not want to provide it, 3) expect users to trust them, when there are so many users who showed support in the previous question. Incredible. Have a nice day. \$\endgroup\$
    – user17592
    Mar 15, 2015 at 17:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ Blah blah imma mod so i dictate what should be done instead of letting the community decide \$\endgroup\$
    – Passerby
    Mar 15, 2015 at 18:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Passerby: In meta, I'm not dictating anything. I'm just expressing an opinion just like any other user. But if you're trying to persuade me on a point, you should use better debating techniques. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dave Tweed
    Mar 15, 2015 at 18:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Dave: there are plenty of questions on here from STM32F4 users that want to get their STM32F4 project to do a specific thing without caring about the EE issues. What's the difference? \$\endgroup\$
    – Greg d'Eon
    Mar 16, 2015 at 10:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Gregd'Eon: The difference is that you're not stuck in a development environment that has deliberately been dumbed down and made incompatible with general electrical engineering and embedded computing terminology. And there isn't a separate SE that was created specifically because of those issues. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dave Tweed
    Mar 16, 2015 at 11:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Gregd'Eon There was a similar question on Area51: Why is Arduino a proposal separate from Embedded Programming and Design? \$\endgroup\$ Mar 16, 2015 at 15:26

OK, so what's your opinion on this question?

A user has flagged it for migration, and three moderators have looked at it so far without taking action.

And despite being our Arduino evangelist, you haven't answered or commented on it, either.

  • \$\begingroup\$ That question has more issues, for example the lack of code. But it seems to be a question that will never be helpful to non-Arduinees, so I don't see a problem with migrating it. My point is that the other questions I linked to in this question are questions that are useful to a broader audience, even though this particular user uses an Arduino. (I appreciate the moderators not taking action, and you asking, very much!) \$\endgroup\$
    – user17592
    Mar 15, 2015 at 21:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't see how this answers the question though. This does not respond to the suggestion I did in my question. \$\endgroup\$
    – user17592
    Mar 16, 2015 at 5:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ As I said, the end result of this discussion needs to be a set of clear-cut guidelines for moderators to follow. So far, what you have proposed is way too vague and still leaves it as a judgement call by the individual moderator. Therefore, I need to present a set of test cases, in order to see whether I can infer what your criteria really are. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dave Tweed
    Mar 16, 2015 at 11:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ Alright, that makes sense to me then, I didn't see that was your plan. I would say: when questions involve such a great deal of electronics that they're better answered here or when the answer will be applicable not only in an Arduino context but also in a broader EE context, it is harmful to migrate them. Besides that there may be a set of questions where migration isn't particularly harmful but not directly beneficial either - but I don't think those questions have priority. \$\endgroup\$
    – user17592
    Mar 16, 2015 at 11:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ But your statement about the first set of questions is the policy we're already following. And the second set of questions is the ones you throw back in our faces as "not following the will of the community." That's the set for which you need to provide explicit guidance. And what does "priority" mean in this context anyway? \$\endgroup\$
    – Dave Tweed
    Mar 16, 2015 at 11:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm glad we agree on this policy. As I see it, the answers to all three questions I mentioned are useful for a broader audience, and thus the questions fall in the first category. With priority I mean that it's most important that the first set of questions is handled properly. After that we could look at the other set, but as migration there isn't actively harmful, this is not as important. \$\endgroup\$
    – user17592
    Mar 16, 2015 at 11:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ OK, then it seems that the point on which we disagree is deciding into which of the two groups any particular question falls. Can you be more specific than "such a great deal of electronics"? \$\endgroup\$
    – Dave Tweed
    Mar 16, 2015 at 12:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ Considering the three questions I linked now, I think "when the answer will be applicable not only in an Arduino context but also in a broader EE context" applies. The first is debatable, but essentially asks about differences between two chips. In the second question, "Arduino" can be replaced by any embedded system - the question is about interfacing that MAX chip. The third is about typecasting in C and is also applicable on other systems, even not only on embedded systems. \$\endgroup\$
    – user17592
    Mar 16, 2015 at 12:27

For me, there are a few issues that come into play here. The first is that plenty of arduino-tagged questions find a home here. https://electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/arduino?sort=newest&pageSize=50 shows all the closed, migrated, and still open (and some yet to be closed) questions. Clearly, there is a line, and there is some disagreement on where it should be set, but I don't think that it's too far off from where it needs to be. You've red-flagged three migrations in ten days that you didn't like. Is it safe to assume that you're happy with the remainders, and all the Arduino-tagged that haven't migrated? If so, we're not talking about a huge proportion of Arduino questions here.

A second point is that your arguments that this line isn't where it needs to be would be boosted big time if you took them one step further -- i.e., if you can go on to say "This question was migrated, and I don't think that the question got good answers at the Arduino SE." If the asker got the answer needed there, I don't see a problem. We're not hurting for good questions over here that badly yet. If the question got poor answers, but would have gotten fine answers here, then that's a compelling argument that perhaps migration was a mistake.

The next issue comes from a mod at the Arduino site, who asked us to not migrate junk: https://electronics.meta.stackexchange.com/a/5106/11684. For me, I think that if its a question that requires specific knowledge of the Arduino platform or libraries, even if the question is pure gold, migration is not unreasonable -- especially if there's some subtext that makes it feel like the asker might appreciate an answer in the language of the Arduino community. The mods there would probably welcome some good questions migrated in that direction, and I hope that this cross exchange between the two sites can keep a user base with some real expertise engaged over there.

Lastly, I can't say I know the ins and outs of migration, but the review tools certainly make it look like the mods at Arduino are perfectly free to turn down the migration.

FWIW, for me, of the three you point out, I think the MAX7221 question could have comfortably stayed here, and might have gotten migrated simply because it says 'loop' instead of 'while (1)' in main. That said, maybe someone who is more familiar with the Arduino SPI.h can phrase the answer better for this particular asker. If not, the world is still turning

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you, good points. This puts it all a bit in perspective. I still do think there is a problem though, and as an example I edited my question here to include a case where it simply went wrong (but you don't have to reply to that specific case if you don't want). Also, apart from how big the problem is, I don't find Nick's attitude very constructive - but also that is not a criticism on your post, more an explanation from my side. \$\endgroup\$
    – user17592
    Mar 17, 2015 at 23:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ For the third/second to last paragraphs, W5VO has basically said the same thing, who cites some content that has come directly from SE. You're also missing the point... questions that don't require Arduino knowledge are getting migrated. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 19, 2015 at 22:21

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