I have more experience on Stack Overflow than EESE, and I often come across questions here that strike me as too broad, but are either left open or even have upvotes. All of the following questions seem like "here are my requirements, design this for me" or "explain this massive complex topic" questions:

How do I design my very own ARM based processors?
How do I design a current transformer?
How to design blinking LEDs circuit using analog elements only?
How to design mutual inductor in proteus for wireless charging?
how to design a pattern detector state machine in vhdl
How design a circuit to control a switch?
How to program enc28j60??
How to Design a State Feedback Controller using an algorithm

I can think of a couple of explanations:

  • EESE really does have a more relaxed definition of "too broad" than SO
  • There aren't enough people with close-vote privileges for closures to keep pace with the incoming questions
  • The standard of "too broad" is exactly the same and I'm misunderstanding why these particular questions don't meet it
  • Some combination of all of the above

I've recently started reviewing first posts here (I've been doing it on SO for a while), and I want to make sure I'm understanding this site's expectations before I make a bunch of bad reviews.

I have read over this question and its answers: Should "how to design a project" questions always be put on hold as "too broad"?. The accepted (and most upvoted) answer makes perfect sense to me, but the example questions I've listed don't appear to meet that answer's criteria.

I would appreciate some commentary on the example questions I've listed. I would like to hear which of those questions I'm correctly and incorrectly judging as "too broad" and why.


3 Answers 3


You have to look at more than just the title to determine how broad the question actually is. In most of the questions you cited, the title is very broad, but the body of the question is actually much more specific. As you can see by reading the answers, the members of this community understood this and provided the kind of information the OP needed. Since this could be done in the space of a few paragraphs, it meets our critera for not being too broad.

EDIT: However, this one: how to design a pattern detector state machine in vhdl
is definitely a homework question. It needed to be closed, but "too broad" isn't really the correct reason — it's just the most convenient "standard" reason that the reviewers tend to use on these if the OP shows no signs of wanting to show his work so far.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I certainly have been looking at more than just the titles, but I get your point. It sounds like EESE is fine with the question if someone can take a broad question and turn it into a good answer, while SO tends to judge based on the question alone. I actually like this - I think SO takes too narrow a view to questions where the OP obviously doesn't even know how to define their problem. Would you mind providing a comment specifically on electronics.stackexchange.com/q/216561/49184? That sounds like a "do my homework for me" question, that I think should be closed. \$\endgroup\$
    – skrrgwasme
    Jul 28, 2016 at 16:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ SO also gets 10x the traffic and questions, so it's policies are different to reflect different situations. \$\endgroup\$
    – Passerby
    Aug 2, 2016 at 18:00

It can mean a whole bunch of different things for me. Often it's "you would have to learn a whole bunch to understand the answers you'll get". Other times it's "you're asking for too much. Break this down into a few specific questions". Sometimes it's a catchall for when the close options don't give me the right button to press.


These are some of the guidelines that EE.SE has decided upon. If you don't want to click on the link I'll quote it below. There are also good resources on asking questions here and here

You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face. Chatty, open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site and push other questions off the front page.

Your questions should be reasonably scoped. If you can imagine an entire book that answers your question, you’re asking too much.

IMO there are a lot of questions that are boarderline, if the question is boarderline I think the user should be warned attempt to fix it. I suppose the question could be closed also and that could be a warning, they can always edit and reopen it. (Which a lot of people can't figure out why and just leave it closed, another portion of users try to edit their question and fail to fix the problems, these questions should stay closed)

This problem happens because you have a few camps of people: Beginners and Experts, and those who participate in community and those who want an answer. It seems that there are more people who just want an answer and don't want to participate, or even format there question correctly. I think the community could be a bit more lenient in some cases, but only in cases where the question directly relates to electrical engineering. Why? because the dont ask help page also says this:

If your motivation for asking the question is “I would like to participate in a discussion about ______”, then you should not be asking here.

However, if your motivation is “I would like others to explain ______ to me”, then you are probably OK.

If a user were to ask a question on the latter, it would be closed. And I think explanation questions should be closed, most of the time if users 1) Do sufficient research 2) Ask a good question, then the question of closing it shouldn't even come up.

Some questions get past the reviewing process, I don't think there are enough people that understand the guidelines of the site, and so bad questions get answered and they should be closed to get rid of the clutter.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .