The moderation system shuts down questions like these:

Can I connect a button on my motorcycle to the main button on a garage door remote?

Modding my laptop, is 5v to 12v step up module safe for motherboard?

I'm sure there are scad's of these types of questions.

Because they are more of DIY questions they get shut down, what kind of self respecting engineer would want to answer a question as basic as switches.

Yet from the help center:
Consumer electronics such as media players, cell phones or smart phones, except when designing these products or modifying their electronics for other uses

So either the moderation community needs to be more lenient or we need to stop advertising that we'll answer these types of questions.


3 Answers 3


Just like with repair questions, a mod question (paraphrasing) "... must involve specific reverse engineering steps and demonstrate a good understanding of the underlying design of the device being modified."

In other words, it isn't about the topic as much as it about the knowledge of the OP. We don't want a question that's going to start out with a long series of questions in the comments trying to elicit details from the OP, or trying to guide them through the process of analyzing the design of the device.


My two cents... I believe there's a big difference between:

  1. an user posting a pic of a piece of equipment (sometimes not even that, just plain text) and saying "help me modify this" with no detail or focus whatsoever (and worst than that, with a very long background story about why he/she wants to do the modification), and

  2. an user posting a diagram/schematic of the piece of equipment, showing how does he/she intends to implement the modification (ideally with their own diagram/schematic as well), and asking a focused question about a problem he/she is facing about it.

I'm pretty sure that type 2 won't get anywhere as easily closed as type 1, which happens to be the most usual modifying questions. So my guess is that here the system is just shuting down bad questions that also happen (accidentally) to be modifying questions.

If I'm right then all we can reasonably do is either guide the OP towards asking a better question (which may involve he/she doing his/her homework and investigating the equipment to be modified to the point of drawing a diagram/schematic and narrowing down the question) or just close the question.

Sadly, a lot of lazy OPs just won't do their homework and will expect someone else (we) to do it for them. So I believe that closing the modifying questions from these kind of users it's a perfectly legitimate reaction, while at the same time I think that asking focused modifying questions with a reasonable amount of effort should be allowed (and encouraged=upvoted) too. Both things are possible in the current situation, thus I would leave things as they are now.

Last, but not least: from time to time, a question may be unfairly closed. Then probably the best thing to do would be to raise the issue to the attention of a moderator.


The help page says

Electrical Engineering Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for electronics and electrical engineering professionals, students, and enthusiasts.

It doesn't say "...for people who want to do stuff that has to do with electronics but don't know how to go about doing it."

  • \$\begingroup\$ Incorrect. The asker's knowledge is not a criteria, but their willingness to approach a problem with engineering methods including learning the critical details, is. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 30, 2017 at 2:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ChrisStratton, yes, "enthusiasts". \$\endgroup\$ Apr 30, 2017 at 10:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ The point is that people who want to do something and don't know how are in the target audience. It's rather people who refuse to take pragmatically appropriate steps to learn how who are excluded when they demonstrate that refusal. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 30, 2017 at 17:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ChrisStratton I just don't agree. There is a class of questions that just shouldn't get a home here, regardless of how willing the asker is to accept guidance. I don't know the right way to word it, but as an example, "I never took an electronics course but want to build a minicomputer" would be of that class. \$\endgroup\$ May 1, 2017 at 1:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ That gets closed as simply "too broad" \$\endgroup\$ May 1, 2017 at 4:32

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