We can all imagine questions about circuits that don't require a schematic. But what about examples such as: "I have a 12V circuit that pulses a buzzer, but it is too quiet. What can I do do make it louder?"

I think it's crazy that we should even have to ask for details, yet it happens so often that I begin to lose faith in humanity. People are providing help with no cost out of pocket, and askers can't be bothered to help us help them? It's one thing if they are just ignorant. But what if they are asked and they still don't feel the need?

The latest one I see is this question: Open switch that will turn on an LED without power drain

OP asks if their LED "circuit" can be made without continuously drawing power. We could answer conceptually and literally (Dave Tweed's answer). We can provide circuit diagrams that we think would work. But why should people be posting circuits when it's possible that OP is already using the same thing? Perhaps they just have a single component value that needs tweaking.

I think it's a waste of people's time and a waste of space on this site for answers that are all guessing what OP needs, when OP hasn't even properly communicated what they currently have. Too often there will be 5 answers before OP goes "Oh, guys, I was actually doing this other thing, so your answers are irrelevant."

I know there's the option of voting to close the question on the grounds of it being "unclear what you're asking". But is this even a candidate for being closed? I feel like it's somewhere in the middle. I'm wondering specifically if the LED question is a good condidate for either being closed or downvoted...Or if I'm just bitter and need to check myself.

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    \$\begingroup\$ What I find the most frustrating is the fastest gun in the west do-gooders trying to help those who write these bad questions instead of just waiting for the question to get improved. It shows everyone that it's OK to write crappy questions, and there's no penalty to them when the question eventually gets closed. It takes too long to close a question. \$\endgroup\$
    – pipe
    Oct 25, 2018 at 7:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ So you're complaining that other people don't have the same unhelpful attitude towards questions as you? Other people can decide what's a waste of their own time. If a question has multiple good, on topic answers, then it's helpful to anyone who reads the answers. \$\endgroup\$
    – Passerby
    Nov 2, 2018 at 3:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Passerby - If a question has good answers, then it is helpful? Are you saying votes on questions should be based on its answers? Im talking about when a question itself is vague and poorly constructed, and there is no way to tell why OP's circuit doesn't work (because they don't provide it). My thinking is that we should not encourage such questions here, for the reasons I stated. In a way, questions like that are just using EE.SE as a free design house. "My circuit doesn't work, I'm not going to show it to you though. Please provide me with a working circuit". \$\endgroup\$
    – Bort
    Nov 2, 2018 at 10:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ If its so vague and poorly constructed, explain how multiple people give good on topic answers. \$\endgroup\$
    – Passerby
    Nov 2, 2018 at 12:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Passerby You didn't answer my questions. I cannot properly respond to you if I don't understand your viewpoint. \$\endgroup\$
    – Bort
    Nov 2, 2018 at 13:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Passerby - I'm not sure why you're focused on answers being "on topic". If someone provides a working circuit, perhaps you consider that "on topic". However, because we don't know what OPs circuit looks like, the provided answers may very well have the same circuit as OP's. I had already brought that up in this meta question. Ultimately: We don't know OP's circuit, so we cannot say why it doesn't work. Thus provided circuits are all guesses that may or may not contain a solution to the unknown issue. For all we know, OP is just measuring the wrong nodes. \$\endgroup\$
    – Bort
    Nov 2, 2018 at 13:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ The issue is known, op described the problem, instead of describing a circuit that's irrelevant to the problem. \$\endgroup\$
    – Passerby
    Nov 2, 2018 at 14:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Passerby - I have provided numerous points, but instead of fully responding to them, you reply by glossing over them and adding a new point of your own. I have responded to each point of yours. You didn't answer my questions, even after a second request. You haven't explained why answers being on topic are relevant to question votes. Etc etc. It seems like you're neither interested in understanding my point of view or helping me understand your own. Do you simply wish to declare that you think I have an inferior stance? I understood that from your first comment. We've made little progress. \$\endgroup\$
    – Bort
    Nov 2, 2018 at 20:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Passerby - I have already given examples. If X then Y. If a question asks for a solution to a broken circuit, and the circuit is not given, then the free design house will stab in the dark. You haven't responded to your thoughts on an answer having the same circuit as OP's non-disclosed circuit. Just tell me that think it's okay to request free designs, or that there's no issue with users guessing if OP is using the correct components or layout. I won't agree, but at least I'll understand your position. That's the whole point of this meta question: To understand another viewpoint. \$\endgroup\$
    – Bort
    Nov 2, 2018 at 20:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ On "Open switch that will turn on an LED without power drain" It's entirely possible that the person asking that question doesn't know how to draw a schematic. You can decide if you think that means they deserve help or not, but I don't think you should prevent other people seeing what helpful goading or answers might come by closing the question \$\endgroup\$
    – james
    Jan 20, 2019 at 1:37

3 Answers 3


Downvote, vote to close, and move on. The system will take care of the rest.


If you don't like it, then downvote, that's why we have a system. (You should also be upvoting also to participate in the community). You should downvote if you don't feel the question follows the site guidelines, or if it's just a bad question. If people want to answer a question, that's their prerogative.


I think it's right to downvote if the details and/or missing schematic are really important to the understanding of the question.

Not just because you don't know the answer because you don't have any, but think that's forcibly because of someone else fault of not providing a schematic or specs. Downvoting a question because you don't know the answer right away is unfair, especially if others can answer it properly.

Please don's ask for irrelevant details neither. Often the question is very simple, the answer can simply be yes or no, and it's not necessary to dig in datasheets and complete schematics to try to find something more.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I knew my answer won't be appreciated by everyone. \$\endgroup\$
    – Fredled
    Feb 13, 2019 at 1:07

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