My question got closed for unclear.
On Stackoverflow, on the tags I usually visit, you tell when a question is unclear so that it can be edited.

Isn't that common here?
I was quite surprised when my question got closed without a "warning".

How can I make LED(s) flash fast?

Edit: or what could I have done to make the question more clear or better?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Using LEDs to simulate arcing in hobby models is not uncommon, but usually the result is quasi random, not a fixed period. In theory you can do that in hardware, in practice people probably use something like an ATtiny or other small cheap MCU of their familiarity - or else it is a minor function of an MCU more findamental to the models operation. You'd do better asking this on a hobby forum where there is familiarity with the goal and similarity of tool & skill sets. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 6 '19 at 14:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ I was quite surprised when my question got closed without a "warning". You can see when a question is getting voted for ambiguity, but I don't remember how much rep you need. This serves as a warning. There is nothing that counts against you when you have an unclear question. No one downvoted making your question inconsequential to how the website preserves your profile. There could be a number of reasons for closing your question. You don't have a demonstration of how you're making your project. Secondly, your question is too broad because you're asking, "What can I do to do XYZ?" \$\endgroup\$
    – user103380
    Aug 8 '19 at 20:47

It's not common, but it happens.

Ideally, it is customary to tell OP why one votes to close their question, unless someone else has already done so in the comment section.

Personally I try to do this, but sometimes I don't. This is especially true when voting through the review queue. There is a finite but not zero chance that I don't, and multiply this by five close-votes there is still a finite but non-zero chance that a question is closed without commentary. In this case, that happened to your question.

Ultimately it's up to OP to construct a question that can be answered by the community, and while it's polite to comment on a close vote, it's IMO not mandatory.

Why was it closed?

I didn't vote to close your question, but I remember seeing it and immediately wondered how it's even a question - you bought an LED that flashed at a specific documented rate but you don't want it to do that. I couldn't understand how you wanted us to explain "don't buy that LED" and quickly skipped the question. If you think that I misunderstood your question - bingo! I'm sure I'm not the only one.

Now what?

You must understand that closing a question isn't a punishment. It's to protect the question from useless and diverging answer. Imagine that someone had answered your unclear question. Now someone else answers the question but interpreted differently. Who's right? Then you edit your question, maybe once, twice, more. It's a mess, question gets downvoted, you can't ask again because that would be a duplicate.

Instead it's closed so you can edit your question and have it reopened so it can be answered correctly.


From the posted question,

I'm currently in the planning/sourcing material stage of building a model building.

Do you mean a scale model of a building, or a full-sized building built to to show off to prospective buyers? Or something else?

In one of the rooms I want to mimic a electric short with flashing LED(s).

In what way does a flashing LED mimic an electric short?

But 6hz is obviously not enough

It's not obvious to me. Why is 6 Hz not enough?

(Also, the symbol for the unit hertz is Hz, not hz. Writing this incorrectly just makes your question look sloppy, and makes people take it less seriously)

It doesn't have to be the exact correct frequency but something enough that you understand what it is.

What makes one frequency correct and another not correct? Why is there some specific correct frequency when you "mimic an electric short" in a "model building"?

What can I do to flash a LED fast?

Have you tried the really obvious solutions like a 555 timer circuit? That would be straightforward and can easily flash an LED fast enough that the human eye wouldn't see it as flashing.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not going to address each part of your answer since some of the parts look more like a poor joke. Why is 6 Hz not enough? To me this youtube.com/watch?v=wPBP2HIhRpA does not look like this: youtu.be/gOT8jx4jEzM?t=41 . Have you tried the really obvious solutions like a 555 timer circuit? Why is that really obvious? If that was as obvious as you say then I wouldn't ask the question would I? No, I don't know of 555 timers and what they do, hence the question. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andreas
    Aug 6 '19 at 5:15
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @Andreas So you expect us to look for videos to try to understand why 6 Hz is "not enough", but you couldn't take the time to explain the statement in your question? The phrase "not enough" is itself unclear in this context...too fast? too slow? Sometimes a question is so vague or so confusing that there is little more to say beyond "This question is unclear." \$\endgroup\$ Aug 7 '19 at 12:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ElliotAlderson OK. Maybe I'm expecting too much. I figured readers actually read the question. Sorry. If the question title is "How to make a LED flash fast", and I use the phrase "not enough" do you really think that indicates too fast? Really? And then in the next sentence say I try to get to 12 Hz. And I don't expect you to look at videos. My original questions didn't link to videos, I figured anyone here know roughly what 6 Hz is and had an idea of what a electric arc looks like. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andreas
    Aug 7 '19 at 13:43
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ @Andreas There was nothing joking about this answer. The Photon is correct. Break down the question and it makes no sense. saying 6Hz is obviously not enough is wrong. There is nothing obvious about it. You need to explain why. If you had instead said you want to flash an LED and how can you design a circuit to make it flash and change the frequency till you are happy, then that would be answerable. This, I believe is the essence of the question. Also, a 555 timer for an engineer is an obvious solution. A Google search for how to flash LEDs before coming here would have saved you time \$\endgroup\$
    – MCG
    Aug 7 '19 at 14:19
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Andrea's, this is the first time you mentioned an arc. Not all short circuit faults arc, so I (and probably others) didn't make the connection between a short, an arc, and a blinking LED. \$\endgroup\$
    – The Photon
    Aug 7 '19 at 14:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ahh, I skipped the bit in the comment about an arc. I didn't make the connection myself either. I did think it strange that a flashing LED was being used to simulate a short circuit \$\endgroup\$
    – MCG
    Aug 7 '19 at 15:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Since the first question indicates that it's an arc we are talking about then it seems to me as that was not unclear. And the rest of the comments is solely about changing the frequency and intensity of LEDs then I could not see how that would still be a mystery. Also, a 555 timer for an engineer is an obvious solution I'm not an engineer, so am I not qualified to ask questions here? It sure seems that way. And I did try to Google it but didn't get any results on 555 timer, hence the question. If the question does not make sense then please tell me how that is. On other Stackexchange \$\endgroup\$
    – Andreas
    Aug 7 '19 at 18:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Pages you are supposed to have done some research yourself. That is what I did and I posted my best attempt in making a LED flash, but also noted that I do not believe it will give me the effect I want. That is on other parts on stackexchange that you are supposed to write as a question. Sure I completely faild with Hz. Bring out the tar and feather. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andreas
    Aug 7 '19 at 18:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ From the help section "how do I ask a good question?": Have you thoroughly searched for an answer before asking your question? Sharing your research helps everyone. Tell us what you found and why it didn’t meet your needs. This demonstrates that you’ve taken the time to try to help yourself, it saves us from reiterating obvious answers, and above all, it helps you get a more specific and relevant answer! It seems my question meet the requirements of the part of stackexchange too. How odd. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andreas
    Aug 7 '19 at 18:13
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Nobody brought out the tar and feathers. We put your question on hold to give you a chance to improve it. \$\endgroup\$
    – The Photon
    Aug 7 '19 at 18:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ThePhoton but how is someone supposed to know it needs improvement if nobody tells the asker? \$\endgroup\$
    – Andreas
    Aug 8 '19 at 7:51
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @Andreas Having your question closed is the official feedback that it needs improvement. Then you can edit it and it can get reopened. \$\endgroup\$
    – dim
    Aug 8 '19 at 20:12

Edit: or what could I have done to make the question more clear or better?

Define fast.

Always define requirements. Typically engineering is coming up with a list of requirements, the way you write the requirements is important. Instead of saying "How can I make an LED flash fast?" say: "How can I make an LED flash at XHz?"

The best thing to do is put yourself in someone else's shoes and re-read your post. Or get someone else to read it an critique it.

Closing a question is not a negative thing (contrary to popular belief). A closed question means that it either needs work or is off topic. Fix your question, and make it clear, then get it re-opened.

The moderation system already explains why the question was closed and needs no further definition. The question was unclear.


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