I've waited a week before replying here so that nobody thinks this response was in anyway "in the heat of the moment"...

A couple of weeks ago I asked a question about Trying to get a replacement set of probes for an old Multimeter. I believe the question was very clear and considered; it was a simple enough and could be useful to others. The first couple of paragraphs described the problem in such a way as to discourage a response of "Why not buy a new digital meter, they are cheap enough". I then describe what I've done to try and answer the question myself (I've used enough other stackexchange sites to know that people don't appreciate the site being used instead of research). I then finished with two simple questions which boil down to:

  • Is this type of probe obsolete?
  • If not, what is the correct terminology for the thing I'm looking for?

What I do NOT do is ask is ask specific recommendation for specific probes. As it happens I do not want specific recommendations because:

  1. I am very aware from using other stackexchange sites that these are forums for exchanging advice - they are not commercials for specific products. Personally I think this is a good thing
  2. Any reconsolidations are likely to be US based. As I don't live in the State it doesn't help me as I would have to deal with international shipping and customs

My question doesn't look unreasonable when you consider other questions that are acceptable:

After few kind people offered me some advice I came to realise that the term I was missing was "2mm banana plug" - I didn't think of banana plugs because the original probe was more peg-like and didn't have anything springy in it. As you are all electronic engineers I am sure you are all aware that is is a very generic term for a connector that is manufactured by a wide variety of companies. No recommendations for products here. I did accept an answer (the only answer I was given) which linked to a couple of actual probes. This was helpful, not because I purchased one of those products (I didn't, for the reasons given above), but because they had a product description complete with pictures and that was helpful.

Then things went wrong. The question was closed with a blanket banner that says:

Questions seeking recommendations for specific products or places to purchase them are off-topic as they are rarely useful to others and quickly obsolete.

No more information then that. From my POV, the reason given for closing the question does not match the original post - I never requested or wanted recommendations for specific products or places if only because I don't believe it would have helped me. And remember that other very similar questions are considered acceptable.

After adding a comment asking why the question was closed I discovered it doesn't allow me to reopen it, so I am forced to edit the original question to ask what the problem is (not nice, but I can remove the updates later). The question is immediately closed down again, again with no further explanation.

After a few further attempts to find out what is so objectionable I'm eventually told that:

  1. Asking for places to search is also off topic - but if you take the time to read the question you'll see I didn't do that either. I am more than capable of choosing a shop or search engine myself

  2. We typically answer design questions on this site - Just Wow! As an engineer of 30 experience, all be it not an electronics engineer, I know what we do is a curious balance of the theory and practical. If some people want to only ask and answer the design side that's fine - we can all decide how engaged we choose to be. But to discourage others from engaging with the practical side of things... I'm gob smacked.

  3. In one comment (now deleted) was warned off name calling. I strongly deny doing that, even after that previous comment. That was just rude.

Once again I would like to thank the people that did help me. I do appreciate their help. With that in mind, I accept that the following observation does not apply to everybody here...

I know I am 'just' a hobbyist and some (most?) of the major contributors are professionals, but I don't see why I should be made to feel so unwelcome. I accept that you are experts, but even people like you had to learn from those who came before you. Please stop treating newbies like my self with such utter rudeness. Do not accuse others of name calling with out reason. If you are going to close down a discussion provide a reason, not slap up a arbitrary banner that is unrelated to the actual question.

Please do not bother replying to this post. I will not be returning to a site where I am clearly so unwelcome


1 Answer 1


I'm a moderator.
My aim is to make life easier for those who find things hard for no fault of their own (and/or for excusable fault of their own :-) ).

The site has certain rules based on its basic intentions.
These were and are set by the site owners. Long ago one of the original owners (since departed) defined the basic premise as "To provide long-lasting quality question and answer sets that will drive search engine traffic to the site". He didn't add the fairly obvious "in order to make money for the owners." This is not (perhaps) as cynical as it sounds. The business premise envisages a (hopefully) profitable subset of rules that work well for those who wish to use them. It works in many cases. There are many other sites that allow activities outside this site's rule set.

None of we underlings can change these rules.
We can sometimes bend them somewhat, but for the aims of the site to be met we can only go so far.

In this case, asking for specific sources is not generally allowed as it generates non-durable answers and potentially (and often) much noise. Also uncertain quality of result.

Questions that are potentially marginal can often be 'tweaked' to comply with the site requirements. In your case, emphasizing the "search for description" and making it clear that

In this case you have received four good mini-answers in comments and a good answer. This seems to have met your technical needs.

I decided to edit your question to make it (in my opinion) site-acceptable.
And I have reopened the question as it now (imho :-) ) meets specs.

If others disagree with the question as it stands they are welcome to vote to close.
BUT as this is a useful learning exercise, I'd hope they would also say why, or instead edit the question to improve it.


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