I'm a little reluctant to reply to this post given that it feels a little like I'm walking into quicksand but in the interest of good faith and because I care about this community here's my response:
Certainly with all the technical knowledge on this board, no question should go unanswered.
I can think of a number of reasons why a question may not get answered in spite of the amount of technical knowledge possessed by participants in this community:
- No one may have the answer
- The question may not have sufficient detail to provide an answer
- The question might already have been answered multiple times in other threads
- Any or all of the people who might be able to answer just don't feel like answering
- Any or all of the people who might be able to answer might be facing a deadline at work, lost their job, worried about their family, be on vacation, be looking after a sick parent, be studying for exams or be otherwise occupied with their lives
- Any or all of the people who might be able to answer might have just finished answering 10 other questions or written an extremely detailed reply to another question and now have to catch their bus, wash their dog, earn some money or feed their family.
- Any or all of the people who might be able to answer might decide (from the subject line or content) that the question is of a level that it can be answered by a less experienced member of the community in order to encourage participation in the answer process by people with all levels of experience.
Can't somebody monitor these things.
Do you wish to volunteer to monitor things? There are many things which could be improved but most rely on someone making the time to do so.
If for some reason the question is unanswerable, or, more likely, nobody wants to, a monitor could just tell the questioner, "Sorry, we can't answer your question", or "Sorry nobody wants to answer your question."
Doesn't the lack of an answer already say that? And who in the community has the mandate to speak for it by saying "we" or "nobody"?
If you would like to make a thread for "So, your question hasn't been answered" which could possibly be stickied in future (by the administrators) detailing what can help people get their questions answered and what to do if they aren't answered I think that could be a positive contribution.
For example, "SD/MMC from the ground up" received a flurry of interest at first
I have observed that questions posted in very long threads tend to not get noticed by people once they have stopped following that thread. Also, if a thread is long and reading it doesn't answer a person's question then often the details are so esoteric that it's difficult to provide any additional help. I'm pleased that in your example you were able to help get the original question answered but it also demonstrates the extra work that may be required to do so.
with many of the arduino 'gurus' (gurus in the midst)
I don't know anyone in the community who has extensive Arduino-related knowledge that seeks to claim the name or status of guru. FWIW I dislike that that the tag-line of "God Member" that gets bestowed on those who make over 500 posts.
I get the impression that the gurus have an inordinate control over this board.
What do you mean by "inordinate control"?
Its almost as if everyone waits for one of them to answer first, and therefore give the nod that its alright to answer this question.
I don't know of anyone who waits for permission to answer a question. Or of anyone who expects to be asked permission.
Often what happens is that some upstart newbie will give it a shot, and try to help.
Good, that's what's supposed to happen, in my view.
I consider the refusal to answer a question asked, by someone seeking help, as bad manners.
Why do you consider it bad manners for a group of people who have made no commitment, are not paid and who freely give of their time to help people to not answer any particular question?
Personally, I get bothered by people who seem to consider that they should
get an answer to their questions all the time. I understand the frustration of not getting an answer to a question but, for me, if I don't get an answer then it means I need to do some more work to either find the answer, provide more information so someone else can help me find it or move on with some other facet of the project until I can do either of the first options.
(Also, while I am a moderator in one forum here that's purely for spam-control purposes. Conversation control by means of active moderation has never been a part of the community here as far as I'm aware.)
As far as internet-based technical support communities go, in my experience the Arduino community is one of the most positive out there. It concerns me that you do not feel the same way which is why I'm keen to ascertain if it's purely a perception based issue or not.
Having said that, some of (very few) recent threads on mostly non-technical matters have concerned me in the way they seem to have descended into personal attacks. But in my view formulating a set of rules isn't going to change that. Only behaviour changes by the individuals involved, the existence of positive role models and (very occasionally) gentle admonishment are likely to change that behaviour in my opinion.
If anything I have said in this post causes offense please understand that is not my intention...
While I may not agree with all that you say I appreciate your desire to have the Arduino forums be a positive community for all involved no matter what level of experience. It is my wish for the community as well.
Now, where's that LCD I put down... :-)