Common questions

A general comment - perhaps to a moderator.

I see the same topics appearing time and time again from beginners - eg

  • how to drive a simple load such as a LED'
  • how to drive an inductive load such as a relay or motor
  • how to interface an analog voltage other than 0..5v
  • how to measure current
  • how to control mains signals proportionally (rather more difficult)

I'm sure others could name several more common questions. Many boil down to ohm's law.

Would it be possible to devise an electronic starter 'library' of answers at the top of this forum to save going over this same common ground 10 times per week? Perhaps a list of threads which already cover the subjects.

I'd be willing to contribute

regards

Allan

“Would it be possible to devise an electronic starter ‘library’ of answers at the top of this forum to save going over this same common ground 10 times per week?”

Doubtful - folks don’t even read the “Read before posting” topics at the top of each forum.

I agree that most of the people who really could benefit from the information won't bother to read it before posting but it can put the answers in a convenient place for people to post links to in response to these questions.

Actually this has already been done in the Programming Questions section: http://forum.arduino.cc/index.php?topic=384198.0

Personally I think the Playground is the best place to assemble and maintain this sort of information but whenever this subject comes up it seems I'm the only one with that opinion.

I'd rather not be reduced to a link inserter. No fun in that.

A lot of effort went into basic connection stuff here http://www.pighixxx.com/

CrossRoads: A lot of effort went into basic connection stuff here http://www.pighixxx.com/

And of course there's Nick's stuff. http://www.gammon.com.au/forum/index.php?bbtopic_id=123 And his links at the bottom of his page.

Also ArduinoWikiSpaces http://arduino-info.wikispaces.com/

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I fear I'm on a loser here.

Ho Hum.

And back to answering trivial questions .

  • among whoever among the competant and can be bothered gets there first....

And pointing the questioners to those useful and comprehensive links.

Allan

I find that with many things one doesn't understand, it's not exactly 'what' is said, but rather 'how' it is said. Some people have a way to say things in other terms that make it easier to grasp, sometimes not.

You also have to admit, the search bar puts out rubbish results, and if one doesn't know the exact terminology, may lead nowhere at all. You also know what doing a open search on google leads to-----+1M hits from people who put their 2c in on an opinion of someone else who managed to NOT immediately send a chip up in smoke and called it successful.

It might seem a silly and redundant question for many people here, but at least the poster came somewhere to get meaningful answers, and I have to remind myself that many are young teens and people that don't speak English as a first language.

tinman13kup:
You also have to admit, the search bar puts out rubbish results, and if one doesn’t know the exact terminology, may lead nowhere at all.

Honestly, I never even knew there was a search function here. Whenever I needed to search for a thread I used Google with the site:forum.arduino.cc specifier.

Jiggy-Ninja: Honestly, I never even knew there was a search function here. Whenever I needed to search for a thread I used Google with the site:forum.arduino.cc specifier.

That is exactly what the search function does.

I would prefer a forum based search function.

This thread has very interestingly, widened in discussion.

The original post together with all its replies are good ideas, each of them with and without their pro's and con's. A further item to consider is that of 'one cannot please everybody all the time', and so a balance is always sought.

I have a fair amount of experience of forum management having started, owned and run one with over 50,000 members and close to a million posts, and the best thing I learned in those 12 years was not to get hung up over the small stuff. One can only do what one can do with the time and resources one has available, and decisions need to be made with regard to what to implement on a forum re what is manageable and achievable etc, but as a forum owner it was always wise to remember that not everyone will get what they need, and importantly everyone is different. It takes all sorts eh!

I see many posts on here from experienced members chastising new members for not reading this and not reading that, berating them for using Fritzing, for not using the (pretty awful) search function, for not posting enough detailed info et al.

That's not the best way to welcome new and possibly inexperienced members to any forum and is also totally counter productive to what I imagine the policy of attracting new members and growing the boards is all about. For every person who doesn't use the search function, there's someone and more who will offer help, for every person who doesn't post enough info, there's always someone who might offer assistance - you see the theme here!

Sadly, not everyone will use the facilities put in place to expedite their needs, and will always simply make a new post asking a question that has been asked many times previously. That's the nature of the beast I'm afraid, it's the way people are and it will never change. It will always happen. The best way to deal with it is simply do as Allan suggests in his most recent reply here - engage, be friendly, welcoming, and point them in the right direction.

Forums are not and ought not to be managed only as an online reading resource, they are absolutely a virtual environment where people have an additional desire to meet and talk. Using them in this way is a sure fire way to stagnation and zero growth. Engagement with new (and existing) members is what forums are about, and provides orders of magnitute more help than simply making them robotically read pre-answered questions. New members become more motivated and enthused about forums when existing members engage with them, talk and communicate with them etc. It's a far better way to provide help and support.

Just some thoughts for the day... :D

theMusicMan: I see many posts on here from experienced members chastising new members for not reading this and not reading that, berating them for using Fritzing, for not using the (pretty awful) search function, for not posting enough detailed info et al.

You have zero karma, which indicates to me that you haven't experienced what it's like to try to help thousands of people here over the course of years. The thing is most of the people who come here asking questions desperately need a stern but fair approach. If you're too nice and forgiving they will walk all over you. I don't think every forum is that way but this one certainly is. That doesn't mean we should be mean just for the sake of being mean and I do see some interactions here that I don't approve of but over time I have come to understand the cause.

If you want to engage and spend a bunch of time figuring out how to answer the same question in a different way dozens of times over, then more power to you. The thing is there are more questions asked here than people to answer them. I think the people whose questions have hit page three without a response would be very glad to be provided even a canned answer.

pert: You have zero karma, which indicates to me that you haven't experienced what it's like to try to help thousands of people here over the course of years.

Maybe not on here, not that this matters though... 'Karma' on here means nothing. You attach too much weight to it. I am likely to have as much 'karma' as you - having started, owned and run a forum with over 50,000 members and close to 1,000,000 posts over a 12 year period.

Karma on here is a 'look how important I am' function, and means little, especially when several of those with said 'karma' make a point of instructing people not to contact them directly for help.

pert: The thing is most of the people who come here asking questions desperately need a stern but fair approach.

Your comment on 'people need a stern but fair approach' is not what 12 years of running and owning my own forum suggests to me.

pert: If you want to engage and spend a bunch of time figuring out how to answer the same question in a different way dozens of times over, then more power to you. The thing is there are more questions asked here than people to answer them. I think the people whose questions have hit page three without a response would be very glad to be provided even a canned answer.

Then the answer is as I suggested in my reply... do as Allan said in his latest reply i.e. reply in a friendly and engaging manner, not as a schoolteacher berating pupils.

Those with undoubted expertise in electronics and micro-controllers are not necessarily similarly endowed with expert teaching prowess and could sometimes do with a few lessons themselves.

You never know why people post the way they do.

theMusicMan: means little, especially when several of those with said 'karma' make a point of instructing people not to contact them directly for help.

Why do you consider that a bad thing? If I help someone in a PM it helps only one person. If I help someone in a public forum thread it could help thousands of other people who have the same question in the years to come. I'd think you'd understand this. Do you really have time to help all 50000 members of your forum individually?

theMusicMan: You never know why people post the way they do.

I could care less. If their post could use improvement I'll politely inform them of how to effectively use this forum. If they are being disrespectful I'll break out the caps lock on them. If that hurts their feelings it's their problem. I rarely create threads here because I take the time to do research to find answers and only ask here if I can't find them anywhere. I have created 10 topics over the course of 2 years. I have had a helpful response on 4 of the 10. If I had to endure a stern response, even some abuse, I'd still be quite grateful just to have an answer. You seem to be under the impression that there is an unlimited resource of knowledgeable forum members to hold everyone's hands through their learning process. Actually it's a fairly small group here that give help and I'm sure we all have plenty of other things we could be doing with our time. If you want to start contributing your time it would be quite welcome, kinder gentler approach and all!

I think it's quite amusing because you actually called me "cocky", "sarcastic", and "arrogant" in another thread for no reason. That was probably the rudest interaction I've had with anyone on this forum. Now I do understand that was a misunderstanding but your actions are very much in contrast to what you're preaching here. I can't imagine how you'd deal with some of the panicked students we have roll through here at the end of each semester trying to get help with their final projects they put off until a couple days before they're due.

pert: Why do you consider that a bad thing? If I help someone in a PM it helps only one person. If I help someone in a public forum thread it could help thousands of other people who have the same question in the years to come. I'd think you'd understand this. Do you really have time to help all 50000 members of your forum individually?

I don't consider it a bad thing! You're right, you make a good point, people so doing does only help that person, but writing 'Do no contact me in PM' or 'I do not answer PM's' serves several purposes, a few might be...

It says, 'get lost if you think I am going to answer your question' It also says, 'Look at me, I am important, have loads of karma, know loads of electronics stuff and as such I get loads of people PM'ing me.' It also says, 'I am unnaproachable, so don't'

Quite simply there's no need to put this in signatures, just don't answer PM's or turn off PM's from non admins/mods. That way those with that mesasge in their sigs don't risk coming across the wrong way.

Perception is reality!

pert: Do you really have time to help all 50000 members of your forum individually?

Don't be silly... of course I didn't. But then, you knew that, you were just being sarcastic. :D

pert: I could care less.

Well as a senior member of the forum, and as a considerate human being, you should. Sadly, that comment shows disregard for others.

pert: I think it's quite amusing because you actually called me "cocky", "sarcastic", and "arrogant" in another thread for no reason. That was probably the rudest interaction I've had with anyone on this forum.

A tad harsh, but fair enough. Yes I did, and as soon as I realised my mistake, I openly and publicly apologised, admitting I totally misread your comments, entirely misunderstanding the context of your reply. It appears you seem to hold a grudge which is a shame, sorry about this.

My replies here are nothing personal to you or to anyone here, merely observations on what I have seen and experienced as a recent new member, with no 'karma'!

The tone of some replies has been quite surprising to say the least.

pert: ... to what you're preaching here.

Oh, I am not preaching... simply offering some feedback on what I have seen and an opinion on how I (and possibly many others) see things.

pert: I can't imagine how you'd deal with some of the panicked students we have roll through here at the end of each semester trying to get help with their final projects they put off until a couple days before they're due.

Really, there's no need to trouble yourself in trying to imagine how you think I'd deal with this situation, honest there isn't ;D If I had the prerequisite knowledge, subject matter expertise and high enough 'karma', and if I were to answer, I am sure I'd do just fine.

theMusicMan: It says, 'get lost if you think I am going to answer your question' It also says, 'Look at me, I am important, have loads of karma, know loads of electronics stuff and as such I get loads of people PM'ing me.' It also says, 'I am unnaproachable, so don't'

It doesn't say that right? It is you that conjured that, right?

Quite simply there's no need to put this in signatures, just don't answer PM's or turn off PM's from non admins/mods. That way those with that message in their sigs don't risk coming across the wrong way.

Perception is reality!

Each person has their own reason for doing something. And their reason may be interpreted differently from person to person. Some may interpret in the way you indicated. And some members may really be the way you describe. But it doesn't mean that all members with requests for keeping general discussions in-thread having the characteristics you describe. What you suggested with your descriptions is basically known as putting words into other people's mouths; or feeding your own thoughts or perceptions into other peoples minds.

You haven't thought things out fully. If members ignore PM's, then it could come across as snobbish behaviour at the same time. So doing what you indicated could equally make things come across the 'wrong way' as well.

In general, the signature request is really a request to keep discussions in-thread, so that everybody can follow the discussion. Otherwise, discussing things in-thread, and then discussing off-thread in PM could mean others don't pick up on some techniques/solutions/knowledge etc.

I can understand where you're coming from though. But we just need to understand where some other members are coming from. Having a signature requesting no questions in PM could be better than having no request. Less time wasted in needing to reply again and again to various incoming PMs of that kind of nature. It also cuts down on inbox clutter, and the need to delete those messages manually. These things can be understood if you answer many questions in the forum, and lots of people then begin to PM you with questions.

theMusicMan: I don't consider it a bad thing! You're right, you make a good point, people so doing does only help that person, but writing 'Do no contact me in PM' or 'I do not answer PM's' serves several purposes, a few might be...

It says, 'get lost if you think I am going to answer your question' It also says, 'Look at me, I am important, have loads of karma, know loads of electronics stuff and as such I get loads of people PM'ing me.' It also says, 'I am unnaproachable, so don't'

Quite simply there's no need to put this in signatures, just don't answer PM's or turn off PM's from non admins/mods. That way those with that mesasge in their sigs don't risk coming across the wrong way.

As someone even newer (to this forum, not to forums in general) and with not a bit of karma I must admit that when I arrived I found the attitudes on these forums quite refreshing. Saying "If you want help you're going to have to help us by providing some useful information in a relatively easy to read fashion" doesn't seem insulting to me.

And I read the "No PMs" sigs as something like "Don't waste your time on PMs. I'm spending the spare time I have available answering questions in the forums so keep yours there". And I think having it there is a lot better than simply ignoring PMs, which leaves the poor questioner hanging round for a few days hoping for an answer that is never going to turn up.

So spending your time telling off the people who are doing all the helping round here for not doing it right and not being friendly enough on account of their having no people skills is not exactly helping the newcomers either. When I have problems I'd much rather encounter someone who is maybe a bit brusque but knows what he's talking about rather than a really cheerful and friendly soul who can't actually help but is willing to try to cheer me up instead (yes o.k. I'm overstating it a bit!).

And then there is the OP's original suggestion, which seems to have got a bit lost. It seems to me to have some merit. Consolidating some basic information somewhere gives you a place to point to and you never know it might help at least some people without them needing to post one of those "Oh, not again" questions. I can't be the only person who actually does read the stickies in forums.

Steve

Also literally typing "how to wire an led to arduino" in google will result in a step by step process.

I've successfully googled how to perform a lobotomy for instance... if I could figure out that from google, I'm sure the average person, with effort, can find out,the answer to these simple questions. I'm trying to remember but I'm pretty sure I was able to figure out led wiring on my own. Learning how to blink without delay was my first "problem".

I frequently run into the problem where I conceptually know what I need to search for but I don't know the technical terms. For a the longest time I couldn't figure out why it was so hard to find "strain relief" fittings for cables and why the ones I did find were so expensive. Then one day a neon bender friend mentioned the term "cable gland". Wow, what a difference the right vocabulary can make! I wish I had those things for some of the past projects I've done.

pert: I frequently run into the problem where I conceptually know what I need to search for but I don't know the technical terms. For a the longest time I couldn't figure out why it was so hard to find "strain relief" fittings for cables and why the ones I did find were so expensive. Then one day a neon bender friend mentioned the term "cable gland". Wow, what a difference the right vocabulary can make! I wish I had those things for some of the past projects I've done.

LOL As I was reading this I thought you were going to say your results came as EX-LAX for relief of occasional constipation.

Good prices on Amazon: https://www.amazon.ca/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=cable+gland&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Acable+gland

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