Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Why am I promoting Arduino at Stack Exchange ?

This is a chat message that I wrote in response to a comment asking me :
 why are you keen on promoting Arduino.SE ?
(In case you were wondering, all this was happening on Area 51)

I started out writing something that turned into a rather long explanation, and I believe is worthy of a blog post. So, here it is :

A combination of reasons. In the few months that I have been on Stack Overflow and Stack Exchange, I have interacted with some amazing individuals right from engineers at Googleplex, California to researchers in UK. I have helped some university students through really awesome project work, some of which I followed up outside of the platform of SE as well. I have answered a few questions and asked some as well and have got excellent responses. Moreover, the different Se sites that exist have made me enjoy this experience even more.

The SE platform is one that the more I use, the more I discover and the more I believe in. I think it has some excellent tried and tested features which make it an excellent platform for technical discourse and learning(to an extent). Look at the toolkit at User Interface as an example. I dont see why we should not provide such tools to different communities and specifically the Arduino Community.

Also, SE inadvertly extends to social interactions as well, which further strengthens the community. There is direct interaction with employees, there is a very responsive Meta.SO community as well. I do think there is scope for a slight bit of an increase in the social aspect of the platform, but thats for another discussion.

Coming to Arduino itself, I started using the platform a year back and have enjoyed using it. I have done a few projects and done some stuff that I probably would not have done if not for the abstraction that the platform offers. The Arduino forums do exist but in the time I have spent there, I have realised that a forum just does not scale up and or work as well as SE when it comes to resouce generation and sharing. There are a lot of questions there for which detailed answers exist but they are extremely hard to find. So, instead you get some quick short answers, but you miss out on that one great answer. Moreover, there usually isn't any closing thread feature as well which is immensely irritating. All this knowledge and expertise, would be much better served on this platform rather the 3-4 major Arduino forums that exist. I am overly optimistic when I think about bringing individuals from dfferent platforms together but I do believe its worth trying.

As far as why not EE goes, I just do not believe that they are serving this community as well as possible.

Knowledge is valuable, but only if it is there for people to find, and in short, this is one of the best ways to share it. I want to contribute to both, SE and Arduino, in more ways than I can just now and this is one way that I can. I will continue to push this forward till it does become a site.

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