# Do solely software questions belong here?

When I was programming an Arduino last year I ran into a painful programming halt when working with a color sensor. The color sensor was hooked up correctly (3 pins is not so hard...), but for days I could not figure out what was wrong with my code.

Would questions that are nearly completely about programming belong here? Normally you might want to post it on stack overflow but if it's using Arduino syntax, and robotics related external libraries, does it belong here?

The problem I had above turned out to be the external library using serial and screwing up the serial data stream that my code was outputting. A normal programmer wouldn't have been able to figure that out, but one who programmed robotics probably would be able to.

This specific example shows how blurry the lines can be between a programming SE and this one, where do we draw that blurry line?

• This question has been asked in a more general sense in How do we address questions about related subject areas? and my answer there is equally relevant here - especially when the problem domain of the questions is specifically robotic in nature and where most programmers on stack overflow won't have the specialist knowledge to understand the question, let alone answer it. *8') – Mark Booth Oct 24 '12 at 0:17
• Oh cool, i only saw the EE/Robotics overlap, thanks for showing me this one – Tom Prats Oct 24 '12 at 0:57

I would argue that it belongs here. There are some software suites and kinds of solution that tend to be more robotics-related, and I'd argue that the Arduino bridges the code/electronics divide, and that robotics people would tend to be more qualified for that than the average non-robotics programmer. Many programmers aren't also invested in other disciples, e.g. electronics, mechanics, or biomedical, so this multi-disciplinary question seems more pertinent here than there.

• I'm not going to argue against you... However, Arduino is one of the most active tags on Electronics.SE so processor interfacing is most definitely on-topic there, and do get answered. I'd also challenge your "Most programmers..." assertion :) – Andrew Oct 26 '12 at 6:07
• Well, most of the ones I know. I'll amend that from "most" to "many". – rsegal Oct 26 '12 at 6:22
• I guess, since I work at the hardware coalface, my perspective is distorted :-) – Andrew Oct 26 '12 at 6:25

Your question deals with interfacing a sensor for a robotic application - so is ON-TOPIC here (in my opinion, as just another user).

Whether here is the best place is another question... Arduino questions are very active on Electronics.SE and as such, you might get a BETTER answer there.

This is the type of question that will keep rearing its head during Beta, and the site will eventually draw its own boundaries. That is, after all, one of the purposes of the Beta phase.

Given the way things have already developed (OK, we're only on day 3), personally I can't help but suspect that this site will eventually become Robotics and Embedded Systems, possibly also encompassing Raspberry Pi once the bruhaha and hype over that device settles down.

I think Mark captured it with "when the problem domain of the questions is specifically robotic in nature." The question can be purely software, or hardware, or a mix. But the problem domain should be robotics. A question related to the arduino serial library likely belongs elsewhere, but one dealing with a sensor library problem where the sensor is often used in robotics should find a home here.