The question is appropriate and can be reopened. The question is to solve a problem of needing a low cost headlamp to scare away wildlife (coyotes) who have been bothering the rider and his dog. It is certainly of value to the original poster and of general value to those who ride at night in wild areas.
I am going to the time to dissect this because, as a member of the StackExchange community and new member of this site, I believe that this question is being unfairly excluded, at least according to the written guidelines provided with the site. The question has had some good, valuable ideas and answers, community members had contributed quite a bit, and I hated the idea of the whole thing being closed off to additional input.
That's why I raised this question in meta and that's why I am providing the following answer, for discussion, by the community. I agree that the site should not be a dumping ground for spam, low quality questions/answers, or product recs. However, when I think that this kind of question has a lot of community value, maybe not to pro bicyclists or bike shops, but definitely to ordinary folks who are using bicycles in their community. So the fact that the question was rapidly closed without a clear reason why based on a relevant citation of the site guidelines, gave me cause to invest a lot of time in this discussion. I want to help the community of maybe not all bicyclists, but maybe of some ordinary bicyclists, people like me who can't spend a lot of money on gear -- to get their questions answered.
An example of an appropriate question/answer for this site, to help people in the community of bicycles would be as follows:
Q: How do I fix a flat tire? My ride is bumpy and my I can see the wheel is getting damage.
A1: Remove the innnertube. Abrade the puncture and apply a rubber
glue. Allow to cure and replace the tire.
A2: A1 is good but doesn't address blow outs. Buy a new innertube.
You can find them at a bike store, on Amazon or google them.
A3: A1 and A2 are correct but before you do A1 you should also check
the tire for thorns.
A4: Go to a bicycle store and buy a new wheel, with tire and
The pattern this question follows matches the headlamp question:
It presents a clearly defined problem that might have one or more solutions.
Answerers are free to provide a variety of responses, good and bad, that can be up/downvoted by the community. Even though some answers might be downvoted they still might be useful for some users. Answers that are off topic can be voted off by users -- no moderator intervention required. Answers that are partial can be combined with other answers.
When it comes to problem solving, if the requirements are clear, anything that meets the requirements can be a valid solution, provided it has been proven in practice. That's what separates opinion from fact. Opinions are about 'the best way' to do something. Facts are 'this is a valid way to do something.'
It is not too broad (question can be answered effectively with the top voted response likely to meet most user's requirements.)
A2 and A3 could be posted as a comments, inviting A1 or A2 to be amended making it an even better answer. This could be handled by down voting A2/A3 and in comments, asking answerer to submit answer as a comment to A1, with the author of A1 amending the answer.
A4 might make sense to someone in a hurry, so though it's weird, it's a valid solution, e.g., it meets the requirements of the problem.
Although the question linked by the original poster involves issues of cost, light output specifications, and detachability, these are making the problem more specific not less.
So, what's the problem?
Does it meet the community guidelines?
Specific issues with bicycles. Yes. A headlamp is part of a bicycle and is on the list of approved tags.
Specific issues with bicycling. Yes. The OP needed a light to deal with Coyotes chasing the bike. Coyotes are definitely an issue.
Real problems or questions that you’ve encountered. Yes it's a real problem.
Does it violate community guidelines?
Anything not directly related to bicycles or bicycling No. As stated above, headlamps are in scope.
Questions that are primarily opinion-based No, note above the definition of what is "opinion" -- a question like "what's the best headlamp for this situation." This question merely asks, "how do I get or build a headlamp with these requirements."
Questions with too many possible answers or that would require an extremely long answer No. This is pretty subjective and might be an area of contention. However, answers can typically be combined through the commenting process. Also, there are unlikely to be too many ways to solve this particular problem.
In regards to the previous entry in this discussion, a few points:
Existing Problems With The Question
In both the original and the edit you say that you have not found a
300+ lumen light. There are a large number of existing bike lights
that are 300+ lumens, though I suspect there may be none that run on
consumer replaceable AA or AAA batteries. Five experienced members of
the community voted to close the question as "Off Topic".
Per site guidelines, I edited the question to bring it on-topic. That's what the site told me to do after it was marked off-topic. Was the problem here, that I put off the experienced members after I edited it? Should I have deleted/reposted the question? No. I've tried that before -- and was wrong. People have submitted valid information and answers already.
votes, and the close note appended to the question provide feedback.
I did not see any feedback that explained 1) why the question was too broad 2) how the question did not apply to bicycles -- headlamps is a valid tag -- or 3) why the question would require an answer of excessive length -- the stated "topic requirements:
There were multiple comments on the original question, and there have
been multiple comments on the edited question.
Many of the comments were to present a perspective on community guidelines -- when I saw this I created a post in meta, which is shown as the place to discuss these things.
The question didn't
"keep getting closed" - it accumulated enough votes and was closed
I originally posted this question using different wording, closed and deleted it (my bad) so that's why I said "keeps getting closed."
Finally - the primary point of the question seems to be "How can
I build a 300+ lumen light that runs of rechargable NiMH AA or AAA
batteries." The fact that you want this to be detachable for a bicycle
is ancillary to the main question. That question is not a good fit for
this site, and would be better suited for the Electrical Engineering
The main problems -- what components, affixing to the bike, water, detachability, are outside of the realm of electrical engineering site:
a specific electronics design problem
the theory and simulation of electromagnetic forces
a communication scheme
the writing of firmware for bare-metal or RTOS applications
The way I get it, the EE site is about schematics, mathematical equations and such, by people who have laboratories and machine shops, not about cases or mechanical issues.
I see this has been a summary of points that have also been addressed in my comments, so apologies for any redundancy here.
Issues With The Meta Post
With all due respect, your tone (hard to gauge in written
communication, I know. Forgive me if I have misread it...) seems to be
one of impatience out of whack with a site completely created and
edited by volunteers:
That's fair enough. Always GREAT to get feedback on tone. However, if that's actually a factor in closing the question (and you mentioning it here is why I'm bringing it up) isn't that a little unscientific?
It appears that you edited the question, and when it wasn't
immediately reopened, came here to expreses dissatisfaction and try and
get a moderator to intervene.
I came here to ask why the question was closed, because, as shown above, the commenters did not clearly show (to me) how the site guidelines were being applied to make the case. The reason Meta was created in the first place was to avoid this kind of discussion in the content area of the site.
Again, this post makes it seem like you
have ignored the feedback given on the original question.
Every comment criticizing the post was answered before I created the meta post.
This kind of
conversation about how to modify a particular question that is getting
downvotes or has been closed, is best suited for chat.
I had already modified the question -- to address all the issues. So that work was done. My question here is more about 'why do electronic components disqualify a question' or 'why does the fact a question can be solved with an expensive or too-cheap solution disqualify it?' I'd like to know why product categories would be off topic, even if they didn't contain a specific product recs. Like "there is such a thing as a detachable flashlight mount. Here are some places you can find it." That's great information for everyone!
Meta is described as follows, in it's guidelines:
Meta Bicycles Stack Exchange is the part of the site where users
discuss the workings and policies of Bicycles Stack Exchange rather
than discussing bicycles itself. It is separated from the main Q&A to
reduce noise there while providing a legitimate space for people to
ask how and why this site works the way it does. Meta is for...
...Bicycles Stack Exchange users to communicate with each other about
Bicycles Stack Exchange (asking questions about how the websites work,
or about policies and community decisions) ...Bicycles Stack Exchange
users to communicate with Stack Overflow the company (posting bugs,
suggesting improvements, or proposing new features), and ...Stack
Overflow the company to communicate with the community (soliciting
feedback on new ideas or features, or discussing policies that affect
the whole network)
Okay, I am so exhausted here. But I really am hoping we can open up this site to questions that would be relevant to my situation, the pauper vs. the coyotes. Or, that the guidelines can be changed to more accurately reflect the restrictions. If I'm wrong, let me know why. Otherwise, please let's open this back up, so we can reaffirm the values that bring so many people to this site to ask questions helpful to other bicyclists, and to invest our time in giving helpful answers for the benefit of all.