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I got this question closed and I'm really just looking for instructions on how to construct a bike light that has specific requirements and that is not available on the market. This is, as far as I can tell, no different from asking how to improvise a chain for a fixed gear bicycle, or how to change a flat tire.

In other words I am looking for empirical examples of how the problem has been solved. These examples could include links to projects, step by step instructions, or simply statements like "Search for this category of product on this or these sites, you will find many solutions."

I note that the question brought in comments that got into product recommendations, but that was not my intent, and anyway, those are comments. Not answers. I think that bad comments can be criticized, downvoted as comments, or deleted by moderators. Or, they can be allowed to stay if there seems to be community value despite that they violate the guidelines.

Thanks for the answers and the discussion below; I'm trying to align the norms of StackExchange/Bicycles with those of the originator of this site, StackOverflow, and am finding small differences. It's good to know, and I appreciate the opportunity to document these so nobody in the future can accidentally "step in it" as badly as I have. I have been truly humbled by this experience and want to apologize for anything in my work here that has put anyone off.

  • "No specific reason, that aligns with the present wording of the question itself, is being presented" That's completely unfair and looks like an accusation of bad faith. There are plenty of specific comments, and they address the wording of the question at the time they were made. A week later, you edited your question to try to address those concerns and maybe those comments don't apply any more. But you edited and then, within minutes, came here saying that nobody had addressed your edits. Sorry, but duh. Nobody addressed them because you only gave them six minutes to do so before – David Richerby May 23 at 16:01
  • coming here to accuse them of ignoring your efforts. (A level of urgency which is in total contrast to you taking a full week to clarify your question.) – David Richerby May 23 at 16:01
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    By the way, because the edit to the question was made a while after it was closed, the question wasn't automatically nominated for reopening. Anyone who feels that the current version is on-topic should please manually vote for reopening to get that moving. – David Richerby May 23 at 16:38
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    I wonder if electronics is a better place for this question - that it is on a bike is only slightly relevant, compared to the design restriction of replaceable 1.5/1.2V cells. – Criggie May 24 at 0:13
  • @Criggie That's very much my feeling on the matter. – David Richerby May 24 at 0:34
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    I think it is off topic on bicycles and would vote to close if it gets reopened, admittedly for a different reason; it is now asking, ‘how do I complete this electronics project from start to finish’. This is too broad a question and I don’t think it would be well received on electronics.se, in its current form, which would reflect badly on bicycles.se if we even could migrate it (too late?). – Swifty May 24 at 9:37
  • The internet is full to the brim of DIY bike light projects. You just need to do the research/work and find one that fits your criteria. I'd start at www.google.com – Andy P May 27 at 12:23
  • @DavidRicherby Thanks a lot David. I just want to point out, when a question is closed, the website itself directs the original poster to clarify the question (if possible) to correct the issue. So I was simply following the instructions that were clearly given me when the question was closed. Also, as I understand it, meta is the correct place to discuss suitability, particularly if there are many comments building up that are not relevant to the question. I don't know why you would object to opening a discussion here, or take offense at my efforts to get help appropriately. – user42036 May 28 at 17:18
  • @JohnMeyer I'm not objecting to the fact that you opened the discussion here: I agree that it was the right thing to do. I'm just objecting to the way you framed that discussion in a way that looked like you were accusing me and others of acting in bad faith. – David Richerby May 28 at 17:21
  • @AndyP Thanks for you comment. In the original inspiration for StackExchange, the StackOverflow site, one of the goals was to provide a place where users could provide hyperlinks for answers to questions. If Bicycles deviates from this, it would be great if this could be documented with site information, so I could avoid inviting such input. – user42036 May 28 at 17:22
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    @DavidRicherby Hey David, thanks again for taking the time to respond to all my comments. If I was putting you or anyone else down, that's totally wrong. I agree. I'll take a best shot at editing/deleting wording or judgements that are going in that direction. – user42036 May 28 at 17:25
  • @Criggie What I was hoping was to see a list of stuff various members have tried, and that they could then be ranked, by upvotes, in order of which ones of worked best for people. That's kind of how this whole thing started on StackOverflow, someone would post a code snippet or a link, others would come along and either contribute or rank them, by how well they worked for them personally. If this kind of discussion is unwelcome I get it. "How to do stuff" allows for fact-based responses that allow users to share the benefit of their experience without offering conjecture or opinions. – user42036 May 28 at 17:30
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    @JohnMeyer Thanks -- much appreciated. – David Richerby May 28 at 17:31
  • Just a note to all -- the reason DIY/"how to do it" stuff is not considered "opinion based", generally, is because if someone does something themself and it works --- that is empirically proven that a solution is valid. On StackOverflow, "opinion based" stuff was the stuff where a bunch of people who had never tried to solve the problem were conjecturing, or value judgements were emerging because there was no clear specific factual question. If that's not the logic in this universe, I get it, and I apologize. – user42036 May 28 at 17:54
  • Bicycles Chat is an awesome way to bounce ideas about. – Criggie May 28 at 20:09
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Welcome to Bicycles! Before getting to the specifics of your question, you appear to be a member of multiple Stack Exchange sites, so hopefully you have taken the tour to learn how these sites are different from traditional forums.

There are a number of issues with both your question, and with this meta post.

Existing Problems With The Question

  1. 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.

  2. Five experienced members of the community voted to close the question as "Off Topic". Both those votes, and the close note appended to the question provide feedback.

  3. There were multiple comments on the original question, and there have been multiple comments on the edited question.

  4. The question didn't "keep getting closed" - it accumulated enough votes and was closed once.

  5. 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 site.

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:

  1. It appears that you edited the question, and when it wasn't immediately reopened, came here to express dissatisfaction and try and get a moderator to intervene.

  2. Again, this post makes it seem like you have ignored the feedback given on the original question.

  3. This kind of conversation about how to modify a particular question that is getting downvotes or has been closed, is best suited for chat.

Next Steps

You can now do the following:

  1. Ask the question on the other site.
  2. Edit your question here, and then click on the "Reopen" link. If users (or a single moderator) feel that the question is now a good fit they can vote to reopen and if it acquires sufficient reopen votes it will be automatically reopened.
  • Thanks a lot for the response to this. I did look at the chat forum for stack exchange bicycles, and it appears nobody has been there for months. Is there a place you would recommend I could go to request clarification on your many points? – user42036 May 28 at 17:14
  • @JohnMeyer The chatroom for SE Bicycles is The Velodrome, and it's rarely more than 24 hours between posts. You probably went to a room that had been opened for some specific topic (e.g., discussing one particular question), as those can hang around for a long time even after the discussion is over. – David Richerby May 28 at 17:24
  • @DavidRicherby Thanks for the tip. chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/15050/bicycles is the chat forum provided by StackExchange for this bicycles site and perhaps this should be shut down if it's not actually serving that purpose. So I will go to "The Velodrome" to seek clarification. – user42036 May 28 at 17:46
  • @JohnMeyer Strange -- I've never seen that one before! That one's described as being for testing chatroom features. The Velodrome is SE's main provided chat for the site. – David Richerby May 28 at 17:50
  • @Swifty, I'm not sure why meta is different here than on other stackexchange sites. Like with other sites, bicycle's meta states, "Unlike normal Stack Exchange sites, Meta invites the community to discuss, debate and propose changes to the way the community itself behaves" and "for posts that may not have a clear-cut right or wrong answer and are often subjective. If it's not a bug or feature request, it is probably a discussion." If you are moderator, I want to say I feel saddened by my experience here as a new member. Am I just having a total disconnect with the documentation of the site? – user42036 May 28 at 17:53
  • Okay all, I just posted in chat, awaiting anyone's input and feedback regarding clarification of the community norms governing this situation. – user42036 May 28 at 18:18
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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 innertube.

The pattern this question follows matches the headlamp question:

  1. It presents a clearly defined problem that might have one or more solutions.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.'

  4. It is not too broad (question can be answered effectively with the top voted response likely to meet most user's requirements.)

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

Both those 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 once.

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 site.

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.

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