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I've been given a lot of quick downvotes with no feedback to with several close votes.

I read that it is perfectly acceptable to ask embedded software questions on SO, so what is the reason?

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I have no idea about the topic but your actual question ("Where should I start?") seems a little broad. What specific issue are you facing? – slhck May 26 '13 at 12:06
It is qualified with requests for IRC, Google Groups, projects, forums, etc. – fommil May 26 '13 at 12:08
Hey, an other "not constructive" question to close vote. To be serious: This question asks for a list. – Johannes Kuhn May 26 '13 at 12:15
I've added some more specific questions to the end, but I think the question is now dead. It seems to be getting increasingly more difficult to ask questions on SO. – fommil May 26 '13 at 12:18
The problem is that a request for online material is very unspecific. Any valid answer would just link somewhere else, with the potential of becoming outdated fast, or prone to link rot. – slhck May 26 '13 at 12:21
It's really not getting increasingly difficult to ask questions. Questions like that one have been inappropriate for the site for as long as I can remember. This is not something new. – Bart May 26 '13 at 12:27
up vote 10 down vote accepted

does anybody have any suggestions on suitable IRC channels, Google Groups, open source projects, forums, etc. ?

This perfectly fits the scope of not constructive on StackOverflow. This is not the place for discussing which groups, fora etc. are suitable or not. Neither for resource and tutorial recommendations.

The answer you link is not precise. SO is for programming questions, and that particular question is not about any programming problem, but about finding tutorials etc. Maybe it would be on-topic on Electronics.SE or anywhere else.

However, in my opinion it does not deserve to be downvoted. Closing with explanation would be the most appropriate action. Closing and downvoting are 2 separate things.

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Probably because of the one line in the FAQ that states:

If you can imagine an entire book that answers your question, you’re asking too much.

The first part of the question, where you request specific advice on what channel you should proceed through (IRC, Google Groups, yada yada) could lead to open-ended discussions about which chat room is better for what. Plus, this is just one aspect of your multi-faceted question. You'd probably have better luck going straight to IRC yourself. #hardware has some good people.

You say that while you have asked an embedded software question, you have done more than that. You have directly asked a "how to" question:

And more specifically, how do I:

-Find out if the firmware can be repackaged with existing tools (such as firmware-mod-kit)

-perform checks/tests before pushing to the device to minimise bricking risk

This is unanswerable. You could right a book about the second bullet alone. That's why it's getting downvoted.

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Q & A should be black & white. A concrete question asking for concrete a Answer. Otherwise, you end up with a question that is asking for opinions, and opinions do not fit the Q & A model, thus deemed "Not Constructive".

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