I love Stack Exchange-like sites. I think they have found the way to really make people addicted to helping others :) These sites work well for general "fields", such as programming or system administration. Raspberry Pi, however, is a much narrower field and also has a much more close-knit community.

I would like to discuss whether the Stack Exchange model (explicit questions and answers) is suitable for such a field. Forums (à la phpBB) allow free expression/original research/..., while SE-like sites is a more limited way - you have questions and you have answers. Not everything is a question or an answer. Sure, you can express your ideas as an answer to an artificial question, but that is a bit awkward.

What do you think will be the role of Raspberry Pi Stack Exchange? Will it replace the official forum as a primary meeting point of Rasp Pi users?

  • 4
    Please don't forget that SE also provides chat rooms, where you can discuss ideas. We do that all the time. Jun 12, 2012 at 21:18
  • I have seen moderators correct others for calling SE a forum. And when comments tend to go back and forth between just a couple or three participants, that is when it is encouraged to take it off to the chatrooms, which other people seem never get to see.
    – SDsolar
    Jan 12, 2017 at 21:07

3 Answers 3


Will it replace the official forum as a primary meeting point of Rasp Pi users?

In a word, no. Nor should we try to make it that. Forums are still useful for discussions, sharing projects and ideas, and getting general advice or suggestions. In this question I sort of discuss this. The goal of a Stack Exchange site is not to hurt the community at-large or to hurt its ability to discuss things. The point of the Stack Exchange is to create a community of people focused on the specific Q&A side of things. Ultimately taking these questions from forums makes both the SE site and the forums themselves more useful for their respective purposes.

Another note: it's important to emphasize this when promoting the site. Part of the concern voiced by the Raspberry Pi foundation is this one exactly. To keep both communities successful, it's important to make sure people know the difference in purpose between a forum and a SE site.

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    I believe that this site will be successful. I just hope that it does not create a division in community.
    – user13
    Jun 12, 2012 at 20:49
  • 1
    Like I said, I don't think it should or even can. There will always be a community for discussion and sharing on the forums, and that format will never be welcome on a SE site.
    – ramblinjan
    Jun 12, 2012 at 20:50
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    The Ubuntu community had a well established forum for years. We went through exactly the same process for setting up askubuntu.com on stackexchange. We now have both forum and SE. Both co-exist nicely and appeal to different but overlapping audiences. They compliment eachother.
    – popey
    Jun 12, 2012 at 21:51
  • I completely concur. Jun 20, 2012 at 16:29
  • That's a really good description of the differences between a SE site and a traditional forum. I think there is room for both types once a certain critical mass has been reached. Comparing with the activity on other SE/Fora I use, I am not sure the Rpi SE or forum have that critical mass yet.
    – starfry
    Apr 24, 2013 at 7:20

I don't think the two are against each other - it's not "vs." as you put in the title (as I see it anyway.)

The SE model is great for Q&A, and that's where I believe it will excel - popular questions in the normal forum style tend to attract loads of responses and you can end up scrolling through pages just to get to the "right" one.

However, it's not (and nor is it designed to be) good at general discussion, which is where the raspberry pi forums come in.

I'd love to see the two work together. I know the folks at the foundation aren't overly keen on the SE idea, but I'd hate to see this cause divisions.

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    I agree with your assessment, and it would be prudent not to use divisive words/phrases like "versus" or "vs" when talking about other community sites. We shouldn't be seeking to create a silo or competition, but collaboration and sharing of information should be our goals.
    – popey
    Jun 12, 2012 at 23:17

The Raspberry Pi Stack Exchange seems to work well to discuss hardware compatibility, features, and pseudo-recommendations. Those types of questions lend themselves well to a Q&A format, are Raspberry Pi specific, and the upvoting helps show off good ideas.

Of course, I'm more interested in the hardware side of things, so I may be biased.

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