This question about detecting a connection between two GPIO pins (on a Raspberry Pico) is flagged off topic, and the author of the answer indicates the question is considered off-topic. I thought it would be better to create a meta post to ask why this question is off-topic than to create a discussion within the question.

Before I asked the question, I inspected the list of topics that one can ask questions on in RaspberryPi.stackexchange.com and it includes: Raspberry Pi hardware, including GPIO and other related electronics.. So my thought was that the Raspberry Pico is related electronics, and that the question is about GPIO pins, making it on topic. That list of topics also contains Software specific to the Raspberry Pi., and I thought that, even though I happen to write the Thonny code for the GPIO pins on the Pico, that the code also applies to the Raspberry Pi (4b). So I thought that aspect contributes a bit to the question being on-topic.

I think the main issue with the question is touched upon by the comment on the XY-problem. I took the liberty to select an approach to solve the XY-problem and asked about an obstacle I encountered along the way, instead of posting the actual XY-problem. I am a bit unsure whether the XY-problem, which is how to detect keyboard strokes using a Raspberry Pico, is on or off-topic. My reasoning would be that it would also be a question about GPIO of other related electronics (the Pico). However, the software part would be specified for the Pico, instead of the Raspberry Pi, even though it would be applicable to the latter device as well, meaning that, if the question adds value, it also does that for the Raspberry Pi/someone doing the same thing on the Raspberry Pi. I am not sure whether that interpretation is too free.

So to prevent me from making the same mistake in the future, I would like to ask why this question off-topic? (And please feel free to point out any flaws in the argumentations/interpretations given)

  • I was one who voted to close. Firstly it is not Pi specific, was too vague about what was being asked and the Question and Answer are unlikely to help anyone else. It may be an EE question, but even then was unclear; it is about an unspecified keyboard. It also exhibits magical thinking (which is common in questions asked by many novices) - electronic devices DO NOT detect "connections" they can detect voltage or (occasionally) current.
    – Milliways
    Commented Sep 30, 2021 at 1:32

1 Answer 1


I wouldn't consider it off-topic, but I do think you made the mistake of providing too much context, which can amount to obfuscation (sort of like those algebra word problems that contain a bunch of irrelevant facts). Keep in mind while the title is appropriate enough, it's ambiguous unless you are already sure what's being asked about -- something that could be put simply in a few sentences:

Is it possible to tell two GPIOs are connected specifically to each other, eg., not just that 14 and 21 are at the same level, but that there is continuity between them?

What's worse, it takes you until the end to clarify this, by going through details of the project which gave rise to the problem. This may imply you are actually fishing for more information in general -- ie., a sort of discussion, or an answer explaining how contact matrices can be used to implement keypads etc., and many people would consider that off-topic.

There are a few issues here that aggravate:

  • We have a lot of "gray area" cross-over with Stack Overflow (programming), the Unix & Linux exchange (linux use), and Electrical Engineering (electronics, into which the problem at the end of the last paragraph would fit1). This means there is a degree of arbitrariness to who thinks what should be closed.

  • Most, or certainly a high percentage of, our most active members, tend to prefer to assume the worst and act on that. Put another way, this not an especially friendly community, also reflected in the pathetic voting practices etc. However, for better or worse that is the community and it is the community which ultimately makes these decisions.

Unfortunately, because of this last point and the one in the footnote, even if you had left out the extraneous details you might have suffered the same fate. Basically, if you can think of somewhere else to ask your question, try that first. We're sort of a resource of last resort.

  1. And, if you wanted to be super stingy, the question proper, since this is something about the nature of electronics not specific to the Pi.

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