After a discussion in the chat, it seems like it might be a good idea to have a discussion event about what we consider on/off-topic so that the site is more prepared for public beta.

The event will be held in the Chat of Things room (the site's main chat room), and you can register your interest here. Even if you're not a chat regular, you're welcome to join.


The event will be held on Monday, January 2nd. The consensus from the chat seemed to be that 6PM (GMT) would be the best compromise, but if you're keen to join but can't make that time, please comment below.


  • Title and Tagline: is Internet of Things the best name for the site, or is it too much of a buzzword?

    At the moment, the current definition of the site is essentially based on this definition, but I think it may be worth clarifying the scope a bit further so new users don't have to trawl through meta to find an arbitrary definition of the site's scope.

  • Off-topic questions: which questions seem to be off-topic for the site, and can safely be listed in the Help Center as off-topic?

    General questions about computer hardware/software seem to be clearly off-topic, along with general networking questions (e.g. Are isolated WiFi clients as secure as isolated networks? [closed] (requires 1k tools). In public beta, it should become clearer, but until that point we need to review areas that are almost certainly beyond the scope.

  • On-topic questions: which topics are definitely within the scope of the site, and should be kept?

    Questions about networking protocols, engineering/design of devices, support with consumer devices and 'smart home' related questions (home automation) seem to be well-received. If we draw up a comprehensive list, this can be used to add to the Help Center when the moderators are selected.

  • Less clear-cut questions: which questions might be on-topic that we haven't explored yet? Should we ask some test questions related to those topics?

    Questions related to scientific/industrial applications of IoT don't seem very common, and we should decide whether these are encouraged or not on the site.


After discussing the topics above and distilling the ideas that come up into a final result, I'll summarise the key points in a meta post, for anyone to respond to in case they aren't able to join in the chat event. Hopefully, this will be significantly easier than having one giant meta post because the Q&A structure doesn't really favour anything other than a small, focused question/answer pair.

  • 1
    Maybe let's make the first point site title & tagline. I think we can sharpen the focus via the second.
    – Helmar Mod
    Commented Dec 29, 2016 at 14:45
  • @Helmar done - I think you're right, the tagline is quite a powerful tool to decide the scope.
    – Aurora0001
    Commented Dec 29, 2016 at 14:58
  • 2
    To anyone who downvoted: if there's anything I can do to address whatever problems there are with this idea, do feel free to comment/answer - I'd much rather help solve any problem you see if I can!
    – Aurora0001
    Commented Dec 29, 2016 at 17:13
  • Can we create Events on the site without a moderator? Regardless, things like this would be a great way to utilize that tool, 'cause I totally missed this memo
    – tbm0115
    Commented Jan 5, 2017 at 15:15
  • @tbm0115 you can create events for any chat room, but the 'Events' box on the sidebar is moderator-only as far as I know. I just created an event for the Chat of Things room, where I'm a room owner.
    – Aurora0001
    Commented Jan 5, 2017 at 15:32

1 Answer 1


Preliminary, manual question category analysis

I made a quick analysis of the questions on site so far. I grouped them into eight categories plus closed ones. Category descriptions follow below.1



How to do X? (End User IoT Questions)

Generally speaking, those questions include everything about reaching a desired functionality with an existing IoT device, inquiring about the possibility or impossibility of the functionality in the first place and inquiring about functionalities of IoT devices. I included, it's broken, help me fix it in this category. (How to do X (with Y)? / Can X be done (with Y)? / How does X do functionality Y? / Is X or Y better to do Z? / Product X doesn't work, help me!)

Interfacing existing solutions

This is the more advanced cousin of the previous category. Now it's about interfacing different existing systems to make them work in unison. This is still mainly about end user experience and making IoT at home work.

Choosing / Comparing technologies around IoT

This is more of a creator aspect, I bundled questions about creating IoT devices, choosing fitting technologies et cetera. This category is not about off-the-shelf solutions but about the stuff people build on top of it, also researching the technologies behind working solutions.

Protocols / Networking

Pretty basic, all the networking and protocol related questions we got around our IoT applications.


Same as the last category IT security questions in the IoT domain.

Definitions, Regulations, Organizations

Pretty self-explanatory as well. What is IoT? What's an IoT device? Questions regarding IoT related organizations, regulations and standards.

IoT / Cloud Services

Alexa, If This Than That and other cloud based services that help the people automating their homes.

Smart Home Concepts, Privacy, Power (consumption/usage concepts)

Less practical than the pure end user questions but more about the concepts of Smart Home, the privacy implications or the privacy implications, power and cost evaluations and questions.

1: Of course these categories are somewhat subjective.

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