How should we respond?

How does sending MIDI over USB compare to using a dedicated MIDI interface?




Trying to get that tube sound from a gainclone amp


I'm not suggesting that there's any "penalty box" called for here. I'm just wondering how we should welcome a new user and not scare him off by pointing out that it's rather awkward to ask five questions at once when you're a newbie to this particular forum. I posted this here on Meta because I'm looking for a better understanding of how I can help and encourage a person in a situation such as this.

[And for what it's worth, I have a big interest in electronic music as a fan; I don't post many questions or answers on those topics because my personal performing experience is with acoustic music and classical music.]

  • 3
    SE is not a forum. You should know that by now... Jul 2, 2012 at 15:39
  • 2
    I agree that #3 and #4 were not constructive questions, but the others were easily edited into "how can I" form. Editing should always be the first thing you try, in particular when it doesn't really affect the core of the question.
    – user28
    Jul 3, 2012 at 6:27

4 Answers 4



If he's not spamming, or doing things worthy of flagging, we can take no action against him. If he continues such action however, and makes no effort to ask on-topic questions we could place him in the penalty box, but IMO, that is a bit extreme. Some of these questions might have some merit if edited.

  • The first seems to be a better fit for AVP SE, not to mention subjective. It has already been closed as off topic.

  • The second also seems to belong on AVP SE.

  • The third seems too localized and off-topic. It has also been closed now.

  • The fourth, about the history of electronic music would be constructive if it wasn't asked like a poll (music history questions are on-topic).

  • The fifth seems on-topic. We have had other effects questions and as far as I know, they've never been closed. I can't see any reason for it to be off-topic.

I wouldn't call Rob a "brand new" user. He's amassed well over 3k on other SE sites already. Some of these questions seem to be retrievable. We should just take it case by case. He's obviously very interested in electronic music (see his area 51 page) and could be a great addition to the community. Don't be too harsh to new users or we'll never get out of beta.

  • 3
    Heartily agree with last paragraph.
    – NReilingh
    Jul 2, 2012 at 15:22
  • One of the suspension reasons is for continual low-quality questions with no attempt to improve, but you're certainly right that we shouldn't be too harsh.
    – user28
    Jul 3, 2012 at 6:20
  • What is the AVP StackExchange?
    – dumbledad
    Jul 10, 2012 at 7:20
  • Don't worry, I found it: Audio-Video Production (beta)
    – dumbledad
    Jul 10, 2012 at 7:27
  • Nope, it's this one: avp.stackexchange.com Jul 10, 2012 at 12:16

(As we tell people all the time; SE is not a forum!)

The user does have existing SE experience--mostly on SO, and seems to be an electronic music enthusiast.

Two things I think about this:

  • Electronic music is on topic, and we should not be so quick to close questions if we just don't know very much about the topic. There is an Electronic Music.SE proposal in Area 51 that should probably be rolled into Music.SE.
  • Some of the questions are of a type that would not be closed on other SE sites, but run slightly afoul of our stricter ruleset on Music.SE. These kinds of questions I think could be on topic, or would be more acceptable if the site was as large as, say, SO.

In particular:

  • I think the sound card/MIDI question, as it's written now, is subjective opinion, but could be on-topic if it was asking about a comparison between sending MIDI over USB vs. MIDI cables to a card interface. I've closed in the meantime.
  • The analog oscillator question is about electronic instrument construction, which is on-topic given that both instrument construction and electronic music is on-topic. I'm leaving it open, but feel free to discuss further.
  • The sheet music for Kraftwerk question could be on-topic if it was about Kraftwerk's compositional process, i.e. if Kraftwerk composed their music on traditional sheet music or any kind of notation. In its current form, I've closed.
  • The development of electronic music question is a music history question, so I don't have a problem with it.
  • The gainclone chipamp question is one that, like the analog oscillator question, is about musical instrument construction. I think it's answerable, it's just phrased in a manner that we're not used to. Could possibly be rewritten with the language of "Would even order harmonic distortion with control help approximate a tube sound in my gainclone chipamp?" but I don't have a problem with it either way.

I won't discuss the quality of these specific 5 questions, just my two cents:

The simple fact that a user posts many questions is never a reason to penalize him in any way, not on SE sites. (Any penalization should be based on repeated disobeyness.) This site is in public beta, posting borderline questions should be fine since the topic specification of the site can change as necessary.


I broadly agree with @NReilingh, with the sole exception of the oscillator question.

While the chipamp question is on topic here, as it is around what you can do with that amp to gain different tone, the oscillator one is pretty explicitly a 'how can I build fixed frequency oscillators?' which to my mind isn't a music question.

The use of oscillators in music, how to combine to build particular synth effects, the benefits of a particular mix - sure - but this one just feels like it would only be answered well by the likes of Olin or clabacchio over on Electronics SE.

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