I keep getting my wrist slapped on this site and I've begun to take it personally. I can't figure it out. In fact, I even wonder if I revealed myself to be female, at some point, and if the gatekeepers of this site are perhaps misogynist.

I recently added an answer to a question that I had asked a while back, because I built something that gave me experience with the question. I immediately got 3 wrist slapping responses. And someone felt a need to edit out the opening of my story/answer.

Another time, I had a question shut down because I was accused of not being clear. I was seeking clarity on an issue and I do my damnedest to write in clear expository English, and I was told, essentially, "Start over. You're not being clear!" I think a lot of people on this site have forgotten what it's like to be new to something and to be feeling one's way around in the dark.

I have popped onto many questions on this site (via searches) where I found the discussions to be quite long, but where I also thought no one was being particularly clear. And yet they stood the test of time. No one stepped in and closed down the conversation.

I, however, have felt abandoned here — before I've gotten a clear, easy-to-understand answer from anyone.

I gave up on Maker.pro because I didn't feel like I was getting good help there (well-intentioned, but not ultimately useful) and because some old guy wanted to go on and on and on to me about his life story. And I feel here, that I am actually actively being discouraged from seeking help on the site, either because the rules are way more important than the content or because perhaps it is intended to be just a boys' club.

I am very close to giving up on this site, too.

So, tell me: 1. Is it meant to be just a boys' club?

Or: 2. Are the rules way more important than the content?

  • 9
    \$\begingroup\$ Explorer - I didn't know you're a woman; it makes no difference to how I (nor, I believe, how any of the other mods) interact with people here. As you seem to be hinting that the "gatekeepers" (which could mean me, as one of the mods) are misogynists, I'm not going to get involved with the question - except to say that I refute the implied, serious, accusation. || If you have evidence of misogynism, you can report it directly to Stack Exchange using the "Contact" link at the bottom of the page. \$\endgroup\$
    – SamGibson Mod
    Mar 27 at 19:57
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ The rules are more important than the content and, I've never seen a rule that excludes people falling outside the definition of what a boy is. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andy aka
    Apr 3 at 11:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ I agree with the answers here, but I also agree with you on one of your points, namely that experienced users do forget how it was to be a newbie, unless they are regular educators. Most people here are probably not professional or regular educators so the answers do cater to slightly advanced level questions. This is exactly what I like here over the basic stuff which you find elsewhere. \$\endgroup\$
    – tobalt
    Apr 13 at 11:13

3 Answers 3


I think that the question in the title deserves a clear answer.

Is making sure the rules are followed correcly more important than sharing knowledge/experience?

Of course!

Otherwise there is no point of having rules.

There are numerous outlets for sharing knowledge and experience, the problem is that they almost always deteriorate into a mess because everyone wants to add their 2 cents, and you have no idea if it's good or bad advice.

Stack Exchange was created explicitly to avoid this, and the rules are set up to maintain it. That's why it became successful enough to become the go-to place for asking this type of questions.

We still see a lot of people who just "want to help", and I'm sure everyone here is totally fed up with all my moderation flags about people trying to answer questions in the comment section, or try to "help" someone who got their question closed. It is my strong opinion that everything outside the "question+answer" format is detrimental to the website in the long run, and making one user happy for the moment is not worth making the quality worse long-term.


To answer your questions from my limited experience on this site:

  1. No; I would personally not associate myself with any community, online or not, that was blatantly or implicitly sexist/racist/etc. Not to imply that I'm some sort of infallible barometer of a space's prejudices but I've seen many new posters who are - through their profile pictures and/or usernames - fairly obviously women and in my (again, not comprehensive by any means) experience their questions are given the same attention and respect as any others. And, as @SamGibson said, I didn't know your gender before this post.

  2. I would say that while the rules aren't way more important than the content, the rules here are different and enforced more stringently than most other online forums/discussion boards. I think of this site as closer to Wikipedia than Reddit or allaboutcircuits or [insert other EE forum]. While the primary goal is to answer your question, the very important secondary goal is for someone with the same or a similar question to come along in a month, a year, 10 years, and derive the same benefit from the answer(s) that you did, without having to dig through lengthy comment threads, cross-reference clarifying information from other sources, broken links to images that were deleted years ago, or links to products that don't exist anymore, etc. That means the initial question needs to be specific and answerable, clarifying details need to be edited into the question, sources need to be attributed, images should be uploaded to this site, and so forth. And yes, there is a bit of a "zero tolerance" mentality about the rules but so many people sign up to ask one question and then disappear (nothing wrong with that) that if everyone got a freebie no-rules question then half the site would be these nearly un-parsable comment miasmas.

Now, let's take a look at where you got your wrist slapped. The first one is I believe here: Can I hook up a 9V unregulated power supply to a 9V voltage regulator to stabilize the output? The new answer you posted seems to be along the lines of "I tried it and it works" along with some results of changing series resistance on LEDs which don't answer the initial question of "can I use a linear regulator on this unregulated supply". While this answer does address your initial question, I think it's still a bit too anecdotal and specific to your particular case to be an answer for someone else in a similar situation. I would expect the model of wall wart, the no-load voltage (which you included), the current you're drawing from it, the voltage of the wall wart under load, the output voltage of the regulator, and possibly an oscillogram if you've got the equipment for it. And that answer, while useful, will not be as useful for someone coming along in the future as the answer you accepted from @glen_geek because it's only discussing your specific circuit powered by your specific wall wart through your specific (and unspecified) voltage regulator.

The second question is possibly this? This site doesn't work on my iPad. Suggestion Now, I'm not a big poster on EE Meta, but to me the question is missing a clear statement of the problem; it's implied that there's some kind of issue with loading replies, but the problem is nebulous. Are the replies being truncated after X characters? Are only a few replies being shown? We don't know what browser/email client/OS you're on, all we know is that it's on an iPad that's "a bit old". The question was closed to prevent gathering a bunch of answers that have a low probability of being useful since they're based on guesses. We have many questions on the main site that get answered before the poster comes back with "oh the chip needs to cost less than $1 in quantity" or "I can't make your circuit with parts that are available in my country" or "this is a school assignment so we have to use this specific topology". If you edited the question with the browser version (instead of putting it into a comment on an answer), it would likely be reopened.

  • \$\begingroup\$ my suggestion was to forward whole replies, rather than abbreviated replies, in emails, so I'd know whether it would be worth firing up my desktop computer. I wasn't looking for an answer. I was making a suggestion. Surely I'm not the only person on the planet with a not-up-to-date device. \$\endgroup\$
    – Explorer
    Mar 29 at 15:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ As regards my 9V regulator 'anecdote,' I don't know how much current my circuit is drawing. The ammeter on my DMM is an entirely mysterious and untouched thing, I am ashamed to admit. My question was: Will it work. For some unknown reason, I did it and had concrete evidence that it would work. I thought it was worth sharing. Please forgive me for adding the bit about resistors! I thought if somebody was googling LEDs, they might hit on it and it would be a revelation, like it was for me. \$\endgroup\$
    – Explorer
    Mar 29 at 16:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @samgibson, can you offer suggestions for how to keep people engaged, until I get an answer that I understand and that is helpful to me? Does one have to just keep asking the same question over and over to not feel abandoned or to feel like OK, I guess I just need to figure this out for myself? \$\endgroup\$
    – Explorer
    Mar 29 at 16:08
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @Explorer No, you should not keep asking the same question over and over. Such repeats will be closed as DUPLICATE questions. If people asked for more information in the comments section, then edit your original question with that more information. No guarantee that someone will be motivated to answer, but it definitely improves your chances. Also, don't edit just to keep your question "fresh". Edit only to improve your question. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 3 at 1:37

Is it meant to be just a boys' club?

No its not, one problem here is not everyone is inviting to new users or women. People should be respectful to whomever is here. If you see language that is not compliant with the Coc (https://electronics.stackexchange.com/conduct), please flag it and a moderator will look after it. That being said, this is a fourm for people who want to ask good questions and get good answers.

Are the rules way more important than the content?

When you post questions here, they should be on topic. SE's mission is to generate a repository of quality questions.

Here is more information. https://electronics.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic

  • \$\begingroup\$ you expect the clueless to ask "quality questions," and the answers that are sometimes given are equivalent, for me, of like calculus lessons! Many of you do not remember what it was like to be feeling around in the dark. A long obtuse, possibly mathematical-heavy treatise when the questions was: "Will this work?" is not at all helpful. \$\endgroup\$
    – Explorer
    Apr 8 at 13:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Explorer, I don't think SE.EE ever intended its audience to be 'the clueless'. If one genuinely hasn't 'a clue' about EE, this is the wrong place for them. I often comment OPs asking basic-level Q's that they're far better off reading the great quality texts already written, sharpened, often well illustrated/diagrammed, that are plentifully and freely available on the internet. Self-research gets great results there and faster more-thorough learning. This site isn't for tutorial and it requires a base level of understanding. Remember that OPs are asking users to put in unpaid real work here. \$\endgroup\$
    – TonyM
    Apr 8 at 18:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Explorer I think it is acceptable to expect a participant to look at the Tour and Help Center. What is documented there is everything you need to know to write sufficiently high-quality questions and answers. \$\endgroup\$
    – Velvet
    Apr 9 at 6:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ We ask the clueless to write good questions and communicate. This is a free service where you have access to engineers for free. We ask you to be considerate and write questions we can read and answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Voltage Spike Mod
    Apr 9 at 15:52

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