Recently, the CircuitLab tool was added. This tool is privileged so that only people with 11 reputation can post images.

I understand the idea of privileges:

Because we allow participation from anonymous internet users, we must take some precautions to ensure that the rare malicious or spammy anonymous user doesn't ruin the experience for everyone else.

But I don't see why the CircuitLab tool should be privileged. I'd say it's very hard to create spam with it. Can anyone explain this to me?

(And no, I do not think it's hard for a new user to get 11 reputation, but I don't see why there has to be a limit.)

  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ +1. Unless we get a bunch of spammers somehow using circuit lab, I'd say this tool should be available to anyone. How is a someone new supposed to post a schematic? For external images they can post a link and we'll edit it in as we do now. But, I really don't see the point in restricting the built-in tool unless we discover from experience it becomes a problem, and I suspect that won't happen. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 28, 2013 at 13:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ @OlinLathrop and camil, this goes back to their new user restrictions, and somewhere else they discussed that it is actually not easy for them to fix this. SE may correct me though. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Commented Feb 28, 2013 at 14:24
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ meta.ux.stackexchange.com/questions/870/… \$\endgroup\$
    – balpha StaffMod
    Commented Feb 28, 2013 at 15:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ @balpha I see, thanks. You can make this an answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – user17592
    Commented Feb 28, 2013 at 15:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't see how balpha's explanation for UI mockups could apply here. Anyone can already use Circuitlab with for free with no nag screens. Furthermore for our questions schematic is often as important as is text, so the explanation that the focus should be on text is invalid. There were many constructive suggestions (for example a written explanation or post goes straight to review queue) for what to do with images. Perhaps some of them should be implemented for CircuitLab tool? \$\endgroup\$
    – AndrejaKo
    Commented Feb 28, 2013 at 22:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ @AndrejaKo I think the more important part is that CircuitLab might be used as a vector for uploading images on a no rep account. \$\endgroup\$
    – Passerby
    Commented Mar 1, 2013 at 18:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Passerby Of course you could misuse it (How exactly? Images can't be embedded into CircuitLab, sure text is there, but so is question field), but the problem remains: Most new users are not aware of the correct procedure to leave images or schematics. We've had some nice suggestions on how to solve the problem, but the fact remains that SO isn't interested in solution. Also you can post code on SO with no rep. Why should you need rep to post schematics on EE.SE? \$\endgroup\$
    – AndrejaKo
    Commented Mar 1, 2013 at 18:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AndrejaKo It's a javascript (ajax) based app, that uploads it's user/client side generated image directly to imgur, same as the regular image tool. Taking advantage of that is easy peezy for spammers. \$\endgroup\$
    – Passerby
    Commented Mar 1, 2013 at 18:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Passerby Yeah, that definitely looks unsafe, but it still leaves the main problem. \$\endgroup\$
    – AndrejaKo
    Commented Mar 1, 2013 at 20:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ FYI, we've talked about it and we'll be opening this up (two of the problems on ux.se don't exist for the CircuitLab editor) in the hope that it doesn't cause issues. I'll answer when this is done (it requires a few technical changes); in the meanwhile I've turned this into a feature request. I hope you're okay with that. \$\endgroup\$
    – balpha StaffMod
    Commented Mar 4, 2013 at 20:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @balpha totally okay. Looking forward to the change in the hope it won't cause too much problems. Thanks a lot! \$\endgroup\$
    – user17592
    Commented Mar 4, 2013 at 20:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ Images shouldn't be banned in the first place. New users should be able to post images and then the image should be hidden until someone with rep confirms they are not spam or vandalism \$\endgroup\$
    – endolith
    Commented Mar 6, 2013 at 21:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's a very interesting idea, @endolith. Perhaps you should make it a separate feature-request. \$\endgroup\$
    – user17592
    Commented Mar 6, 2013 at 21:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @CamilStaps: meta.dsp.stackexchange.com/q/195/29 meta.stackexchange.com/q/111388/130885 \$\endgroup\$
    – endolith
    Commented Mar 6, 2013 at 21:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @endolith okay :-) \$\endgroup\$
    – user17592
    Commented Mar 7, 2013 at 4:01

1 Answer 1


As mentioned in a comment, we had a similar question on ux.se about the Balsamiq editor, and there were three reasons to decline it:

  1. Allowing everybody to use it would mean making ux.se "that site on the internet where you can use Balsamiq for free, with no nag screens."
  2. It would also mean that everybody can post any image, because a) you can include any image in a mockup, and b) even if you couldn't, the image of the mockup is rendered client-side, so we cannot actually trust that an image that says it's a mockup really is a mockup.
  3. We would like new users to not rely on this tool too much, because good questions and answers should consist of more than just an image – it should contain explanatory text, with the image as an illustration. Thus it helps to have a tiny bit of familiarity with the Stack Exchange system before starting with mockups.

Now, on electronics.se two of those three are not an issue. As for 1., I got this email from the great people at CircuitLab:

I also saw this discussion on Electronics Meta: Why is the CircuitLab tool privileged?

We're fine with relaxing the reputation limit for posting a schematic if that's what you and your colleagues at Stack Exchange and the community at Electronics SE ultimately decide. Compared to Balsamiq, CircuitLab is already a free tool, so we have no problem with it on that front.

As for 2., due to implementation differences between the Balsamiq integration and the CircuitLab integration, we can actually be sure whether an image really is an image of a schematic.

This leaves only 3., and we have decided to give it a try regardless.

The schematics editor is now open for everyone, and CircuitLab schematics created through the integrated editor (and only those) are exempt from the "new users cannot post images" restriction. We'll be keeping an eye on it, and if it starts to cause issues, we may undo this change. But we're optimistic that it won't.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Has opening this up hurt anything? \$\endgroup\$
    – endolith
    Commented Sep 16, 2013 at 19:40

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