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I've just come across a question from someone clearly inexperienced with electronics trying to build a potentially dangerous AC/DC rectifier. An expert gave a very precise answer, but there was no mention of safety issues the OP may need to address to accomplish his task safely. But we newbies just don't know we don't know important stuff.

So, my question is, should we take advantage of those opportunities and warn inexperienced users of potential safety issues? To make the task easier, we could create a few safety boilerplate questions and answers and provide links to those. What's the EE.SE policy on the issue?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, another experienced user just addressed the safety issue by adding a comment to the question I mentioned. Still, what's our policy regarding the issue? \$\endgroup\$ – Ricardo Dec 20 '13 at 12:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ Just wait until the Arduino-proposal goes into beta again, last time I checked there were no experienced EE's at all this time. This is a typical beginner's question for wanting things small, cheap, lean and mean. (Especially the mean part I guess). \$\endgroup\$ – jippie Dec 20 '13 at 17:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ We do have to be careful not to "bully" people, because then they won't come back to the stack and find their information somewhere else where nobody explains the dangers. It is important to educate people, to make them understand why things are potentially dangerous. A quote from the Arduino-proposal says it all in my opinion: "Need a good venue for Arduino info where EE elitists will not demean this fun toy/hobby!" The quote is not necessarily strictly for dangerous experiments I guess. \$\endgroup\$ – jippie Dec 20 '13 at 17:46
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should we take advantage of those opportunities and warn inexperienced users of potential safety issues?

My reaction to this is "better safe than sorry", so I'd rather get tired of repeating the safety consideration over and over again (especially when I feel the question comes from an inexperienced member) rather than having any chance of a person injuring himself unaware of the danger involved.

I personally prefer to add a danger warning in bold at the end of any reply that includes circuits that are potentially dangerous.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Maybe standardize it? Could be some standard image or text block, not necessarily (part of) an answer. \$\endgroup\$ – jippie Dec 20 '13 at 17:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ @jippie I was thinking of that earlier, I think it would be a nice idea to have a checkbox/button that when ticked adds a small text about potential danger and/or liability of possible misuse. \$\endgroup\$ – alexan_e Dec 20 '13 at 17:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ small text box? I was thinking bright red and bold print with yellow and black exclamation marks. And once you pass 5k rep you get an option to minimize it to icon size. \$\endgroup\$ – jippie Dec 20 '13 at 17:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @jippie I don't think rep is a good way to measure competence, experience, or whether someone knows enough to know what they don't know. The way the system is set up, it's equally possible to generate a high rep by asking some good questions and never answering one, and the converse. \$\endgroup\$ – Matt Young Dec 20 '13 at 17:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MattYoung The idea was that at least you have seen that warning box before, not so much being experienced. \$\endgroup\$ – jippie Dec 20 '13 at 17:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @jippie Then why force people to look at the box until 5k? \$\endgroup\$ – Matt Young Dec 20 '13 at 18:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MattYoung just arbitrary number. It is a bit like when your user card expands at 1k rep. Just a thought, you are free to disagree. \$\endgroup\$ – jippie Dec 20 '13 at 18:09

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