Maybe this is a bold (visual pun intended) idea...and maybe this idea should be posted somewhere else (which I have no clue where)...but here it goes:

Why don't make a separate website, linked with the electronics one, just for surveys? Reason: Opinion based questions are pretty much banned (for many good reasons), but still there are lots of people interested in asking them and answering them....so why don't make a survey kind of website linked to the electrical engineering website, but still separate? This way all the "stack style" Q&A websites can have a side survey website, just dedicated to this kind of questions.

The cool thing about it is that opinion based Q&A (which I am calling "survey") can benefit a lot from the way stackexchange behaves. People will post their opinion, as answers, and if someone agrees, he just vote's it up...the opinion that the majority likes will "bubble up" and be placed on the top.

Yes, opinion based questions can be horrible, most of the times there is no "right answer" and things go as an eternal discussion and this clots the website...and that's precisely why I am suggesting making it in a separate website, so who goes there knows what he will find.

Discussion is good, it promotes general thinking and sharing of opinions which bring new ideas. If we are a hub of knowledge in electronics IMHO we should give people a way to "document" this kind of discussions as well. I have learned a lot about software design listening to eternal discussions of which framework is best, the same as I learned a lot about PICs and AVRs just by listening to countless discussions on which is better...all this discussions have no end...but I learned A LOT from them still!

Also having a "merge" tool where two people can agree to merge their answers will be great (for all the websites styles)...lot's of time I can see someone who just add 2 cents to the other answer, but they are good 2 cents and they usually are not in the top.

So if someone could forward this idea to the creators of stackexchange, it will be most welcome...I would ask what you think about this, but then it will be a survey :D


1 Answer 1


I try to provide useful feedback, before down-voting. There is nothing here that I can use to indicate my reasons for a down-vote. So here it is:

First, the word 'Survey' might be misleading. There are huge numbers of sites supporting surveys. If that is what folks want to do, there is no need for any new sites. I don't care about survey results on most things, other than politics.

Edit: I recommend you replace the word "Survey", and use a more apt word iF and only if you do not mean survey in the general internet web site sense of opinion based questions, or price-based questions.

Discussion-based question can be asked on ee.se. The rule, as I interpret it, is the question must have enough facts or specificity that the answers are able to be 'objective', and don't simply spin-off 'up their wazoo'. As a shorthand, I call them 'Engineering Questions'. Similarly answers should have enough evidence that they could be tested. I call those "Engineering Answers". Questions and Answers missing evidence or specificity should expect to be down-voted, because they are not Engineering Questions or Engineering Answers.

So, AFAIK, there is no restriction on asking Engineering Questions, and giving Engineering Answers.

Edit: 'Survey questions' are either canvasing opinions, or are a form of shopping question. Neither of those are accepted by ee.se policy as valid. I am happy with those constraints.

On the other hand, if someone simply wants to 'shoot the breeze'; they don't want to ask an Engineering Question, then their are an enormous number of forums already in existence. AFAIK, some use voting mechanisms.

IMHO, the overwhelming majority of forums, with a few notable exceptions, are the equivalent of various colours of noise. Many posts start with "I don't know anything about ..." and then the poster provides sufficient evidence that their is no doubt. Others posts are not that accurate or perceptive.

AFAIK there is little to prevent anyone re-asking a question on ee.se once it is discovered that it is an Engineering Question with Engineering Answers, if they feel it is valuable enough to be added to the ee.se Wiki.

So, there seems to be no benefit from 'side survey sites'.

IMHO, one of the great strengths of ee.stackexchange, is its focus on Engineering Questions and Answers. It allows the community to identify and clean out rubbish, and maintains a much higher quality than the vast majority of sites (with a few notable exceptions).

You may feel like a potential Engineering Question, started with a discussion question, and was prematurely closed. However, where I have observed that, it seems to be the person asking the question does not provide enough of a fact-base, or specificity to be answerable with an Engineering Answer. Further, when encouraged to do so, even given specific advice, the asker doesn't often seem to fix it. I have seen a few questions which, IMHO, did not deserve closing if the facts in comments were actually part of the question. However, I don't feel it is up to me to decide which of the new pieces of information should be inserted into the question (opinions may differ). However, I have only been actively posting to the site since August, so I may be wrong on that later point.

I think ARM Development tools seems like a none-ee.se question. It is canvasing for opinion (opinion: off-topic) with insufficient constraints to reach any conclusion other than cost (shopping: off-topic)

Side Note:
There appears to be nothing to be gained by increasing the already large number of such forums by a few more. AFAICT, there seems to be an effect which might be related to the 'Long-Tail' phenomena at work. IMHO it really does not seem to matter how many web sites are dedicated to 'discussing' things. The quality of the discussion is not increased.

AFAICT, the quality of discussion, i.e. signal to noise ratio, seems to decrease with increasing numbers of participants. I think the statistical behaviour may even be demonstrable. If that is the case, then the 'side survey web sites' should be kept a closely guarded secret to increase the quality of outcomes. Hence, for all I know, they may already exist :-)

  • \$\begingroup\$ So, you do agree my "survey" (I know the name sucks, but I can't find a better one) engineering question was valid and shouldn't be closed? electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/126595/… \$\endgroup\$
    – mFeinstein
    Commented Sep 23, 2014 at 18:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ And sorry to disagree but the rules are clear, all opinion based questions are not allowed, even if they are engineering ones as you call them (you can see the rules quoted in the previous link) \$\endgroup\$
    – mFeinstein
    Commented Sep 23, 2014 at 18:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mFeinstein - Do I think that question should be closed according to ee.se policy? Yes I think it should be closed. AFAICT, it is a survey, and I can't see any criteria that causes it to be an Engineering Question other than price. So I could agree that might be a candidate for your 'survey side site'. I also agree it should not be on ee.se as it is not an Engineering question. \$\endgroup\$
    – gbulmer
    Commented Sep 23, 2014 at 18:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mFeinstein - Sorry to disagree with your interpretation of my answer. I do not perceive any need for questions which can only have opinion based answers on ee.se. My interpretation of the site policy is all questions must provide enough information or specificity to have objective answers. \$\endgroup\$
    – gbulmer
    Commented Sep 23, 2014 at 18:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's the thing...I can't see why it isn't an engineering question....I am asking about what people use to build their stuff, their engineering tools, so I can learn with their struggles and mistakes and not fall into the same ones...My goal was to instead of learning some 3 IDEs and buying some 3 debbugers, I could speed things up just by hearing recommendations from other engineers. I can see other cases, like "I have $300 for a DMM, which one is better and why?" And then people will give their opinion on their choices, based mostly on their engineering backgroud... \$\endgroup\$
    – mFeinstein
    Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 19:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ I can find so many applications that saves people's time and money by just sharing their previous experiences...that was my final goal, to speed learning and development for everyone... \$\endgroup\$
    – mFeinstein
    Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 19:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ Have you read meta.electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/3919/…? \$\endgroup\$
    – gbulmer
    Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 19:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ "I can't see why it isn't an engineering question". Yes, I understand that. You seem unable to understand the difference between facts and evidence vs opinion. In my opinion, the Manchester United team of 1967/68, when George Best, Bobby Charlton, Dennis Law, and Brian Kidd played, was the best Football team in the world, ever. I even have some evidence. However, it is really not an Engineering statement (even though I am right :-). I have no issues with you setting up such a site, and very best of luck. \$\endgroup\$
    – gbulmer
    Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 19:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't think I will be setting up a site...but I just wanted to explore the ee.se this way... I know opinions can be misleading, but if I can't read people's opinion about the iPhone and the Android, and I can't experiment them both before buying I might find myself spending a lot of money in something that's not in my best interest....well, thank's for your thoughts anyways, I appreciate it :) \$\endgroup\$
    – mFeinstein
    Commented Sep 27, 2014 at 23:39

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