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What I would like to know is that is there some clearly defined purpose of this site? Is there some goal we're trying to aim for. It seems to me that if there's an agreed set of goals, it could be deduced logically what is the correct attitude and code of conduct to be followed here.

We're engineers, we have the luxury of pragmatism and logical thinking in our skillset.

What are the goals that are most important to you, and what codes of coduct do you see eminating from them?


Edit: trimmed the question to tone it down a bit and hopefully leave the essence.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I wouldn't be too happy to see you leave. Please stick around. Eventually you'll get to 3k reputation, and that's when you start getting community moderation privileges. You'll see the review queues. You'll see some of the inner workings of SE. \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Alexeev Dec 8 '14 at 22:18
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Everybody is listing concerns here because they are invested in the site and want to see it continue to do well. On meta, one of the things we talk about is the community dynamics as a whole. To say that the dynamics of a site like this are complicated would be an understatement.

We need to try and keep our existing users. While we can't keep everyone, we should try to maintain an environment where the community doesn't drive long-term users away. Part of this effort is to limit the questions that are frustrating to answer (aka "bad questions"). Questions that are incomplete, questions that change drastically, and questions with a wide scope generally fall into this category. Closing these questions is our primary method for dealing with these issues. This issue is very important to Olin, and is reflected in many of his answers regarding the treatment of questions and users who ask such questions. This is an important issue for long-term site health.

We also need to grow the user base for this site. If we aren't increasing the number of users, then the community will eventually stagnate and die out. Users also make content for the site (questions and answers) so the more users we have the more content will be available. However, new users often aren't familiar with the rules we place on questions, or what information is required to get a good answer, and may unintentionally ask a question that we would consider "bad". This, combined with a different model from a traditional forum, can result in a bad user experience which will result in new users who quit. This issue is very important to Russell, and it is reflected in his meta posts. This is an important issue for long-term site health.

Ultimately, both of these issues are important, but aggressively pursuing one goal will adversely affect the other. I can find anecdotes for both issues, but the plural of anecdotes is not data. It would be nice to actually have data on what is happening so that we can have a balanced approach and adjust our response to new users. Scott is calling for more data so that we as a community can understand what is happening overall and have some numbers to base community policy. To paraphrase, we have issues, but we aren't sure if they are serious issues or minor issues, and more data would help us assess that.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for such a well balanced, calm and constructive answer. You have more patience than I do. I think I am too passionate a person for this site. I think I'll keep lurking for a while and see how things are going on the site; perhaps answer a question every now and then, if I see something close to my expertise. Cheers and keep up the good work, everyone! \$\endgroup\$ – PkP Dec 9 '14 at 19:52
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Continuity of the site. We can't assure continuity directly, because answers are provided by volunteers, who are free to come and go. Best we can do in order to attract high quality volunteers is to maintain high qualities and standards on our site.

edit: In order for any group to prosper, it should meet all of the following conditions.

  • Benefit group's members.
    Each member. Of course, members are not all the same. Different members may desire different benefits. (Some may desire positive exposure. Some may desire access to expertise.)
  • Benefit the group itself. (Group's infrastructure, for instance.)
  • Benefit the world outside of the group.

I didn't come up with this. I've read this somewhere, forgot where.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Why the downvote? \$\endgroup\$ – PkP Dec 8 '14 at 22:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PkP because I do not agree with the opinion expressed in this post. According to the tour, we should be 'working to build a library of detailed answers to every question about electronics design', and that isn't implied by continuity of the site. \$\endgroup\$ – user17592 Dec 8 '14 at 22:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ @PkP This is meta. Downvote has a different meaning compared to the main board. Downvote only means that someone disagrees. \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Alexeev Dec 8 '14 at 22:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NickAlexeev do you lose rep on Meta for downvotes? \$\endgroup\$ – KyranF Dec 13 '14 at 18:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KyranF No. Meta rep is equal to main rep. \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Alexeev Dec 13 '14 at 18:52
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There is an agreed goal. See the tour:

Electrical Engineering Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for electronics and electrical engineering professionals, students, and enthusiasts. It's built and run by you as part of the Stack Exchange network of Q&A sites. With your help, we're working together to build a library of detailed answers to every question about electronics design.

The problem is that the way to get to this goal isn't clear. Theoretically it's a nice idea to deduce a 'correct attitude' from the goal, but in reality this is way too complex to even begin with.

Imagine yourself in a team writing an encyclopedia on a specific subject. Team members can add subjects and provide information to subjects. Does this set-up imply any attitude towards team members, other than the general 'be nice'?

I'm sorry to give you my personal opinion, but I don't think you're looking at this from the right perspective. Although you might see the quote from the tour as a premise.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh, but your goal of "library of detailed answers to every question" does give a logically deductable correct attitude at least towards bad questions. As the set of bad questions is a subset of all questions and all questions are to be given detailed answers, thus bad questions should be given detailed answers. QED. Thank you for your viewpoint. \$\endgroup\$ – PkP Dec 8 '14 at 22:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ @PkP no, it doesn't. You would need to define 'question' and define 'electronics design' first. Different people here have different understanding of 'question' (whether it should be proper English or not, for example). Your logically deducted correct attitude is utterly empty without these definitions. And note that this is not my goal but rather the goal, not only of EE.SE, but of *.SE. \$\endgroup\$ – user17592 Dec 8 '14 at 22:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ Mirriam-Webster defines a "Question" to be e.g. "a sentence that asks for information". Do you have a good definition for "electronics design"? \$\endgroup\$ – PkP Dec 8 '14 at 22:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PkP again, different people have a different understanding of 'question'. But I'm not going to get into a long discussion again. My main point is that you're looking at this from the wrong perspective, almost seeing humans as some kind of finite state machine able to follow rules, and assuming one can define correct behaviour in a complex environment. \$\endgroup\$ – user17592 Dec 8 '14 at 22:50

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