I flagged Strange behaviour in PCB when solenoid turns off answer as "inappropriate for respectful discourse" @W5VO clearly agreed. 12 hours later @Nick Alexeev unilaterally decided that it was not "inappropriate for respectful discourse" saying "In case you don't know: negative feedback is a valuable thing (especially in engineering), and sometimes it involves saying things like "bad design" or "you should learn basics". It's better to hear about problems at the drawing board, than to listen to all the cheer only to run headlong into avoidable problems." The problems I have with that is "Nick Alexeev" can unilaterally override another moderator, and that he effectively said "you can be a jerk if you are right, it is good for people". So my question is this, do we want that much power in the hands of one person?

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    \$\begingroup\$ what the fluffle? where the heck is that answer rude? Is telling the truth rude now? If there is a pcb layout that is crap, one should have to right to say so. It is not at all beneficial for anyone to pamper people and tell them they are doing great, when in fact they are producing crap. \$\endgroup\$ – PlasmaHH Sep 24 '15 at 20:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ I have no problem with telling people that the design is bad, the problem is the context and tone. Olin's tone is clearly dismissive and assumes the OP is "stupid and/or lazy". Ask yourself is that "appropriate for respectful discourse"? \$\endgroup\$ – Sam Sep 24 '15 at 20:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you point me to the "clearly" part? Olins tone might be his usual old grumpy graybeard tone, but I can nowhere see the mentioned assumptions. Keep in mind that this site is not for beginners to learn the basics, and in case you actually do a PCB, you should have at least done a bit of the basics; The presented PCB is even worse than eagle on autoplace and autoroute and clearly shows no thought process about things like current flow etc. \$\endgroup\$ – PlasmaHH Sep 24 '15 at 20:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ Can you point me to the place it says "this site is not for beginners to learn the basics"? You admitted the clearly part yourself when you recognized it was "old grumpy graybeard tone". \$\endgroup\$ – Sam Sep 24 '15 at 20:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Sam The O.P. asked for design review. He got it. The basics have been posted on EE.SE over the years. I'm sure that the O.P. is already on his way of finding it. \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Alexeev Sep 24 '15 at 20:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Sam: sure, read electronics.stackexchange.com/tour where it says "Electrical Engineering Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for electronics and electrical engineering professionals, students, and enthusiasts." which pretty much excludes "spoonfeed me some basics" kind of questions. And on what planet "grumpy" equals "dismissive" ? Olin is just rightfully pissed that there is a question yet again with no research effort. There are at least a hundred questions on this site that are useful to enhance the presented PCB, let alone the thousands of "tutorials" on the intewebs \$\endgroup\$ – PlasmaHH Sep 24 '15 at 20:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ So "students" are immediately supposed to know that decoupling capacitors are strictly necessary in an inductive circuit? Because I didn't know that until I tried it and ASKED ABOUT IT. What do you propose the OP search for when trying to research "My board doesn't work and it has a relay on it" that would lead to the answer "you need decoupling capacitors"? because the only thing that taught me that was 1. stack exchange or 2. experience from asking stupid questions. You are narrating a person for trying to learn, which is wildly inappropriate. \$\endgroup\$ – Sam Sep 24 '15 at 20:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ Olin could have: flagged as answered, or ignored the question, but instead chose to be mean and derogatory and Nick backed him up. \$\endgroup\$ – Sam Sep 24 '15 at 20:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Sam I for instance, think that this whole thread is not constructive. Yet, I'm patiently not interfering with the process of you voicing your opinion. By the same token, if you simply disagree with my comments, that doesn't mean that they are not constructive. It's not a good strategy for you to flag them as such. \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Alexeev Sep 24 '15 at 20:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ Nick Alexeev, your comment was not germane to the question, it was off topic and pointless and therefore "not constructive" therefore I flagged it as such. \$\endgroup\$ – Sam Sep 24 '15 at 20:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Sam: Seriously, take a break, a deep breath, then grow a thicker skin (or skin at all). And his comment is constructive, since he clearly states that the OP got what he asked for. Students are not required to know everything beforehand, but they are required to sit on their very bottom and do research on the topic, and if they are not able to come to the conclusion that decoupling is a thing before laying out their first PCB, they might be better of learning carpentry. This is all about researching yourself and then coming here to ask when you got stuck. The basics are out there already. \$\endgroup\$ – PlasmaHH Sep 24 '15 at 20:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PlasmaHH, attack the argument not the person. "Seriously, take a break, a deep breath, then grow a thicker skin (or skin at all)" \$\endgroup\$ – Sam Sep 24 '15 at 20:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Sam: I am just giving you an advice to keep your health and sanity. High blood pressure is not good at all. \$\endgroup\$ – PlasmaHH Sep 24 '15 at 20:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PlasmaHH "(or skin at all)"? \$\endgroup\$ – Sam Sep 24 '15 at 20:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Sam: I did read it to them, we all had a good laugh and will drink a beer on Olin this evening. \$\endgroup\$ – PlasmaHH Sep 25 '15 at 7:16

Let me tell you a story about Professor Jacob. Professor Jacob took up electronics with the military during Vietnam to avoid being drafted and having a gun put in his hands. He worked on, and taught others to work on ICBMs. He reflected on that experience in a Pugwash talk, and how he had one chance to get it right. On the first day of every class he taught, he would say that he would teach the material the way the military taught him to teach. His courses were tough, but well worth the effort.

Moving forward, I was in a prototyping class with a different professor, and we were to design a circuit and put it on a PCB. My circuit was built around an IC from a course with Professor Jacob. I drew up a relatively sloppy schematic, and decided to go by his office and ask him to review it. He agreed, and then spent about five minutes ripping my design apart, and calling me out for my sloppy schematic. By the time he was done, the paper was half red with corrections he had drawn.

I left his office glad I had went to see him. Had I not had my schematic reviewed, my PCB would have most likely been a paperweight. More importantly, that was the day I truly learned the value of a neat, properly drawn schematic.

What does this story have to do with the answer in question? The reality is classic engineering disciplines can be harsh. Unlike software where the product can be respun multiple times in a matter of minutes until it's right, multiple iterations of hardware are expensive and time consuming. We're not just talking about the cost of the prototype, there's: certifications, tooling, rework, etc. It's important to do everything possible to get it right the first time, therefore minimizing those costs. That includes scrutinizing every single design decision. Believe me, I've seen the results of half baked design reviews, and it's not pretty.

Finally, before ripping on Olin, keep in mind, he's been a EE for over 30 years and has forgotten more than most on this Stack will ever know. We're lucky to have him here as a regular participant. In many ways, he reminds me of Professor Jacob, always willing to help, if you really tried to help yourself, else, expect to be called on it.

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    \$\begingroup\$ "Olin helps those who help themselves" \$\endgroup\$ – PlasmaHH Sep 25 '15 at 7:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ Well said - Olin is cool and if he comes over a bit harsh, his message is usually clear and it sticks with those willing to learn and develop. \$\endgroup\$ – Andy aka Sep 25 '15 at 8:53

I don't think the original answer was all that rude. It was a bit gruff, and used a pedagogical approach that I don't often use, but the OP got the answer that fixes the problem. I wasn't all that thrilled with the comment thread, but I think you were the one that inserted bad language, IIRC, so that's on you. It was locked before I could flag your comments, and the comment thread was appropriately moved to chat between now and then, and the inflammatory comments removed from there.

You should be glad they're gone, as they didn't make you look real good. Even if you're super ticked at a user, try to maintain dialog in the manner that you would like to be spoken to. It's a much better way to get your point across.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I dare you to read the original comment to any of your co-workers tomorrow and ask for one word to describe it, the results will be less than flattering, or even better use that phraseology in a professional setting and see how long your job lasts. \$\endgroup\$ – Sam Sep 25 '15 at 2:53

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