Schematics are important for EE.SE. If you look at the question landing page, you can't easily spot the schematic editor, unless you've used it before. It gets lost the button noise. Nor does the question landing page impress the need for a schematic. The word schematic is nowhere on that page. That's a usability fail, especially for newcomers.

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I'm looking for something that will give new users a pointer for adding schematics, so that I don't have to write cookie cutter messages like the below, which I just wrote a new user:

add a schematic and refer to that in your question. Click on the button showing a diode with a pen on it (or hit Ctrl+M) in the question editor. Alternatively, you can add a ready-image by clicking the blueish frame icon (shortcut ctrl+G), but please ensure it reflects your actual circuit.

Since SE is outsourcing the schematic editor, I guess adding instructions like to the question page were not a priority either... I see we have a detailed policy for what schematics should contain, but not much in the way of more newbie-friendly advice. (I find the SE help pages in general rather byzantine, perhaps a little better than Wikipedia... but not much. In particular they're not very customized for each site but tend to be rather bland.) The sort of discussion that concluded that that policy page is all that's needed in terms of help, flies in the face of the experience of newbies having to be told over and over. From what I remember, I've found that policy page many months after I was already using the EE.SE site.

Summarizing my main points from above:

  • The question page should better impress the need for schematic[s] on the [new] user...
  • ... and it should also contain a textual description on how add schematics... even if just in the way of a hyperlinked word "schematic" deferring the details to another help page.
  • The policy/FAQ page for what schematics need contain should be mentioned in the more detailed help... but we can't rely just on the existence of that [somewhere in guts of the meta site] to get new users to add schematics.

Finally, I'm not exactly a SE-customization expert, so I don't know how feasible is to change the "How to Ask" and/or "How to Format" boxes... or any visuals of the question page for that matter. So, this is a high-level feature suggestion, but the details on how to achieve these goals need some discussion.

  • \$\begingroup\$ This is a sound suggestion. The How to Ask box can be customized, and some stacks have custom instructions. The customization is outside of the normal mod powers, it has to be done by an SE crew member. I'll post that request as soon as we agree on the text. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 3, 2015 at 2:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ The text proposed in the O.P. is alright, imo. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 3, 2015 at 2:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ I feel like we've had this discussion before, and came to the consensus that it wouldn't make a difference. \$\endgroup\$
    – Matt Young
    Oct 3, 2015 at 2:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Respawned Could you post your proposed message as an answer to this question? \$\endgroup\$ Oct 3, 2015 at 4:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Needs a bit of thought. The most obvious place to hook the advice would be "Provide details. Add a schematic. Share your research." But the lower box is only about formatting. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 3, 2015 at 4:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ It seems to me the best place to add the longer blurb/paragraph would be in the electronics.stackexchange.com/help/how-to-ask page (which is still short enough not be overwhelming). The "Be specific" section there seems the most appropriate (it's also short presently; just two sentences.) \$\endgroup\$ Oct 3, 2015 at 4:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NickAlexeev: Sorry for dragging my feet on this. I'll get back to it tomorrow. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 3, 2015 at 18:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NickAlexeev: I had actually prepared a text for this, but I realized some things may change with the new site layout... [so waited for that to come live] and alas I was not wrong about that. For starters, the toolbar colors are gone [not a big deal]... but so is the schematic editor button (and ctrl+M does nothing now)! \$\endgroup\$ Oct 8, 2015 at 5:22
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @NickAlexeev: I've left a bug report as an answer to the new design question (because that's how the "question" instructed to leave bug reports for this change): meta.electronics.stackexchange.com/a/5424/54580 \$\endgroup\$ Oct 8, 2015 at 5:36


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