I was just looking at What electronic component can interrupt a powered circuit?, and then came here and saw What is the acceptable level of hostility towards questions?

How about some new close option that provides the message

Teaching very basic circuits and electronics does not fall within the purpose of EE.SE, which is a question and answer site for electronics and electrical engineering professionals, students, and enthusiasts. While we encourage your endeavor, you have some work to do before you reach the level of student or enthusiast. [Web Site X or Book Y] is a fine reference that will help you find your answer. If after such due diligence you still do not have your answer, you will be able to re-ask here in the form of a much better informed question"

This might be a good Off-topic option. I think it will cut down on snarky comments, and keep our SNR higher. Yes, it will cut down on posts. That said, a huge portion of these posts are probably duplicates, anyway, if one bothered to do the research, and only water down our archive.

We'd have to be careful about what reference we pointed to, and keep that updated. Perhaps a good open textbook would be stable enough.

I don't know what we would call this close reason. "Low expertise" doesn't cover it, and I don't like "too basic". I'd love suggestions.

  • \$\begingroup\$ While this isn't an evaluation of the merits of this proposal, we can't add a new close reason. We have 3 pre-set custom reasons, and we can swap one of them out with a new one. \$\endgroup\$
    – W5VO
    Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 16:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @W5VO -- is it the same issue for the number of off-topic reasons in that sub-menu? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 16:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ScottSeidman hmm, I thought you were suggesting a new off-topic reason. Yes, we are limited to 3 pre-set reasons in the off-topic menu. The top-level close options are not site-specific. \$\endgroup\$
    – W5VO
    Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 16:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @W5VO -- could certainly merge use and repair to make way for a new reason -- whether it's this reason or not! \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 17:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ There's a reason we don't have a "insufficient effort/research" close reason. And it's because it's not a valid close reason. \$\endgroup\$
    – Passerby
    Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 3:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hats off to you for starting this discussion.. maybe you'll win a secret winter bash prize.. \$\endgroup\$
    – David
    Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 6:55

3 Answers 3


This is a bad idea. It's OK to be ignorant. It's not OK to be stupid. You are confusing the two.

Most ignorant questions we get here are also stupid and usually badly written and exhibiting a poor attitude. We already have the tools to close them for the right reasons, which does NOT include that the level of the question is low.

  • \$\begingroup\$ It might be a bad idea, but I'm certainly not confusing ignorant and stupid. I am, in fact, suggesting that closing a question for ignorance is appropriate. There is no close reason that gets at that, which is why a new reason would be necessary. We'll put you down for a "no" vote!. I prefer the idea of maintaining a community wiki for oft-repeated basic questions, and closing these sorts of questions as duplicates myself. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 18:43

If you see a basic question for the first time, answer it. It's not a big deal, and it does bring in new people via search engines.

If a basic question keeps popping up, close it as a dupe. Simple as that.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I deal with that more in my companion question-- but here, I'm suggesting that this is simply off topic. With respect to closing as dup, the question that I refer to is CLEARLY a dup, with no moves to close it. Try to find the right post to point to as a dup, and if it takes more than 30 seconds, its too long. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 16:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ The issue received better reception at meta.electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/2978/… \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 16:38

It's possible that this is partially a user education problem... For example, my first post was a bit of a disaster, and I was making a very earnest attempt to understand something difficult.

Not that we can change how the site works, but it would be nice if upon joining you were presented with a mandatory slide show of "good question" "bad question" examples to help people understand why they are about to be crapped upon :)

  • \$\begingroup\$ I agree. It may also help to add a tag-line under the logo to say something like "Questions on electronics design". I had rep of 1500 before I stumbled across anything that stated the purpose of the site. It's buried in the Help pages somewhere. \$\endgroup\$
    – Transistor
    Commented Dec 26, 2015 at 12:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @transistor I wonder how many others miss the tour until 1500. It says "✓ a specific electronics design problem" and "✕ Anything else not directly related to electronics design". \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 27, 2015 at 15:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ @tepples and yet, there's nothing in that tour that would lead me to believe my question about a (well known in certain circles) textbook about circuit analysis would get downvoted for close. \$\endgroup\$
    – Daniel
    Commented Dec 28, 2015 at 16:40

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