In my opinion, the quality of the questions and answers in electronics.stackexchange.com are much worse compared to other StackExchange sites. StackOverflow in particular, which I use extensively.

There are certain symptoms that seem to be (somewhat) unique to the field. For example, the "answer my homework", "I have no idea about electronics but want to do this", and "give me a quick answer because I'm in a hurry" sort of questions. And of course, this results in all sorts of reactions from people wanting to answer "good" questions. People asking questions and people with the knowledge to answer are both getting frustrated.

These topics have been addressed in Meta often lately, but I feel more guidelines are required. Some thoughts I have are:

  • What kinds of questions do not belong here? (So we can delete and clean up faster? Refer users to other places?)
  • Should new users be warned (more explicitly) that "good" questions are expected and what "good" questions are? (So they are pointed to the right source quicker and they can re-word their questions?)
  • Would classifying questions as "hobby", "engineering", "school", help? (So people willing to provide answers can better target their segment of interest? Or, to better specify who you are trying to reach?)

These seem to have to do with segmentation... perhaps to segment users with different interpretations of what "electronics" means?

I know this is not a new subject, but I've seen lots of aggression in previous questions and not much constructive consensus.

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    \$\begingroup\$ How much time have you spent on SO? ten seconds? the amount of bad "gieve helpz, gieve codez" etc. questions on SO is much higher, but also is their response time in closing and downvoting into oblivion \$\endgroup\$
    – PlasmaHH
    Jan 24, 2016 at 22:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ @PlasmaHH and to whomever has down-voted without comment: This is what I mean by lack of constructiveness. "How much time have you spent on SO? ten seconds?" is just useless aggression. Thanks showing everybody another example of what my post was referring to. \$\endgroup\$
    – jpcgt
    Jan 24, 2016 at 23:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ @jpcgt The hyperbole of your statements makes it difficult to take your question as sincere (hence the downvotes). Regardless, I'll have a more detailed answer \$\endgroup\$
    – W5VO
    Jan 24, 2016 at 23:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ @jpcgt There are 2 components in your post. (1) SO has better quality than EE.SE . I can't readily agree with that. For example, SO has 73% of questions answered, while EE.SE has 94%. Of course, we can discuss how good that metric is. (2) The second component is that certain classes of questions are not a good fit for EE.SE. That's something worthy of discussions. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 25, 2016 at 0:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @jpcgt (aside) As you may already know, up- and donw-votes on meta simply mean "agree" or "disagree". (The relative newcomers don't always realize that voting on meta works differently than on main board. We routinely write about this in the comments on meta.) I would guess that your unfavorable comparison of EE.SE and SO makes folks disagree. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 25, 2016 at 0:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @W5VO There cannot be a "hyperbole of statements" when they are an opinion. \$\endgroup\$
    – jpcgt
    Jan 25, 2016 at 0:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ "In my opinion [emphasis original], the quality of the questions and answers [emphasis mine, N.A.] in electronics.stackexchange.com are much worse compared to other StackExchange sites. " Don't lump answers with questions. On average, EE.SE has got better quality answers than questions. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 25, 2016 at 1:10

2 Answers 2


In my opinion the main "problem" this site has compared to some others, such as the HUGE StackOverflow is that we have limited numbers of people willing to close, close-vote and/or moderate questions into deletion, meaning many more bad questions and the reactions to them are in the public eye than they are on those sites.

We're in the limbo where 'punished' questions stay on long enough to be seen by more than a hand-full, yet not long enough to be a deterrent for the next five idiots thinking we're on Freelancer.com here.

You say you have a huge amount of experience on SO, yet you have not achieved a semi-moderating reputation on any site. I'd invite you to wait until you can see behind the curtains with at least one of the websites before commenting on the comparative cleanliness of one versus the other.

Whether or not rules need to be sharpened, changed or put more into eyesight, I'm not sure. I'd be quite happy if people with a negatively deemed question within their first five would have to acknowledge each and every rule by pop-up until they reach 10 questions asked, or a streak of 3 neutral or up-voted.

On the other hand you need to realise that a closed or down-voted question does have longer-term influence and question askers are warned by the system when they rack up a couple of them to the tune of "Hey, you've not been asking great questions. Please read the help-center about how to ask good questions and what is on or off topic". It's not like a question gets killed and that's the end of it.

I'd almost invite you to try it out, but I wish that upon no moderator of any Stack Exchange. Unless there's a wishy-washy nonsense one you'd like to go.


I'm skeptical of your claims that

  • Homework questions
  • Complete beginner questions
  • Answer-in-a-hurry questions

are a unique phenomena to electrical engineering. Quantities are debatable, but I'm still skeptical that SO has fewer "Gimme teh codez" questions.

Perhaps what might be more productive is reviewing existing help documents, and suggesting modifications.

In reality, if you're asking someone to do your homework for you, you really don't care about rules, nor are you going to read something about how to write questions.

Finally, "meta" tags or separation based on "homework", or "engineering" (which means what exactly on an engineering site?), or "hobby" are not done on purpose, which would further segregate the community.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The comparison between sites is simply my opinion and is not the main point. I'm wanting to address this phenomenon I'm noticing as a newcomer (I'm not sure exactly what it is), where people don't want to answer questions (whatever the reason, "bad" questions?), and people are also discouraged to ask because they are treated disrespectfully. The guidelines that you've linked to perhaps are not enough or are not really being read. Also, I don't think closing questions is the solution to encouraging better questions and answers. \$\endgroup\$
    – jpcgt
    Jan 25, 2016 at 0:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @jpcgt We do appreciate your fresh perspective of a newcomer. (The comparison between sites is: your opinion, not the main point, possibly incorrect, distracts from the main point of your question. Wouldn't it make sense to edit away the comparison part from the the original question? Or, possibly, start the discussion in a new question and close this one?) \$\endgroup\$ Jan 25, 2016 at 0:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @jpcgt, engineers are fundamentally very different people than CS experts. EE's don't tolerate such trivial questions as "need a datasheet" and "DC homework" while themselves being up to their eyeballs in things 100x more complex. It's like asking a brain surgeon for a cooking recipe. So that's why I think so many otherwise very intelligent EE's here appear "rude." Unlike other sites, EE's here assume the asker has thoroughly researched their question, memorized the datasheets, tried everything they could think of, exhausted all other avenues, then are not going to waste anyone's time. \$\endgroup\$
    – rdtsc
    Jan 25, 2016 at 23:12

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