I am a newcomer to EE.SE and have asked and answered a few questions here over the past few months. I read nearly daily via my phone. I would like to contribute as much as possible since I gain so much from just reading through the daily posts, however as many Meta posts have addressed recently, there are several factors that seem to dissuade folks who are new to the field from posting/answering/commenting/ etc.

Please note, I am not trying to address aforementioned factors in this question; let's all play nice

What I do want to address is this: what are the expectations of the community leaders with respect to ordinary members who are new to the field? Since this is a community which exists to build a knowledge-center for the Electrical and Electronics Engineering field, how can ordinary members who are new to the field contribute to this end? Or can they?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Don't have time to write a full answer, but have a look at my summary at the bottom of this SO meta meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/262527 and try to replace programming by whatever you think is appropriate for ee.se and of course trying to understand the rest and transferring it to the topics of this side won't hurt either. It really is the same for all stacks, more or less. Oh and it might also not hurt to look at questions that have been closed to not do the same mistakes. \$\endgroup\$
    – PlasmaHH
    Commented Feb 15, 2016 at 23:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ I agree with the responders who point out the opportunity to ask questions. I earned a top-10% reputation score mostly by doing just that, and have learned a tremendous amount from fabulous experts in the process. A person who is actively learning in a field has something others do not, a real-life desire to understand something that eludes them. This is the makings for a great question if carefully formulated. Aside from the guidelines suggested by others, I recommend you make the effort to include an image (often a schematic) whenever possible; I think EEs tend to be visual thinkers :) \$\endgroup\$
    – scanny
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 4:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ keep in mind graduates, including me, have very little almost nothing in experience on big projects but may know more in selective technical areas compared to what we have accumulated over the decades. Each has their own area of expertise . I was exceptionally lucky to have a wide spectrum of companies and jobs. If you don't include your background and region, how can we assume what you know/don't know saves us time on writing \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 20, 2017 at 19:08

7 Answers 7


Newcomers to the field can, for example, ask good questions. Or at least questions that fit the rules in the help centre. It will help "seasoned" members get motivated to answer those and others, and it will show other new members it's possible to put in the effort, even if you don't have k's of rep.

The rest you can do is try your best to properly answer questions when you do answer them.

Many times a newcomer isn't free of knowledge, they just don't have as much as some others yet, but it is very possible they have already seen and solved a problem before, which they can help with.

And be open for comments and discussion. Most people commenting with a "Ooh, I would not say it like that" mean to help you. There are always exceptions, but most people here try to honestly help, whether it's an answer or a comment. And you learn from your mistakes, or often you do, and you will become better.

Don't fear to do some extra research to answer a question to which you know 75% of the answer, as learning can come to both parties in a Q&A, even equally so. You'll still be better at explaining, because of your basic knowledge, than most URLs you'll visit in doing so.


I don't think that new members are "dissuaded" from asking and answering, nor is voting to close or delete contrary to the goals of the site.

When posting a question, post a "good" question. Search this site and others thoroughly for the answer, and if you find the answer, don't bother posting the question. Show ALL that you possibly can of the situation surrounding your question, and do it before you're asked. When answering, do your homework and be sure you're contributing more than what's already been addressed. Fine points can be addressed by comments.

There are, with the exception of moderators, no real leaders, just an assembly of folks who want to participate and protect the archive. One reason why users find their way here is the high signal to noise ratio. If the signal to noise ratio goes down, the site loses a good deal of its value. High rep users are sort of the filter that keeps the noise out.

Oddly, the more popular the site is, the more noise that finds its way here, and if not filtered, we lose our value.

If you like the site because of the low-noise info provided, try to realize that its the filtering process that got it to this state, and the same process might continue to hold it here, if we're lucky.

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1. Not only is it important to keep the signal to noise ratio high for its own sake, but it's what keeps the experts here that add to the signal, and would otherwise get frustrated and find something else to do with their free time. Ruthless filtering may seem rough to some, but without out it we wouldn't have a site for very long. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 15, 2016 at 15:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ Re: second paragraph I would say, if you put a lot of research in and it's outside of SE for the most part, it would be beneficial to the "local" SE community to post that question in a thought-out manner and include the answer directly, in those cases that this is possible (don't know about rep requirements?). \$\endgroup\$
    – Asmyldof
    Commented Feb 17, 2016 at 17:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @OlinLathrop I think this is even one of the most "accepting" and "noob-friendly" SE sites, actually teaching people, not just solving problems and answering questions. \$\endgroup\$
    – akaltar
    Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 10:51

I am a newcomer (registered like 3-4 days ago). I just started answering questions when I could and it worked fine. One of my (few) answers was deleted because it was too simplistic, but otherwise I never experienced difficulties related to being a newcomer.

Don't be shy, just follow the rules, if you don't someone will remind you and it will be fine.


Don't answer a question that is clearly homework with only the answer.

If the question is just a cut-n-paste of the homework assignment, close the question for 'lack of effort'.

If the question show effort, provide a (small) step beyond the effort (or when asked for, give reassurance that the first steps taken were correct - maybe this should be a comment rather than an answer), so the OP can learn.

Among other things I am a teacher, and I want my students to learn from their homework. Spoon-feeding them an answer doesn't help towards that goal.

(And one day I might fly in the plane they helped programming, and I want to survive...)

  • \$\begingroup\$ Perhaps downvoting such answers would be a good idea. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 21, 2016 at 21:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Scott: I have donvoted answers that answered homework questions instead of explaining a bit how to find the answer. It's especially frustrating when you take the time to explain how to do something, like analyze a circuit, without giving the answer, then someone else blurts out "The Vout is 1.3 V". Unfortunately there are enough people here so that there always seems to be some wannabe that finally found something he can answer and can't resist trying to look smart. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 21, 2016 at 21:21

Ask a question:

  • Keep it simple (no intro or thanking) but don't leave out important information
  • State all the important Factors, Variables, Influences (if applicable), etc.
  • Include what you want to achieve (for tips and tricks)
  • Include schematics, pictures, etc to improve readability.
  • Google or search before you ask. No one would like a question that is obvious like: 1+1=? or a question already asked.

Answer a question:

  • Don't answer a question if you don't really know if it is the correct answer. You may want to select 'add a comment' for this.

There are more of these rules, but if you follow these I think you will be fine on electronics stack exchange.


If you want to be a part of EE.SE and do what's expected of you, then do this:

  1. Read the meta - Look at questions that have come up and the response to them and learn how the community makes decisions.
  2. Learn how the moderation system works - Participate in moderating, read the help center on the guidelines for how to write good questions and closing questions. Realize that some decisions come down from SE's guidelines.
  3. Read the help center for guidelines
  4. Be nice and help other people.

My expectations are that new contributors learn to write good specs which means to define the requirements in a question from the project whole and not just from an often poor idea that has technical issues that the Op wants to fix when there are far better solutions if the specs and tolerances were known.

One only has to look at any successful major project to appreciate the value in specs even if they change midstream, and the value of datasheets cannot be understated to be included in the question.

Since newbies do not have full privies, just putting the root weblink without the http or some edited variation so Admins can edit and correct is a big help.

Also since we have NO idea on your skill or experience level, try to include some background in your profile. We don't need to hide and we are all here to learn and help each other.

Also we expect some effort to use Google spellcheck.

I make spelling errors all the time due to phat fingers on iPad and erroneous spell corrections. No big sweat, just appreciated to show effort input and OPs expectations for help, should be evident in the question.

Tony retired near Toronto

p.s. also no drama or "pls help" but occasional humour is good, otherwise some Mods may over-react


@Mr. Calvert. here's an example from IBM who was 3rd technical manager for OS3. They had a major update outsourced to India programmer team and I asked her, do you have a good spec to measure their results? She said her boss had no spec. The project failed and it was a multi-million dollar loss. You start with big specs then break them down into little measureable specs. which can be UX, performance or anything.


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