I don't know if is only my impression, but I think that has something wrong with the direction that this community is taking.

In the nomination phase of election, @markrages put his feelings against the direction and was elected.

Today a poor answer had several up votes and I think the up votes are to protest.

I'm feeling uncomfortable.

I don't know if am I right or no. I'd like to "hear" from you your thoughts.

If I right, what can be done?


I'll ask some questions from @reemrevnivek trying to clarify.

  • What is the direction that the community is taking?

When we propose a community creation in Area51, the given suggestion is this:

We're creating sites for experts.

Your site should focus on pilots, not passengers; lawyers, not lawbreakers; professional photographers, not Uncle Marv with his digital point-n-shoot.

If the site can attract the experts, the amateur enthusiasts will follow!

So, we have to be capable to attract experts. As this was not the main purpose of Chiphacker, seems some remnants didn't like the new way.

My impression is we're not attracting experts like we should do. Maybe it's just my impression. Let me know if I am wrong.

Note that this doesn't mean I didn't like Chiphacker.

  • How is Mark and his election related to or otherwise impacting this direction?

Well, I think who voted Mark would like to change the way EE.se was being directed.

  • What leads you to believe that the upvotes on that answer are in protest of the direction which you believe is wrong?

I saw this pattern 2 or 3 times beyond @kallenjb has presented. One more example was about this question. I remember this question received several upvotes only after I put my comment and the owner put his comment too.

The same happened with Leon's answer.

I hope I have been more clear now.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Note: the "poor answer" link points to a deleted answer which was converted to a comment after discussion between myself, Kortuk, the question author, and Jeff Atwood (and others). Following it brings you to the question. \$\endgroup\$ May 23, 2011 at 0:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you referring to Mark's Questions about selecting and sourcing electronic components should be considered on-topic and encouraged belief? I'm not trying to put up a straw man argument, but I don't see how shopping questions and short answers are related. \$\endgroup\$ May 23, 2011 at 0:33
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I can't make sense of your question. Can you try to explain yourself more precisely? This question came up in chat, and a few other users can't understand it either. (1) What is the direction that the community is taking? (2) How is Mark and his election related to or otherwise impacting this direction? (3) What leads you to believe that the upvotes on that answer are in protest of the direction which you believe is wrong? \$\endgroup\$ May 23, 2011 at 19:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ @reem, I've edited my question to answer yours. \$\endgroup\$ May 24, 2011 at 19:16

2 Answers 2


Maybe they're voting it up because it's an informative answer?

Q: Why aren't decoupling caps built into the IC or IC package?

A: Sometimes they are! Here is an example.

What's the problem?

(Also, answers and comments are fundamentally different things. They aren't distinguished by number of characters.)

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I am moving, and do not have time to write a solid answer, but there is an example that has been noted. No actually link to an example. One major problem I have seen is that our answer quality is not to the level that one question can teach enough to answer many and be lasting valuable advice. Often it is just that, "sometimes!" Why? When? examples? \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    May 21, 2011 at 1:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kortuk: I doubt there's an answer on the site that can't be improved in some way. \$\endgroup\$
    – endolith
    May 23, 2011 at 14:00
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I look at it is sorta like schools, every student could be better, but we manage to determine which students shouldn't move on and which ones are good enough to move on. Some answers just aren't up to par. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kellenjb
    May 23, 2011 at 14:34

Question Quality

@markrages was taking issue with question asking. Shopping questions have been addressed in other areas such as this meta post. The problem is the people who want the "policies" to change don't seem to care to come to meta to discus it at all. Instead they just make comments on posts in the main site. When discussions are made as comments on the main site, it is hard to follow what the general community wants. I may be harsh in saying this, but if someone doesn't want to discuss an issue in Meta, then I see no reason to give their view any credit.

Overall, I like to apply a simple test to questions asked on the site, that test is, do I think this question could be found and help someone in the future. In order for the answer to be 'yes' the question has to be written well enough that a search engine could pick up on some keywords and help someone find it in the future. It also has to be broad enough that there are other people who could find the question and be helped by it.

Answer Quality

For answers, I put a similar test as I do for questions. The main test for answers is, does the answer add value such that if someone came across it later they would be able to get value from it. In the case of answers being mostly just a link to an external site, I can't say it will add any value since there is no telling if the site will still be around when someone finds the question down the road.

Linking to external sources isn't bad though, in fact in many cases it is needed. The answer needs to include enough information that even if the link where to be broken someone could get enough information from the answer to be able to easily find information to fill in the missing content.

Some Question Examples

I tried to cross reference to see if any of these were discussed in Meta, if I have made a mistake let me know.

https://electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/14383/apple-2-wire-connectors - Adam Davis Disagrees, but nothing in Meta about it

https://electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/14342/how-much-do-single-chip-gyroscope-cost-and-how-good-are-they - Chris Stratton Disagrees, but nothing in Meta

https://electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/14223/longevity-using-a-kinect-in-a-permanent-exhibition - Chris Stratton again Disagrees, but nothing in Meta

https://electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/13821/getting-soldering-station-in-europe - endolith disagrees with it being closed, and referenced a meta post, but never tried to clarify why it was closed if he believed the meta post backed his opinion

https://electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/13707/why-are-oscilloscopes-so-expensive - This question didn't have any complaints about it being closed, but it did get 2 up votes meaning some people thought the question was good

Lack of community involvement

I mentioned this in chat and figured I should go ahead and add it here.

@markrages, who got nominated as a Mod with his main point being he wanted shopping questions allowed, but in his answer to a meta post, he got 4 down votes. So the community didn't like his views in the meta post, but then voted him in. Which means there has to be people who like his views, but didnt go express them in meta.

I think the Stack Exchange setup helps foster a democracy where all users can voice their opinion, but some users seem to think they can just vote a Mod in to make changes for them. This is not the purpose of mods. Read more about Mods responsibilities in this blog post.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Most, if not all, of the policies that the moderators try to enforce and advocate through commenting are based on discussions on Meta, on meta.stackoverflow.com discussions, on blog/podcast posts, or in the FAQ. We try to link to these authoritative sources when possible, but often it's a generally-accepted guideline with easy-to-find discussion. \$\endgroup\$ May 23, 2011 at 19:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you give examples of discussions that have been had, or policies that have been recommended which weren't discussed on Meta? Or, if appropriate, a list of "the people who want the "policies" to change " - though that might merit a private chat room. \$\endgroup\$ May 23, 2011 at 19:55
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @reemrevnivek I am not talking about any specific person. What I am talking about is how it seems like very often when a question is close, there is someone who will say it shouldn't have been closed, but the people who say those things don't tend to come to meta. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kellenjb
    May 23, 2011 at 20:13
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ often they think, "Hey, that was not what I want." but do not take part in meta. This often means that they are not actually informed in the logic behind those changes. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    May 24, 2011 at 16:45

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