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Oh god I miss him so much but he has not been online for more than half a year oh please tell me he is okay, where is Olin? Who will tell me???

Where is the glorious bearded microcontroller man?

Link to Olin's profile

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migrated from electronics.stackexchange.com Jun 5 at 13:06

This question came from our site for electronics and electrical engineering professionals, students, and enthusiasts.

  • 12
    \$\begingroup\$ I'd assume that he didn't feel that the time and energy he spent here was worthwhile. \$\endgroup\$ – Harry Svensson Jun 5 at 12:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ Maybe he's giving us commoners a chance to earn some reputation points so that the ratio between his points and ours becomes smaller. \$\endgroup\$ – Bimpelrekkie Jun 5 at 13:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ I hope he is getting paid for his advice a lot more than here. Even my 2 cents worth is more than we get paid here. \$\endgroup\$ – Sunnyskyguy EE75 Jun 5 at 13:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ @RussellMcMahon If you do know him, perhaps you have an insight why he left? \$\endgroup\$ – Atizs Jun 5 at 13:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ You created a profile just to ask this question? Can't say I miss him too much. He was great at what he did, had some fantastic knowledge, but most of the time I found his attitude and behaviour towards some less knowledgeable people just rude. \$\endgroup\$ – MCG Jun 5 at 13:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Bimpelrekkie: Olin earns more points on his old answers than most users earn by posting new answers. He's number 22 for this quarter, despite not posting anything in several months. \$\endgroup\$ – JRE Jun 5 at 15:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ @JRE Olin is like an endgame boss. You just can't beat him. He's simply too good. \$\endgroup\$ – Harry Svensson Jun 5 at 15:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ Although I didn't always agree with him regarding what he could sometimes write on meta (and I expressed it a few times), I respected him a lot and miss his knowledgeable answers too. \$\endgroup\$ – dim Jun 5 at 20:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ Is it too early to assume some high voltage/high power accident? \$\endgroup\$ – winny Jun 10 at 12:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ He's probably just benchmarking some PIC firmware execution speed. Give it a few more months. (hides) \$\endgroup\$ – Lundin Jun 11 at 8:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MCG Olin's attitude against lazy and overly entitled consumers was right. Some of these lazy consumers were well... sensitive. Being sensitive and overly entitled is a vice, not a virtue. Even when people like that are a majority. \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Alexeev Jun 11 at 16:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NickAlexeev entitled? don't mix naivety with entitlement. Most people don't know how much knowledge goes into something as "simple" as doped silicon. \$\endgroup\$ – tuskiomi Jun 11 at 18:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ @tuskiomi I agree with you that being naive [or ignorant of some technical fact] is a different thing than entitlement. Olin knows the difference. \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Alexeev Jun 11 at 19:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NickAlexeev towards lazy and overly entitled people, yes. But not everyone he was rude too were lazy and entitled. He was rude to a lot of people, and his attitude was very much 'I am better than you, and if you disagree, you are an idiot'. As I said, his knowledge was great and that will be missed, he contributed some brilliant answers. But as for Olin himself? I won't be missing him in the slightest. \$\endgroup\$ – MCG Jun 12 at 7:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ There's a basic problem with the SE model, which is that Gresham's law can set in if you get a group of enthusiastic users who are, shall we say, less than "experts". I used to hang out on another SE site where at two least professionals who I know personally both left, simply because there wasn't enough "red meat" to keep them interested. I left myself when I got a tirade of abuse from another user who among other things accused me of being a troll simply because I posted lots of answers but never asked any questions! Life's too short to waste time mixing with that sort of garbage. \$\endgroup\$ – alephzero Jun 13 at 12:51
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He's fine. I spoke with him a few weeks ago, and he's busy with a bunch of other things.

He's been thinking about dropping by EE.SE, but he's well aware that he doesn't see eye-to-eye with the majority of active users (and management) about how bad questions should be handled, and it frustrates him. We'll just have to wait and see what he decides.

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  • 9
    \$\begingroup\$ Sometimes the "Read Instructions before Posting" would be very apt advice... \$\endgroup\$ – Solar Mike Jun 5 at 14:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the update Dave. I’ve met Olin a few times in the real world and he’s a good guy as well as being very competent. \$\endgroup\$ – Spehro Pefhany Jun 5 at 22:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks Dave. Pass on my best! \$\endgroup\$ – Scott Seidman Jun 6 at 14:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Happy to hear that he's fine! I hope he'll come back and keep on contributing to this site. Although I sometimes didn't agree with his "gruff approach" to reprimand people, I always considered his judgement fair and to the point. If he decides to leave definitely, he'll be missed. Anyway, whatever he chooses, I wish him all the best! Thanks, Olin, for all the gems! \$\endgroup\$ – Lorenzo Donati Jun 6 at 16:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm glad he's just busy, I was unable to reach him by private email and was concerned. I'll add my request to pass on best wishes. \$\endgroup\$ – Cursorkeys Jun 7 at 10:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ Honestly Olin said what a lot of us are thinking when it comes to newbies not reading the rules. I'm sure a lot of think to ourselves, "How hard is it to read the rules? It's literally less than a page long!" Perhaps he didn't like the management because there's really no way to remind 100 people a day (exaggerating of course) to read the rules without pulling out your hair. I don't think Stackexchange has a way to implement a, "You can only ask questions once you've read the rules of the website." feature, which quite honestly, would be really nice to have. [feature-request] on main SE Meta. \$\endgroup\$ – KingDuken Jun 9 at 4:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Somewhat related. The new "Ask a question wizard" has been rolled out live on Stack Overflow, with that site as guinea pig. I'm not sure if there's yet any evidence of it improving the quality of questions, but at least it's something. If it is a good thing, then other SE sites have to be on their toes to get the same feature implemented too, since it will have to be adapted to each specific site. \$\endgroup\$ – Lundin Jun 11 at 8:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Lundin that's actually pretty good. Are there plans to make it the default low rep/new users see? Can we have that on here, too? \$\endgroup\$ – Marcus Müller Jun 11 at 15:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MarcusMüller Yeah it is currently something that every new/low rep user gets, if I understood it correctly. But it has been adapted to SO posting rules specifically for now and they are still tuning it in. \$\endgroup\$ – Lundin Jun 12 at 6:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ I, too, add my sentiments that Olin is missed. I appreciate his no-bullshit attitude and precision. As a newbie myself once, he answered my questions in a direct manner that is greatly appreciated (perhaps more in hindsight than at the time). \$\endgroup\$ – JYelton Jun 12 at 22:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ I also had the surprising pleasure of meeting him in person back in 2014 at the Microchip MASTERs conference, and his gripes and frustrations are much less intense in person vs. in "written" form - the medium seems to amplify his messages and makes them seem a little harsher than his intent (just my opinion). \$\endgroup\$ – Adam Lawrence Jun 13 at 21:53
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I've seen Olin's profile suspended for quite a bit of time a few months ago. I too expected him to return back once the suspension is over, and it will indeed be sad if that doesn't happen.

Seeing how clever guys move from Math.SE and Physics.SE to Mathoverflow and Physicsoverflow sometimes makes me think that we need a new site like that for EE. Maybe we can lure Olin there.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I read the super old meta post about someone complaining their flags were declined, mostly about Olin. This "Be Nice" policy should have its limits, otherwise some kind of paradise state is enforced. And therefore no wonder he left. \$\endgroup\$ – Atizs Jun 6 at 11:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ But aren't those alternative sites about being less strict - allowing even more low-quality questions, allowing straight homework dumps and blatant work orders, and allowing discussion-type/subjective questions (e.g. "Is the CEO of Microchip going to resign next month?", "What is your favourite resistor?", and "What are some hidden features of KiCad?")? I think Olin would want to move in the opposite direction, insisting on a minimum of quality and demonstrated effort. \$\endgroup\$ – Peter Mortensen Jun 7 at 9:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ @PeterMortensen Can you show me an example of a homework question on Mathoverflow? Or any noob question for that matter? \$\endgroup\$ – Dmitry Grigoryev Jun 7 at 11:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ One of the problems is that at some point there is enough accumulated mass of answers regarding power supplies, 555s and LED drivers that new ones are either duplicates or very low quality. The textbook is written and we're just doing the odd revision. \$\endgroup\$ – Spehro Pefhany Jun 7 at 18:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Atizs The "Be Nice" policy doesn't forbid downvoting and closing down bad questions, so it doesn't enforce a paradise state. What it does is enforcing the aut bene aut nihil behavior, but I feel that's intentional. In the end, having questions downvoted and closed with no comments also gets the message across, plus it's much easier to moderate. \$\endgroup\$ – Dmitry Grigoryev Jun 8 at 5:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SpehroPefhany I mostly agree, but the current searchability of those answers is not particularly good, especially from newbies. The problem is the title alone could be too general to describe the content, and tags are not that useful in the end, especially since they are limited in number (just 5 per post max) and their usage is not enforced strictly and their usage varied with time. ... \$\endgroup\$ – Lorenzo Donati Jun 8 at 12:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SpehroPefhany ... Probably there's a fundamental problem in how all this Q&A stuff is organized. Years ago the problem was to have good answers posted, now that we have a good corpus of information, the real issue is easy, spot-on retrieval. \$\endgroup\$ – Lorenzo Donati Jun 8 at 12:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ OK, I was reading MathOverflow as an alternative site. That is not the case. It is part of the Stack Exchange family (though perhaps with a special status, being imported from the Stack Exchange 1.0 days). Could you shortly outline the general idea for such a site in your answer? Beginner-level questions are not allowed, but open-ended ones are (e.g. "What are some hidden features of KiCad?")? And conceptual designs, schematics, and PCB designs can be submitted for review? \$\endgroup\$ – Peter Mortensen Jun 9 at 10:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ @PeterMortensen AFAIK MathOverflow has more or less the same policy regarding open-ended / opinion-based question as Math.SE, plus it requires a certain level of proficiency in math which automatically excludes e.g. homework-like questions. \$\endgroup\$ – Dmitry Grigoryev Jun 9 at 20:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Similar thing with intelligent guys redirecting their attention from StackOverflow to SoftwareEngineering.SE [formerly known as Programmers.SE]. \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Alexeev Jun 11 at 16:58

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