Sometimes, there are questions bluntly in the order of "What happens when I stick a nail into wall socket while holding it?"

One could argue these questions concern electrical safety, which is an inherent part of electrical engineering.
However, in most of those questions, I only see the safety related part, without the covering engineering part. I feel some of those questions(1) are more sensation related than EE related.

So, I wondered: What is the policy regarding safety questions without covering engineering case/problem/schematic?

(I exclude questions related to X1/Y1 caps, how to explain safety related standards, etc)

(1) in general, not specific refering to linked questions above


1 Answer 1


My view is that asking about concepts of electrical engineering are on-topic. For example, one could ask how a capacitor functions, with no other context. It should be on-topic as a means to cover topics that are "the basics." Without this tenet, all questions would necessarily have to include some sort of engineering project or goal, which is certainly not always the case.

Electrical safety is a necessary topic that involves understanding the physics of electrical systems. If we (as a community) can provide resources to help others understand how they function, and how to be safe about it, then I consider that worth keeping on-topic.

Some examples:

There may be a fuzzy line between someone asking a safety question with good intentions and someone asking with a different motive (sensationalism; a clearly unsafe project; or malicious purpose). The site's community-based moderation is a relatively good mechanism to reject the latter.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I agree with the first part (concepts are on-topic). The site's community-based moderation is exactly the part where I have my doubts. You can almost gain moderation rights by being upvoted by questions like electronics.stackexchange.com/q/431388/2028 \$\endgroup\$
    – Huisman
    Commented Jun 30, 2019 at 13:26

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