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There is currently no place for some consumer electronic repair questions on stack exchange, maybe it would be good to create a site specifically for those questions and maybe even electronic hobbyist questions or for projects. I'm wondering if there would be any interest in a site like that and maybe talk about starting one on area 51. Maybe call it DIYelectronics or electronic repair.

It wouldn't be worth starting if there is no interest in it (you at least need people to answer questions), does this sound interesting?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you elaborate on the "hobbyist questions" ? Will it be like questions for de-bugging circuits based on a photograph of a bread board setup and few DSO screenshots ? What is the distinguishing factor which will make it un-suitable for EE.SE and suitable for the new site? \$\endgroup\$
    – AJN
    Sep 2 '20 at 4:47
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Let me agree with pipe, and add a bit of a community perspective opinion:

There's already sites that allow these kinds of questions, and they are of particularly low quality (this is of course an opinion of my own, someone else might like the openness and creative chaos that community exhibits).

Generally, a site where the blind lead the blind is not a great idea, and I for one aren't too keen on looking at a broken toaster, computer, washing machine, industrial gas centrifuge, …, and tell the user that nope, not repairable within their means economically, while the enthusiastic halfwits amateurs get the upvotes and acceptanced answers for suggesting dangerous / dead-end solutions. Thus, my guess is there won't be many one-eyed to lead the blind as an alternative.

Compare this to other sites with EE-subtopics like the amateur radio stackexchange: The people there are experts on their own field, and united through a common hobby, and thus, the askers stick around. That wouldn't be the case for most people asking things on an electronics repair SE site: After you've gotten your help fixing your device, you'd move right on.

Since fixing your stuff neither becomes your hobby (you'd need a lot of broken stuff for that...), and as soon as you make that your profession, hopefully have outgrown the level of questions that you couldn't ask here, I don't think the community would strive.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, professional electricians may have concerns that are off-topic on an EE site. Wall materials, mounting & installation issues etc. Though I'm not sure that's enough to merit a whole site. \$\endgroup\$
    – Lundin
    Oct 12 '20 at 6:59
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I'll borrow some quotes from Russell's answer but with a different conclusion:

"I applied mains AC to my xxx board - how do I fix it" will probably have no sensible home anywhere

Agreed.

ones which currently do not meet the criteria BUT which have the potential to tech both the OP and others something about repair and troubleshooting seem, to me, potentially useful

Also very true, but such a question is also likely to be accepted here as well. Repair questions are not banned from the main site, as long as it seems likely that OP can digest the information and act on the advice given.

So no, I don't think a repair site is useful, and even in an ideal world it would only have a subset of the users active on this site to answer questions — a pretty small site already in comparison.

I would personally like to see us being slightly more lenient when it comes to repair (and even some shopping) questions. Not by a large amount, the guidelines are there for a reason, but we don't have to automatically close questions because they have "repair" in the body.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't entirely agree, but you do have a point that the sort of understanding- and detail-grounded repair questions that could fit the SO model at all are the sort that are most likely to survive on EESE. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 7 '20 at 20:09
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I'd be happy to see serious attempts at repair given a place on SE EE.
Ones like "I applied mains AC to my xxx board - how do I fix it" will probably have no sensible home anywhere, although one along those lines may end up being addressed by the OP's diligence in identifying a non standard IC.

But ones which currently do not meet the criteria BUT which have the potential to tech both the OP and others something about repair and troubleshooting seem, to me, potentially useful.

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There's actually a place for this kind of thing on the Internet, but that place is a traditional discussion forum and/or possibly a wiki.

Repair questions are complex; they often depend not only on knowledge of electronic fundamentals but also on domain knowledge or familiarity with a product, wheras questions on Stack Exchange sites (or at least the traditional-upholding technical SE sites) are supposed to be about general principles applied to context explicitly included in the question.

Not only do repair questions depend on product-specific knowledge, they also tend to accumulate a lot of "me too" and worse, "me too" with variation - because products evolve and this year's model is likely similar to last year's with a few differences. Or the brand X and brand Y are really made in the same factory. Or brand X is made in a different factory this year than last year.

Discussion forums shine for the deep dives into investigation, proposing and testing hypothesis, and discussing possibilities; in contrast SO is for things which can be concisely and definitely resolved.

Wikis thrive for ever-evolving inter-related topics; SO sites allow edits, but late edits get ugly - particularly ugly when, for example, something changes such that the answer that used to work for the version of something it was asked about, no longer works for the current version which keeps driving people to the question page. Is an answer that was correct when it was posted and accepted still correct when the world has moved on and the modern equivalent needs a different solution? Who knows; it's outside the design intent.

Really the issue is simple: Stack Exchange is designed to handle one specific sort of thing, and handle it well, by intentionally excluding problems which don't fit that model.

Stack Exchange is designed with the implicit awareness that there is a remainder of the Internet which is NOT Stack Exchange.

Stack Exchange is not the Borg; don't try to make it so.

(Remember the flop that was SO "documentation"? That's why we avoid mission creep)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Then diy.se is a blog? \$\endgroup\$
    – Voltage Spike Mod
    Sep 7 '20 at 18:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ While it may allow some types of repair questions and is likely further from the origins of SE than stackoverflow or EESE, diy.se is not primarily a "repair" site. It is certainly not a "blog" nor was a "blog" suggested as a recourse in this answer. In actuality, the only reference to the idea of a "blog" I've made on this site at all recently is in flagging the non-answers from a particular new poster who likes to abuse the answer form to post personal experiences only very remotely tangential to the question on the page he is posting a non-answer response to. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 8 '20 at 15:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Then what you describe for diy.se is what would be good to create for electronic repair questions \$\endgroup\$
    – Voltage Spike Mod
    Sep 8 '20 at 17:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ You missed the fundamental point - all I described for diy.se is the plain fact that it's not primarily a site for repair questions either. You do have a bit of a history of misunderstanding the purpose of other SE sites... \$\endgroup\$ Sep 8 '20 at 17:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ They allow some repair questions: "Installation, maintenance, and repair of major appliances." \$\endgroup\$
    – Voltage Spike Mod
    Sep 8 '20 at 17:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Very few of those are "repair" in the way that you mean "repair" - apart from a few of the appliance questions they aren't so much diagnostic as procedural - ie, when you already know what the problem is, "repair" is practically what we would call "design" or "implementation". \$\endgroup\$ Sep 8 '20 at 17:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ Just so you know, I did not -1 this post \$\endgroup\$
    – Voltage Spike Mod
    Sep 9 '20 at 15:16

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