Appropriate closure?

This closed question below (OT, the "shopping" issue) wasn't actually asking for reviews of commercial electronic devices, or for component purchase recommendation. The OP, a pro designer, did describe his situation and specific problem: publishing of electronic tutorials on EE stackexchange vs. a personal blog vs. github etc. It's not circuit design, yet is a question for electrical engineers, and about our narrow topic, mostly because OP has found appropriate forums do already exist for SWE and other non-EE fields, just not for EE.

Where to publish articles about electronics?

Motivation: I'd like to read a pro EE forum, not just a purely circuit-design forum. Avoid heavy-handed application of anti-shopping rule. (So, allow reviews of oscilloscopes and sig-gens? Nah, those are physical objects being sold. Don't attract a crowd of paid socks from scope companies!)

  • WJB, long on EE, new on Meta
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    \$\begingroup\$ First you might want to understand why shopping questions are a problem. The reasons are listed here: stackoverflow.blog/2010/11/23/qa-is-hard-lets-go-shopping That article was written by Jeff Atwood and applies to stack exchange as a whole, and isn't going to change any time soon \$\endgroup\$ – Voltage Spike Mod Feb 8 at 7:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ @VoltageSpike yes, obvious reasons, and any mod would predict the problem. (I'd add to it: preventing idiot EE tribal warfare, emacs versus vi, mac-vs-pc, wars over oscilloscope Tek vs. Agilent quality, etc.) None of this applies to the closed Q. But the OP's Q could be narrow: "does SE discourage experienced educators from asking-then-answering their own Q, in order to publish large answers with significant info?" \$\endgroup\$ – wbeaty Feb 8 at 7:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm a bit dubious about using the Q&A format. Let's imagine I want to publish an article about «How to design Input Capacitor for Buck Converters?». I would start by asking that question. Then, within seconds, it would be downvoted and closed, because of being broad and generic. I would never have the opportunity of answering my own questions 2 days later. \$\endgroup\$ – jmgonet Feb 8 at 9:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ I have made a few canonical Q and A posts so, there's no rule about this being a banned activity @wbeaty. But, the op says he's dubious about doing so (directly above) and, he's also accusing me of being a bully under his answer so, in my humble opinion, the OP appears to be unlikely to be able to handle the potential downvotes/bad_press should he post as a canonical Q and A. You can take a horse to water etc.. \$\endgroup\$ – Andy aka Feb 8 at 11:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ @jmgonet - no, you're missing an important piece of the workflow there. When you ask a question there's a checkbox at the end labelled "Answer your own question", which when checked immediately creates a space at the end of your question for you to self-answer. All this happens before your question is posted - so your question and self-answer appear at the same time. \$\endgroup\$ – brhans Feb 8 at 19:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ Your biggest issue with eese seems to be that you want a forum, and this isn't a forum. Full stop. This isn't a forum by design. \$\endgroup\$ – Scott Seidman Feb 10 at 12:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ScottSeidman wrong, I always use the word "forum" to describe all Q&A sites SE/Quora/etc. Q&A sites are "online fora" ...but all fora are not Q&A sites. People who define "forum" only as "discussion group" are confused? So just change my mentions of "forum" to "Q&A site." (My MAIN problem is that jmgonet's Q should not have been closed. Those downvoting seem to have read his first few lines, ignored his need for help. READ our anti-shopping rule's history, and understand the actual problem it's meant to halt: thousands of mindless requests for prod reviews. The op DID describe his problem) \$\endgroup\$ – wbeaty Feb 13 at 16:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ @wbeaty you're still fixated on that 'shopping' word, and ignoring almost everything else anyone writes to you. jmgonet's question asks for suggestions for off-site resources or places to publish his thoughts & work. That kind of question is off-topic! The fact that what he wants to publish is EE related is completely irrelevant. The off-topic-shopping close vote is simply the easiest to apply since it's understood by the rest of the community here on EE.SE to cover these off-topic requests for off-site resources. Please stop beating this dead horse. \$\endgroup\$ – brhans Feb 14 at 2:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ Sorry I wasn't clear. I'm not "fixated," but I was assuming that others knew well that jmgonet's analysis is correct: no such resources exist for EE topic. As a result, his question is valuable, not OT, only because the answer would be "Do it here, just use EE.SE, that's what it's for!" Or instead it would be "sorry, can't help, and also DON'T try to use EE.SE for that." In either case, other EE people having the same question would be able to search and find that answer. Note well that, in the end, jmgonet received a valuable answer (Do it here!), but we cannot add that to a closed Q. \$\endgroup\$ – wbeaty Feb 18 at 5:36

Although there isn't a clear pre-written close reason, requests for off-site info are almost always downvoted and/or closed here, and 'answers' which do little more than direct you to an external URL are dealt with similarly.
In addition, the question you refer to is simply not about electronics, or even engineering of any sort - it's about 'where can I publish my stuff', which just happens to be about electronics.
I didn't see it or VTC, but I would have. In this particular case I'd probably have used the 'opinion based' reason or possibly written a custom one, but I'd still definitely have VTC. This is not a 'forum', it's a Q&A site - this kind of question just isn't a good fit for Stack Exchange.

IMO your edit to remove the OP's

I understand that this question is only laterally related to electronics, but I think it may be of interest to other fellow electronic engineers.

doesn't make the question any more on-topic than it was before.

To address your point regarding the 'comment-answers' suggesting that the OP use EE.SE to publish - this has been asked & answered here on meta many times already, and the consensus has always been that there is no problem with asking a question on a particular topic with the intention of immediately self-answering it.
Asking questions that you will eventually self-answer
Posting a question and answer it yourself
Self-answering questions as a form of tutorial
But even (another) question about doing that belongs here in meta and not on the main SE site because it's a question about the site, not a question about EE.
There's no amount of editing which would make this question on-topic for the main site, and IMO any editing to make it on-topic here in meta would only result in it being closed as a duplicate of any of the 3 or more existing similar questions here.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The fact that there are tons of places to publish non EE stuff, and none to publish EE stuff is what makes the question EE related. \$\endgroup\$ – jmgonet Feb 8 at 7:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ The OP question specifically states his problem: he'd have NO need to ask about publishing tutorials on SW, since plenty of places exist. No need to ask about "giraffe" tutorials, since plenty of places exist (that was the given reason for closing the question.) The OP states, correctly, that this problem exclusively regards online teaching of electronics design. A useful answer blocked from view: perhaps do such publication here on EE/SE, by asking and answering our own tutorial-questions.(Or, if that's frowned upon, then publicly caution OP not to do that, which lets other users know!) \$\endgroup\$ – wbeaty Feb 8 at 7:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ Please read comment-answers on the closed question. Answers weren't offsite URLs, they were suggestions to use Stack Exchange for his electronics education pubs. If doing so is to be encouraged, then the Q should be open, so others can know this. Even more important: if such tutorial-publications here are discouraged, then same issue: post that answer, don't hide such info by closing the question. \$\endgroup\$ – wbeaty Feb 8 at 7:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ @jmgonet - no, the assertion that there aren't many places to publish EE stuff does not make a question on it on-topic here. EE.SE is not a 'forum' for anything EE related. It's a Q&A site for asking and answering questions which are directly about EE. No Stack Exchange site is intended to satisfy every perceived need for everything tangentially related to the primary subject. \$\endgroup\$ – brhans Feb 8 at 19:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ @wbeaty - if the OP had posed that question (or a similar variant) here in the EE.SE meta as something along the lines of "Is there a way can I share my EE-related knowledge on the main EE.SE site?", then that question and 'real' answers would IMO be 100% on-topic here in meta. In fact I'm almost certain that something similar has been asked here in meta in the past, and as far as I remember the consensus was that asking a question on a particular EE topic and immediately self-answering on the main site was explicitly allowed. \$\endgroup\$ – brhans Feb 8 at 19:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ @wbeaty - another indicator that a question may be off-topic is that it only attracts 'comment-answers' (instead of 'real' answers) from users who want to be helpful, but who also recognize that the question is off-topic. In fact I have posted 'comment-answers' to questions (on the EE.SE main site as well as other SE sites) and also voted to close the same question. \$\endgroup\$ – brhans Feb 8 at 19:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @brhans Note: I don't ignore problems, I try to fix them so they don't happen again. (Habit from decades as main mod on various groups. I;ll go to great lenghts for this) \$\endgroup\$ – wbeaty Feb 9 at 20:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @brhans >would IMO be 100% on-topic ...I don't understand. jmgonet's question was declared "shopping," and closed for that reason, and that's why I'm not dropping this. So, why should "shopping" suddenly be OK on meta? (if I'm right, and jmgonet's question isn't "shopping," in that case 1) those who closed it without reading his whole question need to be cautioned 2) the correct response should have been "move it to meta," or fix question, or perhaps Answer "publish HERE, that's what stackexchange is for!) jmognet is judged guilty for a fairly serious rule-violation. This needs to change. \$\endgroup\$ – wbeaty Feb 9 at 21:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @wbeaty - please re-read that again in context. It would IMO be on-topic if it were rephrased in a particular way and reposted here in meta. I've never suggested that it would be on-topic anywhere as it's currently written. \$\endgroup\$ – brhans Feb 9 at 21:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ @wbeaty And now you keep digging up this because you want what.. someone to open the question and then close it with another reason? \$\endgroup\$ – pipe Feb 9 at 22:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ @wbeaty - what would you suggest it be changed to instead, and why would it make any difference? The question is and will remain off-topic. Even if your attempt to have it reopened succeeds (unlikely, since that's an uphill battle no matter what the content), it'll just get closed again - maybe with a different majority close-reason, or maybe simply as 'shopping' again. As I & others have pointed out to you elsewhere on this page, you're too fixated on the 'shopping' word. It's barely relevant and in the context of close-votes on EE.SE it's not restricted to only one particular interpretation. \$\endgroup\$ – brhans Feb 9 at 22:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ @wbeaty - and as I've also said before elsewhere on this page, the OP is entirely empowered to remove the 'shopping-rule-violation' from his history all on his own. All he needs to do is delete his off-topic question. \$\endgroup\$ – brhans Feb 9 at 22:49

My question is not about «seeking recommendations for specific products or places to purchase them»:

  • It does not concern any physical object.
  • It does not concern any money being exchanged.
  • It is not about reviewing a site, a service or a brand.
  • It is not about comparing two providers

My question is specific, yet not product related: «If Software Engineers can use well-known services like geeksforgeeks and medium to publish their articles, where can Electronics Engineers go to do the same»?

  • I believe that the pull for writing is present in many engineers, including the non-software genre.
  • Therefore I believe that the answer to this question would not become quickly obsolete.

Finally, it's also not a generic question about how to publish stuff on internet, but rather about the need of a community content platform publishing Electronics related articles, not in a form of question-and-answer:

  • Anyone can set up a web site and publish a blog.
  • But, as pointed in the question, the real challenges are referencing, searching, moderating comments and ensuring security.
  • Not dealing with those challenges is what makes sites like geekforgeeks attractive to software engineers, who are just as apt as me in setting up a Wordpress web site, but prefer not to.

Sadly, medium and geekforgeeks are not suitable for articles about electronics because they don't address this kind of public, plus they don't support mathematical equations or circuit drawing.

In conclusion, I don't see how answering my question would harm in any way the reputation of stack exchange. On the contrary, I believe it could raise a healthy debate about why Electronics Engineers can't publish their stuff like other engineers do.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Let me ask you a question (in the hope that we can get to the root of your motivation); what are you trying to achieve? Is it some kind of recognition or feeling of making an impact in the field of EE? Is it some kind of financial thing? Or is it just a place on line that is like a repository that you can direct people to? Personally, I'd just create a web page and do stuff in HTML/JS and use mathjax. Regards your question on EE, I still firmly feel it was right to close it. \$\endgroup\$ – Andy aka Feb 8 at 9:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't see why my motivation makes any difference, but since you ask: It is the same motivation as any writer - to be read - and the same motivation of any technical writer - to be useful. Why don't simply publish in my own little blog where no one will ever come? Because of the above. \$\endgroup\$ – jmgonet Feb 8 at 10:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ "I believe it could raise a healthy debate" is exactly why it is not allowed here. By definition. \$\endgroup\$ – pipe Feb 8 at 11:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ @jmgonet Please see: electronics.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic and electronics.stackexchange.com/help/dont-ask \$\endgroup\$ – Voltage Spike Mod Feb 8 at 20:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ The 'litmus test' for whether a question is on-topic for EE.SE is not so broad as 'would my question harm the reputation of stack exchange'. SE sites are not free-for-all 'forums' where anything vaguely related may be posted, and 'questions' aimed at promoting discussion and debate are strongly discouraged. These are SE's rules and these rules make SE sites what they are - which is different. There's nothing inherently wrong with discussion & debate, it's just not what SE is meant for. \$\endgroup\$ – brhans Feb 8 at 23:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @wbeaty - there's no 'permanent demerit'. If the OP deletes the question than any internet points it may have attracted one way or the other are reverted. \$\endgroup\$ – brhans Feb 9 at 21:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ Additionally, no Andy is not wrong, and trying to 'rules lawyer' over the specific text in that particular close-vote option doesn't change the fact that the question is off-topic. The question at its core is not about Electrical Engineering, it's about looking for a place to publish. That fact that the OP wants to publish EE related information is irrelevant. We don't even know if the close-voters all chose the 'shopping' reason - that's simply the choice chosen more than any other. \$\endgroup\$ – brhans Feb 9 at 21:37

If all agree with this closure (ed.: for shopping-rule violation,) then instead I propose that our anti-shopping rule needs to be edited to clarify that we must block a constant unwanted stream of users asking about ...how to self-publish EE books? ...how to create EE tutorials? ...online SERVICES for the pro EE community, rather than just electronic products? These are EE topics, but if they are known to cause "shopping" problems (attract seller sockpuppet postings, or to expand and push out circuit-design,) then we must declare them Electrical Engineering, yet OT. But I cannot see how this is actually a continuing problem here. And, important, the OP isn't part of the, heh ravening hoards of beginners just itching to post hundreds questions/day identical to the closed question above.

If instead the shopping rule were to forbid only reviews of commercial physical objects (while including language to specifically avoid banning discussions of such things as competing engineering texts/tutorials, shopping for EE CAD sw, etc.) then is there a problem? Will the forum soon become choked by such questions? If not, then why not allow them, since they're EE questions after all (just not circuit-design.)

If the whole point of anti-shopping is to ban advertisers dishonest sock-postings, and to halt thousands of non-EE questions about product reviews, then "shopping" isn't actually the enemy, and heavy-handed application of the rule will also block many legit EE questions. I see the actual problem as being shopping-questions about "electronics," meaning physical objects with money involved. Ban only that, specifically allow shopping for non-electronic non-objects, and then we won't accidentally close EE discussions like the one above.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm purging all the comments on this thread because it got too 'heated' \$\endgroup\$ – Voltage Spike Mod Feb 14 at 4:33

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