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Have you read the first presentation of this site, in the About page??

It says:

This is a free, community driven Q&A for electronic hardware hacking enthusiasts.

Isn't what many people here try to avoid???

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  • \$\begingroup\$ We try to avoid support of consumer electronics, how do we try to avoid this? \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Feb 3 '12 at 22:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Kortuk I was thinking to put electronic design instead of hacking... \$\endgroup\$
    – clabacchio
    Feb 3 '12 at 23:20
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No, I hadn't read it. Thanks for pointing that out.

We try to keep our scope amicable to both experts in electrical and electronics engineering and to enthusiasts. The experts would probably like to avoid seeing 100 versions of "My electronic gadget X broke, here's some fuzzy pictures of a burned spot on the PCB, how do I fix it?" and "I'm a software guy, how do I get my Arduino to blink an LED?". The enthusiasts would like to ask the above questions, and they'd like to get responses to more difficult questions from the experts. The experts might even, once in a while, like to ask and answer rigorous reverse engineering problems.

At present, our problem is that the enthusiasts outnumber the experts 10 to 1, and don't seem to be interested in making room for the experts. If we allow that to happen, the site will become a Yahoo! Answers clone, with questionable advice being proffered by people who don't really know what they're doing, and upvoted by others who don't know what's going on. That would be a tragedy.

The text in the /about page was provided by Stack Exchange (or Littlebird Electronics, way back in the day?). Community mods don't have the ability to edit this.

We do, however, have the ability to edit the FAQ. Its first sentence (used to) read similarly to the /about page:

This site is for electronics hardware hacking enthusiasts...

I've changed this to read:

This site is for electronics and electrical engineering professionals, students, and enthusiasts.

I suggest that the /about page be modified similarly. I submit

This is a free, community driven Q&A for electronics and electrical engineering professionals, students, and enthusiasts.

as the new text.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Very nice, and thanks for the background! \$\endgroup\$
    – clabacchio
    Feb 4 '12 at 21:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ So now it's not welcoming to hardware hackers? I kind of think it should include both \$\endgroup\$
    – endolith
    Feb 4 '12 at 22:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's not welcoming them by name in the first sentence of the about text. However, if your definition of 'hardware hackers' includes electrical and electronics engineering enthusiasts, or these hardware hackers do anything described by the FAQ, then they're welcomed in a roundabout manner. Do you think it should be more explicit? \$\endgroup\$ Feb 5 '12 at 2:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ @endolith: How would a hacker not fall into the "enthusiast" catagory except without the negative connotations? The point is and should be that we want real electrical and electronic engineering questions where the "engineering" part is taken seriously and respected. "Hackers" by definition disrespect and degrade what they touch. If you don't have respect for the field and those you seek help from, you in fact are not welcome here. We don't want "plz hlp i m 2 bzy read datasht projct do 2morro! How cnct opamp 2 resistors and transistors 2 make work? Need 2 no now!!!!". No thanks. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 5 '12 at 14:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ @OlinLathrop: Those aren't "hackers", they're idiots. There are professional electronics engineers who ask idiotic questions, too. I would say "hardware hacker" is someone who modifies things that they didn't design, to make them do things they weren't intended for. What's "disrespectful" about that? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hacker_%28hobbyist%29 \$\endgroup\$
    – endolith
    Feb 5 '12 at 18:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ @OlinLathrop - "Hacker" is a difficult word to define. I usually go by the Jargon file definition, that is, A person who enjoys exploring the details of [electrical circuits] and how to stretch their capabilities, but there are many definitions: Your example of someone who proceeds with a project by kludges, Endolith's example of a person who heavily modifies the software or hardware of their own computer system, or the media's interpretation of a computer-using criminal. In any case, a word with this much ambiguity shouldn't go in our FAQ \$\endgroup\$ Feb 6 '12 at 16:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kevin: Agreed. What you are describing could be covered by "enthusiast", "tinkerer", or "experimentor". "Hacker" has the added baggage of implying the purpose of said hacks is to subvert security, break in, and in some cases perpetrate deliberate fraud or vadalism. For example, the Boston police web site was "hacked" this weekend. That was the exact word used by the news media reporting the incident. I have a professional reputation to protect, and can't afford to be associated with "hackers". I have no problem with "enthusiasts" or "experimentors". \$\endgroup\$ Feb 6 '12 at 16:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ @OlinLathrop - To my parents, and to some engineers at work, the word 'hacker' does have a connotation of subverting security and committing a crime. To my peers at school, and, I believe, to the authors of the original sentence, it has no such negative connotation. The FAQ is changed, and I've contacted an SE employee who can change the /about text. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 6 '12 at 19:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ and so it is done. (: \$\endgroup\$ Feb 11 '12 at 17:46

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