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Homework questions / "ask an engineer".

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−2

Our on-topic page currently lists homework questions as mostly off-topic, in the following manner:

No interest in understanding or learning, "Just gimme da anser!"

There has to be some element of engineering, theory, underlying physics, etc, in every question. This is why most Arduino questions are off topic.

URGENT!!!

Not our problem.

What's the answer to this homework?

Again, this site is about learning. Just giving you the answer to a homework question defeats that, and is not allowed.

It is possible to ask about a homework question, explain what your thought process is, and where exactly you are stuck. If done right, we can try to guide you to discover the solution yourself. This is tricky. Be careful.

Always be honest about it being a homework problem. Most people you are asking have taken the same course you're taking and have done the homework. We know what homework looks like. Trying to disguise it is a great way to eliminate any good will that might have come your way.


While I agree to the essence of most of this, I think it is needlessly confrontal. But also, we really don't care about the reason why someone is asking, but rather about the quality of the question and if the poster knows enough of the topic to understand answers, or if they have the interest and ability to trouble-shoot the issue themselves.

I propose that the above quoted parts are replaced with this:


Electrical Engineering is about engineering - the development of electronics, the theory behind it and the tools used in the development process. You don't have to be an engineer to ask a question here, but you are required to have some minimum of knowledge about the topic you are asking about.

If you are merely curious about some electronics topic that you don't know anything about and want to ask an engineer about it, this site might not be the best place. When uncertain, you could ask on meta if your question would be a good fit for the site before posting it.

For example, if the question is that you suspect the wrong output voltage from your regulator. Then can you provide a basic schematic and the link to the datasheet of the part used? Can you measure the voltage with a volt meter? What steps of trouble-shooting have you done so far? What do you suspect could be the problem? Why are you making this regulator, what will it supply, how much current is expected and what is the intended environment and application? Mention all these details in the question.

That is, good questions demonstrate some effort by the poster and a willingness to do their part to find the answer. If you get comments prompting for more information, try to respond to them and edit the question as you come up with more information.

This means that homework questions that are not much more than a copy/paste of the homework assignment, with no effort by the poster, will not get welcomed here. Expecting unpaid volunteers to do your whole homework for you is simply rude.

But if you have done some attempts to solve the homework (or other) problem on your own, the question is probably just fine if you provide your research effort so far: your thought process, any calculations/schematics/etc that you have tried, even if they have the incorrect result.


Open for discussion! (And proof-reading too, please!)

If anything should be phrased differently, please post an answer with your proposed alternative.

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4 comments

What you call "confrontal" is bluntness, and somewhat deliberate. Experience elsewhere has shown that subtlety is merely an invitation to ignore the content. Olin Lathrop‭ 7 months ago

@Olin Lathrop You are kind of missing the point that the people who do take the time to read this text are not likely the homework dump crowd. The bluntness makes us come across as elitist and gives a bad impression of the site to those who are sensible enough to do read the help before asking a question. Lundin‭ 7 months ago

@Lundin. I may have misunderstood your point. Are you suggesting to replace only the bullets mentioned in your question, or to replace the whole page? coquelicot‭ 7 months ago

@coquelicot Only these specific quoted parts that are about homework, for this discussion here. Lundin‭ 7 months ago

1 answer

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−1

I think the bullet list in the current on-topic page is clearer and easier to understand. Admittedly, there are some "confrontal" bullets, but that's OK in my point of view.

Sure, there are always very delicate persons who will be choked by the crudity of the terms. But is it bad? these QA sites with their voting system are somewhat rude anyway, and it is probably better to warn these persons about that; in this way, the reader gets quickly the point.

EDIT:

The only thing I find possibly too crude is:

URGENT!!!

Not our problem.

I suggest to replace it with

URGENT!!!

Irrelevant.


Only these specific quoted parts that are about homework, for this discussion here.

So, you suggest to remove the bullet "urgent", the bullet "No interest", and to improve the bullet "homework" (am I right?)

If that is the case, I see several problems in your text: the first 4 paragraphs are not directly related to homework but are general (this is why I thought you want to replace the whole page).

The last two paragraphs are OK, but curiously, I think they are not less "confrontal" than the current content, in particular, when you say

Expecting unpaid volunteers to do your whole homework for you is simply rude

By the way, I would like to point about something similar that can often be seen inside answers, to my regret: "you are wasting my time". Such words are deeply humiliating: if you offer to answer to a question, that means that you offer to waste some time. Don't blame the OP afterward for it. If you don't want to waste more time, simply warn that you have done your best or even stop answering at all.

Returning to the main subject, I think one of the good thing in the current page is that the bullets are concise and can be quickly understood. I'm not sure it's a good idea to inflate the "homework" bullet.

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1 comment

Regarding the "urgent" part, this should be covered by some network-wide policy against "fluff" like SE got. Irrelevant things such as "URGENT!" should simply be edited out. I'd down vote such posts too. But the "fluff" does not however necessarily make a post off-topic. The kind of posts with "URGENT!" in them almost exclusively have other more severe problems that would merit closing them. Lundin‭ 7 months ago

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