A puzzling anomaly

Discussion in 'Feedback and Suggestions' started by t_n_k, May 26, 2013.

  1. t_n_k

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Mar 6, 2009
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    Occasionally we see the moderators being taken to task by irate members for being over zealous in their scrutiny of "banned" topics.

    I usually have no problems with the moderators' calls on such matters and occasionally point their attention to matters I consider to fall within the suspect categories using the alert option.

    The aggrieved posters often refer to their own competence in matters electrical and take the closing of their thread as a personal insult and a denial of their rights to freely discuss a practical/relevant electrical issue. The response is invariably that they ostensibly agreed to the TOS when they signed on - end of story. That's the way things are and we members need to recognize that fact.

    Then I see a thread opened in which the OP clearly states they have zilch electrical knowledge and they are seeking advice on modifying a piece of mains-operated equipment which will require them to alter hazardous voltage level wiring connections. I look at the TOS banned topics and note there is no reference to such hazardous activity. Members obligingly respond to the thread with some advice & guidance and perhaps [as an after thought] add a caveat about being careful not to get electrocuted or produce something that could electrocute someone else. This leaves me perplexed. Something is out of kilter - in my opinion.
     
  2. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Maybe the answer is - not all rules are black and white, some fall into a grey area and discretion is used.

    We don't want to provide advice to people who want to connect LEDs to AC mains or building a switch mode power supply without the use of transformers.

    However, I see nothing wrong with helping someone on how to wire a house switch or how to connect an AC motor. In such cases, in would be prudent to point out which is LIVE and NEUTRAL wiring and why the switch must go on the LIVE side, for example. This is sound education in my opinion.
     
  3. t_n_k

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Mar 6, 2009
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    In my country electricians (as we call them) are required to undergo formal training in hazardous electrical work. They are required to pass practical tests in which they demonstrate competence in electrical connect / disconnect procedures. There are sound reasons for this. Even apparently obvious ones. Such as ensuring they turn off the power before they make a change . How many of us supposedly experienced people have had the experience of failing to take even that rudimentary precaution - sometimes with painful result. In the distraction of the moment it's possible to slip up. We hope our experience & training give us a chance of avoiding that mistake.

    If we advising experienced people then that is different. As I said my concern is with folk who have no electrical experience whatever. I will not offer advice to people in the latter category.
     
  4. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    It is an imperfect world run by imperfect humans. We do our best, and may get it wrong now and again.

    I was messing with AC (without my parents knowledge) at age 10. This forum has its rules, but if it is not actively against the rules then we have to make a decision. Whatever we decide, not everyone is going to agree either way.

    It is better to teach something that might make a difference than to let someone (who is asking) go in blind. Electricity and electronics can never be rendered 100% safe, we just manage the risks as best we can.
     
  5. Georacer

    Moderator

    Nov 25, 2009
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    The first and foremost rule are the ToS. We try to follow them as closely as possible.
    BUT that doesn't mean that we necessarily agree with them. Personally, I don't agree with the automotive restriction, but I still have to enforce it.
    Consequently, when something doesn't fall withing the ToS and we can exercise our own judgment, we may have more relaxed limits.

    There are also the cases where we aren't aware of the problem. Personally, I mainly use the alert system to exert moderation for technical threads. Other mods parse the fora to an extend. But AAC is so vast that we can't possibly cover every thread that is opened. This is why it is very important that you alert us every time you see something illegal or even suspicious. We do exert our judgment on alerts; not all alerts result in closed threads.
     
  6. JoeJester

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 26, 2005
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    I agree with T_N_K.

    Should we have a Code of Ethics? I would recommend reading IEEE's Code of Ethics found at http://www.ieee.org/about/corporate/governance/p7-8.html

    Safety should be foremost, and there were a lot of topics banned for safety reasons. Of the seven banned topics, the vast majority of them are safety related.
     
  7. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    Perhaps, but that is the admins call, as in rule changes. For now all you have is us, the moderators.

    As I said, my personal opinion is (as long as it straightforward) we are better explaining some of this in detail. You are not going to stop the OP, and it is better to educate than to cut a conversation that is dealing with basic electricity off. It actually does go to the core of this site.
     
  8. JoeJester

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 26, 2005
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    That is true Bill, and I will report the thread for further review. That doesn't address the issue of those being helpful without regards to the OPs skills.

    The Terms of Service should express the desire of the administration. That includes asking the membership to withhold help for those they feel are incapable of doing the task safely. Right now, it's up to the individual member and some may not apply the appropriate due dilligence.
     
  9. Georacer

    Moderator

    Nov 25, 2009
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    It's already a tough decision to leave a thread open or closed, when it doesn't violate the ToS directly. Asking every member to take such decisions multiple times a day while helping others would be unfair, to say the least.
     
  10. JoeJester

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 26, 2005
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    The member's ethics already takes that into consideration. That does not mean it's one hundred percent foolproof. To complicate the matters, English might be the second, third, fourth, or fifth language of the OP ... or even "google translated."
     
  11. dthx

    Member

    May 2, 2013
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    Just my 2 cents ....
    But it seems like the forum has a legal obligation with regards to liability....
    And a moral obligation as well.
    Country boys will survive...If a guy is trying to get his generator going to keep his family from freezing on the north slope of Alaska..with no help around but the forum....it seem like we have a moral duty to try to tell him how to fix it...regardless of his expertise....he'll figure it out....!....he's willing to take the risk....
    There's your grey area...
    Its immoral to lie..but if the Nazis ask you where the people are hiding and you lie and say there are no people here....thats a lie.....but its a moral lie....a Good lie....
    So ...there is definately a grey area that can be debated for all rules....
    Mark me down as someone who is glad to let the Moderators moderate...and make that decision....
    I take you point,though.... that its difficult to turn someone away whos trying to wire his car dasboard up.
    I could be wrong.....its an interesting topic...
     
  12. JoeJester

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 26, 2005
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    moral obligations can be accomplished via email ... as well as anything two people want to discuss.
     
  13. dthx

    Member

    May 2, 2013
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    Yeah......you could send a PM...good point....or drive up to Alaska and help the guy...that would be a great road trip....
    Always wanted to go...
    Definately have to take my fly rod, though...
    D.
     
  14. JoeJester

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 26, 2005
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    I haven't been to the fiftieth state since 1983. Caught and smoked a lot of fish, drank a lot of beer ...

    Of course this was on the last island of the Aleutian Chain and not mainland AK. I vacationed there for twenty one days in 1974 ... during my environmental leave from the last island of the Aleutian Chain. It was a great train ride from Anchorage to Fairbanks. Loved the 7AM happy hour in Anchorage. :D Then there was Monkey's Wharf ... live entertainment, live monkees.
     
  15. dthx

    Member

    May 2, 2013
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    Good Grief....sounds like something out of Apocolypse Now...
    I bet it hasnt changed much.....
    Ive got Alaska on my bucket list...
    Its so close yet so far away....
    D.
     
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