Purpose of this forum

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by LvW, Jan 22, 2014.

  1. LvW

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jun 13, 2013
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    It was only a few month ago that I became a member of the AAC forum - and I have a general question, primarily to the moderators.

    According to my present understanding, the purpose of this forum is twofold:

    1.) To help students and other beginners if they have technical questions or problems in solving basic tasks.
    Answers to those questions should help the OP to develop a good/better understanding how electric/electronic parts, circuits and systems work.

    (Of course, this includes the corresponding mathematical formulas, procedures and methods for calculating voltages, currents, resistors,...).


    2.) To enable a discussion between forum members (often experienced and advanced engineers/scientists) about interesting questions or problems within the technical frames of the AAC forum.

    3.) Remark: In some cases, threads belonging to group 1.) merge into a discussion corresponding to 2.).
    I think, this cannot be avoided - however, for my opinion, it even should not be avoided because this is also to the benefit of all newbies. So they can learn that in reality many things are more complicated than initially anticipated. A coming good engineer should be able to assess if for a particular application some simplified views are allowed - or not. (Thus, at least he must be able to realize that it is just a simplification.)

    4.) Question (primarily to the AAC moderators): Is this rough description of the purposes of the forum correct?
    _________________________________________________________

    After this introduction, I like to explain the background of my question.
    The following text is the only response from a long-standing senior AAC member to one of my earlier (pure technical-oriented) contributions in AAC dealing with the question “current or voltage control ?”:

    Quote: „Sort of like a very pedantic fellow who likes to talk about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin we have encountered before...“

    Apart from the aggressive tone of this reply, I think that this was a question which - from the engineering point of view - is worth to be discussed. Perhaps not in this forum?

    On the other hand, other forum members did participate in the discussion with helpful technical contributions.

    In connection with my remark in point 3.) I have read another contribution from the same forum member:
    “Take the (name of a member)-induced disruptive behavior about Vbe controlling Collector current in Bipolar transistors. Some newbie shows up that is asking how do I bias my transistor switch, which could be answered at his or her level of understanding with one or two posts with some simple rules-of-thumb that will work for the rest of their career, and instead he or she gets 100s of posts about what is unimportant, confusing, and utimately just pisses people off.”

    (By the way - I am not quite sure if for coming engineers “some simple rules-of-thumb” will “work for the rest of the career”.)

    Therefore my final question:
    Is my understanding (as outlined above under 1. , 2. and 3.) in accordance with fundamental AAC forum rules?


    Thank you
    LvW
     
  2. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Good question and a good starting point for open discussion.

    I don't think it is the responsibility of AAC to define those rules. It is the membership that will choose which direction the forum takes.

    Bear in mind that the membership covers a wide span of ages and experience, hobbyists and professional engineers, from 13 years to 85 years of age.

    To answer your concerns, AAC membership will strive to accommodate all interests in the broad spectrum of electrical and electronic circuity within an acceptable level of civility and respect.

    One of the problems with internet communication is we cannot see, observe and assess one's age, level of experience and reaction to advice given. So many times we thread a fine line between being naive, helpful, condescending or insulting to one's intelligence.

    So we all ought to thread lightly with care and due respect.

    Sometimes we like to lighten things with a bit of humor and sarcasm, in good taste.
     
  3. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    My take is nothing so formal. We are a teaching site, so what a lot of people consider stupid questions are welcome. This means no trolling or flaming as a corollary. People have to feel they can have Doh! moments and not be mocked.

    You are right about the second, but perhaps a little too much emphasis on engineers / scientists. I started as an ardent hobbiest, now I consider myself a professional technician. I know my limitations, and work within them.

    We have had a few people who pushed an agenda that favored alternate theories in the past. The theories may not be wrong, but if they push them on beginners (who have got to learn the basics first) it is out of line. Allow them to get the basics down so they can pass their courses, then they can move on to advanced ideas.

    One in particular (as an example), the idea that current through CE on a BJT is a function of voltage on the BE. As a model it works, but it is not what someone new to field needs (yet). The current theory is much simpler, and needs to be mastered first.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2014
  4. Georacer

    Moderator

    Nov 25, 2009
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    We often say that a thread belongs to the member who open it. This is all the more important for homework and beginner questions.

    When a member opens a thread to ask a question, then the primary purpose of this thread is to get that question answered and for the member to leave happy and wiser.
    Members who present alternate, more advanced theories to which the OP is not on par, do not contribute positively to that purpose.
    We often try to discourage real-life-accurate models and go for less complicated ones in beginner threads. However, the OP should be made aware of real-life implications and problems, without necessarily being able to compensate for them.

    However, once the OP is satisfied with an answer, I think the discussion can then take any direction and spin off to more complicated paths.

    I hope we answered your question.

    However, if you think that one or more members did a disservice to an OP and enforced their views in a rude manner, please bring the issue to our attention, in a public manner or privately.

    P.S. I just made the connection between your new avatar and your location. Nice.
     
  5. t06afre

    AAC Fanatic!

    May 11, 2009
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    You have to learn to crawl, before you can walk, and walk before you run. Many of those who are first time poster, or low post count members. Is on the crawl level, or perhaps learning to stand upright. So making it to complicated will in those cases not make any sense or be of any help
     
  6. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    Some years ago, I got into quite a discussion with a guy that wanted to teach a newbie the wave theory of electricity for a first semester transistor problem. He and I worked it out between ourselves, but I was in a constant state of doubt about whether I should have told him not to confuse the newbie. I am relieved to see that the moderators support my objection.
     
  7. tshuck

    Well-Known Member

    Oct 18, 2012
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    One can always request to have a moderator split a thread once a topic becomes too advanced for the OP. This should be done especially when a solution has been offered and confirmed, yet others bicker about a side issue.

    To your comment on rude posters, I typically will point it out to them. Sometimes, we get out of line and need someone to politely remind us of that (I know I have needed it). If it doesn't help, report the behavior to a moderator and let them chastise the offender.

    With such a diverse group of people here, from complete noobs to PhD toting experts, it becomes hard to define a rigid scope for the forum. My perception is that this forum is dedicated to education and learning (otherwise I probably wouldn't be here), and that's good enough for me.
     
  8. t06afre

    AAC Fanatic!

    May 11, 2009
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    This reminds of a saying attributed to Albert Einstein: "Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler."
     
  9. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    Hmmm. This reminds me of a guy whose signature line used to be, "Hopelessly Pedantic".
     
  10. loosewire

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 25, 2008
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    Op..thanks for your questions a bout off topic.could we know more about you.

    That allowed on off topic.you could write a book about looseewire.
     
  11. KJ6EAD

    Senior Member

    Apr 30, 2011
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  12. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    Wow. Long memory there, KJ.
     
  13. LvW

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jun 13, 2013
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    KJ6EAD, thank you for the link to the related thread from our member #12.

    Quote #12: Then there is the belief (not mine) that students should be given the tiniest minutia and most esoteric exceptions

    This describes, of course, an extreme conception. I think, the truth is - as always - somewhere in the middle between both extreme positions.
    ___________________

    Thank you to all for sharing their opinion in this thread. It was very interesting for me.

    Some short comments to selected parts of your answers follow:

    *...favored alternate theories ... may not be wrong, but if they push them on beginners (who have got to learn the basics first) it is out of line. Allow them to get the basics down so they can pass their courses, then they can move on to advanced ideas.

    Agreed. But, of course, three people probably will have three different definitions for „basics“.

    * One in particular (as an example), the idea that current through CE on a BJT is a function of voltage on the BE. As a model it works, but it is not what someone new to field needs (yet). The current theory is much simpler, and needs to be mastered first.


    I do not intend to start a discussion again - however, the underlined parts, for my opinion, are questionable. (What about, if a "simpler" conception is physically false?)

    * However, once the OP is satisfied with an answer, I think the discussion can then take any direction and spin off to more complicated paths.


    Mmmhh...is it really enough to „satisfy“ an OP if he is not able to decide if the answer is sufficient or even correct?
    I rather think that we - as helpers - should decide about the appropriate level of accuracy.

    * This reminds of a saying attributed to Albert Einstein: "Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler."

    * So making it to complicated will in those cases not make any sense or be of any help

    Yes - however, that's easier said than done. Exactly that is the skill and the great challenge everybody is faced with while explaining technical details to beginners - without knowing anything about the OP. What makes an answer „to complicated“ ?

    As stated at the beginning: 3 people with 3 opinions?
    ____________________

    Nevertheless, thank you guys for all your answers.
    LvW
     
  14. t06afre

    AAC Fanatic!

    May 11, 2009
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    The knowledge level of someone posting in this forum. Is pretty much given by the wording used and the problem itself. At least that is not rocket science:rolleyes:
     
  15. Georacer

    Moderator

    Nov 25, 2009
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    @LvW,

    Don't try to make strict rules out of this thread. You won't be able to and you'll only get frustrated, since, as you stated, each one has a slightly different opinion on where the line between simplified and realistic is.
    Just go with your intuition and always respect your interlocutors.

    Oh, and I think the OP is pretty satisfied when he says "Oh, now I get it. Thank you!".
     
  16. LvW

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jun 13, 2013
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    OK - good rule for the future.
     
  17. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
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    And even that can be misleading. I would prefer if the OP can reiterate what he/she thinks he/she understands.

    Edit: Like the op that claims he knows how K-maps work but doesn't know how to apply it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2014
  18. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
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    I also like it when the op says:

    "I'm taking a first year course in digital logic"

    or

    "This is my final year capstone project"

    or

    "I did some work with circuits 40 years ago but my memory fails me".

    At least it gives us a frame of reference on the age and knowledge of the op.
     
  19. LvW

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jun 13, 2013
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    Very true!
     
  20. tcmtech

    Well-Known Member

    Nov 4, 2013
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    I think that this forum is where people of like hobby interests can meet and compare differing/incompatible personalities.;)
     
    #12 likes this.
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