Safety Forum

Discussion in 'Feedback and Suggestions' started by Wendy, Mar 30, 2011.

  1. Wendy

    Thread Starter Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    Safety is turning out to be an evolving policy. The technologies are changing, and so are the possible consequences. In my thread Things that close your thread I was impressed with the level of hostility that seemed to be generated. I wasn't offering suggestions, I was stating the facts! Most of it seemed to have come from new users, who felt I was somehow restricting what they could talk about.

    In later discussions we have people new to this site basically trying to show where we allowed discussions in the past. Problem was, it was old news. The threads put up for show were years old.

    One of the conclusions I reached is people new to the site, who don't understand the flavor of what this place is about, are not really equipped to discuss (or argue, as the case may be) what is or is not appropriate. Gear heads (I do not mean this term in a derogatory way) want to be able to discuss those items that have been decided will not be discussed here. Ditto folks looking to make rail guns, Tesla coils, and other fascinating and unique ways of offing themselves or someone new to field.

    What this suggests to me is we need to be able to discuss rule changes without distractions of folks wandering in and adding their two cents. Their input is valuable, and if they stay active on this site it becomes even more so. I'm thinking of the filtering to the more experienced inputs.

    How about starting a safety forum where only users with, say, 2000 posts or more can enter? The idea is to refine the rules to reflect these changing technologies.

    I'm asking for one rule on this thread. If you want to step outside this rule please start another thread.

    Safety issues will not be discussed here! Only the idea of a safety only forum.
     
  2. Dave

    Retired Moderator

    Nov 17, 2003
    6,960
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    Hi Bill,

    Thanks for your PM, I will reply to that in due course.

    As for the suggestion of a safety forum, I think it is good idea. We're going to put it on the table and I will let you know our conclusions.

    Dave
     
  3. StayatHomeElectronics

    Well-Known Member

    Sep 25, 2008
    864
    40
    Can you create a forum that allows only a special "advisory group" of members to see? Once a recommendation has been made, than it can be posted for the rest of the members, including me, to comment on. Otherwise, the same conversations will now just go on in parallel in one of the other forums without the input of the "advisory group."
     
  4. Dave

    Retired Moderator

    Nov 17, 2003
    6,960
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    If we go down this route that is probably how we will do it. The criteria for the group would be open to debate - either invite only or perhaps contribution based.

    Dave
     
  5. jpanhalt

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 18, 2008
    5,675
    899
    After thinking about this suggestion most of the day, I disagree with having a safety forum.

    My reasons:

    1) Safety matters are best addressed when they arise in a specific post. A poster is most likely to benefit from the advice when it is located in his thread.

    2) I doubt any non-member would check the safety forum for advice. Creating a useful index would be challenging at best.

    3) In the US, it would be unwise to say anything is "safe." Fools are too ingenious to not figure out a way around that, and our lawyers are too eager to seek compensation for injured fools. Thus, it might degrade into a "don't do that" type forum. Who would want to read that. Like who reads the first 10 pages of safety warnings in the 12-page instruction manual for your new pencil sharpener? As mentioned by magnet18, a "don't do that" becomes a dare to certain age groups.

    4) If non-members are allowed to post questions, I am afraid the forum would become a magnet for the sort of question we have seen in the general forum, for example, if I do "this," will it kill me? Which is more deadly, AC or DC, etc.?

    5) After the first few threads, I just don't think it would be very active. In other words, it would fall into the same category as a chemistry forum, which I also oppose.

    6) Finally, I question whether there is much real expertise about safety versus anecdote-based recommendations among our members.

    Recommendation:

    The moderators with invited input should craft a clear statement regarding safety and post it as a locked sticky.

    John
     
  6. Wendy

    Thread Starter Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    I agree the with latter, the forum is for discussions on the side. We've seen what happens if the discussions are too public. It can degenerate fairly quickly.
     
  7. Dave

    Retired Moderator

    Nov 17, 2003
    6,960
    144
    This idea is very much in its infancy and may take any or no form, but my understanding of Bill suggestion is that it is to facilitate discussion on safety via a group of trusted members - it wouldn't be an open forum.

    There quite a few things going on in the background at the minute which may or may not be relevant to this discussion, so I won't speculate further.

    Dave
     
  8. bribri

    Member

    Feb 20, 2011
    133
    5
    a user's number of posts is no indication of actual competency, qualifications, intelligence, or even age. the authority to give knowledgeable safety advice comes with actual realworld qualifications and/or experience, and any user of the internet must be wary wherever they may find themselves.
    i can furnish you with some local examples if you wish.

    as i happen to be new here, and since this thread deals in part with new users, i feel that it is my duty as a 'noob' to at least share my outsider opinion on such matters. i'd be quite happy to go into detail about first impressions and general observations of AAC as a new user if anyone thought it pertinent.

    safety is of course a very general and (hopefully) non-exclusive topic, and in that regard, i wonder if you (Bill) are not in fact suggesting a "dangerous forum" for hardcore members.

    safety is everyone's concern and a policy of just not-talking-about-it equates, at best, to a kind of "security through obscurity" policy. in the real world, that just boils down to an imagined sense of security.

    on the legal front, i'm not a lawyer, but coming from a family of several lawyers (sorry), what i can say is that a failure to acknowledge the existence of certain risks in some cases CAN equate to criminal negligence... how that relates to the 'wild-west' of the internet is probably another story however.

    aside from that, in light of the general concerns raised... i'm reminded of strangely similar debates about sex-education. perhaps this may seem weird but i can draw numerous parallels.

    with all of this in mind, i might suggest a "kids-forum", where high-power and nasty chemicals don't distract from the joy of learning.
     
  9. magnet18

    Senior Member

    Dec 22, 2010
    1,232
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    Well, I think that
    1- it sounds like a good idea to me
    2- purely post count based doesn't sound like the best way do determine who gets in. I'm definitely not saying I think I should be allowed in, I cause enough headaches as it as and since most people know my background I doubt my opinion would go far anyway, but there are those on the forum with a low post count that could still contribute much.
    An invite system sounds like a fairly decent idea, I'll try not to go nuts trying to get an invite (put a goal out there... I usually lose a bit of sanity trying to get it and make myself look like a fool in the process)
     
  10. t06afre

    AAC Fanatic!

    May 11, 2009
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    Systems there voltages are below 50 volts peak. Can in most parts of the world be handled by "unqualified persons" without training. So maybe we should have this as thumb rule in the forum. But not as absolute rule. It must be evaluated in each case. An example may be if a poster want to build a power-supply starting from zero using a transformer connected to the mains. Strictly speaking this is not something that a non certified person should do. But in this forum it a tradition for allowing it.
    I am not in favour for a strict rule. But I think we should have some words in the forum rules about it. Then evaluate each case separately. If we are in doubt about the safety. And also the OP ability to safely do the experiment/setup. We should use the [​IMG] button. Much like the forum works today
     
  11. loosewire

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 25, 2008
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    If you don't have a scope,how about reading peak to peak voltage.
    never got a comment.How about a answer on your safety forum.
     
  12. bribri

    Member

    Feb 20, 2011
    133
    5
    oh one little 'safety' suggestion. do not keep a mobile phone in your pocket when working on projects.... particularly if the ring-tone is set to vibrate.
    if someone phones you it can be really scary. i've really thought i was getting a shock there a few times 0.o
     
  13. magnet18

    Senior Member

    Dec 22, 2010
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    AC is usually measured in Vrms, thats what the 120V measure is, and I think it's what voltmeters measure.
    If you want to find Volts peak, you take the Vrms and divide by .707
     
  14. Wendy

    Thread Starter Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    If it is a square wave the RMS is 1.
     
  15. PackratKing

    Well-Known Member

    Jul 13, 2008
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    :confused:Teenagers, and other liars...............:confused:There is no way to determine someone's qualifications, short of an online timed test, with pointed questions aimed at assessing their grasp of electronic knowledge, and attitude toward safety.

    No pass test, no access to "dangerous forum" It would be a challenge just to write the test !!

    Just thought I would run that up the flagpole to see who would salute it :D

    Edit; then again, I have known some real flakes that were very talented with electronics...but liked to "blow things up".....how in blazes does one judge unless you know the individual firsthand ?? :confused:
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2011
  16. R!f@@

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 2, 2009
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    VIP Section ...anyone? only invitees...

    {ed}
    Umm!! VIP's of AAC. :p
     
  17. someonesdad

    Senior Member

    Jul 7, 2009
    1,585
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    Overall, I like the idea. However, some cautions:

    1. The limiting to a group of people with a certain number of posts is probably a good idea. I would imagine that the admins would have the wisdom to also invite other folks into the discussion who clearly know their stuff, regardless of their number of posts.
    2. Committees of people can take forever to decide things, especially if they're anal-retentive engineers (guess how I know). To make the committee practical, a strong, decisive, artful leader is needed.
    3. I would advise against any statements like "this is what is safe". Idiots and the ignorant can just be too clever. Otherwise, you get into a gatekeeper mode like the US FDA. The less-than-all-bricks-present general public then things "Oh, if the FDA approved it, it must be safe." Instead, focus clearly on policies that will cause a thread to be closed.
    Also, it's worth reminding newbies that if the powers-that-be don't like their posts, they take the football and go home. The forum is not a democracy with free speech. If a newbie doesn't like that, they can find the resources and start their own forum.
     
  18. Adjuster

    Well-Known Member

    Dec 26, 2010
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    Would it be possible to do more to discourage people from giving unsafe advice, or perhaps to remove some material posted if it may constitute a hazard?

    A few days ago someone recommended a graphite pencil sharpened at both ends as a means of discharging capacitors (yes, really). The thought of a novice doing this to something like a big photographic flash capacitor makes me shudder. No-one else saw fit to comment, so eventually I did so, but as a relative newcomer to this forum my remarks may not cut much ice.

    We have to bear in mind that minors and others with little knowledge of the subject may be reading anything which appears on the forum, and may see it as authoritative, even though the poster may be no more knowledgeable than they are.
     
  19. Wendy

    Thread Starter Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    My solution is using PMs. I've been doing that a lot lately.
     
  20. Adjuster

    Well-Known Member

    Dec 26, 2010
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    I just wonder how far this will end up having to go. The aim might be to restrict discussion to circuits using inherently safe voltages, but in fact that is not so easy to define. Something like an Extra Low Voltage definition might be a start, but not a guarantee of safety, certainly not if you have to assume that the end user is completely incompetent.

    What if they might decide to make deliberate bodily contact with the circuit, e.g. with the mouth? That's not as ridiculous as it might sound - some people have been known to "test" batteries like that. There are other "shocking" things that some may want to do with electric currents, best not described.

    What then about fire risk: is it necessary to be completely safe on that score? There would then have to be a further dimension of input power limitation. How low would you need to go to qualify as completely safe - 100mW?

    At this point it could seem that even quite small battery powered equipment may be too risky, so the final conclusion might have be to allow only theoretical discussion of such things as abstract subjects, homework questions, and perhaps circuit simulations, on the clear understanding that there would be no attempt at any practical implementations. That sounds to me like a ridiculous conclusion, but where can you really draw the line?
     
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