Why are you here?

Thread Starter

Yaakov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
2,915
I’ve been thinking about the regulars I‘ve gotten to know here in AAC and how much time they spend helping others. Why do you do it?

I know it’s not for the high pay and medical benefits, or the fame—so what brings you here, and keeps you here?

For me, AAC is a continuation of a long career as a technical volunteer, here on the Internet and even before it. Technical work in amateur theater and amateur radio preceded the Internet but as soon as that was a thing, I got involved.

Why? There’s not one reason.

First, I feel naturally inclined to help people solve problems when I have the skills and knowledge for it. I find it intrinsically satisfying to solve a problem, and also to do it so someone is helped. It’s kind of double-dipping, both things motivate me.

I have volunteered for disaster relief work, for example even when nothing technical is involved, and I enjoy problem solving in the abstract as well (though not nearly as much as practical versions).

Second, I love to teach. I am a hyperactive autodidact, I learn all sorts of things I’ll “never need” (until I find an unexpected application). I love to learn. It seems that is the other side of the coin of loving to teach. My kids will attest that asking me a question might just get you a lot more information than you ”need”. But, I’ve learned to employ something of an inverted pyramid method of imparting the information so they are not hostage to the long explanation if they want to flee.

Like all of you, I also learn from teaching. Explaining clears up a lot of fuzziness and fills gaps I didn’t know were there. Answering questions about things I know about often involves research to confirm and clarify that knowledge. I also learn from the answers others give in threads and directly to my own questions.

Third, I love people and social interaction. I love community. Some of my volunteer work has been in community building. I have started many online groups and nurtured them, watched them grow and evolved, and sometimes had to move on as the community changed in a way that was good for it but no longer included me. I’ve learned that happens.

So, that’s at least part of why I am here, how about you? Why do you invest the time and energy, even though the recipients aren’t always grateful or even civil?

Why are you here?
 
Last edited:

AlbertHall

Joined Jun 4, 2014
11,219
When I had problems, often searching on that well known search engine often turned up answers on AAC so I was reading on here. So I started reading the conversations and got hooked.
One day I took my life in my hands and offered an answer. When the sharks didn't gather round to eat me alive, I continued offering answers. Now, I both ask questions and answer others questions where I have someting to offer.

I am also an autodidact (in electronics, started in primary school with the help of Darlington library whose childrens' section had an amazing selection of technical books including designs for connection mains power (usually US designs so for a mere 110VAC).
 

Thread Starter

Yaakov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
2,915
When I had problems, often searching on that well known search engine often turned up answers on AAC so I was reading on here. So I started reading the conversations and got hooked.
One day I took my life in my hands and offered an answer. When the sharks didn't gather round to eat me alive, I continued offering answers. Now, I both ask questions and answer others questions where I have someting to offer.

I am also an autodidact (in electronics, started in primary school with the help of Darlington library whose childrens' section had an amazing selection of technical books including designs for connection mains power (usually US designs so for a mere 110VAC).
That‘s a great point about answering questions. If you know something and the other person doesn’t, you can be a teacher, no matter how much more about other things they may know, or how much more others may know than you.
 

MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
23,232
My interests in AAC follows very much as yours. While I am an autodidact in most things I do have degrees in Physics and Engineering Physics. As a teenager I dabbled with crystal radios, radios and electronics as a hobby. Then I got my HAM license because that was always a geek thing to do. As for AAC, I am an engineer, technician and educator in science, electronics, computers and programming. I enjoy fixing things and helping others. Having acquired a lifetime of experience in the field I feel compelled to share that knowledge with others. As you say, that's a double reward.
 

BobTPH

Joined Jun 5, 2013
3,105
I am here to learn as much as to help. A huge part my electronics knowledge has come others on the forum , or researching topics that come up on the forum. When I started (on a different forum) I came to get a question answered. I had an N channel MOSFET as a high side switch and wondered why it was getting so hot. The question was quickly answered, and I was hooked.
Bob
 

DickCappels

Joined Aug 21, 2008
7,270
I am here because my mother and father loved each other and shared a desire to start a family of their own a few years after WWII.

I am on this site because I have had a strong interest in electricity since about 1955 when my father brought home a D cell, a light bulb, and a short lengh of wire to perform what seemed like magic.

Eventually that turned into a very satisfying career from which I retired and no matter how hard I try, I can't stop "doing it".

I tried several electronics related forums then chose this one because it is a wonderful place in which to help prople with their projects. Other sites were either too deep into technology or too simple minded to hold my attention. This is the Goldylocks site for me.
 

ronsimpson

Joined Oct 7, 2019
1,180
(long story removed) That is just how some of us are wired. (make & teach) I have no choice.

When I am stuck on my project, It helps to stop and see if I can help some one on their project. (a little rest from my problems) Then back to my projects.

Helping others helps keep my head fresh. Some day it will turn to mush and I will be done.
 

Irving

Joined Jan 30, 2016
1,290
That's a really good question... but one I'm not sure I know the answer to. Partly its because I enjoy mentoring and teaching. Partly its my way of keeping my mind functioning in semi-retirement. Partly its my own 'rehab' (more about that in a moment). Like many here I started in electronics at an early age (7) with a crystal radio and its been my hobby, passion, & career ever since, for the last 56 years (I am an autodidact, despite not knowing that word - there's always something new to learn!).

In 2012 I was the Principal Engineer/Technologist for a major UK e-Commerce platform until cycling to work one day in October I had a life-changing accident that left me tetraplegic (quadraplegic for my US friends). It was 2 years before I was ready to think about going back to work, and though the company were ready to accommodate that, they and I had changed; many of my colleagues had moved on and I felt I was no longer a key part of that. I was ready to retire on medical grounds. About that time I was introduced, by the Aspire charity, to the academics at the research labs they jointly fund (with UCL) which are attached to the spinal injury unit and it transpired that they were interested in focusing their research more on real-world solutions; outcomes that actually were manufacturable and that was an area I had expertise in. Also the new Masters course in Rehabilitation Engineering had a significant electronic and mechanical aspect and before I knew it I was offering to run tutorials on electronics, software engineering, basic mechanics, CAD/CAE/CFD, etc. Shortly after that started that I was roped in to run a 10 week after-school course on Arduino programming and robotics for a local high school through an outreach programme. Suddenly I'd found a new lease of life - teaching my passion to others. One day one of my students introduced me to AAC because they'd posted a question but were getting conflicting messages about the answer. I signed up to see... and the rest is history...
 

Thread Starter

Yaakov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
2,915
That's a really good question... but one I'm not sure I know the answer to. Partly its because I enjoy mentoring and teaching. Partly its my way of keeping my mind functioning in semi-retirement. Partly its my own 'rehab' (more about that in a moment). Like many here I started in electronics at an early age (7) with a crystal radio and its been my hobby, passion, & career ever since, for the last 56 years (I am an autodidact, despite not knowing that word - there's always something new to learn!).

In 2012 I was the Principal Engineer/Technologist for a major UK e-Commerce platform until cycling to work one day in October I had a life-changing accident that left me tetraplegic (quadraplegic for my US friends). It was 2 years before I was ready to think about going back to work, and though the company were ready to accommodate that, they and I had changed; many of my colleagues had moved on and I felt I was no longer a key part of that. I was ready to retire on medical grounds. About that time I was introduced, by the Aspire charity, to the academics at the research labs they jointly fund (with UCL) which are attached to the spinal injury unit and it transpired that they were interested in focusing their research more on real-world solutions; outcomes that actually were manufacturable and that was an area I had expertise in. Also the new Masters course in Rehabilitation Engineering had a significant electronic and mechanical aspect and before I knew it I was offering to run tutorials on electronics, software engineering, basic mechanics, CAD/CAE/CFD, etc. Shortly after that started that I was roped in to run a 10 week after-school course on Arduino programming and robotics for a local high school through an outreach programme. Suddenly I'd found a new lease of life - teaching my passion to others. One day one of my students introduced me to AAC because they'd posted a question but were getting conflicting messages about the answer. I signed up to see... and the rest is history...
You have an inspiring story. I am not sure I could recover—mentally—from such a thing absent examples like yours. I am also a cyclist, and the idea that one day everything could change so fundamentally is sobering.

Thanks for sharing that.
 

KeithWalker

Joined Jul 10, 2017
1,681
I am here too for several reasons which I will explain, but first, some background. I have been driven by an overpowering urge to create for as long as I can remember. I had many hobbies in my youth but the two main ones were, and still are, art and electronics. I chose electronics as a career because I realized that I could not produce my best art under pressure. In electronics, the pressure to solve problems is the challenge.
Although I received an excellent education and became an electronics engineer in the early 60s, the formal education completely lacked up-to-date technology. There was a vast amount of math but just the basics of AC theory, motors and thermionic emission. In the meantime I was teaching myself about transistors, and designing and building my own measuring instruments. I eventually became a Technical Consultant, designing, building, programming and commissioning systems to test all kinds of products (from paper pulp to nuclear fuel rods). I was retired in 2003 when I turned 65. Now I spend my time creating art and electronic gadgets.
I discovered this site by accident, five years ago, when I was searching for some technical information. I was intrigued by the variety of the questions and I was impressed by the knowledgeable and understanding answers. I was able to answer a couple of the questions myself, using the vast store of practical information I have acquired during my long life. I became a member not only to share my knowledge, but to learn from the answers the other members supplied. It helps to refresh my knowledge and keep me up to date in this fast moving world of technology.
Here are a couple of examples of what I spend my time on:
Mary FB.jpgTank 001.jpg
 
For the last 15 years or so, I’ve come here and other similar forums for the exact same reason outlined above. No need to repeat the answer.

Speaking of repeating answers. Unfortunately I have throttled back on my replies, very significantly.
There is always more than a single way of solving a problem, most times with diametrically opposite solutions. I can provide an answer, which may correct but not necessary optimized, and as sure as the sun will rise it will be refuted, perhaps even attacked.
Used to attempt to have a decent discussion, but life nowadays is already too stressful for me to add gratuitous stress by having a futile discussion with random strangers.
 

MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
22,851
I originally joined the group because of many of the reasons already voiced above, and mimiced most of the responses..
I have tried a few groups and found that this one had the right 'feel' to it somehow! ;)
Mainly occupy my time dabbling with Pic's now to keep the brain active. :cool:

As to the odd new members that sometimes become a little combative if they do not recieve the answer they expected, we should have a Forum entitled 'Arguments', Ala Monty Python. :D

1618850778932.png
 

bogosort

Joined Sep 24, 2011
625
As a practical matter, AAC gives me something to browse when I need a short break from work. But I think the more fundamental thing is that I'm drawn to people who've accepted the challenge of learning how all this crazy stuff works.

Engineering is difficult and I have great respect and admiration for those on the front side of that steep learning curve. Only a short while ago I was there, too, and I clearly remember what it's like trying to drink from the firehose of knowledge. If I can offer a perspective that helps someone make sense of all the seemingly disparate details, well, that feels good. Because I know how much I would have appreciated a shift in perspective when I was struggling to make sense of these things.
 

andrewmm

Joined Feb 25, 2011
1,241
All of the above,
I like to help, Im old, I want to give back and help others, I find I have spare time whilst I'm waiting for other things to happen, and I have a tablet that I can use
And generally I like the varied topics covered, and the people form around the world,
I still resort to the ask question mode every now and then when I have brain fade.

bad points,
we do get shouty heads,

BUT
That is more than made up for by the rest, and goes hand in hand with the wide range of people we have , give all users the first amendment is greet , but tamper it with a bit of British restraint.
 

wayneh

Joined Sep 9, 2010
17,152
Years ago I came to this forum looking for help on some specific project. After I posted my first question, I thought "why would anyone bother to answer my question, to help a noob?" So I thought I should contribute because ... karma. Whether or not it directly swayed an expert to help me on that particular question, I figured it was not cool to fail to pay it forward.

So I looked around for other threads where I could possibly contribute. Then, like now, there weren't many! But some folks clearly need very basic help, and I can do that.

Over time I got hooked on helping, and eventually on the community atmosphere around here. I don't do that many projects or ask that many questions but have helped others far more than I've been helped, and that's fine.
 
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