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Let's be careful about setting up a bunch of rules before you have an actual problem. Otherwise we are only setting this site up to be one big rule book making this place very user-unfriendly, even for engineers. Don't worry about this nebulous idea of "hobbyist questions." Wait until you are actually inundated with questions about how to build a lightsaber....


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The Engineering Stack Exchange is best able to answer specific questions that have a right and wrong answer. While we are populated by engineers, we can't solve all levels of engineering problems, because broad questions require weeks or years of research, modeling, calculations, and analysis. They also require a lot of specific information about usage ...


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My whole measure isn't necessarily about "effort". My measure of whether or not a question is good stems from the idea of building a repository of high quality information. Effectively, when I look at a question, I ask myself 4 things: Is the problem clear and well described? Is the problem focused and reasonably scoped? Is this an issue that someone else ...


10

This is a tough one, and I've been thinking about this myself too. I don't want more questions like the house boat one, but it wasn't obvious at first why. No, we don't want "Why doesn't everyone <insert crazy idea>?" questions The problem with these types of question are usually: They are open ended, or usually "too broad" in SE-speak. They are ...


8

Policy stuff The downvote tooltip (shown when you hover your cursor over the voting button) describes its intended use: This question does not show any research effort; it is unclear or not useful Think of these as "any" conditions rather than "all" conditions. If you think your question was clear and well-researched, then most likely the readers who ...


7

I have a few thoughts about why these types of questions don't/won't work here. Each of these could be a separate answer, but I am combining them all together. There seems to be a related underlying thread to them. No, They are at best naive design questions. There has been some discussion about whether the term "Naive Design Question" is a good ...


6

Risk management is absolutely a part of engineering, and it's a very short jump from that to the liability. While I hope that liability questions don't become a large portion of our total question base, I don't think it makes sense to exclude them. As with all other questions if they are too broad to be answerable, or completely hypothetical, they might be ...


5

Dave Tweed said: anything that asks about a specific current or future situation in a specific jurisdiction should be referred to an actual lawyer. I agree 100%. Not only are we incapable of providing legal advice, we should not even be perceived as providing legal advice. You can tell people 100 times, "I am not a lawyer; get a lawyer" and there are ...


5

Bad questions are bad questions and need to be closed. It's not our job to fix them, nor should the history of a question have anything to do with its present value. When you see a inappropriate question, vote to close it. When you see a poorly written question, downvote it. Then you can ask for more details or request the OP fix something. If the ...


4

The best way to get a high-quality answer is with a clear, interesting and well-researched question. We recognize that our users come from a wide range of age groups, cultures, engineering disciplines, and experience levels. At a minimum, your question should: Clearly describe the problem, using diagrams, equations, specifications, etc. Share the work you ...


4

I think that liability is an important topic that engineers in general need to be more aware of. There's also considerable overlap between liability and ethics in general, beyond just the specific legal ramifications. I think general questions about liability/ethics issues should be allowed, but anything that asks about a specific current or future ...


4

I wish to disagree with @psubsee2003. I'll admit this is a selfish view, but I would really like a much higher level of question. Asking if there is a pump for powders is something you should be able to answer in a few minutes of searching on the web. It's also lacking in so many useful details as to be worthless. What powder?, particle size, for what ...


3

One suggestion: it might be worth writing an article which can be the standard reply (in a comment) to NDQs. The article would: explain that the question, as stated, demonstrates a lack of appreciation for the complexity of the problem being asked and does not meet the site standard for question quality give examples of what a "good" How do I design a ...


2

Examples Well-Received Questions Here are a few examples of questions that have been well-received on Engineering SE. Why doesn't a lightning strike destroy the lightning rod? What is the physical interpretation of the second term in the viscous stress tensor in the Navier-Stokes equations? My customer wants to use my products to do something unsafe. ...


2

Sample Outline If you learn better from seeing an example, you may find this basic outline useful. It is not necessary to follow this format exactly; however, your question will benefit by having all of the information necessary to fill in the outline, or that information should be intuitive or obvious to the casual observer. Question Title Use a ...


1

Specific to questions on pumps and pumping systems: So you want to size a pump or pick a pump or have questions if a particular pump is suitable to your purpose. Here's what you should state in your question: State the problem you want to solve, what you have tried so far and where you get stuck. With most questions on pumps, this information will be needed ...


1

Try to help, and then only vote to close once hope is lost Especially when the user is new and just needs some guidance on the format, it's a good idea to try to provide guidance first, or better yet, make an edit that makes the question better and leave a comment about it. Good times to vote-to-close a question are if there is no possible way it could ...


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I think you are being too strict about closing question just because the answers might include legal advice and that advice might come from non-lawyers. As with all answers here, there is no absolute guarantee they are correct. Should only those with a PE license be allowed to answer engineering questions? Of course not. Answering legal questions is no ...


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"Design" questions should be on topic here. On the other hand, we don't want "naive" design questions. On many other SE sites, such as the language or programming sites, the OP is supposed to make an attempt to solve the problem himself/herself (and show relevant work). Thus, a question of "How do I design X?" might not be a good question, because someone ...


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