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Proposing Electrical Engineering site

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Update: Launched.


I propose the new site Electrical Engineering.

We are a group 5 people that have agreed to be part of the original core of the new site. These 5 people include the four users with the top rep at the SE Electrical Engineering site, and also include two SE Electrical Engineering moderators. We are ready to go.

The allowed topics will be pretty much the same as on SE Electrical Engineering. This is primarily about the design and function of electronic and electric power systems, their theory, and tools specific to those fields.

We want to grow this site from scratch without mass-importing content from SE. Once the site exists, more experts will be invited. Questions will come when word gets around (with our help) that this is a good place to get answers.

Added in response to comments

Mathjax: We do need to write equations occasionally. Most of the time these equations aren't too complicated, but the SE site had Mathjax and it was used regularly. I'll confess that I never bothered to learn Mathjax. I got a lot of use of HTML tags like <sup>, <sub>, <tt>, <blockquote>, and various HTML characters like &PI; and the like. I'd really appreciate support for those.

Circuitlab: This was a plugin (I may be using the wrong term) to the web site that allowed drawing schematics directly in the post editor. Some people did use it, but there seemed to be lot of problems judging from the discussions about it in meta. The organization behind Circuitlab also seemed to lose interest in supporting SE after a while.

I personally never used Circuitlab because I thought it was pointless. Anyone who can spell EE already has something on their computer to draw schematics with. All of these programs allow exporting schematics to image files one way or another. The free version of several EE CAD packages is sufficient for drawing schematics and making image files of them.

Image files: It would be helpful if the exact details of image file display here is documented. You generally don't want the site to resize image files. Look at the horrible job this site is doing in shrinking our profile pictures, for example. If I know the parameters, then I can make my image files to suit. For example, I found by trial and error that SE didn't start mangling image files until they exceeded 640 pixels wide. If I needed to start with something bigger, I shrunk it myself to 640 pixels so that I could apply proper anti-aliasing.

General Engineering site: There should be a separate Electrical Engineering site. General engineering is too broad. Take a look at the EE and general engineering sites on SE and see that the former has way more traffic than the latter. One key to a successful site is to have a clear and sufficiently narrow focus. EE achieves that. I participated in the general engineering site on SE too. My impression of why it never really took off is that it was too broad. Most questions ended up being about civil or mechanical engineering. Two separate sites for those would probably have been more healthy.


2020/6/4

So what happens now? I looked around but didn't find a description of the process for bringing up a new site. I noticed that the tag "status-definition" was added. I guess that means the site is in the definition phase? What still needs to be defined? Is there something we are supposed to be doing right now? As I said above, we're ready to go and do some work.


Response to more comments

URL: I don't have a good answer. Suggestions?

I just checked, and SE used "electronics", although that is probably for historical reasons when the site had a different name. (Electronics attracted too many people that wanted to know how to set the time on their VCR.) That still might work here anyway, since it would be the URL only and the site would clearly be labeled Electrical Engineering. Another option is go with the long "ElectricalEngineering" because nobody types URLs directly anway. Or "ElectrialEng"? I'm hoping someone comes up with some better ideas.

Mathjax: Even though I never used it, I know lots of others did regularly. I'd say we need it. Hopefully the rendering speed hit isn't too bad, especially on pages where it doesn't get used at all.

Logo: SE asked this same question here, then didn't use the top-voted answer. At least that's one possible placeholder for now.

We'll try to come up with something that suits this site if you give use the parameters. You've said it should be 3:1 aspect, but what is the smallest size in pixels it will be displayed at? That matters to line thickness and overall detail. Do you need multiple versions for different resolutions?

What you asked are all good questions. Since the answers depend considerably on opinion, I'd like to hear what others have to say and see if we can come up with something we are all OK with. So far I've been trying to run interference for the group, but it's time to get everyone involved. I see Dave Tweed has already chimed in. I'll try to get the other three to do so also.

Why should this post be closed?

12 comments

Sounds promising! Do you need Mathjax? Any other non-standard features? Monica Cellio about 1 month ago

Well, well, well... I haven't seen you in a long time, Olin :) (talking about from the EE.SE website of course) I have proposed a general engineering website. Do you believe that we should have dedicated engineering websites instead? I'll be more than happy to help out since I was part of EE.SE. KingDuken about 1 month ago

@Monica We also had a website called Circuitlab that was a website plugin to EE.SE. Mathjax would be nice as well. KingDuken about 1 month ago

@KingDuken how did that work? Can you link to a question that uses it so we can see? Thanks. Monica Cellio about 1 month ago

@Monica , frankly I don't know. I remember one time I was troubleshooting why schematic upload from this website wasn't working to which a former SE employee explained what could have happened. From my understanding, this website would allow you to submit the schematic to create an image to Imgur and then Imgur would provide a link. KingDuken about 1 month ago

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4 answers

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Launched

Electrical Engineering is now launched. Go forth and question!

1 comment

Add "engineering" to the URL, somehow, please. To the average public, "electrical" includes electrical wiring of houses and cars, which will be off--topic for Electrical Engineering. Nick Alexeev 28 days ago

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What should the site URL be?

Based on the same reasoning as in my comments to the corresponding question to the Speculative Science Scientific Speculation proposal, I propose that the URL should be (drumroll please)

electrical-engineering.codidact.com

It's memorable; it tells you where you'll end up; it tells you pretty well at a glance what the site scope is; and because a good number of people generally don't type the full URL anyway, with the possible exception of the first visit on a new device, the URL being slightly long doesn't significantly reduce usability.

That, of course, assumes that the site itself actually ends up being named Electrical Engineering, which to me seems a very reasonable name given the proposed scope.

0 comments

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ElectricalEngineering should be a good URL.
EE (electrical engineering) or EEE (electrical and electronic engineering, as in IEEE) should be good too. Unless we want to go for something more humorous or abstract.

"Electronics" in "electronics.stackexchange.com" was a poor choice of a word. The choice was probably influenced by SE marketing, and they've done a disservice to the electrical engineers. In general, SE has a record of choosing names for stacks poorly (especially when a stack isn’t about computers). diy.se, mechanics.se, electronics.se were named inaccurately.

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I think "EENG" might be good. That was the suffix for electrical engineering courses at my university. I think long URL names like "electricalengineering.codidact...." aren't entirely necessary. If we do expand for more engineering types, mechanical engineering could be MENG, civil CIENG, aerospace AENG, etc. KingDuken 30 days ago

We can also add redirects, c.f. scispec.codidact.com -> scientific-speculation.codidact.com. Sigma 30 days ago

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Hi! I'm one of the five — in fact, I'm the one who is both in the top 4 all-time rep on EE.SE and a former moderator. I just want to expand on some of the issues raised so far.

General Engineering site

Many interesting questions span multiple engineering domains, but nearly always, the important part of the question focuses on one of those domains, with the others simply providing context. I would see a general engineering site being used primarily as a feeder, migrating questions to the domain-specific sites once the key domain has been identified.

There are, of course, questions about "engineering in general" that would remain on such a site.

Circuitlab

Circuitlab is a simulator as well as a schematic editor. I use it regularly on EE.SE, mainly for quickly generating diagrams, but also occasionally for simulation. It has many quirks, not the least of which is the odd licensing arrangement between Circuitlab and SO.

I would like to see a similar tool on this site, but preferably something that's open-source. I don't know what that would be. Definitely NOT Falstad or Fritzing, both of which seem to be popular among hobbyists, but are too toylike for serious work.

Mathjax

When I first started on EE.SE, Mathjax seemed to be very "heavyweight", significantly increasing page render times to the point of extreme annoyance. It seems to be much better now, but the multi-phase rendering in the browser is still very distracting.

It's very useful to be able to render moderately complex math expressions correctly in a post, and the ability to use other LaTeX features is handy as well. I use it regularly now.

But I still want to retain the ability to do simple markup directly in HTML, including <sup>, <sub>, <ins>, <del> and HTML entities.1


1 For example, I like to use footnotes occasionally!

(One more edit to test a bug fix.)

7 comments

If we didn't have Circuitlab integration, what would people do? Use whatever tools they like and just upload images? Use some web-based tool and link to a project there so it could be edited? I'm guessing that site-specific tool integrations are a ways off, especially if there are licensing issues, but I'd like to understand the needs so we can see if there's something we can do to address them. Monica Cellio about 1 month ago

@Monica correct. If we can not have Circuitlab, users can upload a photo. The reason why Circuitlab was a good tool is because it allowed other people to modify it and/or simulate it and, as Dave mentioned, provided someone to quickly upload a diagram if that was not in the OP's disposal. I wouldn't say this would be a "must have" but it is a very convenient tool. KingDuken about 1 month ago

Interestingly enough, as Dave mentioned LaTeX (but not necessarily relevant to Mathjax), there is a package called "CircuiTikz". That would be an interesting tool to utilize in lieu of Circuitlab but probably would take far more effort, though it would be better than nothing at all. KingDuken about 1 month ago

@Monica I joined EE.SE before they installed CircuitLab. Everyone used their favorite schematic capture program and uploaded schematics as pictures. There are free and opensource schematic capture programs (LTSpice, KiCAD, ExpressPCB for example). Those who weren’t comfortable with schematic capture tools posted hand-drawn schematics. Nobody ever frowned upon a well-drawn hand-drawn schematic. Nick Alexeev about 1 month ago

I'll second Dave about footnotes. Nick Alexeev about 1 month ago

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